We keep Chickens, Duck and a few Quail in our garden for eggs. The kids love them. They run up to the coups to collect the eggs daily, love to help me feed and clean them. They cuddle them and carry them around the garden.
The ducks and chickens are allowed to freely roam the garden.
They are relarively easy to keep. And if you research the breeds, they are neither too noisy or messy.
The pekin bantams are very docile and friendly. They run down the back door every morning, waiting to be given bread. They have feathery feet and they therefore don't scratch the grass. We even keep a cockerel "Ralphie" (closest to the bottom). As he's on his own he barely ever crows. We haven't heard him for months. Chickens are great as they put themselves to bed before dark and you only have to go up and close the door.
We've got 2 Minture Appleyard Ducks, a Black Indian a Runner and a drake Mallard. They will quack loudly to greet us. But apart from that they are quiet. We only let them on the grass when it hasn't been raining in general, as they do like to dig holes. Even though they are small ducks, they produce the most amazing eggs, which are about the size of an extra large chicken egg. We've got a small plastic pool for them, which they love to splash and paddle about in. They will put themselve to bed, but not until dark. So we tend to just stand a few feet back from the coup at dusk and tell them to go to bed. They then go in.
The quail, we keep in a rabbit hutch. We have incubated some of the quails eggs, which was amazing for our children, to see the eggs hatch.
We love the birds and so do out children. They add fun and interest to our families lives daily.