Many people make the mistake of thinking that chickens only live on massive farms. However, if you have even a small amount of land, your property might have enough room for some chickens.
They actually don’t require much work, and you get these ten fantastic benefits from raising backyard chickens.
Fresh, Organic Eggs
Of course, pretty much every person who talks about reasons to raise backyard chickens mentions the eggs. And it turns out that they are actually right when they rave about how good the eggs from their chickens taste.
According to the Managing Culinary Director at Serious Eats, freshly laid eggs actually do look more appealing and taste better. You can enjoy this superior flavor without worrying about any antibiotics or artificial hormones when you are the one raising the chickens that lay your eggs.
A Pest-Free Lawn
If you are concerned about dosing your lawn with harmful pesticides, chickens can be a great option for you. Chickens are constantly hungry and they definitely aren’t picky eaters.
They will consume ticks, beetles, mosquito larvae, slugs, and other pests that might be bothering your family or damaging your garden. Having a chicken population residing in your lawn can drastically cut down on bugs and prevent you from needing to resort to pesticides.
They Are Great Pets
A lot of people assume that chickens are silly or dumb, but they are actually extremely intelligent. Even after being separated from an owner for months, chickens can still recognize their face, and a compilation of research by Robert Grillo found that most chickens can remember up to 100 different people at any time.
This intelligence and ability to build relationships allow your chickens to form a real bond with you. If you take care of them, they will grow to love and trust you just like any other pet.
You Help to Prevent Animal Cruelty
If you are like me, you probably feel bad for the countless animals trapped in cruel meat, egg, and dairy-producing factories. Not only do you avoid supporting these harmful corporations by producing your own eggs, but you can actually help to save individual animal lives.
Many chickens are sent to the slaughterhouse if they begin to lag in egg production or were owned by a failing company. Organizations such as Happy Hen Chicken Rescue work to find good homes for rescued chickens.
You Can Pick Unique Heirloom Breeds
You do not just have to get a basic Leghorn or Rhode Island Red chicken for your backyard. Other fun varieties include Araucanas, which lay beautiful teal-green eggs, Silkies, which have fluffy, furry coats, and the Polish breeds that have a striking crest of feathers surrounding their head.
If you start breeding one of these heirloom varieties, you will get the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping to save a unique gene pool. R.C. Shipton explains that many heirloom owners love taking their pets to poultry shows.
They Don’t Cost Much to Feed
Unlike a horse or other backyard animal, there is almost no cost required to feed backyard chickens. If you do not have enough bugs for them to snack on, they will flourish on certain types of table scraps.
Items like vegetable peels, bread crusts, leftover beans, and bits of oatmeal are all eagerly eaten by chickens. This saves money and cuts back on wasted foods. You can check out this list by Backyard Chickens to see all the foods chickens can eat.
Chickens Get Rid of Weeds
Chickens will not eat or uproot large, mature plants, but they love pulling up tiny seedlings to eat. This makes them great for weeding your garden or lawn, and it saves you a lot of time.
Chickens will even chase down and eat weed seeds being scattered across your garden before they can turn into weeds. Just be sure to fence off any new plants with chicken wire until they are big enough to no longer interest your chickens!
You Help the Environment
Keeping your own chickens does not just make your yard greener. It is also a step towards sustainability and environmentally friendly practices.
Eating your own eggs means that you are not supporting egg factories that consume massive amounts of gas for shipping, styrofoam for packaging, and energy for processing. This can really lower your carbon footprint and help your family to use less wasteful products.
Free Fertilizer for Gardens
As Jill Winger explains, chickens produce enough manure to fertilize a 50 square foot garden in just a month. Chicken manure contains a large amount of nitrogen that can help almost all plant varieties to flourish.
You can either collect manure from beneath a coop and spread it yourself, or you can just let the chickens wander through your garden and naturally fertilize it.
Chickens Are Great for Kids
If you have younger members in your family, backyard chickens are definitely an excellent choice. Not only are they fun to play with, but these cute and useful pets can provide valuable lessons to your children.
Chicken owner Jayne Leonard uses chicken feeding and egg collecting as a teaching moment to explain the importance of mindful eating and caring for animals to her children. Children who grow up taking care of backyard chickens will earn about nature, agriculture, biology, and nutrition.
Whether you are interested in tasty food, a better lawn, or more ethical animal care, owning backyard chickens is a great choice. Other than a brief initial investment to get a chicken coop and a few starter birds, it can be an almost entirely free hobby.
Start Raising Your Own Backyard Chickens Today!
As you take care of your chickens, you will find that there is a supportive and enthusiastic community just waiting to embrace you and your chickens. Other chicken owners in the area will be happy to help you if raising chickens seems a little difficult at first.
Start small with just a few birds, get some help from local chicken owners, and start your own backyard flock today.