I love my kids, I love my chickens… boy would I love it if my kids loved my chickens (and vice versa).
This is my 8 year old smiling as his feathered friends peck treats from his hand. He giggled as they coo’d – a perfect site!
That is until Hector decided he was tired of someone else entertaining his hens…
Now this isn’t something you ever want to see, especially if you are fond of either the boy or the rooster. I happen to be particularly fond of both.
For context – Hector is about 10 months old. Everyone in the family held him a lot while he was just a youngster last summer. Then the longest, coldest, most miserable winter ever settled in for about 6 months.
During that time my kids did not wander through the coop and play with their poultry playmates – it was just too darn cold. The chickens didn’t get outside unless it was above 0 – and that actually didn’t happen very often. I noticed Hector acting a little different when my 4 year old was collecting eggs with me one day this spring. He flapped his wings and side-stepped over to my son. I was extra cautious for the next several visits, and we had no incidents.
The day the photo was taking my older son was feeding the hens. I was careful to stay between him and Hector for the first 15 minutes of our visit in the run. After that I figured Hector was good and I started snapping some pictures. In the seconds between the first picture and the second, Hector snuck around and attacked my kiddo.
Fortunately, no one was injured. My brave little boy stood his ground. He fed Hector from his hand and petted him while I kept a firm hold of those powerful wings. Since then we’ve been “practicing” good manners with Hector. I pick him up before the kids enter the coop or the run. I have the kids walk through the hens, feed them, pick them up, and play. Because we’ve held him so much, Hector doesn’t struggle at all. He simply cocks his head sideways and takes it all in. I put him down with the boys still present, ensuring I stay between kid and bird.
What does the future hold? I have to say I love having a rooster. I love listening to him call his ladies when he finds a treat, I adore the sound of his crow, and admire his beautiful feathers. All of that being said, it’s just not ok to beat up my kids. I imagine his little hormones are on overdrive as he’s coming into maturity. We’ll keep practicing good manners through the summer. Only time will tell!