We love chickens.
We really do.
We love backyard chickens.
As in, we love them thanks to two hens who came to us from Rent a Coop here in the DC Metro area and stayed with us for four weeks.
Kiki and Jennifer.
Though they were admittedly not the first chickens we ever knew (my close friends and family are nodding–or shaking their heads– remembering fondly the days of Peepers and Pappy), but they were the first plump, sweet, free-range feathered girls we ever really loved.
And now that they’re gone? We miss them. We talk about them often, and we laugh about the good times we had with them. The kids do Kiki and Jennifer impressions.
Brady still mopes around our yard, wondering where his feathered sisters have gone.
Have you thought about giving backyard chickens a try? Sure you have. And now’s your chance. Our friends from Rent a Coop are offering one teachmama.com reader the chance to have backyard chickens for four weeks, just like we did.
Or if the backyard chicken experience isn’t for you, then they’ll let you in on their chick hatching program which we’re trying for ourselves this winter. Wetotallycannotwait.
And we can hardly wait. Have I said that? We can’t.
Here’s the skinny. . .
5 Reasons Families Should Have Backyard Chickens (& How YOUR Family Can Do It):
Backyard chickens may seem crazy, silly, ridiculous to you, but I’m totally convinced that they are an awesome addition to any family.
Clarification: many families.
Sure, with any pet, you’ve got to make sure it’s the right time and that you have the time, effort, and energy to care for them. But these girls? So easy.
1. Your family will learn so, so, so much.
We all learned so much about chickens, and we’re still learning. Our friends learned a ton about chickens.
No one in our world really knows about chickens, which is why having them in our backyard was so much fun.
We learned that chickens love treats.
We learned that our chickens wanted to be close to us and would never wander far.
We learned that chickens like to be held, ride on tire swings, and spend time on tricycles.
We learned that chickens like to drink water from dog bowls.
And we learned a whole lot more.
2. Gathering eggs? So fun.
It’s like Christmas morning every time you run out to the coop. It was the perk of whomever’s day it was to be the one to pick up the eggs. So fun.
It took Kiki and Jennifer a few days to get into a schedule of laying eggs, but soon they’d each lay one egg sometime late morning.
And what we learned about eggs is that no–even if we didn’t eat the eggs and prayed hard enough they still wouldn’t hatch into chicks.
You need a rooster for that. You’re nodding your head, right? Now you get it. Everyone who came to see the chickens wondered the same thing–what makes the eggs hatch? It’s the rooster, yo. Learned that for myself from the BackYard Chickens FAQs.
Also what’s cool about the eggs is that there you go–you have breakfast right there in your own backyard. Owen learned to make his very first scrambled eggs–all by himself this summer. And he got the eggs from Kiki and Jennifer. We’re like basically self-sufficient over here.
Sometimes Maddy just likes wearing Harry Potter robe around the yard. Jennifer liked it.
3. Chickens are so easy.
Seriously. We put their organic feed in the feed bowl and only had to refill it every few days. We did the same thing with their water. Every week-ish we cleaned out the coop and put in new wood shavings. Voila. Done.
They do not bite, and their pecks are so gentle.
They’ll eat anything almost, and they love treats. (Check out the Chicken Eats & Treats sheet we had hanging in the kitchen for the last four weeks!)
Kiki and Jennifer let Maddy, Owen, and Cora hold them, carry them, love them, hold them, and carry them more.
They actually got along with Brady. And by ‘got along’ I mean, Brady chased them and they let him.
4. Chickens are hilarious.
They look really funny when they run. And they’ll run for just about any treat.
So when you are eating breakfast and your pet chicken hops up on your porch and struts by your sliding glass door, the kids will go nuts crazy laughing.
When you’re doing dishes and see your kids holding a chicken on their hips, walking around your back yard or swinging with a chicken on their laps, you’ll laugh.
When you hear your kids tell other people about your chickens? When you all watch a chicken shove its face into a watermelon, peck a tomato, or steal grapes from your hand? All funny.
5. Your kids will be so proud.
They will love becoming experts on chickens.
They will be beaming as they demonstrate to their friends and neighbors how to properly hold a chicken.
They will love to be able to show family members how awesome their chickens are.
They will love to have people come by to visit and meet your chickens.
What you need to think about if you’re considering chickens:
- chicken poop: Though it’s supposedly great for your grass, it is there as it is with any pet.
- chickens peck and scratch: If your yard is 100% awesome and perfect, mulch spread out of flower beds may bug you. Our yard? We hardly noticed.
- HOA rules: Your housing development or neighborhood or county may have rules about keeping backyard chickens.
Check out all of our backyard chicken photos:
Huge thanks to Tyler from Rent a Coop for making our backyard chicken experience so easy. He rolled on up with our coop and the two sweetest hens around, bringing everything we needed for the whole four weeks. I had not a clue that we’d love Kiki and Jennifer as much as we did. The experience was so much fun for us all, and we really hope to do it again this spring.
Tyler quickly and patiently answered my wide range of insane texts: They’re not laying eggs! What’s wrong? (It’s okay–it takes them a day or two to get comfortable–), and he worked around our schedule for drop-off and pick-up.
He didn’t flinch when he came to pick them up and there were 50 kids and adults in the house and yard or when Cora followed him to his van, peeking through the coop window yelling, Bye, Kiki and Jennifer!!! We love you and we will miss yooooooou!!
Cool fact: Tyler makes the coops–as in constructs them himself with recycled materials, and it’s easy to move (you’ll move it around your yard every few days), and it’s predator proof.
Check them out on their Rent a Coop site. Follow them on their facebook page. Follow them on twitter and instagram–and bug them like I do to share more photos of their hens.
Let’s just pretend Owen’s wearing matching shoes. . .
fyi: This is an unsponsored post, but our family was given the opportunity to try our hand at raising backyard chickens for four weeks in exchange for sharing a bit about Rent a Coop. As always, my opinions are all my own, influenced only by my personal experience as a parent and educator–and, of course, my three little chicken-loving littles.
Affiliate links are used in this post.