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Chickens as pets

PUBLISHED: 11:13 13 September 2012 | UPDATED: 11:18 13 September 2012

Girls holding chicks

Girls holding chicks

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My children (aged eight and 10) are desperate to have some chickens. Do chickens make suitable pets for children?

A PekinA Pekin

My children (aged eight and 10) are desperate to have some chickens. Do chickens make suitable pets for children, and are they easy to look after? Can you suggest any suitable breeds?

Anne Perdeaux says:

Keeping chickens is both fun and educational, with many breeds making excellent children’s pets. It’s probably better to avoid some of the flightier light varieties, as well as the very large breeds, which still leaves plenty of choice. Bantams are small enough to handle easily - the Pekin is a favourite with children, and these little birds can become very tame. There are also several varieties of hybrid hens, which have been bred for their egg-laying prowess and docility.

Chickens are relatively easy to look after. The children should be able to take on most of the responsibility, as long as they are taught what is required and supervised when necessary. Like any pets, chickens must have the correct care, and you will need someone to see to them when you are away from home. To help you decide whether chickens are for you, I suggest you start by investing in one of the many beginners’ books aimed at garden hen-keepers, as well as chatting to chicken owning neighbours. Don’t forget to make full use of all the advice in Your Chickens, of course!

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