Chickens are a fantastic addition to the homestead. It’s completely bewildering to me why more people don’t have these quirky little birds hopping around their yards. Whether you’re more interested in eggs or keeping chickens for meat purposes or for laying, there are plenty of benefits to having chickens clucking around your yard.
Here are ten reasons why you need chickens:
1. You’ll always have fresh eggs
Eggs are delicious and nutritious, and there’s nothing better than a fresh egg that was laid that morning. If you buy eggs from the store, they are likely as much as six weeks old and, generally speaking, won’t taste anywhere near as yummy.
2. You are guaranteed organic, cruelty-free, non-GMO food
Since you’re the one raising them, you have complete control of their diet, how they are raised, what antibiotics (if any) they have been exposed to… the works. In short, it’s kind of like doing anything yourself—you can ensure that your family is only getting the best if you raise your own food.
3. They are more nutritious
Remember the part where you’re controlling every part of the chicken’s diet? Well, you can keep your girls on a balanced diet which will be passed into the eggs that you consume, making them more nutritious. Same goes for meat chickens; they will also be healthier for your family and probably taste better too.
4. They provide natural pest control
Chickens like to scratch and they love eating bugs. If you let your chicken free range, you’ll be amazed at how fewer bugs you’ll have and how healthy your chickens will be from munching all those pests. I’ve also heard people claim that chickens helped reduce weeds in the garden, but I’ve never let mine anywhere near the garden for fear they’d dig it up.
5. They give free fertilizer
Chicken manure is a great fertilizer and, when composted and added to your garden, can really give your soil and your crops a boost. It’s the cycle of life!
6. You’ll have less food waste
Chickens can eat scraps from your table, which means that you’re throwing less away. Of course, you’ll have to be careful not to give them too many treats, but every now and again it’s not a bad idea. Just be sure you learn what foods you should never feed chickens.
7. They’re easy to care for
Although chickens are a little expensive when you first get them (you have to set up a coop and everything), once you’re established they are some of the simplest farm animals to care for.
8. It’s educational for kids
Taking care of animals is good for building a sense of responsibility in children, and it also helps kids learn that some things are better done yourself rather than relying on others. Additionally, it helps kids have more of an idea of where food comes from, so when someone asks where eggs come from, they won’t say the store!
9. It’s a step towards sustainability
Having any kind of livestock—be it cows, pigs, chickens, or even rabbits—is a step towards self sustainability; especially if you butcher your own (which is basically necessary when we’re talking chickens).
10. They have great entertainment value
Chickens are kind of hilarious. You’ll be amazed at how much personality they have, and watching them scratch around the yard and enjoy treats is actually a lot of fun. Each chicken has quirks and watching them run around will be fun for not only you, but the rest of the family too.
So why do you have chickens? Leave me a note below!