The Benefits to Raising Your Own Backyard Chickens
The amount of people raising their own chickens is on the rise, but still many don't realize just how many benefits raising these birds can have.
Ten Reasons You Should Own Chickens:
This one is the most obvious and number one reason for raising chickens and it's a good one. The eggs you can get at the supermarket can't compare to ones fresh from the yard. Just crack one open and you will be able to see the difference in the yolk. Fresh eggs from pastured chickens contain less fat, less cholesterol, more Omega 3 and are higher in vitamins. Plus, if you had your own chickens. Those nutritionally dense eggs would be free!
2. Natural Pest Control
Got June Bugs? Japanese Beetles? Grasshoppers? Cicada? I don't. Want to know why? It's because I have chickens roaming around my yard just waiting to come upon one of these tasty bugs. They love to chase, peck and eat those pesky insects that eat your flowers and trees and tear apart your garden.
Chickens poop. A lot. And that poop, in the world of gardening, is considered black gold. It is amazing in its ability to turn soil into nutrient dense humus. Cleaning out your coop in the fall and putting the manure and bedding directly on the garden to sit until the next planting season will result in amazing produce from your garden. It is considered hot, so don't plant directly in it unless it has been composting for awhile.
Having a few (or more!) chickens in the back yard give children a great lesson on where their food comes from. It also imparts responsibility since the animals must be tended daily. Chickens are easy to tend to, even for small children. They will enjoy their work of collecting the eggs and throwing scratch grains to the birds. Older children can help fill up waters, feed bins and clean out the coop.
5. They make great pets!
I know what you might be thinking. Pets? I can't hold them, pet them or walk them like a dog or cat. But I beg to differ. If you spend time with your birds they will become tame. And if you don't think you can hold or pet a chicken, I have 4 boys here at my house that will prove you wrong. I am pretty sure they love their chickens just as much or more than some of our dogs and other furry, huggable animals.
Maybe your definition of entertainment is different from mine, but you can't deny that watching chickens can be pretty darn funny. They come running in a pack when you come into the yard. They will chase each other all over the yard when one gets a treat that the others want. They turn bug catching into an Olympic sport that will have you laughing out loud. They will put a smile on your face, I guarantee it!
7. Soil Improvement
Chickens naturally scratch at the soil and under brush with their claws to search out bugs and other tasty things to eat. This will aerate the soil and help to break down vegetation and speed up the process of decomposition.
8. Beauty and Personality
Chickens pecking around the yard will add more beauty and personality than any lawn ornament. There a many different breeds that are also great eggs layers. The Speckled Sussex is a beautiful bird with lots of personality, as is the Americana that lay blue or green eggs. They will strut around, talk to your neighbors and just look good in general.
These days the future can see uncertain. The more people learn to depend on themselves the better. If you are able to secure your basic needs on your own you will be able to sustain yourself and your family if the need arises. Food is a basic human need. Raising your own chickens is one step toward a sustainable future. You will have access to food- eggs and meat- from your birds and since they are natural foragers they are good at feeding themselves as well.
10. Control over your food
In these days of mass produced food there is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to what you eat. You can never be sure what you are eating. By raising your own chickens you can be certain of what they eat, what they are medicated with, and how they are treated. You can be sure that your birds have a good life, with access to the outdoors and ample space to live a clean life. And in turn they will provide you with food that you are 100% certain of the quality and freshness.