Best farm animals for kids

8 Best Farm Animals For Pets: Friendly Farm Animals For Kids

My husband grew up in one of the largest cities in the world. So, it is still somewhat a wonder to him that our kids raise several farm animals as pets on our homestead. Goats, turkeys, chickens, ducks, sheep, rabbits, and cows are but a few of the farm animals that we’ve enjoyed as pets.

What are the best farm animals for pets? The best farm animals for pets are rabbits, chickens, ducks, goats, alpacas, pigs, horses, and donkeys. These farm pets are naturally kind and intelligent, making them kid-friendly animals and easy to take care of. They can also be the best farm animals for beginners at any age.

When considering a farm pet for your kids, there are several things to consider. Some of the questions to consider include how much space you have, how much time you can devote, and whether or not you want the animal to love you back. I also considered how easy the animals were for children to care for them. Even though dogs and cats are pretty much a necessity on any farm, I left them off because they aren’t considered farm animals anymore.

Best Farm Animals For Pets 

  • Rabbits
  • Chickens
  • Ducks
  • Goats
  • Alpacas
  • Pigs
  • Horses
  • Donkey

There are a lot of variables that go into deciding which farm animal will make a good pet. You may already have certain farm animals and may decide to let your child raise one of the babies as a pet.

Or you may live in the city and have an apartment to keep the animal in and must find a suitable pet. A suburban family usually has a backyard and a little more space to keep a pet.

You might be looking for an animal that has a purpose and not just companionship. Let’s get started.

8 Farm Animals That Make The Best Pets (And Why)

Whether you want to teach your child more responsibility, give them something to love, or have an animal with a useful purpose, a farm animal is a great way to go. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, don’t worry! Some farm animals are well-suited for apartment living.

1. Rabbits Are Ideal Pets For Young Children

Rabbits are one of the best farm animal pets. They are cute, cuddly, easy to care for and have various useful purposes. There’s a reason that rabbits are popular farm animals. They have become so popular that they have almost outgrown the farm!

A bunny for your child will be gentle and snuggly. Rabbits are social animals, especially if you only have one rabbit and spend some time with it each day, it will bond to you.  

Rabbits are kid friendly farm animals

How much space does a rabbit need?

Rabbits are so versatile in the amount of space they need. They can be kept in a small cage and will be happy as long as you give it plenty of food water and something to do. Rabbits are chewers and they love to chew or explore.

If you allow your rabbit to roam around your house, make sure that there are plenty of things for it to do.

A bored rabbit will find something to chew on and it may be your favorite cashmere sweater, your couch legs, or a cupboard door. Or, you can partition off a part of your apartment and fill it with rabbit-friendly activities. Give it cardboard, newspaper, or phonebooks.

You can let your rabbit roam your backyard.

My daughter’s best friend Kaylee had pet rabbits that simply lived in her backyard. They dug and munched and hopped to their heart’s contentment. She still played with them regularly so they turn more wild. (Wild rabbits are still pretty tame compared to other animals)

Will a rabbit love me back?

Rabbits are so mild that even if your child doesn’t spend much time with their rabbit, it will still be a great pet. But, rabbits can form a strong bond with their human owners. When my daughter would go out to feed or play with her rabbit, he would make an adorable squeal unlike its other sounds. He didn’t make that sound for any of the rest of us.

What other uses does a rabbit have?

Rabbits can be useful around the yard and garden. Their scat (poop) is strong and very good for fertilizer. They can be contained in specific areas to keep the grass, weeds, and other vegetation down. You will want to keep them away from your garden or they will eat your plants and produce. I’ve heard that rabbits make good meat, but it’s hard to imagine raising a rabbit as a pet if you plan to butcher it.

Check out our complete guide (with photos) on how to raise rabbits and learn everything you need to know!

2. Chickens Make Great Pets For Kids Of All Ages

Chickens are a great pet for anyone, including children. Baby chicks can be held and cuddled, although if you have a child 3 or 4 years old, you will want to watch him or her make sure they don’t squeeze too hard. More than a few chicks have died at the hands of an over-loving toddler. Chicks that have been loved and cuddled grow up to be chickens who love to be held and cuddled.

When raised from the egg, chickens will recognize their owners, come running when called. You can even train your chicks if you spend enough time with them. Chickens have been trained to jump, play the piano, line up, and do other interesting tricks.

Chicks are kid friendly farm animals

How much space does a chicken need to be happy?

Although it may be possible to raise a chicken in an apartment, your chicken will be happiest if it has some outdoor space. Chickens don’t potty train so an indoor chicken will also make quite a mess and leave droppings everywhere.

But an outdoor chicken provides great fertilizer for your yard or garden.

Will a chicken love me back?

Chickens don’t love people back in the traditional sense like a dog loves it’s owner back, but they do bond with the people they spend a lot of time with. Chickens will recognize their owners who spend time with or feed them. They will follow you around and beg for attention.

Some chickens show love, jealousy, and sadness.

This is especially true if they are raised outside a flock of chickens with just a few other chickens. Chickens are social creatures and will do well with at least one other chicken. They have also bonded with cows, pigs, dogs, and other animals. Also- get a hen, not a rooster. Roosters are generally fierce, even when raised from a chick.

What uses does a chicken have? Hens are great egg layers. Additionally, chickens provide fertilizer for your garden. They will act as a great pest deterrent and eat bugs, spiders, and worms in your yard. They will even catch and eat mice!

Thinking about raising chickens? Check out which chickens breeds make the best pets!

3. Ducks Make Entertaining Farm Pets

Ducks make great pets because they are hilarious to watch. Their personalities are quirky and they are social, intelligent, and require little room to be happy. Ducks will interact with their owners, can play games. They are very entertaining to children. Different varieties of ducks will specialize in various activities. Mallards may fly around the yard putting on a show for you. Pekin ducks love to line up and follow you around the yard. Ducks raised from the egg are tame and very trainable.

Ducks are kid friendly farm animals

How much space does a duck need? Ducks can be happy with s smaller amount of space, especially if you spend time with her. Poultry diapers are available if you want to keep your duck indoors. Ducks love water and will be the happiest if provided with a little space and some water such as a small pond, kiddie pool, or possibly the bathtub.

Will a duck love me back? Ducks have the ability to love and bond with their owners, But, if a duck is raised outdoors with a lot of other ducks and only fed, they are less likely to bond. They will probably just come running for the food. Ducks are more intelligent than most people think.

What other uses does a duck have? Ducks can be great egg layers. Depending on the variety of the duck, their eggs are usually bigger than chicken eggs and can range in colors or even have spots! Ducks also love to eat bugs and will help you keep the bug population in your yard down. Their droppings make good fertilizer.

Don’t forget to check out our Complete guide on raising ducks for beginners.

4. Goats Bond With Children When Treated As a Pet

Goats have the ability to bond to kids when they spend time with them. Plus, they are funny inquisitive animals with an attitude. They can be trained to recognize their name, come running and do tricks. But, there is one caveat: they have their own personality and can be very stubborn.

That means that even if they know what to do, they will act much like a toddler, and will decide if they want to do it or not. They may come running or may decide to turn their head and ignore you.

Goats become entertaining as babies. At a very young age, they will jump over and on top of everything! They love exploring. If you choose to raise a goat as a pet, it will provide you with many hours of entertainment.

Goats are kid friendly farm animals

How much space does a goat need?

Goats make a great farm pet, but not as great of a condo pet. However, goats can be happy and content in a backyard. Goats are famous for being escape artists. But, happy goats wander less so spend time with it and give it plenty to do.

Will a goat love you back?

It depends on the goat. Goats have their own personalities and if you gauge love by cuddles, coming when called, or following you around, then some goats will love you back. Most goats will be happy to entertain you but will act more like a large cat.

What other uses does a goat have? Goats can provide as much as a gallon of milk a day. Goat milk can be made into cheese. Additionally, some goat varieties provide great wool for making clothing. Goats are great at keeping the weeds down. They will much on grass but prefer to graze weeds. Because of this, goats are often used to control landscaping or to keep noxious weeds in check.

If you are considering raising goats, check out our Full Guide For Beginners on Raising Goats.

5. Alpacas Are Friendly Farm Animals

Alpacas are gentle giants, docile, calm, which makes them a great pet. Alpacas look a lot like llamas. However, alpacas will usually suffer mental and physical side effects if they are left solo. Alpacas need other alpacas because of how social they are. They are child-friendly, which is why many petting farms keep alpacas as one of the “hands-on” animals for children. Plus, alpacas make great pack animals, so your little ones can ride away without the fear of their alpaca bolting for the hills.

Alpacas are kid friendly farm animals

How much space does an alpaca need?

With our listing of an alpaca as a pet, we move into farm animals that are great pets but require a little more space. Technically alpacas can be kept in a backyard. Two alpacas need at least 0.40 of an acre to be happy.

Will an alpaca love me back?

Alpacas will make you earn their trust. They aren’t likely to run over to greet you and will keep a wary eye on you. However, they are calm and mild and make a great animal for children to care for.

What are alpacas used for? Alpacas are grazing animals. They are also great at carrying loads. They make a good guard animal and if kept with chickens, ducks or other vulnerable animals will help to protect them. Many people use alpaca wool for textiles.

6. Baby Pigs Can Be Trained To Do Tricks Like a Puppy

Pigs are possibly one of the most iconic farm animals around. Many people don’t realize that pigs are incredibly intelligent and will learn many tricks.

They can even be house trained. Pigs are also naturally clean if they are given enough space. Although pigs will eat almost anything, they will keep their food and waste separate when given a chance.

Piglets are kid friendly farm animals

How much space does a pig need?  

Pigs need at least a 10×10 space to roam in. If you have space, they would love to get even more. The University of Arkansas Extension recommends giving pigs 40×40 feet for their optimal enjoyment.

Although you can potty train a pig, keeping it inside your house will become a problem. Even smaller varieties of pigs will get to be 40-50 pounds and other pigs can reach hundreds of pounds.

Can I keep a miniature pig indoors?

Miniature pigs aren’t real. In fact, they are baby pigs that are under-fed and basically starving to death. The lack of proper nutrition and few calories keeps the pig small. For this reason, miniature pigs battle a variety of health conditions. Although cute, keeping miniature pigs is not a humane way to treat animals.

Will a pig love me back?

Pigs will definitely recognize their human companions. They are highly intelligent and will do tricks and stunts to please you. In 1984, at Lake Somerville, Texas, a pet pig jumped in and saved a drowning boy, its owner.

Pigs are friendly calm animals. Some pigs love to hug and cuddle, but as fully-grown pigs, this can get a bit problematic. Pigs are also carnivorous so take safety precaussions with your children and fully-grown hogs. 

What are pigs used for (besides meat)?

Pigs are great scrap animals and will eat pretty much any leftover food you have. They are also great rooters and will eat the roots of plants you want to clear away. They forage for insects and help to keep your bug population down.

Are pigs dangerous?

In most cases, pigs are not dangerous. However, there have been incidents where pigs have attacked or eaten their human owners. In nearly all cases, the person is either incapacitated due to a stroke, heart attack, or another ailment, or a small child. It is important to keep pigs contained and to monitor small children whenever they interact with the pigs. Pigs are large and can hurt a child accidentally. In rare cases, the pigs can attack or bite a child.

For some fun facts about pigs, check out this article: Do pigs have sweat glands and other interesting facts. 

7. Horses: The Most Popular Farm Animal Used As a Pet

Horses make great pets. They have long been beloved for riding, companionship, and more recently, in therapy for those who suffer from trauma and debilitating conditions.

Even fully grown, a horse can be tamed and trained for various uses. Children and adults reap great benefits from having a pet horse. The calm nature of horses helps kids to recover from a variety of traumatic experiences.

Horses are kid friendly farm animals

How much space does a horse need?

A happy and healthy horse needs at least 1.5 to 2 acres of land per horse. You can’t keep him in your backyard, but there are often stables at the edge of the city limits that will board horses and provide room for your horse to run.

Will a horse love you back?

Horses definitely love their masters back. They love a leader and want to give you respect.  They bond securely with kind owners. Horses have been known to save their owners from life-threatening situations. Horses love attention, will obey your riding commands and will come galloping to you when you appear.

What are horses used for?

People have loved riding horses possibly as long as the two have coexisted. Horses are used as transportation, in rounding up livestock, for show, and racing. In addition, horses are used for at least five types of therapy.

These include physical and emotional therapy to those with disabilities to improve balance, fine motor skills, posture, confidence, and self-awareness. Equestrian therapy also includes therapy for those struggling to deal with difficult emotions, traumatic experiences or extreme anger.

8. Donkeys Are Loyal Pets

Donkeys make great farm pets. Although donkeys take a little longer to bond to people, once they do- they are incredibly loyal. I don’t think I’d have a donkey in the city, but they make a great care animal for a child. Donkeys are mild in manner and have entertaining personalities.

They are often inquisitive, although not in the same way as a goat. Your donkey won’t seek to escape from you. Donkeys are intelligent and are often used as guard animals.

Donkeys are kid friendly farm animals

How much space does a donkey need?

Donkey’s don’t need a lot of space to stay happy. They just need a little exercise. So if you do keep a donkey in your backyard, make sure to walk it or play with it daily.

Will a donkey love me back?

Donkeys have been known to love and form strong attachments to their owners. Donkeys can do a myriad of things and are trainable. They can be ridden by children. Some donkeys can support adult weight without negative health consequences. They are mild-mannered and so they make a great animal to have around children.

What are donkeys used for?

Donkeys are great pack animals. In the olden days, they were used to pull carts and plows. Donkeys are believed to have a calming effect on horses. They also make great guard animals and will help to keep your chickens, ducks, and pigs safe from predators.

Related Questions

How do kids benefit from having a farm animal as a pet?

Children benefit from farm animal pets in many ways. It teaches them to care for something else besides themselves.

It isn’t always easy or fun to feed, water, and spend time with an animal. But putting aside your own desires for TV or video games to care for another living thing teaches responsibility, compassion, and love.

Kids also benefit because they can learn more about the natural world and where their food and other animal products come from. Many children are disconnected from the animals they see and the food on the table. Developing a healthier sense of belonging and their place in this world is good for kids.

What is the easiest farm animal to have for a pet? Chickens and rabbits are the easiest farm animals to have as pets. Both chickens and rabbits are easy to take care of, will bond with their human owners, and make good pets for beginners. Additionally, neither chickens nor rabbits will cost very much to get set up safely. Chickens can help to alleviate bugs around the yard and will provide eggs or meat. Rabbits can provide fast meat and can even be potty trained. 

What is the friendliest farm animal? Goats are the friendliest farm animal. They bond quickly and remember their owners (unlike sheep who quickly revert to a wilder disposition). Horses are the second friendliest farm animal. They can bond with a kind owner for life. Piglets, cows, and certain chicken breeds are herd animals and will bond with kids if the animals are petted, held, and loved from a young age. 

What are the best animals for a petting zoo? Ideal animals for a petting zoo include goats, cows, chickens, donkeys, and horses. Additional animals great for a petting zoo are sheep, alpacas, rabbits, tortoises, pot-bellied pigs, and ponies. Peacocks, turkeys, and guinea fowl make great animals for petting zoos because of their beautiful displays, even though they don’t often accept petting. 

What is the funniest farm animal? The funniest farm animal is a duck. Ducks have strong, silly personalities that make their owners laugh at their antics. Goats are similarly playful. Guinea fowl walk funny and with a quirky attitude that makes watching them entertaining. A stubborn donkey can also provide much entertainment unless you are the one dealing with it! 

Are farm animals pets? Farm animals can be pets if they are treated and loved as pets. Many breeds of farm animals make ideal pets providing both products for the farm and companionship. Not all farm animals are pets and are usually referred to as livestock when they are not considered pets. Livestock is usually valued by the farmer for its contribution to the farm and the livelihood it provides but is not individually loved as a single animal like a pet is.  

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My Favorite Equine Resources For Horses and Donkeys

This list contains affiliate products. Affiliate products do not cost more but helps to support BestFarmAnimals and our goal to provide farm animal owners with accurate and helpful information.

Squeaky Chicken Toy is hilarious to watch and the horses love it! It’s not super tough so keep it away from dogs.

Dewormer with Ivermectin: I use this for my horses and my goats. Duvet makes a great dewormer. I switch between the Ivermectin one and one like this one so the worms don’t get immune to it.

Manna Pro Apple Flavored Nuggets are a delicious smelling treat that my horses go crazy over.

Equinity Amino Acid Supplement for Horses makes a big difference for any horse that’s struggling with arthritis, hoof issues, or just generally. It’s great for older horses who can’t absorb all the nutrients in their food as well!

Manna Pro Weight Accelerator helps older horses gain weight and stay healthier! This was especially helpful when one of my older horses lost weight over the winter and helped her regain her weight over the summer!

Farnam Fly Control goes on the horse or donkey and will keep the flies off your sweet pet. It makes horses way more comfortable and will keep sores from getting infected as well.

Wound Kote protects sores and wounds. It acts as an antiseptic and helps wounds heal faster. It works on both my horses and goats.

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