Best Chickens for Pets

Kids thrive giving love to their hens and receiving it in return! Just like a dog or cat, hens have interesting and unique personalities and can become beloved family members and will give as much affection and attention to you as you give them. Pets are a huge part of the best childhood and family memories – and chickens are loving, fun, and very rewarding pets. So, what breeds are Best Chickens for Pets.

Chickens make wonderful pets for families – as long as you do some research first, understand how to care for them, and choose the breed wisely.

What makes a Breed one of the Best Chickens for Pets?

While there are certainly chickens that are not suited as family pets, some are particularly loving and patient with both adults and kids.

The best breeds to choose for family pets are:

  • Calm and easygoing
  • Outgoing
  • Gentle and docile
  • Love to be held and cuddled
  • Curious and inquisitive about humans
  • Enjoy and seek human interaction
  • Generally quiet (if chatty with their human family)
Silky Pets

Some examples of great family chickens are:

  • Silkies are charming little bantam chickens with fuzzy feathers and an affectionate, gentle nature. They like to snuggle up in their human’s lap and they make a very sweet little pet. Egg laying is not their forte. Sebrights are another bantam which make great pets for kids.
  • Pekins are cute little chickens and ideal for small kids as they are easy to handle. They forage busily and are very attractive birds. Relative to other chickens, they don’t produce a lot of eggs.
  • Buff Orpingtons are calm and docile chickens. They are fluffy and cuddly and quite heavy-set. They’re curious birds who will follow you around the yard and get involved in whatever you are doing. They love to be held and petted. They provide 175-200 eggs annually.
  • Isa Brown chickens are calm and friendly, as are Plymouth Rocks. Isa Browns deliver more than 300 eggs per year.
  • Other good choices are Australorps, Brahmas, Cochins, Polish, and Easter Eggers (which provide gorgeous colored eggs). Faverolles and Wyandottes are ideal for beginners. Jersey Giants will get along not only with humans but also other pets like friendly dogs and cats.

Advantages for Kids Having Backyard Chickens

best chickens for pets

Hens are a fantastic pet for kids. They not only provide a lot of joy and affection (with the right breed!), but they also teach kids responsibility and about the life cycle, from egg-laying to hatching to feeding and care. They also educate kids on where our food comes from.

Like any pet, chickens have their lifespan – and family pets ultimately teach kids those sad but important life lessons we all need to learn and accept.

Other lessons kids will learn from caring for a pet chicken include:

  • Feeding hens every day (and feeding them the right food) ensures they are healthy and that they lay eggs. Without the right food every day, they stop laying.
  • Locking chickens in their coop at night keeps them safe.
  • Coops and runs need to be kept clean – this is part of being a responsible pet parent.

Selecting a Backyard Chicken for your Family

  • Steer clear of roosters. They are not a family pet or suitable for kids. Even the calmest, most placid rooster will be overly protective of his hen harem at best, and cranky and aggressive at worst. They can inflict significant injuries, especially on kids and other domestic pets.
  • Choose child-friendly breeds (as mentioned above) and choose your chicks together as a family.
  • Start with newly hatched chicks rather than pullets or adult birds. They will learn to be comfortable around you and your kids from the outset.
  • Begin with 4 to 6 chicks. It’s easiest to bond with a small flock, not to mention that a small flock is easier to care for. They need to be handled often (very gently) so that they are not afraid and they bond with their humans from the beginning.
  • Make sure you have a coop and run set up by the time your chicks are ready to graduate from their inside “hatch box” to the coop.

Tips for Kids for Handling and Caring for Chickens

  • Never leave small children unsupervised around chickens.
  • Teach kids from the outset to be gentle when handling chickens (or any pet).
  • Have the kids help name the chickens. Each hen has her own unique personality and naming them is fun and marks a difference between pet and farm animals.

Rules for handling Chickens:

  • Never carry chickens upside down or by their feet
  • Never tease chickens
  • Wear clothing covering arms and legs when handling chickens (to avoid scratches)
  • Wash hands before and after handling eggs and chickens
  • Wear designated chicken shoes in the coop
  • Make sure everyone in the family participates in chicken chores – gathering, cleaning and storing eggs (supervised from the age of three), topping up feeders and refilling waterers, offering scraps, and eventually helping clean the coop.
  • Actively involve your kids in the life of the flock – watching them grow, observing their personalities, checking for eggs daily from sixteen to eighteen weeks, identifying and collecting suitable kitchen scraps, locking them up at night and letting them out in the morning, and otherwise caring for them daily. 

Did You Know? Chickens can be Potty Trained! It takes time and patience, but it can be done!

There are lots of reasons why people choose to raise backyard chickens. Most often, it is for a steady and reliable supply of fresh eggs. A few people raise hens for meat. But more commonly, people around the world are adopting a small flock of backyard hens as pets.