Inside: Discover the benefits of raising backyard chickens! From fresh eggs & sustainable living to educational experiences.
The trend of keeping backyard chickens has gained popularity among urban and suburban dwellers alike. Beyond the idyllic picture of a charming coop and fresh eggs, there are numerous practical and rewarding benefits of backyard chickens.
Benefits of Backyard Chickens
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How did we decide to get backyard chickens? I could have cared less if we had gotten chickens, I wanted quail. We got our chickens first though because they are more readily available here. I love them now though!
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This is the best reason for having backyard chickens, you'll never be without fresh eggs. If you are a family that enjoys egg sandwiches, boiled eggs, etc, then having a fresh supply is a great thing.
Unlike store-bought eggs, which may be weeks old before they reach your kitchen, eggs from your backyard flock are incredibly fresh, rich in flavor, and packed with essential nutrients.
As a parent, I love how much my kids have learned from having chickens. From raising them from chicks to building a coop for them, to collecting eggs.
Raising backyard chickens offers an invaluable educational experience for children. They learn about responsibility, compassion, and where their food comes from.
Not only will you get nutritious, organic eggs, but you can be safe in the knowledge that your omelet is served up cruelty-free.
Guess what chickens like to eat? BUGS! They will eat ticks, slugs, and grasshoppers, you name it. Here, ticks and slugs are a huge problem. My kids actually love feeding slugs to our chickens.
Now, to get the biggest benefits of pest control from your chickens you are going to need to free-range your chickens. Introducing a small flock of chickens to your backyard can significantly reduce the need for chemical pesticides, making it an eco-friendly approach to garden maintenance.
Our chickens aren't free-range. We have cats, we have dogs, we have wild animals. But, they can be put into smaller crates, or temporary enclosures called chicken tractors to move them to areas where weeds are out of control.
Remember, if you don't want them in your garden, you need to either fence your garden off or fence your chickens in.
Backyard Chicken Fertilizer
Chicken manure is great for growing. It is actually very desirable for gardens. It is great for adding to your compost, then adding to your garden. it only takes 5 or 6 chickens to fertilize your garden in a year. Maybe you want to share some with your neighbors?
Just remember, you need to “age” chicken manure is considered hot manure and will kill your plants if you add it to them right away, or even a month or two later. Chicken manure is high in nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, essential nutrients for plant growth. With proper composting, you can turn chicken manure into a potent organic fertilizer that nourishes your garden and promotes robust plant development.
Cut Down on Food Waste
I am happy to say that we don't actually have a lot of food waste. Now, there is no food waste or at least even less food waste. Our chickens are not a fan of carrot or carrot peelings, but everything else is game on.
Apple peelings from making apple pie or apple crisp? Out they go to the chickens.
We even have family members bringing us vegetables that are starting to get soft for our chickens.
Bonus: Great Pets
We love having our backyard chickens. They are entertaining. They are different. They have become our pets. Not to say that one or two won't turn up in the slow cooker though.
There are many reasons for having backyard chickens, these were just seven of mine. Fresh eggs are the main reason that we got chickens. They were also an easier option for starting to homestead and have someone who has raised them to help out with tips.
Spending time with chickens can be surprisingly therapeutic. The gentle clucking of hens and the rhythmic scratching in the yard can have a calming effect, reducing stress levels and promoting relaxation.
Many people find solace in observing the natural behaviors of chickens, such as dust-bathing and sunbathing, which can be a delightful respite from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
Benefits of Raising Backyard Chickens FAQ
Does raising chickens save you money at the grocery store? Sure it does! I haven't bought eggs at the store in more than a year. But I buy a bag of feed every two weeks, all year long. So which is more cost-effective? It may take time some time to “recoup” the initial cost, but I think it can save you a little if you have high-producing chickens.
How do I keep my backyard chickens happy? Make sure you have a flock of at least 3 birds, they are social creatures. Give them space to roam, and shelter for the night and when they sense danger. Make sure you have roosting space for them, they hate to sleep with their feet on the ground.
How long will a backyard chicken live? The average lifespan of a hen is 6-8 years. Most will only produce eggs for 3 years and then only lay the odd egg here and there. But a chicken can live for up to and past 12 years.