Have you ever thought about starting your own backyard chicken flock? Can’t quite justify making the purchase? Well backyard chickens are awesome. I grew up on a farm where my first job was selling eggs. My dad wanted me to know the basics of running a business so we purchased 300 chickens and sold the eggs to local care centers and a few cafes. Ever since that time, I have loved chickens. My husband and I now live in town where we currently have eleven backyard birds including one rooster. Are chickens really that great? Yes, they are. Will they provide you with breakfast each day? Yes, they will do that and more!
- They will provide you with fresh eggs!
Let’s start by stating the obvious: chickens lay eggs. A healthy production bird in her prime will lay you one egg every 25 hours. The eggs your backyard chickens will lay DO NOT compare to the store bought eggs. Fresh eggs are rich in flavor with a bright golden yellow yolk. The shells can come in a variety of colors (depending on the breed of bird) including brown, white, blue and even pink. The shells from your happy backyard chickens will be significantly harder to crack then a store egg due to their diet.
- Caring for chickens is very simple
You would be surprised at how low maintenance a chicken is! Once they are grown laying hens, your care for them will be very minimal. Getting started you will need to build or buy a coop but once that is established, very little needs to be done for the care of the birds. Simply, collect eggs once a day. This is my kids’ favorite part of the day – to gather the eggs! Each will grab their bucket and climb into the coop to collect the eggs. They march those eggs back to the house with such pride. It is the most rewarding to me for having chickens.
Feeding a chicken in fairly simple. You can provide an automatic feeder and water for the birds that depending on the amount of birds you have does not need to be filled up each day. With an ample outdoor space for your birds to roam, the indoor coop will only need to be cleaned out every 3-4 weeks. Cleanup can be as little as 10 minutes depending on your coop design.
- Chickens will eat your kitchen scraps and BUGS!
Chickens love treats. All the ‘waste’ in my kitchen goes directly out to our birds. We can walk directly out our door, call to our free ranging chickens (here chicky, chicky) and they all come barreling across the yard for some yummy treats. Watching those hens make a beeline across the yard, is one of the funniest thing you will ever see. I can assure you, none of your leftover food will go to waste.
Chickens also love to forage for bugs. They will dig in the grass, dirt, mulch and whatever else to find them. If you have something in your yard you don’t want your chickens to get into, I suggest putting it out of their reach. My strawberry patch is no longer in commission due to my birds this year. However, we have found a decreased amount of bugs in our yard thanks to these birds.
- You can show your family where food comes from.
Our family doesn’t need to buy eggs anymore. We provide for our chickens that will then provide more than enough eggs for us. To many children, food comes from the grocery store. We hope to show our kids that food can be grown or raised on your own without the grocery store. We are just waiting for the day our daughter makes the connection that the chicken we eat for supper is also her pets that lay eggs in our yard!
- Chicken Poop is a great fertilizer
Do you have garden or flowers that could use a little fertilizer? Chicken poop is amazing at helping things grow. In fact this year, I was only able to put some of their fertilizer on half of my garden. I noticed that the half that was fertilized produced significantly more produce than the side that wasn’t.
In case you haven’t noticed, we love chickens in our household. We hope your family will consider making the plunge into the world of backyard chicken tending. Once you start producing your own eggs, you won’t ever look back.
Post by Brittany Sopko – Treasurer.