Truly the most delightful chicken keeping chore is gathering eggs. Children will be thrilled at the prospect of discovering how many eggs are waiting for them in the nesting boxes. Collecting eggs each day can lead to valuable teachable moments. Take this time to teach your young ones how to handle backyard farm fresh eggs, how to store them properly and how to transform the simple egg into something egg-straordinary with delicious recipes! The more recipes the merrier and the merrier your children will be to visit the chook house to collect more eggs! It’s a happy cycle.
One of the most important tasks of a backyard chicken keeper is daily observation. Observation certainly doesn’t have to be a chore. Make it fun! If a particular child is egg-static about chooks, let them be your observation pal. If you have more than one chicken enthusiast, let them pick their favorite chook to watch or draw chook names from a hat to ensure fair play.
Children can keep track of egg laying, keep the scoop on the poop (we all know just how fond young children are of “bathroom talk”), act as referees during feathery squabbles and help supervise free range time. By teaching your children how to observe your flock and what to watch for such as a loner who looks a little bit too quiet, any excessive preening which may be a sign of external parasites, bullying, etc., you’re not only gaining a helpful ally, but you are working to mold and shape tomorrow’s backyard chicken keepers.
Feeding is easy and a very popular chicken chore in a child’s mind, second only to gathering eggs. Watch the egg-citement on their little faces as they rush out to the chook coop each morning to feed their feathery friends. Rinsing out waterers and refilling them each day is also an easy chook chore for children, particularly if you add apple cider vinegar to your plastic waterers. Apple cider vinegar not only boosts chook health but keeps the water cleaner.
Do you have an organized, “just stick to the regular routine, please” child? Then, chicken keeping just got a whole lot easier. Or, even if you just have an older child who’s looking to trade a current chore for something different with a little feathery fun thrown into the mix, let them organize until the chickens come home to roost! They can keep track of feed use and storage and reorganize your chicken keeping supplies. If one of your children has been blessed with a green thumb, let them choose which chicken friendly plants and herbs to include in the garden or as landscaping in and around the chicken coop.
As backyard poultry enthusiasts and chicken keepers, you all know just how very intelligent your fine feathered friends really are. They create and manage their own unique social hierarchy, they can learn to recognize their names, your chooks can form bonds and friendships, they have an amazing memory, their communication skills are highly developed, chickens can express emotions, seek out and simply thrive on feathery social rituals such as dust and sun bathing and they can even learn to do tricks. Wow!
Older children may be interested in conducting a little research and do some further reading on this subject. Or, perhaps, they have a few tricks up their sleeve and want to try their hand at teaching your chooks a trick or two.
Now, while this may not resemble a typical backyard farm chore, it does prove valuable to you as a backyard chicken keeper. Chickens get bored-plain and simple. So, enter your young animal behaviorist and voila…your child is not only involved in the chicken keeping process, but he or she is engaged in the process and your chooks are entertained. Definitely a win-win situation!
All children can help you by simply helping out. Young children can help with easier and more fun chores, while older siblings can help by independently taking responsibility of specific chores. Encourage any water bugs to help you bathe fowl looking feet or feathers. Cleaning the coop just got a whole lot easier! After all, many hands are definitely better than two.