Benefits of Raising Backyard Chickens

Traditional free range poultry farming. Chickens at the hen house

There’s a growing trend in cities and suburbs across the nation: raising backyard chickens. Keeping a flock of fowl isn’t everyone’s cup of, well, broth, but many are realizing the benefits of raising backyard chickens. If you’ve never considered it or have been thinking about it but can’t make the decision, this list of advantages could help make the choice easier.

 

Survey Says: Eggs!

Raising backyard chickens provides a constant supply of fresh eggs. Extension.org1 says that a hen typically lays one egg a day. That number can fluctuate, as some chickens occasionally lay two per day, and sometimes they may go an entire day without laying any eggs at all. On the average, though, you should be able to count on one egg from each chicken every day. With a small flock of only six chickens, that gives you 3 1/2 dozen eggs a week!

 

Keeping laying hens may sound like one of the easy ways to save money, but you have to weigh your grocery savings against what it costs to feed your chickens. The more immediate benefits of raising backyard chickens are the organic eggs. According to One Acre Farm2, organic egg nutrition is superior to egg farm eggs. A chicken who is fed a quality diet as well as having access to natural food produces eggs that contain more:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • vitamins A, D and E
  • beta carotene

 

Plus, organic eggs have less cholesterol and saturated fat.

 

Chickens Are the Original Recyclers

Raising backyard chickens fits right in with the plan to go green. Home Depot’s Garden Club3 reveals that chickens are an essential link in the composting and fertilizer chain. They’ll happily eat up garden scraps, such as vegetable peels, along with weeds you pull from around the yard. Your backyard chickens will process it all, turning it into nitrogen-rich manure that makes a useful natural fertilizer. Raising backyard chickens for the fertilizer is another one of the easy ways to save money, and it keeps yard and food waste out of the landfill.

 

24/7 Pest Control

Don’t like the idea of poisoning the environment with chemical pesticides? Your backyard chickens eliminate the need for them. A chicken in a bug-infested backyard is like a kid in a candy store. They gladly gobble up almost every kind of pest including ticks, grasshoppers, slugs, aphids, many types of beetles and more, according to Mother Earth News4, to keep your yard and garden naturally pest-free.

 

C’mon, Get Happy

You may already know that interacting with animals is healthy. HelpGuide.org5 says that pets can ease depression, lower stress and even reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. However, those benefits aren’t exclusive to traditional pets such as dogs and cats. In her book “City Chicks: Keeping Micro-Flocks of Laying Hens…” Patricia L. Foreman6 reveals that raising backyard chickens can be just as effective on emotional and physical health. They provide companionship, add structure to your day and watching them calmly milling about your yard offers a welcome diversion to life’s stresses. In fact, Foreman says that hens are sometimes used as therapy animals. Since they don’t charge as much per hour as a therapist, that’s just one more of the benefits of raising backyard chickens that makes it among the easy ways to save money.

 

 

 

1http://www.extension.org/pages/71004/raising-chickens-for-egg-production#.VWN3PaPbLIU

2http://ouroneacrefarm.com/pros-and-cons-of-backyard-chickens/

3http://gardenclub.homedepot.com/the-hidden-benefits-of-backyard-chickens/

4http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/pest-control/gardening-with-chickens-pest-control-zw0z1304zkin.aspx

5http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/the-health-benefits-of-pets.htm

6https://books.google.com/books?id=OKx1AAAACAAJ&dq=Patricia+Foreman&hl=en&sa=X&ei=PnJjVdy8EYKuogTVo4DwDA&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAw