Top 10 Reasons to Keep Backyard Chickens

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It’s time to talk chickens (OK, so the saying might be that it’s time to talk turkey, but let’s save turkeys for another article. Today, it’s all about chickens!) Chickens are a terrific way for almost anyone to get plenty of health benefits and enjoy the heck out of doing it, all at the same time.

Have you thought about getting your own chickens? You might not have thought of chickens as pets, but they have tons of personality and are extremely easy to care for. You don’t need a rooster, unless you want to make more little chickies, of course, so you don’t have to worry about your neighbor complaining. All you need is a little bit of space- even a rooftop will work! If you have a small yard, a big yard, or even just a side garden, those will all work, too!

Still not convinced? Check out the top 10 reasons why you should keep a few backyard chickens.


1. Fresh, Organic Eggs

OK, let’s get the obvious one out of the way. Most people keep chickens for eggs. When you collect eggs from your own birds, you know you are getting free range, healthy eggs from healthy birds. You can get a variety of birds and get different colored eggs, almost like having a miniature Easter egg hunt every morning! You will never equal the freshness or the quality of an egg from your own chickens. You can eat an egg that is literally only hours, or even minutes old. Store bought eggs are often 6 weeks old already by the time you get them. Eggs from your own chickens are so much more nutritious than eggs from caged hens, hands down. Find out eggs health benefits.


2. Know What’s in Your Food

So many factory-farmed chickens are fed complete crap. These companies give them the cheapest junk they can find because they don’t care about nutrition, they only care about making an extra buck. When you have your own chickens, you know exactly what they are being fed so you can feel more confident knowing your birds were not fed GMO or soy. You can customize your chicken feed so you can have the highest quality eggs possible. If you choose to butcher your chickens for meat, you will find that free range birds not only taste better, they are also much more nutrient dense than caged birds. Nothing beats the peace of mind of knowing that there are no diseases, no antibiotics, and no growth hormones in what you are eating.

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3. Exercise and Health Benefits

You might be wondering what exercise you can get from chickens, but have you ever tried chasing after one? It’s nice to go outside and get some fresh air every day, collecting eggs, checking up on your chickens and their health, feeding them and giving them fresh water, no matter what the weather. Even if you can’t devote a lot of time to them, chickens will at least get you up and out of the house, doing a few chores, even if it’s just for 30 minutes.


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4. Responsibility and Education

Raising and caring for any animal is a great way to teach children responsibility. It’s also a great way to experience exactly how our ancestors used to rely on taking care of these birds for food and eggs. Should you be able to keep a rooster, it’s fascinating to watch momma hen hatch her eggs, watch over her chicks, then watch the chicks grow from little colored fuzz balls to beautiful hens (or roosters) that will lay more eggs. This is a great educational tool for children to understand the circle of life and how living things grow.


5. Entertainment

If you have never really been around chickens, you will be surprised at just how funny they can be. Like dogs, it doesn’t matter how much they have eaten, you can throw them some tasty scraps and they’ll run after them as if they are starving. If one finds a nice worm or insect, a chicken’s best friend will come and take that worm right out of her friend’s beak! Chickens do fight on occasion, but it’s rarely anything serious. You will find some of your birds like to hang out together, they make their own little cliques, and they often look like they are talking smack about each other. Once you sit and watch them for a while, you will find yourself endlessly entertained by their antics.


6. Space Saving

If you are concerned that you need acres to keep chickens, you will be happy to know that this is not true. Chickens actually take up very little space. If you are lucky enough to have some space for them to walk freely, great, but it isn’t necessary. Chickens need very little space and if you have even an average-sized backyard, you can keep at least a couple of hens.

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7. Lifestyle Choice

You will find that people who keep backyard chickens tend to be more self-sufficient than other people. They want to take more control of their lives and live in a more sustainable fashion. They most likely do other crafts, have their own vegetable garden, and have a positive outlook on life. Keeping chickens is a way of saying that you want to return to a more natural way of living and keep yourself more connected to the earth.


8. Chickens are the Original Recyclers

Chickens have been recycling trash into treasures since time immemorial. Give your backyard chickens your table scraps and old vegetables from your garden and they will turn that trash into eggs and meat. They will also give you plenty of fresh manure for your garden or compost pile.


9. Natural Pesticide

Allowing your chickens to walk freely in your yard and/or garden means no more chemical pesticides! Chickens live to eat bugs and they aren’t picky: grasshoppers, beetles, grubs, spiders, ticks, crickets, you name it and they’ll eat it. They’ll love to dig through your grass clippings too! If you have larger animals, such as goats, sheep, or horses, put a couple hens in their pens and maggots will be a thing of the past. They will remove every insect from a stable and look cute doing it.


SEE ALSO: Grow Your Own Herbal Salve Garden with These 10 Plants

10. Comfort of Self Sufficiency

Chickens will offer you a sense of self sufficiency you can’t beat. You can raise your own meat and your own eggs for so many uses. Most people will run to the store to stock up on chicken or eggs when they know there will be a storm or a power outage, but you won’t have to do that. Should there be an emergency, you have an important food source right in your backyard.

There are dozens of websites that will tell you how to get started with chickens, how many birds you can have depending on the amount of space you can offer.  With no grooming, no walking, no boarding, no poop pick up, no chewing on furniture or jumping on the neighbors, it’s easy to see that chickens are so simple to take care of, you will wonder why everyone doesn’t keep them.