Are you wondering if backyard chickens are right for you? These funny, feathery friends are popular among hobby farmers and regular homeowners. 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. Keeping these birds as curious and entertaining pets can make your household more interesting. 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 of raising chickens.
LOW MAINTENANCE, HIGH REWARD
Chickens are frequently the preferred choice for novice farmers and livestock owners and for a compelling reason. These robust creatures are notably self-sufficient and demonstrate a strong level of adaptability. Once the initial setup of their living space, which includes the coop, feeders, and waterers, has been established, their upkeep becomes relatively straightforward. This primarily involves ensuring the cleanliness of the coop and vigilance for signs of illness or potential predators.
Additionally, providing ample space for your flock is important, as overcrowding can induce conflict among the chickens. A secure run, or outdoor area, is also crucial for the chickens’ well-being. Alongside the necessary living space, chickens also require mental stimulation to ward off ennui, which could incite disputes within the flock.
Fulfilling these needs can be as uncomplicated as setting up a chicken swing, suspending a head of cabbage from a string, or scattering stumps or other perchable objects throughout their run. These elements not only offer entertainment but also encourage natural behaviors.
Contrary to many other types of livestock, raising chickens is a relatively low-maintenance responsibility. It brings numerous benefits, including fresh eggs, natural pest control, and valuable organic fertilizer in the form of chicken manure. Therefore, chickens present an excellent starting point for those venturing into farming or livestock ownership, providing a rewarding, practical, and manageable experience.
EGGS AND OTHER PRODUCTS
One of the most well-known benefits of 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 excessive shelf life or what happens 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 farm practices 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, free-range eggs aren’t the only product you can get when you raise chickens in your backyard. 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 your whole 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. Their gentle clucking sounds and amusing behaviors can have a calming effect on people. Observing and interacting with chickens can be a therapeutic experience, allowing individuals to unwind and connect with nature.
Many chicken keepers find solace in spending time with their feathered friends, whether simply watching them explore the yard or engaging in gentle interactions such as hand-feeding or petting. This bond can bring joy and tranquility into daily life.
Maintaining a garden in your own backyard near your chickens’ range or run comes with many benefits, courtesy of your backyard coop. The presence of backyard chickens in a garden can significantly enhance its productivity and health.
Chickens are nature’s pest control experts. Their curious exploration of the yard leads them to devour various pests, such as grasshoppers, snails, and other small creatures that can cause substantial damage to your garden. This extends to mosquitoes and ticks, which they gladly feast upon, making your backyard a more enjoyable and safer environment, especially during the warmer months.
Their benefits extend beyond pest control. Chickens are also great assistants in controlling weed growth in and around your garden. As your flock ventures through their territory, their natural scratching and pecking behaviors dig up and disperse weed seeds. They then consume these seeds, serving as a delicious snack for them and a boon for your garden. This ensures your favored fruits and vegetables have a flourishing environment for growth.
Moreover, chickens can contribute to the aesthetics of your garden by creating a rustic and natural look. Their routine scratching and pecking activities aerate the soil, helping to loosen it and encourage better plant root development. This gentle landscaping can naturally enhance the appearance and fertility of your garden. Consequently, having chickens roaming in your backyard delivers a winning combination of efficient pest control, weed management, and light landscaping, all contributing to a thriving garden environment.
POSITIVE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Keeping chickens in your backyard can have positive environmental implications. Raising your chickens for eggs reduces your reliance on commercial egg production, which often involves large-scale factory farming methods with significant environmental consequences. Backyard chickens offer a more sustainable alternative, allowing you to impact your food supply chain directly.
Furthermore, backyard chickens contribute to a reduction in the exploitation of resources needed for commercial egg production. Industrial-scale farms often rely heavily on electricity for lighting and temperature control, water for sanitation, and feed which often has its own environmental impact. By contrast, backyard chickens require far less of these inputs.
Moreover, having your own chickens fosters a more localized and self-reliant environment. It helps create a community less dependent on complex, distant supply chains for their food. This self-sufficiency not only enhances local resilience but it also encourages the understanding and appreciation of where our food comes from.
By opting for backyard chickens, you contribute to a more environmentally friendly food system by reducing carbon footprints associated with transportation, decreasing the use of resources required for commercial egg production, and promoting a more localized and self-sufficient environment.
Raising chickens offers a multitude of benefits, one of which is the invaluable byproduct they yield - their manure. Known for its nutrient-rich composition, chicken manure stands as a potent source of organic fertilizer. Packed with vital elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, it plays a significant role in fostering robust plant growth.
Chicken manure can significantly enhance soil fertility when processed correctly through composting or applied directly. It does this by incrementally elevating nutrient content, thus enriching the soil and promoting your plants’ overall health and vitality. Over time, this leads to thriving, vibrant plant life that contributes to an eco-friendly garden.
Moreover, using chicken manure as an organic fertilizer is a sustainable method to feed your soil. This approach not only replenishes necessary nutrients in your garden but also decreases dependence on synthetic fertilizers. The latter, while effective, can sometimes lead to long-term detrimental effects on the soil’s natural balance. As such, choosing chicken manure stands as an environmentally responsible, cost-effective choice for maintaining your garden’s overall productivity.
CONSERVATIONAL OF HERITAGE BREEDS
By raising chickens, you can contribute to conserving rare and endangered heritage breeds. Many traditional chicken breeds are at risk of extinction due to the dominance of commercial breeds in large-scale farming. By keeping and breeding heritage breeds, you help preserve genetic diversity and maintain the unique traits and characteristics of these breeds. It’s a way to safeguard the cultural and historical heritage associated with these chickens while promoting biodiversity in the poultry world.
Moreover, Chickens can add a charming and picturesque element to your backyard or homestead. They come in various breeds with unique appearances, feather colors, and patterns—some are even for ornamental purposes. The sight of a flock of chickens freely roaming and pecking in a grassy yard or garden can enhance the aesthetics of your property.
People start raising chickens for many reasons, but they all experience these incredible benefits.