Chickens and Children

I keep a small flock of six hens for the fresh, nutritional eggs they provide for our family.  They are beautiful, interesting creatures who entertain us with their antics and amaze us with their instinctive behaviors.  I love keeping chickens. It would be easy to think of them as pets; I've even given them each a name.  First and foremost, however, I always keep in mind that our chickens are barnyard (or backyard) fowl.

Chickens, like all poultry and many other animals, have the potential of carrying bacteria that can cause illness in humans, and they can shed this bacteria in their droppings.  While anyone can become ill from exposure to these germs, children, the elderly, and people with lower immune systems are particularly susceptible. 

It is important to take precautions when being around or handling chickens.  We should refrain from letting them in the house, kissing them, or holding them close to the face. Children should be carefully supervised around chickens and instructed not to put their hands near their faces if they have touched them or their surroundings.  Everyone should carefully wash their hands with soap and water after being around chickens. 

My grandchildren are fascinated with our chickens, and they like to go with me to the hen house to feed them and collect the eggs.  It is a good learning experience for them, but I don't let them go into the hen house unsupervised. I collect the eggs myself and put them in a small basket for them to carry. I let them throw some feed onto the ground for the chickens to eat. As soon as we're done, we head straight to the house to wash our hands.  It is a good idea to have a hand sanitizer dispenser attached to the hen house for immediate cleansing.

With the rise in popularity of backyard and hobby chicken raising, in rural and urban areas alike, it is just a good thing to be reminded of the potential health risks and important safety precautions to exercise with our fine feathered friends.

Maple Grove (this article) was featured in Your Chickens magazine, a UK/US publication.


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9 comments:

  1. When my son was six years old he was holding one of our chickens. I guess it saw the movement of his eye and thought it was a tasty bug - in a flash it reached up and pecked him in the eye. His eye filled up with blood and we were quite concerned. Thankfully, the pediatrician determined the chicken had only pecked at his lower eyelid, not the eye itself. But it could have been much worse. Besides that, imagine having to take your child to the doctor - in the city (we had an urban homestead at the time) - and tell him your child got pecked in the eye by a chicken!

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    1. Barb, thanks so much for sharing another example of why it's important to take precautions with chickens, especially with children. I'm so glad your son was ok; that must have been so frightening! I appreciate your comment! ~ Katie

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  2. you're living such a sweet life:)
    thanks for sharing
    the goodness,
    Jennifer

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    1. Thank you Jennifer. God has blessed me richly. I love sharing His blessings! God bless you!

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  3. Such pretty chickens and grandbabies. I bet you have a spick'n'span coop. xo

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    1. Hahaha . . . I don't think ANY coop is spic'n'span! Our chickens free-range daily, and we have a poop-pit under their roost, so I guess it's as decent as it can be! Thanks so much for your kind comment Nancy!

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  4. Our 12 year old daughter collects eggs for us every night. Thanks for reminding me that I need to tell her to wash her hands afterwards! We do have an intimidating rooster that we need to get rid of. He's attacked our 7 year old before but I will surely miss his crowing and strutting around our farm like he owns the place :)

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    1. I know what you mean about the roo Elaine! I love roosters, and I've tried twice, but they were too assertive. I like to let our chickens free-range, and I just didn't trust them. Just like you said, I surely missed them strutting their tail feathers and crowing. Although, the one crowed all day beginning at 4:00 a.m. It was worse than hearing a dog barking. Thanks so much for sharing!

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