I have written another post detailing reasons you might not want to get backyard chickens. Please read both posts to get my perspective on both the pros and cons of getting chickens. Chickens are living things and they are not without
1. They lay eggs
Chickens lay your breakfast and they do so naturally. When you have chickens you will not have to buy commercial eggs. You might also have eggs to give away. The great part about this is that they don’t have to be hurt or killed to provide you with food. Chickens lay eggs automatically.
2. You know where your eggs come from
Yes, you can buy cage free or free range eggs at a premium. However, you are still hoping that there is truth in the labeling. There are many, many ethical and honest businesses out there, however, when you have your own chickens you don’t have to wonder. You know exactly the life your chickens have lived.
3. Your eggs are fresh
Your eggs are fresh. Eggs have a very, very long shelf life, especially when refrigerated. Eggs can last for months in a refrigerator. If you buy local eggs from a popular supermarket, most likely your eggs are somewhat fresh. However, you will probably never get eggs that were laid yesterday. With backyard chickens, your eggs can be just hours old.
4. Your eggs are healthier
Your eggs may have a higher nutrient quality than the eggs you buy at a grocery store. If your chickens have plenty of places to roam, have plenty to eat and have a stress free life then the eggs they lay will be higher in nutrients compared to chickens mass-produced for food.
5. You will give chickens a better life
Chickens are mass hatched and sold for food all over the world. Chickens are nothing more than a number, hatched to feed humans, whether for eggs or meat. Yes, when you have backyard chickens, you are guilty of that too, but the chickens are not a number anymore.
You personally see them and feed them every day, they have a coop and place to roam (ideally). If you buy your chicks then you have most likely saved the chicks from a very worthless life.
6. Make extra cash from eggs
You can sell your excess eggs if you want. I have just 5 chickens and during the spring and summer, they lay a total of 5 eggs per day. That is almost 3 dozen eggs per week. If your family eats the eggs your chicken produces then that is great. If not you can sell the extras for cash. Backyard chicken eggs are in high demand.
7. Teach your kids responsibility
If you have kids then having chickens can help to teach them responsibility. They can go out with you and feed them or feed them by themselves. This will also give them an appreciation of what it takes to bring food to the table.
8. Chicken can double up as pets
Chickens can double up as pets. If you don’t have pets, then it’s fun to raise chickens from babies to adulthood. They are not as affectionate as dogs and cats, but they can still be great pets. They get excited to see you and they get accustomed to you just like any other pets.
9. Chicken litter is reusable
Chicken litter is great for growing plants. Yuck, you say? Dried chicken poop is great fertilizer for your garden. It’s a lot healthier than buying synthetic fertilizers and can help you in having an organic garden.
10. You can recycle food
Chickens can eat scrapped food from your kitchen such as leftover bread., fruits, and vegetables. Why waste food when you can feed them to your chickens? This is the greatest example of recycling food. They eat your leftover food, then they produce eggs and the cycle continues.
11. Chicken eat unwanted bugs
Chicken eats all those crummy bugs that you don’t want around such as ticks. This is an all natural pest control which will help to keep your family safer and your gardens healthier.
12. Your friends will think you are awesome
Finally, backyard chickens will make you the hero among your friends and is a great conversation starter. Although none of my friends will raise chickens themselves, they are very intrigued in my desire to take this challenge on.
You’ve convinced me, now where do I start?
Chicken enclosure with heater
Baby chicks will need a brooder because they need to be protected in a warm enclosure before they are ready to greet the big bad world. A brooder is an enclosure with ample heating needed for chicks until about 6 weeks old.
Baby chicks need warmth, not just for comfort, but to stay alive. A warm brooder is especially important if you live in the northern part of the world. The brooder needs to be about 95 degrees in the first week of life, and the temperature can be reduced by 5 degrees every week afterward. Baby chicks need to be able to go in and out from the under the heated brooder as they like.
Adult chickens, however, should not be in a heated coop. They need to be able to survive the natural temperatures and not depend on an artificial source.
Chickens need a nice container to get their feed. Of course, you can always sprinkle the feed on the lawn and make them pick at it. But, a dedicated feeder is very convenient.
Chickens also need water. No surprise there. Chickens water containers can be super messy, so you can use the enclosed ones where they have to peck at the spout to get water. I must say though that my chickens took a long time to learn to use them.
Your baby chicks and adult chicks will need some bedding. They will need a cushy place to sleep and to lay. Usually, this can be in the form of hay or wood shaving.
Food needs to be acquired before the chicks, but since there is no setup involved the food can arrive the same day as the chick. Also, newly hatched chicks can survive for about 2 days with no food. They absorb the nutrients in the egg yolk before they hatch.
You are what you eat though. The quality of the eggs start with the quality of the feed.
Backyard chickens are like most things in life. They come