Reasons to Raise Chickens
Once a chicken lover, always a chicken lover. That’s how it works. To begin your fling with a flock, here are a dozen good reasons to raise chickens.
Perhaps you’ve already made the exciting decision to raise your very own backyard chickens. Or, perhaps you are the neighbor of a friendly flock owner and are curious about what’s going on across the property lines. Or, perhaps you are considering chickens because you need a new hobby.
The truth is, everyone has their reasons for tending to a flock of chickens, but there may be a few reasons that surprise you. Here’s where most Murdoch’s customers fall:
#1 Fresh Eggs
Did you know that the eggs you purchase in the grocery store could be a month or more old? Yes, you heard that right. If the thought unsettles you, raising chickens can provide you with fresh eggs daily.
Eggs from backyard flocks have been found to be more nutritious than those purchased in the grocery store. In fact, here is what a 2007 study conducted by Mother Earth News revealed about the nutrition of a backyard, or “free range,” egg when compared to store-bought egg:
- 1/3 less cholesterol
- 1/4 less saturated fat
- 2/3 more vitamin A
- 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
- 3 times more vitamin E
- 7 times more beta carotene
#3 You Provide the Care
You know firsthand how your chickens are being raised and treated, which means you know the quality of the eggs and the well-being of the flock.
Did you know that chickens can recognize up to 100 different faces? It’s true. They also love to play; they dream, they mourn, and they love. And chickens will teach the whole family to appreciate where your food comes from. It’s quite the learning experience, and you don’t have to take them for daily walks.
If you are a gardener, prepare for the ultimate in fertilization. With its high nutrient levels, chicken manure is ideal in your garden or mixed into your compost.
#6 Pest Control
A yard abuzz with insects is the stuff of chicken dreams. Chickens love to snack on bugs and even small rodents.
#7 Less Food Waste
Cut down on your contribution to the landfill by feeding your leftover food scraps to your girls. If you go this route, follow a few simple guidelines. Chickens cannot eat all types of food scraps. Grains and veggies are generally safe.
Don’t Feed Chickens:
- Anything super salty. Excessive amounts of salt are highly toxic and produce wet droppings and wet litter, while reducing egg production.
- Processed foods. They are not healthy.
- Raw potatoes. They contain solanine, a toxin that can cause diarrhea, respiratory illnesses, convulsions, and death.
- Garlic, onion and other strong-tasting foods. They will not hurt the hens but will alter the flavor of their eggs.
- Avocado pits and skins. They contain persin, which is toxic to chickens and can cause respiratory problems.
- Coffee or coffee grounds. Coffee contains caffeine, which is a methylxanthine, a toxin that can cause a variety of harmful symptoms such as vomiting, panting, and hyperactivity.
- Chocolate. It contains methylxanthines theobromine, a toxin that can lead to a drop in egg production and, like sugar, cause overweight.
- Greasy foods. They are difficult for chickens to digest.
- Anything spoiled, rotten, or mold. These degraded foods can open up a variety of problems and illness, depending on the food.
- Raw meat. It can lead to cannibalism.
#8 Weed Control
Weeds like dandelions, clover, and lambsquarter are both nutritious and delicious for your flock.
#9 Sheer Entertainment
Chickens are funny, and each has a personality of its own. You will love watching them day in and day out. We know one grandma who giggles each time she sees a flock run across the backyard.
#10 A Super Project for Kids
Raising chickens is a kid-friendly project that provides some wins and losses, much like life. And kids can make extra money selling eggs! As a 4H project, raising chickens is ideal.
#11 Yard Cleaning
Chickens will eat nearly anything — weeds, small animals, insects, and whatever else pops up!
Chickens are a great source of fresh, home-grown meat, and a versatile main course or addition to a variety of meals.
Ready to start your own flock? A chick expert at Murdoch’s will be happy to help you. Or consult the Learning Center for assistance with topics such as what to feed your chickens and when, introducing chicks to your existing flock, general health, and much more.