If you follow us on social media, you KNOW we have chickens. (If you don’t follow us, why not? 😉 We do post about other things too!) Having backyard chickens is a subject a mere five years ago I knew nothing about. Now I could talk for hours about having chickens! It all started with our 11-year-old son who was allergic to eggs but completely fascinated by them (yes, that is his personality… heaven help us!). He wanted to get chickens and sell their eggs.
We had just moved to our farm and planned to open the nursery, so we thought why not sell eggs as well? We did some research, went to the supply store, and bought 6 chicks in the spring. By summer we had delicious eggs. I was hooked, and we got more chickens. I cannot tell you the exact numbers or dates, but at the height of my chicken collecting habit we had 99 chickens!
Tom has put his foot down now and forbidden me from getting more chickens. We’ve lost a few of them and rehomed some of them, including all the roosters, and we now have 70 ladies pecking around. I enjoyed having the roosters, including their cockadoodledooing, which they actually do all day long (NOT just at dawn, despite childhood cartoons’ lies). They weren’t mean to us, but they were rough on the hens and stressed them out. We decided that since we had the hens for egg laying (which does NOT require a rooster, another popular myth), we didn’t want mating-crazy roosters stressing them out.
Here are what we have found to be the benefits of having backyard chickens and why you should get some for yourself:
You will get fresh eggs almost every day! Studies have shown that pasture-raised eggs have an average one-third less cholesterol, one-quarter less saturated fat, two-thirds more vitamin A, two times more omega-3 fatty acids, three times more vitamin E, seven times more beta carotene, and five times more vitamin D than most store-bought eggs. This is a benefit for your health, convenience, taste buds, and wallet!
Chickens are constantly pecking, scratching, and clucking. They are super social and interact somewhat dramatically with each other. If you’ve never seen a hen run, you need to! Throw some leftovers into their run and watch as the games begin!
Once you provide a safe living space, all they really need is food and water daily.
Chickens are master composters. They poop fertilizer and turn over the soil, nonstop. Give them their area and they will do the work for you.
Ticks, grubs, beetles, wasps, even mice – they eat all the little creatures they can get their beaks on.
Chickens can and will happily eat your leftovers and scraps. There are only a few foods they shouldn’t eat. Our hens love when we have a party and I’m peeling cucumbers and carrots, balling melons, and cutting up broccoli, because they get all the peels, rinds, and stems. Then the next day there are usually leftover veggies and snacks we were too pooped to put away, so the hens have a party too.
No matter what’s going on, I always feel better when I go out to the chicken yard and watch the silly hens for a while. We will post more about raising chickens in the near future, but if you have any questions, let us know! If you already have some, feel free to share a picture of your chickies!