All across the country, people have fallen in love with backyard chickens– yes, even in cities, small towns, and suburbs. But still, for many people, the appeal is puzzling. Why on earth would someone want a bunch of birds scratching up the lawn and pooping everywhere?
5 Reasons to Be a Backyard Chicken Farmer:
If you have never had a fresh egg from a chicken who has eaten mostly food scraps, bugs, and vegetable matter, you are missing a real treat. Comparing commercially-produced eggs with fresh, free-range eggs are like counting the differences between night and day. The taste, quality, and nutritional value of fresh eggs from your own chickens are amazing! Additionally, you will be in control of what your chickens eat and how they are raised.
Fresh eggs are rich and flavorful. The yolks are bright orangey-yellow in color, in contrast to the pale yellow yolks of store-bought eggs. The white is thick and gooey, not thin and watery. Additionally, studies show that fresh, pasture-raised eggs are packed with much more nutrition than commercially-raised eggs.
2. Recycling Food Scraps
Think about how much food is wasted in the average household. How often do you scrape half-eaten sandwiches, bits of wilted lettuce, and mushy apple slices into the trash? Be honest. Probably more often than you would care to admit. It is a fact of life in America that most families have more food in their fridges and pantries than they can eat before it spoils.
However, the nice thing about raising backyard chickens is that all those apple cores, stale saltines from the very back of the pantry shelf, and leftover chip crumbs from the bottom of the bag will not ultimately go to waste. They can become chicken food. Chickens are the ultimate recycling machines, taking almost any edible food scrap and transforming it into rich, delicious eggs, and fabulous, nitrogen-rich manure for your garden.
3. Bug Patrol
Suburbanites frequently enjoy watching wildlife like deer and raccoons in their yards. Because many suburbs are built on former forests and farmland, homeowners get to appreciate nature and love watching critters from their own back porches. The ugly part of Mother Nature, though, is that nasty ticks can hitch a ride on these animals to your yard, carrying diseases like Lyme and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
However, chickens love to eat ticks as well as other bugs in the yard. They will make a meal of spiders, beetles, snails, and harmful caterpillars. Control these pests in your yard without harmful sprays and poisons by letting your chickens dine at will.
4. Living the Country Life–In the City
While many people love the country life, actually moving to a farm is something that’s probably just impossible for most folks. Of course, watching a rodeo, listening to country music, and wearing cute boots are awesome, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who does these things wants to be involved in agriculture as a lifestyle. And that’s okay. There are some really hard parts to farming and ranching that many people just are not up for.
But if you buy a few backyard chickens, you can introduce your kids to the world of food production on your own terms and in a way that complements your own lifestyle. Go ahead! Enjoy your shopping malls, soccer teams, and manicures while still living the country life by adding a few laying hens to your family.
5. Chickens Are Hilarious!
Many people don’t realize how funny chickens are. Chickens have their own personalities. Some are calm and placid, others are more nervous, and others are quite assertive. The way that chickens interact is sometimes humorous and always entertaining. Just toss a few moldy berries into the yard and watch the pandemonium erupt as each hen tries to grab as many as possible, while running off to enjoy the bounty in private.
Chickens come in a huge array of colors, sizes, and conformations. From the slightly ridiculous Polish chickens with their crazy-looking crests to more traditional Orpingtons, and Rhode Island Reds, there is a breed of chicken that is perfect for your needs.
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