Chickens aren't often the first animal that comes to mind when you think of family pets, but rest assured - they are as well suited to the lifestyle as any dogs or cats. And, they’ll even reward you with fresh eggs for breakfast!
There are certain chicken breeds that are renown for being amazing family pets, that love to cuddle and show affection like any other friendly animal. Most people are surprised at how much some chicken breeds become attached to their human owners - but its true.
Silkies are well known as one of the most affectionate, loving chicken breeds your backyard flock will ever come across. All people who own Silkies fall in love with their gentle nature and tendency to want to snuggle on your lap - adults and children alike!
They aren’t great egg layers, but these chicken breeds make up for it in being adorable, sweet pets that your kids will love to pet and play with. Plus, they will get such a kick out of their fuzzy feathers! Want to know more? Have a peck at our 5 reasons to love Silkies here!
The Isa Brown is one of the chicken breeds that seem to just be egg-cellent in every aspect. They have a friendly, calm personality, which means that they don’t mind your children holding and petting them, and might even follow you and your kids around as you do the gardening. They are very inquisitive creatures!
What’s even better is that these chicken breeds are amazing egg-layers, and will produce over 300 per year! Which means not only do your children have sweet natured pets that they can run around with and (gently) hold, but that they will have a constant supply of fresh eggs that will keep them well fed at every breakfast! What more can you ask for? Need more reasons to love them? Have a peck here!
This brilliantly feathered bird is another of the multi-talented chicken breeds that is an egg-cellent egg layer and an equally great pet for children.
They have a really friendly, calm nature and seem to genuinely enjoy being around humans - especially inquisitive little faces. Furthermore, they are a hardy bird that can withstand harsher elements like the cold, so they can thrive if you’re situated in a chilly climate.
The Barred Plymouth Rock are one of the chicken breeds that are great egg producers, laying 200-250 eggs per year, so your family Sunday breakfasts should be plentiful for a long time to come. Also, they are known to have a longer than average life expectancy, so they really will become part of the family. Have a sticky beak at our 5 reasons to love Plymouth Rocks here.
Beautifully feathered, quiet, calm, friendly - the Orpington is a great addition to any family backyard. In fact, they are so family orientated that the hens themselves are known for being particularly broody, and love to mother their own children.
They have a beautiful silky coat that can come in an array of colours, and they lay an average amount of eggs - around 175-200 per year. They really do love to be held and petted, and are one of the more affectionate chicken breeds perfect for little hands to hold. We love Orpingtons! Have a look at why here.
The Australorp is renown for being calm and reserved - anyone with children knows that quiet chicken breeds are essential for families who are probably already sleep deprived! They are very friendly, and aren’t easily skittish, which is good news for anyone with overly energetic young children.
The Australorp is a resilient bird, and generally will consistently lay eggs all year round - rather than seasonally like most chicken breeds. Plus, they lay a very respectable amount - you can expect around 250 golden yolks to grace your breakfast table each year. Australorps really are a wonderful addition to any flock. Have a look at our 5 reasons to love them here.
The Sussex is a curious and friendly bird that are intrigued by humans - so much so that they often love to follow their owners around the yard. They love to be petted and held, and delight in foraging and exploring with their human friends.
They also are very good egg layers, so you can expect around 4 large brown eggs per week. The Speckled Sussex is particularly popular as it is one of the most beautifully feathered chicken breeds, displaying a beautiful spotted coat.
The New Hampshire Red is a lovely, multi-purpose bird that have a gentle temperament and love to nestle into your lap! They are bred to withstand cold conditions, and also cope well in smaller free range areas,
They lay lovely brown eggs (large ones to boot - sure to keep little tummies satisfied!), so you should have a constant supply of fresh produce for the kitchen table, as well as an inquisitive companion for the garden.
These chicken breeds are amazing as family pets, and will become a regular part of your lives, just as any pet animal does. There are some things you can do to regularly to ensure that your chickens are very comfortable being handled and petted by little hands.
Here are some great, simple ways that you can encourage your flock to be completely comfortable with your children - we all know how enthusiastic they can be.
Gently handle the new additions - having regular contact with the chickens makes them used to being petted and touched. Teach your kids the correct way to hold their feathered friends, and pet the chicken breeds often so they become at ease with the idea of being held.
Have your children collect the eggs - collecting the fresh eggs first thing in the morning is one of the most egg-citing parts of being a chicken keeper! By collecting the eggs, your children really do learn to appreciate how nice it is for the hens to supply their breakfast! Also, they can identify which hens from your chosen chicken breeds are good layers.
Get your kids to feed them treats - your hens will fall in love with your little ones if they are the ones dishing out the tasty little tidbits now and then (not too often, lest you have some overweight hens waddling around!). If you’re not sure what treats to feed your flock, read our article about great treats for chickens here.
These chicken breeds are perfect as family pets, and can also co-exist peacefully with any other animals you may already have, such as dogs. Regardless of their nature, all these chicken breeds need a safe and secure place to sleep - just like your own children! Take care of your new family additions with one of our spacious coops that cater to every chicken breeds needs!Let us know what chicken breeds light up your family life!