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Keeping chickens: a child’s ideal introduction to agriculture

Teaching your children about food and where it comes from gives children important insights into the essence of life. They will learn to appreciate agriculture and how food is sourced.

Benefits of getting your children involved with animals

It has been proven time and time again that children who are allowed the responsibility of looking after animals during their childhood years, gain valuable lessons in empathy, self-esteem, compassion, thoughtfulness, critical thinking and accountability. It has even been suggested that having pets can help build and strengthen a child’s immune system. Chickens can provide so much for your children and family.

Involve your family in the coop planning

By involving your children from the beginning of the process you can teach them to be patient and to appreciate the time and preparation that goes into caring for an animal. They can choose a theme and decorate the coop until it is ready to house a feathered friend or two.

Chickens require bush and trees for shade and to feel secure. Planting some greenery is therefore another good way to prepare for the newcomers.

Teach kids to always approach the birds cautiously and touch them gently; chickens are not weak but they can be somewhat fragile and jumpy none-the-less. Let kids assist with the supervision of free-range time, egg collection and with cleaning the coop.

Set chores and a routine

Children should be involved in the process of caring for the chickens. Introduce your children to concept of doing chores for a reward as this increases their independence. They will soon realise that the creatures they care for provide rewards that come in the form of eggs. The reciprocity of agriculture will become clearer to them.

Feeding and giving the chickens water at the right times, cleaning the coop and allowing free-range wandering (if chickens are limited to the coop) are very important tasks which keep chickens happy. You can teach your children about animal nutrition and how that impacts the eggs the chickens lay. By having first-hand experience of agricultural processes and of how the reciprocity works, children will quickly understand the importance of agriculture in society.

Visit our agricultural directory to get a chicken coop that you can set up with your kids’ help. eap the rewards of hands-on education, enjoy the company of feathered friends and delight in the free-range eggs that materialise right outside your door.

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