Children and Chickens

Children and chickens have a natural affinity for each other. Having a hen as a playmate is not a new phenomena. A diary that I have from the 1920s has an entry about a boy, sick and home from school, playing with a hen.

boy and hen

When my sons were little, they’d each carry their favorite hen down the slide in the backyard. I swear those chickens enjoyed the rides.

On the other hand, I know of people who grew up with flocks of chickens on family farms, who had scary experiences of being attacked by roosters and mobbed by hungry hens. I usually hear these stories from the spouses of the now grown children, asking me how to convince them to get a few backyard chickens. I don’t discount the validity of how they feel about poultry. Chickens can be scary – remember they are close relatives of dinosaurs! (Don’t you feel for this little boy, having to feed the turkeys, too?)

boy feeding poultry

Do you have a story about children and chickens? Good or bad? Tell us in the comments.


  1. My little brother used to haul a hen around in his little red wagon. But we also had, at one time, a turkey Tom who would chase us around and attack for no good reason. Don’t remember how we got him or what happened to him.

  2. When I was young, very young, my parents taught me not to torture insects. But rather, if necessary, to kill them quickly and painlessly. On the high prairie, east of the Rockies, where we lived, we were inundated with grasshoppers. Which the chickens loved. So I collected them, and being concerned the chickens would not kill them humanely, pulled off their heads as I fed them to the chickens. Did not take long for the chickens to overwhelm me and I let them catch their own grasshoppers!

  3. When I grew up there was a chicken and turkey farm next door. The turkeys were enclosed but the hens always free-ranged. Some of those hands were pretty mean! They were these very large all white birds (no idea what breed) that used to come over into our yard and if we got anywhere near them they would fly at our heads, sometimes entangling their feet in our hair. My mother would respond to our screams and come outside and rescue us.

    No long term effect on me though – I love my backyard hens!

    • Years ago I took care of two white turkeys on a horse farm. Truly stupid birds, and very aggressive about food. Unfortunately they were very attached to me – I had these monstrous birds follow me everywhere!

  4. I am new to the chicken world. We have only had chickens for two years. My three year old loves to help feed them, and a couple of the girls will actually stand still and allow her to walk up and pet them. My husband though, he grew up with chickens. He was always getting pecked and scratched when he collected eggs and such. His chickens were treated as livestock, mine are spoiled and treated as pets. So they have had daily contact and handling since they were chicks. I think that makes a HUGE difference. I’ve only had one instance where my daughter was feeding them grapes and one got her finger pretty good. Purely an accident.

  5. My dad gave me two bantam chicks one year (got them from a guy at work). I had them in an aquarium in my room for several weeks and then my dad and I built them there own little coop. They would not (that’s me talking) take up residence with the “regular chickens”.
    I named them Fred and Ethel.
    The first winter Fred and Ethel developed pneumonia.
    We took them to the vet. The vet gave them each a shot and medicine. With these instructions. “These birds cannot go outside until they are over this or they will not survive”. I’ll never forget it my dad looked at me and said “I got you this far you have to figure it out from here” Obviously speaking about my mother.
    The laundry room was downstairs and in that laundry room was also a shower. I set a little coop in the shower for Fred and Ethel. No one used this shower in the winter as there was not heat in the room.
    My mother worked full time so I was able to keep all this from here. She only did laundry on the weekends and the room was dark so as long as the light was out Fred and Ethel were completely quiet. It took some doing but I was able to pull it off.
    It was probably about the end of the second week and apparently I forgot to turn the light off on a Friday night. That Saturday morning when my mom went into the laundry room Fred and Ethel were roosting on the clothes bar over the washer/dryer. BUSTED. By this time they were cured and went back outside.
    My mom still give me dirty looks when this story is brought up. ;-)
    Fred and Ethel lived for over 10 years.

  6. I bought a Bearded Belgian D’Anvers rooster and two hens….the hens were sweet hearts they would jump to my lap any time they could, but I was attacked by the rooster many times, I was patient with him for a while, until I got some fertile eggs to hatch out….when he drew blood on my leg, he became a good soup stock, I put up with him for about a year,,,,,I don’t miss him…it is very peaceful in the coop now…RIP Mr. Dandelion:)

    • All hen flocks are peaceful. It’s what I’ve had for almost 20 years. Proves that you don’t need a roo to keep the hens “in line.”

  7. Our buff orp, Peach, would fall asleep in the hammock with my younger daughter. She would rather be with humans I think, as she is usually off by herself, and the last one in when I call them. She was always my choice for field trips to preschools, and she would chortle softly at the little ones.

  8. my girls are so sweet, I had a roo for awhile, did not like the flock dynamics so he went to a new home, now all is peaceful

  9. Both of my Grandma’s raised chickens. One Grandma raised and sold eggs in town. I remember helping her wash and pack them. My other grandma would have my cousins and I go collect the eggs. We were scared to death of them and would be naughty and throw grit at them trying to get them to leave there nesting boxes so we could gather the eggs. I wish my Grandmothers could see my beautiful flock of mixed chicken breeds as they just had Leghorns. I think of them every time I’m around my chickens and love to share the fun with my granddaughters.