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We love our chickens!! My children held our chicks from day one, every day. They have grown into sweet, very personable adult hens. My kids still go out most every day and hold them. Even our "flighty" breeds will let us pick them up, they just don't run to us as often as the other chickens do.

Our rules/concerns when our kids handle our chicks/chickens.

1) Wash hands before and after handling.
2) With baby chicks -- be very gentle when holding them. You can actually squeeze a chick just a little too hard and kill it.

Also, (at least here in Colorado) we use the DLM (deep litter method) for the floor and there has never been any smell whatsoever. I am able to let my girls free range almost every day for a few hours so their run isn't real messy either (yet).

I had no idea the wonderful personalities that chickens can have. I love watching mine scratching about... it's very relaxing and amusing for me. And we really love the farm fresh, organic eggs everyday!
 
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