Top Breed Picks For A Family-Friendly Flock
One of the most common questions we receive is whether it’s best to start with a flock of started pullets or a batch of day-old chicks? There are many benefits to starting with chicks, especially if you are looking for family-friendly birds. With started pullets, you are often limited to the availability and breeds you can select. Beginning with day-old chicks allows you a wide variety of breeds to select from so you can create your perfect family flock. Handling your birds from day one will provide the socialization each bird needs to create a friendly and docile personality.
There are certain chicken breeds that are known for being amazing family pets that love to cuddle and show affection like any other friendly animal. Most people are surprised at how much some chicken breeds become attached to their human owners. However, it is not surprising that some chickens have been known to be aggressive towards humans, especially little humans.
I have been a human mom and a chicken mom for over 20 years. I have my fair share of stories about the wayward roosters that ended up in a stew pot after developing an attitude. I also have had the pleasure of owning some of the most gentle, fluffy roosters that never even flapped a feather in my direction.
I love free-ranging my chickens. So having breeds that I could trust around my children, both hens, and roosters has been important to me.
If you have little children, it should be a concern to you whether the chickens you are picking are going to be safe. Let us look at some of the top picks for breeds to have around your children.
The following breeds are breeds of chickens that I personally have raised and were completely safe around my young children.
If you are looking for a breed that has a really great record for laying brown eggs and is friendly around children, my top recommendation is the Golden Buff. The Golden Buff is Meyer Hatchery’s name for a red six-linked hybrid. Red sex-link hybrids can go by other names such as Isa Brown, Cinnamon Queen and Red Sex-Link. They are by far the best brown egg laying breed and come in a nice moderate weight of just 4 ½ lbs for a mature hen. What could be more egg-cellent than a chicken that lays eggs and provides friendship?
The Buff Orpington is a timeless breed that has been known over the generations as being one of the sweetest breeds to have in your flock. This breed has been used by my children as their 4-H project because their calm disposition allows this gentle breed to be used in showmanship. This breed is also known for going broody, which means she will love to sit on eggs and hatch them out. It is a very exciting experience for children to see their Mama hen leading around her baby chicks. If you do not like the Buff Orpington’s coloring, no worries, any of the Orpington color varieties would be an amazing feathery fluffy family friend flock addition. We offer several color varieties here at Meyer Hatchery.
If you want a breed of chicken that is super friendly and has feathery legs, I highly recommend any of the varieties of Cochins. We carry standard and bantam sized cochin varieties. Cochins are super laid back. The most gentle rooster I have ever had was a gorgeous White Cochin Rooster that I referred to as my gentle giant. Their large, poofy size makes them a gorgeous addition to your homestead, without any issues with aggression towards your tiny humans.
When it comes to bantam chickens, the most friendly is that of the Silkies. Silkies are the friendliest chicken. They will even jump up into your lap to see what you might have to offer them. Silkies are a breed of chicken that has extremely soft feathers due to the lack of having barbicels. Barbicels are the part of the feather that stiffens the feather. This makes Silkies even safer to have around toddlers because if the chicken gets upset and starts flapping its wings the feathers are not scratchy.
Barred Plymouth Rock
A breed that my children always enjoyed having around is the breed they would refer to as the zebra chickens. The black and white feather pattern of the Barred Plymouth Rock reminded them of zebras. More commonly referred to simply as the Barred Rock, this breed of chicken tends to be laid back, laying around 5 eggs a week and is sure to be a family favorite. They have been around for generations. We carry both the standard Plymouth Barred Rocks plus the Heritage Barred Rocks. We also have a bantam sized Barred Rock.
One thing that children seem to love is easter egg hunts. They love those colored eggs, don’t they? Can you imagine your little child reaching into the nesting box every day and pulling out green eggs? I am a middle-aged woman and I still get a kick out of the different egg colors that I get beyond the typical brown and white. Out of my 20-something years of raising chickens, one breed that has remained a continual part of my flock is the Easter Egger. Most commonly their egg color is a variation of green. I have occasionally had an Easter Egger that came in the shade of blue. We offer standard sized Easter Eggers and bantam sized Easter Eggers here at Meyer Hatchery. We also have a couple of other varieties of eggers that can lay that colored egg while remaining to be a nice docile addition to your flock that is safe to have around children. They are not as cuddly as some of the other breeds, but they love getting treats.
It has been a wonderful experience having a flock of chickens around all throughout my time being a mother. I learned to avoid certain breeds as their roosters came with too much sass. I also learned that it is better to buy baby chicks instead of adopting in someone else’s full-grown chickens (except those already accustomed to children). If a chicken is not used to being around children, sometimes there’s no amount of love that can bring them around to liking children.
In every breed, there are exceptions to the rule. There are breeds where the hens are nice, but the roosters can have a non-friendly attitude. I hope that my suggestions above help you to decide which breeds to add to your family’s backyard flock.
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The Barred Plymouth Rock chicken is an American icon in poultry history. Read about the history of the Barred Rock and consider it for your flock.
The Buckeye chicken breed was developed in Ohio in the late 19th century. The Buckeye is a true dual-purpose breed, providing both meat and eggs.
The Dominique chicken breed is perhaps the original chicken breed to the US. The Dominique could be found on nearly every backyard flock in the early days.