What are the benefits of keeping backyard chickens and why do so many people do it?
Keeping chickens is enjoyable, rewarding, a great family activity and, of course, you’ll have the benefit of fresh eggs each day. Chickens are very pretty, sociable creatures and it’s relaxing and good for the soul to watch them peck happily in your yard. Setting things up well from the start is key to ensuring that you reap the optimum benefits from your work.
Having fresh eggs every day is just the beginning. As well as the lifestyle benefits, there are more tangible rewards. There’s a whole plethora of benefits to keeping chickens that you might not have thought of. Here are just a few of the ways that keeping chickens can improve the quality of your life:
You Can Save More Money From Home Produced Eggs.
Having three or more chickens that constantly produce eggs saves you the trouble of buying eggs at your local supermarket. A normal hen could lay 300 eggs a year, provided that they are getting the proper nourishment. Increasing the amount of hens can also provide more returns, provided that you are buying poultry and chicken feed at a cheaper price.
It cuts down on food waste and food miles and saves on the planets resources. It is a far more sustainable way of producing eggs.
Chickens Make Good Pets.
Hens, especially the bantam types, are friendly and docile in nature, not to mention beautiful to look at. Many types of breeds are beautiful in appearance, most notably Barred Rocks, Wyandottes, Orpingtons and Cochins. You can always go to the internet for photographs of certain breeds to decide better which breeds are to your liking.
Below: Chickens are often very beautiful and a delight to watch.
A chicken's plumage has an overwhelming variety of colours, and I guarantee that you'll be having a blast just by looking through them. Chickens, while not as smart as dogs, can be very playful and friendly. If trained real well, some of them can eventually pull off some tricks, and you might use them to impress your friends as they ogle over the beauty and magnificence of your chickens.
Psychological and mental well-being:
Here in the UK we have a scheme called HenPower. They put coops in old people homes for the residents to look after the hens. The result of this is the residents have purpose, something to keep them active and pets that produce eggs.
The whole idea of this scheme is it is self sustaining and the setup is free. They use an incubator and broody hens to raise a few chicks and sell the surplus eggs and birds.
I have seen this scheme in action and confirm it reduces depression and loneliness and increases health and well being.
Delicious, humanely raised eggs:
Home produced eggs are better. There is some evidence suggests that battery eggs contain a higher amount of salmonella and can be very harmful to us. There's a consensus among chicken owners that the eggs their flocks produce is safer since they have full control of their poultry's diet intake. Raising your own chickens ensures that your flock is getting a balanced intake of proper nutrients and vitamins paramount to producing eggs safe for human consumption.
The way that chickens in battery farms are treated is not pretty. The chickens laying your eggs live their entire lives in a space smaller than a standard sheet of paper and are unable to do any of their natural behaviours such as pecking for insects, dust-bathing, roosting, and nesting.
Making the choice to raise your own hens for eggs is making the choice to boycott these cruel practices. Your family’s eggs will in turn be produced naturally and humanely by happy chickens. You can also choose to use organic chicken feed and your own kitchen scraps so you’ll know exactly what went into producing your eggs and that there’s no genetically modified material.
Family Fun and Learning:
Keeping chickens is a wonderful way to spend quality time with your family while teaching young children about responsibility, compassion, and kindness. Children can give the chickens names and take charge of feeding them, checking that they’re healthy, cleaning the coop, and collecting the eggs. It’s a practical and rewarding way for you to teach them valuable life skills.
Work That’s Rewarding:
The work of caring for chickens is fun, rewarding, and a great way to get a bit more active. You’ll be able to watch your chickens grow and flourish and know that it’s from your care. It’s a wonderful, wholesome feeling to know you’re able to provide for your family through hard work and dedication.
Fertiliser and compost:
The waste products of your chickens can be utilised as fertiliser for the garden. It has always been noted in many sources that chicken waste is one of the best fertilisers around for its high amount of nutrients and nitrogen, which can help your garden produce vegetables at a faster rate. And the fact that they're organic makes your crops free from harmful chemicals. It's also a plus that your chickens feed on bugs and insects that incessantly wreak havoc on your crops.
Chicken manure is an excellent garden fertiliser, while chickens help to weed and keep bugs down. To top those off, you’ll be able to enjoy the fresh eggs that result from your work.
So, what are you waiting for? Don’t just dream about becoming more self-sufficient and reaping the rewards of keeping chickens! Do a bit of research, invest in a quality coop, find the right chickens for your needs, and get started! If you set things up right from the start, you’ll find the experience both surprisingly easy and hugely beneficial.
If you have decided to raise chickens or are currently keeping some in your backyard, familiarising yourself about its benefits can be very rewarding. You might have your own ideas already, but it shouldn't hurt to expand your knowledge on the pros of raising chickens at home. After all, an advantage can only be one if you recognise it for what it is.