Chickens! Chickens! Chickens are on my brain this week! Not to be confused with calling me a bird brain. We just got a new set of 18 chicks we are raising to be laying hens. They are so cute! Chickens are a great starter animal for a homesteader. They are relatively easy to care for and the benefits of raising them are great. I already told you all about how to get started with chicks. Now I am going to tell you the top 9 reasons why I think you should raise chickens.
1-Eggs- Ok, that’s kind of obvious but it is the number one reason most people raise chickens, to get eggs. (Not a fact, just my assumption 😉 ) There are many benefits to getting your own eggs from your own birds. You know that the chickens laying the eggs are healthy and the risk of getting sick from them is very low. You can raise different breeds and get different colored eggs (it is so fun to gather an assortment of eggs, like an Easter egg hunt everyday!). The quality of the egg can’t be matched by store bought eggs, and you know exactly what is in your food. These are a few of the benefits of having your own eggs which leads us to……
2-Knowing what is in your food- With the prevalence on GMO’s and chemicals in commercial livestock feed you can avoid consuming them by raising your own chickens. We choose to feed non-gmo (non-certified organic) feed and we also choose not to feed our animals soy. You can customize what you feed your animal to ensure the highest quality eggs you can get. Our chickens also free range and forage for food so their eggs are very rich and our meat birds are very nutrient dense.
3-Entertainment- Chickens are fun to just sit and watch. They can actually be quite comical. When you throw food scraps to them, they go after them like they haven’t eaten in a decade. They will also chase each other all around and take food right out of another’s beak.. Chickens will have a fight on occasion, I suppose they are establishing their pecking order. It is funny to see them stretch their necks up and puff up their wings and march around each other in a threatening manner.
4-Space- One of the great things about chickens is that they can take up a very small amount of room. This offers self sufficiency to someone who only has a backyard to homestead with. You may be able to raise a few hens in your backyard in a coop with a small run. If you are fortunate enough to have more space you can have a larger flock and possibly free range them. Raising chickens enables people to raise their own food in their backyard.
5-Exercise and health benefits- “Exercise?” You ask…… Yes, have you ever tried to catch a chicken that didn’t want to be caught? Give it a try, you’ll feel like you’ve had a good workout by the time you are done. You also get outside each day in the fresh air to take care of your birds. You will have to walk some distance, whether it be across the yard or across the farm to feed and water them. We all know that getting outside for even just a few minutes a day can greatly improve our mental and physical health.
6-Responsibility- Raising any kind of animal is a great responsibility for children and adults alike. When you have someone else who solely relies on you for their health and well-being you need to take it seriously. Adding chickens to your family homestead (be it a backyard in a neighborhood or acreage in the country) is a wonderful way to teach yourself and your children responsibility and discipline.
7-Meat- While we do not eat our laying hens we do raise meat birds from time to time. This is a wonderful way to again know what is in your food and provide your family with the highest quality meat possible. This also enables you to be more self-sufficient……
8-Self Sufficiency- Like I have stated previously raising chickens offers you a level of self sufficiency. You can raise your own meat for vitally important protein and your own eggs for so many uses. Most people run to the store to stock up on eggs if they expect a storm or power outages. Having your own food right in your backyard means that you don’t have to worry about that. You have what you need for your family right at home. That is quite the comforting thought for me.
9-Compost- Chicken waste is a wonderful addition to your compost heap. It is a very rich addition to help your garden to grow. It is important to have a good mix of compost materials to break down. Adding the chicken waste is a perfect mix in with other organic matter.
These are my top 9 reasons for raising chickens. What are your reasons? Did I leave anything out?
And just for the cuteness factor:
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