Are you wondering if backyard chickens are right for you? These funny, feathery friends are a popular choice among hobby farmers and regular homeowners alike. After all, who doesn’t love easy access to their own farm-fresh eggs? The food isn’t the only benefit, either. Like any animal, raising chickens can be a satisfying and rewarding experience. You can turn your small flock into a small business by selling excess eggs for profit. You can make your family more interesting by keeping these birds as curious and entertaining pets. Chicken owners also reap the benefits of a greener, healthier lifestyle. Is the cost and effort of keeping chickens worth it to you? Find out with this list of seven incredible benefits to raising backyard chickens.
LOW MAINTENANCE, HIGH REWARD
There’s a reason why chickens are often a first choice for beginner farmers and livestock owners. Chickens are hardy creatures who take care of themselves well. After the initial effort of setting up the coop, feeders, and waterers, upkeep mostly revolves around keeping the coop clean and watching for signs of disease or predators. Of course, you’ll have to make sure your flock has enough room to live comfortably without starting squabbles. A secure run is also important. Your chickens will also need entertainment to stave off boredom, which can lead to squabbles. However, this can be as simple as installing a chicken swing, hanging a head of cabbage from a string, or placing stumps or other small objects for them to perch on in the run. Compared to other livestock, keeping chickens is a low- maintenance responsibility that offers many benefits.
EGGS AND OTHER PRODUCTS
One of the most well-known benefits to raising backyard chickens is, of course, the eggs. Farm fresh eggs are better than anything you can find at the grocery store. You don’t have to worry about an excessive shelf life or what happened to the eggs during processing or shipping. You also know exactly how the chickens live and what they eat, which means you don’t have to worry about unethical farms or unhealthy additives. Furthermore, fresh eggs are richer in color and flavor. They also contain fewer saturated fats and bad cholesterol compared to store bought eggs.
However, eggs aren’t the only product you can get from your backyard flock. You can also purchase a chicken plucker for sale and raise chickens for their meat. Like fresh eggs, meat from your backyard chickens is safer and healthier than what you might buy in the store. Plus, you control what your chickens eat and how they live, which means you can stock up on chicken without having to purchase from unhealthy or unethical factory farms. In addition to meat and eggs, many chicken keepers sell feathers or fertilizer from their chickens. You can also sell chickens themselves to other willing farmers.
Chickens can also liven up your backyard. A cute coop and a curious flock can create hours of entertainment for you and your family. Chickens are fascinating birds who enjoy exploring and playing much like we do. Step outside with your morning coffee and watch them peck around for a morning snack of bugs and seeds. Hang out in the afternoon while your birds hop around their roosts, play on a chicken swing, or mess around with any toys you place in the coop or run. Even normal behaviors and instincts—such as establishing and maintaining the pecking order—are fascinating to watch.
If you keep a garden near your chickens’ range or run, it will also see the benefits of a backyard coop. Chickens can do a lot for your garden. They act as excellent pest control as they wander the yard and gobble up grasshoppers, snails, and other critters that would harm your garden. Mosquitoes and ticks are also on the menu, making your backyard a little more comfortable in the summer. Chickens will help control the weeds in and around your garden as well. As your flock explores their space, their scratching and pecking will dig up and disperse the seeds of weeds, which they’ll also eat. They get a tasty treat and you get a flourishing plot of land for your favorite fruits and vegetables to grow.
FAMILY FRIENDLY PETS
Some backyard chicken keepers think of their flock as pets rather than livestock. After all, chickens make incredible pets for families of all ages. Chickens have bold personalities. We’ve already mentioned how much fun it can be to just sit back and watch your flock explore and interact with each other in the backyard. Choose a chicken breed with a gentler, friendlier demeanor and welcome them into the family. Once you name your birds and spend a little time outside with them, you’ll quickly grow attached to these lovable creatures.
If you’re looking for a way to live more sustainably, keeping backyard chickens is a great step to take. Growing or raising your own food cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions from transporting products across the country. Chickens also act as a natural garbage disposal and will eat many of the kitchen scraps you don’t want to throw away, preventing you from wasting food. Softened fruit, vegetable peels, and other excess nuts and seeds will make a great treat for your flock.
NATURAL HEALTH BENEFITS
Keeping chickens can benefit your health in more ways than one. The nutrient-rich homegrown food is a great addition to your diet. The responsibility and satisfaction of taking care of other living creatures can boost your mood and improve your mental health. Simply being around animals helps reduce stress. Plus, chicken keepers tend to lead a more active lifestyle as they spend a lot of time working outside. Relish in the fresh air and sunshine as you complete your daily chores such as filling feeders and collecting eggs. You might even find yourself spending more time outside just to watch your chickens go about their day.
People start raising chickens for a multitude of reasons, but they all experience these and other incredible benefits. Have you ventured into the world of chicken keeping? Tell us why you love having your own backyard flock in the comments below.