The Chicken and The Child

There were various ideas and thoughts I brought back with me from the Acres conference last week. One that sticks out most is the idea of the chicken.

In Joel Salatin’s Acres USA Economy session, he said that, if one in three homes had backyard chickens, there would be no need for industrial agriculture eggs. Not only would there be better eggs, but chickens make great pets. Even better than a pet, it could be a role model for children!


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The chicken wakes up with the sun, works by laying eggs, eats table scraps, and goes to bed without complaint at the end of the day. Almost exactly how most parents would like their children to behave.

Up early, works all day, eats garbage, doesn’t complain, goes to bed early!

– Joel Salatin

I find this particularly interesting since my family had such a chicken. This chicken was among our laying hens, but smarter than her fellows. When it came time to replace the old flock with a new flock, this chicken escaped, twice. Eventually, she found herself around our house. Being such a pet, she received a name, Gwendolyn.


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Gweny would roam about the land around the house, and occasionally find herself into the house. She would follow the dog and with this guardian she prevented the death that usually would haunt her breed in the forest.



As the night descended, she would take her position on the railing of the porch, with the dog, Shelia, curling up beneath her. She soon became a favorite of my family’s, and my father particularly.

It is amazing to see the look on children’s faces when they come into contact with real farm animals. It’s something I’ve often taken for granted, living on the farm. It’s odd to think the majority of people have never actually seen a farm animal in person. I was shocked when I found they now have cattle in zoos!

It’s good for children to see where their food comes from. It brings them greater appreciation for their food and the work that goes into it.

So if your child wants a pet, or a role model, suggest a chicken.


One thought on “The Chicken and The Child

  1. Not everywhere has a place to put a chicken. However, it doesn’t take much space. I have a friend who is an urban chicken consultant, and she stays busy. So I’m guessing a few folks have figured out the benefits.

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