Whilst pets are wonderful to have they do have their problems. Dogs will bark of the neighbours, some pets can be very expensive and veterinary bills can be very expensive and what do you do with your cat when you want to go away for a week's holiday?
But chickens don't bark at the neighbours, aren't expensive to buy or to feed, don't get sick often and can safely be left for a week or more on their own if you do it right.
Not only that but chickens are productive, a fridge full of fresh free range eggs is the mouthwatering result from keeping chickens. In many respects chickens make the perfect family pet.
Whilst you can't really put your chickens on your lap at night in front of the television there is still no doubt that children love chickens as much as adults, ours absolutely adore theirs.
Like all pets however you need to make a little effort to learn about keeping chickens. They will need a place to live, which is variously called a chicken coop or chicken house or henhouse, and you will need to find a good place to buy one or else learn to make it yourself. The latter can be the cheapest method.
And whilst chickens generally sleep in the henhouse at night it is best to allow them time to roam outside the coop during the day. You can do this by allowing your chickens to free range around the house where they can clean up some of the bugs in the garden, though you do have to overlook a little scratching and pecking. They particularly love to peck at ripe tomatoes. Or else you can provide a dedicated chicken run around the hen house where they can roam during the day.
You will need to learn about feeding your hens. There are certain minimum requirements for protein and calcium which are important to meet if you want to get eggs, and so you will need to source some high protein foods, some shell grit to add calcium to their food and you will need to find appropriate appliances to deliver food and water.
And if you want to go away on holidays leaving your chickens to their own devices, as we do, you will need to make sure that you can provide sufficient food and water for a week or 2 at a time.
There is no doubt that keeping chickens is a wonderful occupation for young children, and for adults. There is lots to learn but the learning process is enjoyable and rewarding. Begin your learning before you buy your first chicken, spend some time researching the requirements for chicken housing, and familiarise yourself with the correct feeding of chickens. Then get out there and buy your first hen.
And then you're on your way to a lifetime of healthy free range eggs delivered to you by some happy healthy hens.