10 Reasons Everyone Should Consider Keeping Chickens.
Our neighbors are allergic to eggs, but they still want chickens. There is more to chicken ownership than fresh eggs. You don’t have to be a farmer to raise chickens today. Many neighborhood dwelling folks are enjoying their own fresh eggs. As an old fashioned enthusiast I love hearing about and seeing all the tiny chicken dwellings being erected in urban areas. I’m a believer that this is just the beginning of our movement to reclaim our food. First comes the chickens and the family milk cow is going to be next. There may be a few more issues with the HOA’s when the cows start showing up.
Here’s 10 benefits of chicken-ownership you may (or may not) know.
10 Reasons to Get Chickens
So this one’s a no-brianer. What you may or may not know is how superior your eggs will be to those purchased at the supermarket. Obviously, chickens free-ranging on pasture with little to no ‘packaged’ feed are going to produce the healthiest eggs. What you may not realize is there is a WHOLE-BUNCH-A-GRAY-AREA between purely pastured and factory-raised-caged-indoor-cornfed eggs sold at the grocery.
What I’m saying is that if you need to supplement your chicken’s diets with some bagged chicken feed, their eggs will still blow the competition out of the water in the nutrition department. Chickens who are living on grass (pasture) in the sunlight will pop out eggs that are not only tastier & yellower (all that color means vitamins) they will also be healthfood powerhouses.
Some folks watch football. Some folks watch the cars drive by. Some folks watch children play, birds or squirrels. We watch chickens. Yes we do. Chickens are funny. Never will you sit on your back porch with a dull landscape, chickens will provide hours of entertainment.
Even if you get ‘layer’ hens who are going to make you eggs every day, the day will come when one will probably become dinner. Why oh why would
you eat your wonderful pet chicken? There are lots of reasons:
1. She turned out to be a “he” and your HOA doesn’t allow “he” chickens.
2. Maybe you wanted to keep a “he” but “he decided to attack your smallest child.
3. Your girl has reached the end of her laying life and you don’t want to continue feeding, watering, cleaning up after, and owning birds who aren’t giving you eggs.
4. You had 5 hens who went broody and raised a clutch of chicks, so now you have 75 chickens running wild and need to thin out the flock.
5. You went to Tractor Supply when you should have stayed home and they sold you a box of chickens for 75 cents each.
6. After weeding a CSA farm for a friend he gave you 22 meat chickens you didn’t want or plan on raising.
Once you cross over into chicken ownership it seems unavoidable that you will eventually get some chicken meat from your flock. Whether you will be the one eating it is another story entirely. The day will come when someone in the flock needs to go. You have 3 choices: (1) Eat it (2) Give it away so someone else can eat it or (3) Bury it.
I suggest you bite the bullet and eat it. The first year we ate some of our chickens I had to freeze them for a couple months before I was ready to cook and eat them. Now, it doesn’t bother me.
Just like their eggs, the meat from a pastured chicken who was raised in the sunshine will be very good nourishment for your family.
4. Chickens Eat Bugs
You will have a reduction in ticks, mosquitos, deer flies, squash bugs and all other insects. Chickens also eat other enormous, scary, blood-sucking, flying creatures found outdoors. There are GIANT, vampire, horse flies that like to suck blood from my poor helpless cows. It fills me with joy to see a chicken launch from the ground towards the cow and gobble down a vampire fly. Thank you, free-range chickens.
Chickens provide an excellent use for all your kitchen scraps, weeds, old garden rubbish, old hay, extra milk, expired foods, old can goods, etc.
I hate when we don’t get around to eating the leftovers in the fridge, or when something expires in my pantry. For some reason, being able to feed it to the chickens doesn’t bring about the same defeated feeling as throwing it in the garbage does.
6. Ease & Work Ethic
Keeping chickens is easy. Chickens are a great ‘first step’ into animal husbandry.
If you have a budding farming enthusiast in your home chickens are a rewarding, fun, small business. It is a good starting point for teaching young children responsibility. The chickens must be let out in the morning. They must be fed & watered. They must be shut-up at night. The coop must be cleaned. The eggs must be collected.
7. Yard Art
If you opt to keep your chickens “the redneck way” your yard, garden, pastures, and pretty much anywhere within 600 feet of the coop will be dotted with colorful, feathered, scratchin’, peckin’ friends. Cute, fat, fluffy, feathered, balls sprinkled all over your homestead – it is a beautiful sight.
8. Field Maintenance
If you are considering getting backyard chickens in a “yard” go on and skip this one. If you live on more acreage and have fields that could use a little less manure in them – chickens can help.
I can only speak from personal experience here, so take it for what it’s worth. Most cattle folks I know just leave the manure in the field to “fertilize” and complete the circle of life. We have 3 cows (currently) on about an acre of land. As far as livestock per capita’s concerned, this is a lot of manure on a small area. In order to keep this acre from becoming infested with parasites flies and other icky buggy issues we have to regularly remove the manure from the field.
Removing manure from fields is not fun. Chickens will beautifully scratch, peck and obliterate every cow pie on the premises. They LOVE them. When our chickens are left to free-range their hearts out they inevitably end up in the cow fields taking care of cow-pie-business for us.
9. Teach your kids where food comes from
I am a huge fan of bringing up little people who know where and how food grows. I also want them to know how to do it themselves. I have 4 kids who all know that potatoes grow underground, birds plant black berry vines, milk comes from cows, butter comes from cream, manure grows the biggest gardens and eggs come from chickens.
Speaking of manure – chicken poop is an awesome fertilizer. We take ours straight from the coop and spread it in our garden. Your tomato plants will thank you.
Before running out to Tractor Supply and getting your flock, be sure to check with your HOA or city regulations regarding chicken ownership. Keeping chickens is on the rise and many neighborhoods are chicken friendly. Some do have guidelines concerning number of birds allowed or rooster ownership.
I like to gripe and complain about the chickens in my flowers and how I want to shoot my free-range chickens, but at the end of the day, I love keeping chickens. It’s an egg-providing, rewarding, enjoyable hobby.
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Happy Chicken Keeping,