Top 10 reasons why every home needs at least one chicken
A great deal has been written about the advantages of raising your own poultry to provide free-range organic eggs, without the high prices associated with buying from retail outlets. But there are a lot of other reasons why every home needs at least one chicken.
Here's ten of them ...
1. Top of the list, chickens are very cute.
We all need to get in touch with our softer side. Watching a baby chick hatch will melt even the hardest heart.
If you don't keep a rooster (and therefore don't have fertile eggs), you can start with a day-old chick from a rural supply store, pet store or nearby egg supplier. :)
2. Chickens will grow up to be your slave
Who can resist a little ball of fluff that promises to deliver you breakfast every morning if you'll just look after it while it grows?
They are so easy to keep in a box indoors when they are little. It is a great way to get them to trust you, so they'll be less wary when they are older and you start collecting their eggs.
3. Chickens can improve your sex life.
If you raise at least two chickens, you'll be able to feed breakfast to a friend as well. No need to think about what's in the fridge before inviting a friend to sleep over. Race out to your hen house and collect a couple of lovely fresh eggs.
Grow fresh herbs in your garden so your hens have access to fresh greens year round.
4. Chickens are low maintenance.
Chickens at all ages need access to a constant supply of water and they appreciate protection from foxes, cats and other predators particularly at night.
As long as you let them roam your garden during daylight hours and resist the urge to obsessively mow your lawn and weed your garden, they should be able to busy themselves and find enough to snack on while you are at work.
5. Chickens clean up after you.
Early in life chicks appreciate a few handfuls of 'starter mash' that is easily bought from your local pet store, grain store, hardware store or in some regions even in the supermarket. As they get older, toss them your scraps from the kitchen and they'll devour everything you offer them.
I've never tried house training a chicken, but I have heard of people who let their special friend take quick trips into the kitchen every time there's been a spill. I prefer to just fling the goodies into the yard. My hens are my friends, but they're not quite that special.
Friend or feast?
What is the likely outcome if you were to leave a chicken in the backyard with your dog?
6. Chickens can babysit your dog.
Train your dog to be trusted around your chickens and the relationship is mutually beneficial. The chickens keep your dog company in an otherwise boring backyard … and the dog protects the chickens from cats, foxes and other predators.
My yard is so big they rarely cross paths, but in previous homes I've had dogs and chickens in close contact.
- How to House Chickens in your Backyard
When letting chickens run free in your garden is not easy, it is time to build a hen house and a chicken run.
7. Chickens are the new accessory.
Gone are the days when baby chickens, hens and roosters were mass produced to all look the same. Today you can buy chickens to suit your home, your lifestyle and even your hair style.
From the demure and highly coiffed Silky that dare not scratch in bare earth and seldom leaves the ground, to the rugged outdoorsy up in the trees and don't wait up for me because I might be home late personality of the Indonesian Jungle Fowl, there is a chatty chicken (or an arrogant rooster) somewhere in the world just as individual as you are.
8. Chickens adapt to your lifestyle.
If you open the kitchen door early in the morning to feed them, they'll be there. If you open the kitchen door at midday to feed them, they'll come running.
If you wait until after dark to toss them a plateful of leftovers, they'll probably wait until morning to eat – but they'll be more than happy that you made the effort, whatever time it was.
9. You can take a chicken for a walk.
Walk the length of your yard with the bucket you generally carry to deliver scraps and you'll see how quickly a chicken can learn to heel.
The biggest laughs come when a mother hen tries to hurry after you with her teenage children who like the warmth of her breast still tucked under her.
10. Guilt free gardening ... thanks to your chickens!
If you suffer a moral dilemma every time you spot a caterpillar on a cabbage leaf or slugs sliding towards your spinach, chickens are the perfect solution.
Instead of squashing garden pests, sprinkling salt, spraying repellents or spreading pellets, let your poultry into the vegetable garden to do the dirty work.
They'll eat the grubs and you'll have the clear conscience of one who simply marvels at the wonder of nature. Every gardener can lose the guilt!