If there’s one mistake I’ve made homesteading, it’s this: I didn’t get chickens sooner. Backyard chickens are absolutely amazing! So much so that I’m going to share “10 Reasons to Keep Backyard Chickens” with you.
Why did I wait so long?
Fear, I suppose.
Fear that I didn’t know what I was doing.
Fear that I would get into trouble or inadvertently hurt the chickens.
But the reality is this…
Having backyard chickens is frankly easier than taking care of a dog.
Once you get things set up, chickens are almost fool-proof.
As far as being “allowed” to have backyard chickens, even in the suburbs and urban areas, things have changed a lot in the last decade. Check out your city’s ordinances regarding poultry. Many cities and municipalities have adopted a “4 hens/no rooster” policy.
Hens lay one egg a day, for the most part. What’s wrong with 4 fresh eggs a day????
Heck, hens are less noisy than Blue Jays or even Mocking birds! They aren’t going to bother anyone.
10 Reasons to Keep Backyard Chickens
- Fresh Eggs – Not just fresh eggs, more nutritious eggs! Eggs that carry their weight in vitamins and minerals, plus protein, will feed your family well! When you have your own birds, you’ll find yourself incorporating more egg recipes into your meal planning. You’ll never run out of eggs again!
2. Pest Control – Backyard chickens are wonderful little insect eaters! Our birds regulate the excess flies and other predatory insects on the farm! Hens will forage all day, when given the opportunity, and earn their keep by keeping the bug population in your backyard under control!
Make Money with Backyard Chickens
3. Business Opportunity – There are tons of ways to make money with your chickens. Think past selling eggs, which is fine but doesn’t bring much profit. Buy heritage birds to breed and make money on fertilized eggs (you’ll need a rooster for that). You can sell baby chicks and you can even sell chicken manure!
I was completely blown away to see that people were paying the same price per pound for chicken manure as they were beef at the store! Check out Etsy and search for “animal manure” and you’ll see what I mean.
4. They Make Amazing Compost – My chickens can’t wait until I dump the day’s kitchen scraps into the compost pile!
They jump right on them, scratch through it and eat what they like!
As you add things like grass clippings and autumn leaves to your pile, your “girls” will scratch through it all and help to break it down more quickly.
While there are some things that shouldn’t go into your compost pile i.e. dairy, meat, etc., having chickens means that your leftover food scraps will never go to waste!
Backyard Chickens Reduce Kitchen Waste
5. They Consume Leftovers – Did you know that chickens love pasta? Yep. How about oatmeal? Stale bread? Mashed potatoes? Meatloaf bits from someone’s plate? Yep, yep and yep.
Food waste will become almost non-existent in your home when you have chickens.
We keep a “chicken bowl” on the kitchen counter that everyone scrapes their plates into for the “girls” so that nothing goes to waste.
Don’t get me wrong, chickens need a good quality feed for health and egg production, especially in the winter.
Keeping Chickens in the Winter
However, you can totally supplement with leftovers!
13 Simple Ways to Reduce Food Waste
6. Hilarious Entertainment – I had no idea how funny chickens were to watch!
When I can take a break and sit down, I love to watch our roosters and hens interact with each other.
Even with a dozen different nesting boxes to lay in, my hens will line up to lay in just one nesting box.
Yep, just like a bunch of women, competing against each other.
Geez. It’s hysterical.
7. Break the “Grocery Store” Habit – My goal when I became a homesteader was to eliminate items that I needed to purchase from the grocery store, one by one.
Over the years, I’ve eliminated our need for just about all paper products, meat, eggs and vegetables.
By getting backyard chickens, you’ve eliminated your need for eggs from the store!
Keep adding to those items, one by one, to become more sustainable!
How to Make and Use Cloth Toilet Paper
How to Survive Comfortably without the Grocery Store
8. Raise Cruelty-Free Food – I makes me angry to think of how so many chickens are treated, just so we can have eggs and meat. They sit in cages that are too small for them, never see the light of day, never eat a bug or run after a child and are forced to eat other dead chickens and even their own feces.
I don’t want to support that system.
Having and nurturing your own hens means that you can break away from that cruel system and be someone who raises cruelty-free food.
9. Fertilize Your Lawn and Garden – Chicken manure is full of nitrogen, which is wonderful for plant growth, including your lawn, making yet another great reason to get backyard chickens.
Contrary to what people say, chickens do not smell.
However, if you do not keep their coop or housing clean by not changing the shavings, etc., then yes, there will be odor.
Just like if you never flushed the toilet. Kind of common sense.
Backyard Chickens Make Great Pets
10. Teach Your Children – Another great reason to get backyard chickens is to teach your children where food comes from. Teach them how to care for animals and nurture them.
Forget about the hamsters and gerbils, teach the kids something that serves a purpose and give them responsibility.
Do you know how many college students today can’t tell you what animal that eggs from the store come from?
Get books, study about the life cycle of chickens, get poultry catalogs and look at all of the fun breeds…enjoy your chickens!