Do hens peacefully clucking around your yard sound like the dream you always had to become a farmer one day?
Or does the sound of cock-a-doodle-doo in the morning get you excited?
Then the thought of keeping free-ranging chickens on your homestead or at your suburban property might have crossed your mind at one stage.
You definitely would love to have some backyard chickens, but is raising backyard chickens a good idea?
Well, we may be able to help you make that decision! There are a few pros and cons that you might want to consider first when having chickens roam around freely on your property.
First of all, ask yourself the following questions:
- Why do you want to raise chickens? Is it for meat, eggs, or just pure enjoyment?
- Are you prepared to attend to them daily? It requires some effort!
- Where will you keep them, and where will they roam and sleep?
- Who will look after them when you are not around?
When you know the answers and reasons, planning, decision-making, and commitment will be a lot easier. Raising chickens requires hard work, discipline, and routines like any other animal or pet.
Consider the pros and cons of backyard chickens before making your final decision. Let's look at them down below.
PROS AND CONS OF BACKYARD CHICKENS
- They are VERY entertaining and can be quite the comics. You'll have endless laughs by observing their mannerisms and going about their day. They'll also follow you around and love to be held, like faithful, loyal pets!
Did you know? Chickens are very smart. They can comprehend and judge situations, have problem-solving skills, and even have feelings such as worry and self-awareness.
- Chickens are great pest controllers. They will roam around all day in search of any bugs and critters. This helps hugely with keeping your grounds disease-free. If you have other animals, they also help keep flies away as they peck around in the animal manure. Bigger pests like mice and snakes should also watch out. Chickens will be unto them in no time.
- Daily fresh eggs! Research has shown that eggs from free-range chickens are lower in cholesterol and higher in vitamins and minerals. Eggs from pastured hens have four to six times as much vitamin D as chickens raised in confinement.
What if you don't eat eggs? More on that later.
- Chicken manure is excellent to use as compost for the garden and lawn. It contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, which are essential for healthy soil. Natural fertilizer is the way to go!
- They will gladly get rid of some of your kitchen waste. Chickens love any scraps and leftovers.
- Caring for chickens and chicks is a great way to teach your kids many things. Including how to care for animals, compassion, responsibility, and discipline.
- Chickens love to scratch and dust, making a big mess. Often right in your front yard, newly planted garden, or landscaped beds! So keep this in mind when you decide where you want them to roam freely.
- Your beautiful vegetable and flower gardens are not safe. These are the ultimate treats for them. Forget about your beautiful tomatoes and delicious strawberries if you don't chicken-proof it.
- Chicken poop everywhere you walk…
- Bringing us to the next point. This valuable manure for your gardens is more difficult to collect since it's all over your yard.
- Backyard chickens are exposed to natural elements and predators. You need to protect them against predators like dogs, raccoons, and giant birds like hawks and eagles. Ensure they have a coop or canopy under which they can hide when danger and bad weather are looming.
- Their coop needs to be cleaned regularly to prevent diseases and illness.
- They need quality chicken feed to ensure they are healthy. The average hen will eat 1/2 - 1 cup feed per day. So food expenses can add up.
- Keeping chickens may induce or flare-up allergies or respiratory problems.
- They need daily care and food and water refills. So you will always need to have someone tending to them.
- Chickens, especially roosters, may be noisy and wake you and your neighbors at an inconvenient time. Keep this in mind!
ALTERNATIVE USES FOR CHICKEN EGGS
If you live a plant-based lifestyle and don't eat eggs, here are a few clever ways to use them.
- Make scrambled eggs and feed them to our chickens. Ironic, yes, but they love it! It's such a good treat full of protein and other nutrients to give to your chickens. Make sure it is thoroughly cooked, though. Otherwise, they may develop an appetite for their own eggs…
- Mix crushed eggshells into our compost mix and soil for a calcium boost. Although eggshells will take a while to decompose, over time, your soil will reap the benefit, and it's better than just throwing it away, right? Crush your eggshells finely, bake them in the oven on low heat for an hour or two, then mix with your soil.
- Eggshells can be used to grow seedlings. It's a fun DIY project, the perfect activity to do with kids. Fill your egg halves with moist potting soil, plant the tiny seeds, put on a window sill in a warm sunny room, and spray with water often as the soil dries. When the first leaves have come out, remove the weaker ones and let the biggest seedling grow until it's too big and needs to be transferred.
- Donate your excess eggs to your local food pantry or sell them to grocers or local markets.
Keeping chickens in your backyard is fun and rewarding. But, it should also be carefully considered.
If you are ready to say yes to chickens and would like to learn more about raising chickens, we've got something that may help.
We have done all the work, tried and tested all theories and methods, and done all the research to be able to present this course to you. Thus, saving you lots of frustration and time trying to figure it out!
Here's what's included in the course:
Benefits of raising chickens
Building the perfect coup and routine care
How to care for baby chicks
What to feed to your chickens
Health & wellness concerns
Thought on roosters
And much more!
We know you'll gain much knowledge and benefit from it! If you wish to learn more, have a look HERE