Backyard chicken keeping has become increasingly popular over the last decade. Hundreds of thousands of people now keep a small flock in their yards, even in major cities.
If you live in an urban area, you need permission from the city – either through legislation or a permit – to keep chickens. But once you have that, there’s little stopping you.
Are you looking into backyard chickens? Here are the five benefits of keeping chickens.
1. Get Fresh Eggs
The top benefit that everyone thinks of is a chicken’s natural product: their eggs.
Fresh chicken eggs are unlike those you get from the store. They’re free (at the point you receive them), and they often have larger, brighter yolks, which many scientists believe makes them more nutritious.
2. Control Bugs and Weeds
When you have chickens and allow them to roam your property, they work as a type of natural pest control. Free-range chickens forage for food all day – and they love weeds and bugs. If you let them into your garden, they can help protect your vegetables or flowers from most of the common insects you typically find eating your leaves or fruits.
3. Use Chicken Fertilizer
Another benefit of chickens is the second by-product they produce: chicken manure.
Chicken manure is a very popular fertilizer, as anyone who lives near a chicken barn will tell you. All you need to do is collect it, compost it to prepare it for use, and then spread it over your garden.
Apply the manure in the fall after harvest to prepare it for the springtime. Not only will it add minerals needed to grow healthy vegetables, but it improves the soil structure and thus improves drainage.
4. Enjoy Chickens’ Companionship
Many people think about what products chickens can produce for them. But they quickly find out that having chickens is enough regardless of the number of eggs they lay. Chickens make charming companions for humans. They are low maintenance, have a routine, and they can be hilarious to watch.
Don’t be surprised if your chickens become as much a part of your family as the family dog!
5. Rescue Animals from Poor Conditions
While you can order chicks and build a brooder, another way to get chickens is to rescue them from battery farms. Rescue chickens are often featherless, poorly-looking, and skittish as well as nearing the end of their production lives. However, some TLC from you quickly restores the chicken’s health as they regrow their feathers and even begin to start producing eggs again.
It’s a simple way to help these chickens enjoy the final years of their lives in comfort and dignity.
Keeping Chickens is a Lovely Way to Get a Pet
Chickens are charming creatures, and keeping chickens is possible even when you don’t have a large backyard or garden. When well-treated, they produce nutritious eggs, keep away pests and weeds, and of course, get into habits that make them endearing, such as laying eggs in strange places and socializing with each other.
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