Educating Your Children About Your Chickens
Backyard flocks can teach children about responsibility and where food comes from, but children must understand that there is a potential health risk associated with handling chickens.
Preparing for Arrival
Many farm animals, especially poultry, potentially carry bacteria like Salmonella, which is shed in their droppings. Because the chickens' daily routine includes moving around the coop and preening, these germs can spread from their droppings to their feathers. In addition, shipment and adapting to new locations causes stress on birds and makes them more likely to shed bacteria in their droppings, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Baby chicks might have been shipped several times before they arrived at your home and therefore will have a higher likelihood of bacteria in their droppings.
If you are having your chicks shipped, you may not want to share details with your children about when the chicks are arriving or how many you've ordered. Losses during shipment are not common, but they do occasionally occur. Depending on your children's ages, you may decide to avoid explanation or let them see what has happened and use it as a teaching moment.
Guarding Against Infection
Anyone can get sick from bacteria, but children, the elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are particularly susceptible. Since bacteria can't be seen with the naked eye, children should always assume bacteria are present and wash thoroughly after handling chickens. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that households with children younger than five years old not keep chickens.
If you have children of any age in your household and decide to raise chickens, here are some tips to help limit the potential for infection.
- Wait until you move your chickens outside before you let your children participate in caring for the chickens.
- Give small children tasks that allow them to participate while minimizing their exposure, like carrying the basket of eggs or throwing feed on the ground for the chickens to eat.
- Put up a hand sanitizer dispenser on your hen house and make it a mandatory stop prior to going to wash hands inside the house.
- Even though chickens may be your family's pets, do not let them roam inside your house or let your children them.
- Remind your children not to touch their mouths at any time during chicken chores.
Even though children must understand the potential to get sick from chickens, don't let children forget to have fun with the experience of caring for chickens. Hobbyfarms.com has several ideas to help you incorporate chicken topics into book reports, science projects, history lessons and art projects.
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SKU 10003212The Miller Red Bulb for Brooder Lamp provides enough heat to keep small flocks of brooding chickens and other poultry warm. The red tint helps reduce stress and pecking. This long lasting bulb features 6000 hours of bulb life, making it the ideal bulb for your flock.
SKU 10003211The Miller Brooder Reflector Lamp provides your chicks with a warm, dry environment. The lamp features a 6' cord, a scratch-resistant ball joint clamp, double wire bulb guard and a heat-resistant ceramic socket for safety. The 10.5" aluminum shade also has a built-in hanger for added versatility. Use the Miller Brooder Reflector Lamp with a 300-watt maximum bulb, sold separately.
SKU 10003213Use the Miller Clear Heat Lamp Bulb to help maintain the warmth and comfort of your baby animals. This 250 watt/120 volt bulb is designed to provide enough heat for a small poultry flock. This alloy bulb features a non-stick base and up to 6,000 hours of bulb life.
SKU 10003450The Farm Innovators Digital Still Air Incubator does it all. The digital display shows temperature, humidity, and days to hatch and the Incutek Heater heats to factory pre-set of 100° F within minutes. A large picture window provides 360° unobstructed views inside incubator making it easy to observe. The deep bottom tray accommodates even large duck & goose eggs. Made with recycled and insulating polystyrene foam.
SKU 10004011Quickly and easily check the development of eggs using this lightweight Little Giant Egg Candler. This battery-operated light features a bright, energy-efficient LED bulb that runs cooler than traditional bulbs. The convenient cord-free design fits easily in a pocket and features a wrist strap. Uses one AAA battery (included).
SKU 10003449Farm innovators Pro Series Digital Circulated Air Incubator with Auto Egg Turner is fast and accurate - heating to factory pre-set temperature of 100 degrees within minutes. This Complete Incubator Kit has everything you need for a successful hatch, including an automatic egg turner. The Auto Egg Turner holds up to 42 eggs and turns the eggs completely every 4 hours to eliminate manual handling. This incubator features an integrated fan kit to pull in fresh air and stabilize temperature for improved hatching.
SKU 10003448This Digital Circulated Air Incubator with Incutek heater and integrated fan is fast and accurate - heating to factory pre-set temperature of 100 F within minutes. Easy to read LCD display shows temperature, humidity, and days to hatch - preset at 21 days and adjustable for a variety of eggs.
SKU 06648193The Farm Innovators Automatic Egg Turner automatically turns eggs every 4 hours, eliminating manual handling and improving the hatch rate. The egg turner is simple to use, just place in the bottom of an incubator and plug in, no assembly required. The Egg Turner is dishwasher safe; the egg rails snap out for easy cleaning. Holds up to 41 large eggs.