Kids are as curious as they can be. They love being around pets! Pets are not limited to those inside your homes. There are fun pets outside, too, like chickens! You need to find the right breed to suit your children. Here are the top 9 chicken breeds for kids.
1. Buff Orpington
There isn’t any breed that screams ‘English barnyard hen’ than the buff Orpingtons. This breed came about after the chicken fever in England died down. People were starting to think about the practical side of breeding chickens and slowly let go of the leisure side of breeding them.
Around these times, a man named William Cook, a coachman from Orpington, finds an interest in the possibility of developing a helpful breed. He was thinking of a chicken breed goodly accommodating the table and is suitable for egg production.
The first step to achieving this was selecting breeds that are good layers and, at the same time, are of average table size. Among the many species, Cook started with Langshan, Minorca, and Plymouth Rocks.
He was able to develop black Orpington prior to the buff Orpington. After these two came various colors like white, blue, and splashed and patterned colored chickens. Paving the way for one of the most adorable and lovable chickens worldwide today, we have William Cook to thank.
These chickens are very fluffy and calm birds that children would want to play within the backyard. They are silent birds and do not make much noise, so they are perfect as family pets, especially if the family has babies.
These chickens respond well to interactions and are friendly. Buff Orpingtons are very patient and adaptable to their surroundings. Not only are they calm and friendly, but they provide a lot of eggs, being the great layers that they are. Read more about Buff Orpington.
2. Brahma Chickens
Brahma chickens are relatively large compared to other chicken breeds. They may look intimidating because of their sizes, but they are indeed one of the sweetest and the gentlest. People refer to them as gentle giants.
Their size equips them with the intimidating and protective look that protects their flock friends from predators. Having these gentle giants along with your flock helps in raising the security and protection of the flock.
Brahmas are also known for their unique characteristic of having feathers on their shanks and toes. These chickens also have a pea comb and bushy eyebrows or more popularly termed beetle brows.
Their smooth-looking feathers and their fluffy features make them adorable and fun for children to play with. Although their size can be a bit intimidating, getting to know them will prove their gentleness in no time. Not all large chickens are aggressive. In fact, as you look into the different breeds more, you will find out a lot of breeds that are considered gentle giants.
These huge and fluffy friends are very suitable for families and those new to the poultry world. These chickens are better suited in cooler places. The cold also helps them lay their eggs, as they usually lay eggs during the year’s cooler months. Read more about Brahma chicken.
3. Plymouth Rock Chicken
Plymouth Rock chickens have been around for a long time. In fact, they are one of the oldest American breeds. Like many birds, they are good additional birds for your flock, especially if you prefer practical chickens.
These chickens have distinctive black and white bars as patterns. The pattern levels and the ratio is not always accurate, and the same for every chicken. However, the definition is most definitely correct. These bars can vary according to the chicken’s sex! Males tend to have a 1:1 ratio for their black and white bars. On the other hand, females have slightly wider black bars than white ones.
Their feathers are very soft and loose. People can confuse Plymouth Rocks and Dominique chickens, but there is a distinct difference between their bars. Dominiques have fuzzier bars that can cause them to look grayish, while Plymouth Rocks’ bars are defined and clear black and white.
These chickens are adorable. A lot of chicken owners have experienced their sweetness firsthand. These chickens enjoy being cuddled. These are the type of birds to become attached to their owners as many witnesses have experienced Plymouth rocks following them around as they do their work in their backyards.
These sweet creatures require minimal supervision as they are poor flyers and will probably not fly to your neighbor’s fences. Plymouth Rocks are also called whisperers. Unlike other breeds who tend to be noisy, Plymouth Rocks are more of the quiet type, so it’s okay to raise babies in the house. Read more about Plymouth Rock chickens.
4. Cochin Chickens
Cochin Chicken originated from China and was bred for its looks. They were initially called Cochins-China. This breed was one of the reasons for the chicken fever in the US and United Kingdom in the 1800s.
This breed is famous for its fluffy appearance having thick feathers all around its bodies, including its shanks. For this reason, places with too much rain may not be suitable for these chickens because the feathers collect dirt.
Cochin Chickens are large birds. Although feathers may contribute to their seemingly large appearance, they are relatively a large breed devoid of feathers. These birds are poor flyers, so it’s best to keep them in a safe space to protect them from predators.
These birds are mellow and easy to get along with. They can be reasonably heavy as they are larger, but they are absolute sweethearts. These are perfect pets for families. Children love to be with these gentle giants.
These gentle ladies are often used as foster moms. As cute as it sounds, these birds are adorable, having the instincts and gentleness to care for eggs other than their own. These birds are also very adaptable and can stand either the hot or cold weather. Indeed, they are your trusty companions may it be rain or shine. Read more about Cochin Chicken.
5. Australorp Chickens (Australian Black Orpington)
Cook’s developed breed, the Orpingtons, was combined with Rhode Island Reds, White Leghorns, Minorcas, and Langshan. Believed to be a gene combination of Orpington, Leghorn, and Rhode Island Red, the developed breed was one that’s phenomenal when it comes to laying eggs.
And so, they became a hot item in the poultry industry and had higher demands in the market. The recognized colors for this breed are black, white, blue, and white varieties. However, there are still other colors existent for this breed.
These birds are sure to boost the mood of the backyard because of their energy. These are energetic birds that brighten up your day. Not only are they lively and fun, but these birds are also very productive, being able to produce lots of eggs in a year. Their friendly and playful attitude makes them perfect for families.
If you are a beginner in this field, Australorps are highly recommended as they are easy to raise. These chickens are not as demanding as other breeds, and they can thrive and adjust in almost any climate. If you like shows for chickens and perhaps watching bird tricks, this breed is a good choice. Their calm and steady traits allow them to be ideals in displays and exhibitions. Read more about Australorp Chicken.
6. Silkie Bantam
Just as the name sounds, these birds are very silky-looking and fluffy. These ornamental birds are one of the most lovable and entertaining birds to have in your backyard. Their unique and cute appearance never fails to turn some heads. They are termed the kittens of the poultry world. Not only do their fur make them look so pretty, but they are also one of the sweetest ever.
Silkies are often made to be foster moms because of their superb mother instincts. They like taking care of eggs and chicks. Usually, they teach the young ones of the flock excellent food to eat and help them avoid the wrong foods.
Their feathers are even softer than they look. Another unique thing about this breed is their extra toe. These birds have five toes instead of their usual four! This unique breed is very suitable for babies and can even be raised in apartments because they are reticent.
Additionally, they like nap times on your lap. These sweet creatures will make good friends for children, given their fluffy nature and frequent nap times. These birds love giving cuddles and sitting on your laps.
Silkies make good mothers as they are very motherly. A famous line tells about how Silkies can even hatch a rock if they want to! Their level of broodiness is out of this world. Read more about Silkie Chicken.
7. Polish Chicken
These birds are one of the most fashionable breeds there is in the poultry world. Their head feathers are one of a kind, slicked back as they came straight from a Hollywood movie. When these birds passed by, they got heads turning in their direction.
People who love chickens worldwide, especially those that collect or raise for the market, love them. These birds are often labeled as “blessed” as only a few breeds are blessed with head feathers like theirs. Not only is it rich and complete, but it also looks powerful and exudes a type of authority.
Despite the quite sophisticated look they have, exuding a snobbish attitude, they are very friendly. They are gentle birds that like to be held. These birds do not even mind having a cuddle session with the kids in the backyard. This makes them suitable for families with children.
Not only are they good friends for children, but they provide a good source of food too. These birds are delicate egg layers, too, laying average numbers of eggs every week. This bird seems to be the total performer as they are usually raised for the show too. Their head feathers being their crown of glory. Read more about Polish Chicken.
8. Golden Laced Wyandotte
This breed is often termed the great utility bird. Meaning, this breed is both great for laying eggs and for providing meat for the table. Their feathers appear in golden color with black lacings around each of them. These chickens have heavy bodies and small rose combs that help them thrive well in cold weather.
These chickens have strong personalities along with their independence. They don’t tolerate bullying, and it does not exist in their books. When they feel as if they are being attacked, they immediately stand their ground and assert dominance.
When mixed with other flocks, they stand out rather than follow a leader or a particular pecking order. They are stubborn and independent birds that do not readily submit to rules and act quite dominant.
Despite their tendency to be dominant, they are great moms and take care of their chicks well. If you are into breeding and raising chicks, these can be the birds for you. They may prefer being left alone, but there are many counts of these birds being friendly and talkative. However, their friendliness does not reach the lap chicken level line. Read more about Golden Laced Wyandotte.
9. Salmon Faverolles
These birds are some of the funniest chickens you would encounter. Not because of their appearance but because of the way they express themselves. These birds are quite the talkative type, and they are the type to make you laugh by their antics.
Salmon Faverolles are indeed children’s favorites, especially when they love carrying and cuddling with their chicken friends. This breed is very easy to deal with and has the cutest appearance too. These birds have muffs, beards, and their legs and feet have feathers too. In addition to these is their unique quality of having a fifth toe! Overall, these details make them look fluffy and adorable. Read more about Salmon Faverolles.
Children will surely enjoy the energy of these energetic animals. Running around the backyard with chicken friends seems like a fun activity to do. With the right choice and research, the selected chicken breed from the top 9 chicken breeds for kids will surely add up to the rays of sunshine in your backyard.
Joseph Hudson has been raising chickens for over 15 years. In 2018, he completed the Agriculture & Natural Resources program at Mt. San Antonio College. He currently raises over 1400 chickens on his 7.5-hectare farm. He keeps sharing his experience on raising healthy and happy chickens on Chicken Scratch The Foundry.