1. Fresh Eggs (and Meat)
So, this reason seems fairly obvious and is the reason why many people who have their own flock started in the first place. Fresh eggs, particularly, has been a huge perk in having chickens for our family (our neighborhood zone doesnt allow culling so we don’t get meat from our chickens). The eggs we get from our hens just taste better than store bought, and we know they are fresh as opposed to the grocery eggs which could be three months old.
If you have never tried a fresh egg before you should seriously go to a farmers market and purchase some from a local farmer or see if one of your friends with a backyard flock will give you a few to try. I doubt you will want to go back to the grocery store!
2. Pest Control
Chickens eat ants, fleas, ticks and a great number of other undesireable critters found in your backyard. We live in a desert and our neighbors have complained about having scorpions in their yard (one of our neighbors even has had scorpions trapped in her light fixtures!)- but I’m happy to report that we dont have this problem and I believe part of the reason for this is our chickens. Chickens do a great job of keeping our yard and home pest free without pestacides and other harmful chemicals and is a wonderful perk of owning chickens
3. Teaches Your Kids Responsibility
Okay being compleatly transparent here – the only reason we got chickens is because of our daughter (who LOVES our chickens, by the way). When my daughter was about 16 months old we went to a local Big R where she saw the baby chicks for sale and she spent thirty minutes just looking at them in wonder. When it was time to leave, she cried. My husband was from then on hellbent on getting chickens for her but as a stay at home mom, I was not convinced at all. It just sounded like more work on my part and what did a one year old need with chickens? So after much begging and pleading and convincing, we did end up getting chickens and I’m surprised to say that I never knew how benefical chcikens would be for our girl. She helps us feed and water the chickens, collect eggs and secure the chickens at night. Even as a toddler, she thrives with having ‘chores’ to do and it makes her feel important and helpful to have responsiblity over the chickens. In her worst mood, she is eager to go out with her father in the morning and check on the chickens food and water and to make sure the coop is clean. Not only that she is perfectly aware at (almost) 2 where eggs and chicken meat comes from and the level of care and work it takes for a family to get food.
Chickens have numerous benefits: from fresh eggs (and meat if you are able to have a rooster and live in an area that will allow you to cull a flock), to pest control, to fertilizer to weed management – our shopping bill and list has been cut drastically thanks to the little fluff-butts in our backyard! We aren’t yet at a closed loop system but we are able to do a lot more with our resources thanks to our chickens and our little family sleeps easier knowing we are a step closer to being environmentally conscious produces rather than consumers.
5. Low Maintenance
Chickens are incredibly self sufficient and autonomous. I like to joke that our house is like a mini zoo, but out of the dog, cat, toddler and husband – the chickens require far less time and attention. They would prefer if I didnt pet them or mess with them at all. They would much rather if I just let them scratch and peck at bugs and let them turn that all into delicious eggs- thankyouverymuch! I’m not saying that they dont need caring for- they do… but once they are let out in the morning, fed and watered, and their coop is clean… they really have no other use for me unless I come bearing gifts of oatmeal or table scraps.
6. Healthy Lifestyle
As mentioned previously, chickens require a routine and although our morning chicken routine takes a max 10 minutes to complete, it still requires us to get up early and get dressed to let out the chickens. There is also something to be said of being a producer of something rather than a consumer. Something in the act of producing and providing gives your life a certain nobility, meaning and confidence otherwise unacheivable by any other means. It sounds almost silly to think that something as simple and mundane as raising chickens can give your life meaning there really is something to taking an active role in caring for the food you consume. But dont take my word for it… check out the articles here and here.
Chicken poop is magical fertilizer. Although you have to be careful not to pile too much on one area (it makes the soil too hot), it contains nitrogen and nitrogen is crucial to producing healthy happy plants. As mentioned they also keep the bug population down and eat weeds. They will also help clear the roughage out after your garden is done producing. While I don’t recommend letting the chickens have free range over your garden (they really don’t care if a plant is your prized zucchini plant or a dandelion), they will absolutely eat on any weeds you throw over the garden fence to them. How many animals do you know of eat garden pests, help with weed control, AND fertilize your garden? Every day I’m amazed at how helpful these little fluff butts are.
Forget Netflix, these little guys are seriously entertaining and hillarious. Dont believe me? Look up chickens running on youtube. I’ll wait. Did you go? Seriously!! Go look! Okay, you back? Now imagine that like 100% better because they are like that all day long every day and each one has a funny little personality to go with all that.
There is something calming about caring for something besides yourself. After a stressful day, I often find myself out in the back yard with my flock feeding them oatmeal. Bianca (yes I named them), will feed from my hand and as long as the treats keep coming will allow me to pet her pretty white feathers as long as I dont try to get too fresh and pick her up. Its fun to watch them become more at ease with me as time goes on and theres something healing about that. Chickens also cost less than cats and dogs so it is a good option for people with a backyard who need something to help them deal with isolation. There are even some facilities that have chickens for the residents to care for in nursing homes as well as being used as a form of autism therapy as chickens can help to provide consistancy and routine. Se articles here and here for more information.
10. Weed Control
Chickens, especially larger flocks will help with weed control. Keep in mind that a chicken doesnt much care if the leafy green they are snacking on is something you consider to be a weed or your prize zucchini plant, the chicken will happily peck at both… so its best to keep them out of the garden until after your growing season is over, but during the late fall through early spring they will love to munch on anything green and growing and it will also help them to get extra nutrients for egg and growing that they wont get from crumble.
Do you own chickens? Any reasons I left out? Make sure to comment by clicking the comment button to your left!