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Why Raise Chickens

Raising a Flock of Chickens

Raising Chickens

When faced with listening to a 4am crowing alarm clock every morning, many people wonder, why raise chickens? Well, hopefully by the end of this article you’ll be asking yourself, why not raise chickens? In truth, there are many reasons why raising chickens is beneficial for you and your family, so let me touch on just a few of them.

  1. The first benefit is food production. I don’t know about you, but I love to eat! And what’s better than having fresh nutritious food available in your own backyard?
  2. Besides the many wonderful eggs your family can enjoy, many people choose specific breeds for the nutritious meat they can provide. It’s fairly inexpensive, and you know exactly what did and did NOT go into your chicken, making it safer and healthier for you and your family to enjoy!
  3. Speaking of fresh food in the backyard, did you know that your chickens can actually help you garden? Yep, its true! Chickens are great at preparing your garden bed by eating down the vegetation and fertilizing the soil with their manure. Plus you get the added bonus of healthier, happier chickens and a lower feed cost. Talk about a win-win!
  4. Here’s another win-win, raising chickens instills responsibilty. Whether you tractor, free range, or coop your chickens, they’re going to require some light maintenance. Watering, feeding and collecting eggs are great ways to get your little ones (and the whole family for that matter) involved in caring for livestock, and teaching them work ethic at the same time.
  5. Finally, chickens can make great pets too. Believe it or not, chickens have a personality all their own, and you’ll be surprised how often you’ll catch yourself watching and interacting with these lively creatures. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself smiling when you hear that 4am alarm clock crowing, because it will remind you of the beautiful creatures that await you outside.

Chicken Eggs

Chicken EggsLets face it, if you’re like most people, this is the main reason that you want chickens. Yes, chickens can be nice pets, and yes they can be used for a whole slew of other purposes, but lets be real. We use eggs, a whole lot!

They’re in almost every baking recipe known to man, they’re in our homemade breads, cookies, cakes, custards, french toast, salads and let’s not forget, they’re one of the most popular breakfast foods out there. With Americans eating them on an almost daily basis, it’s no wonder that we would want to produce our own.

Eggs that you harvest from your own flock are easily accessible, fresh, nutritious and, if you choose, completely organic (not to mention fun for the kids to collect!).

Home Grow Eggs Vs Store Bought EggsDon’t believe me? Take a fresh egg from a backyard chicken and place it next to one from the store.  Now crack it open. The difference in the color of the yolk and consistency of the whites is testament alone.

In addition to the health benefits that you can get by eating eggs from your own chickens, is convenience. Once your hen starts laying eggs, they do so on an almost daily basis, with the exception of molting season.

Multiply that by three or four hens, and you’ll have plenty of eggs for all your baking and cooking needs. Fun tip: they also make great gifts when visiting a neighbor, friend or family member!

Many people are now interested in chicken eggs from a marketing stand point as well. We’ve all been to the grocery store and noticed the additional dollar for the coveted dozen of brown eggs. Well, someone had to provide those eggs, and often they come from a local producer who works out of their own backyard.

Chicken Meat and Meat Chickens

Meat ChickensAs I’ve mentioned before, many people raise chickens specifically for their meat. There are specific breeds which are best if you’re looking just to get meat from your chickens, or you can choose a breed that can provide you with both eggs and meat production.

I’m sure you’ve heard about the horrors of what commercially grown chickens go through before they make it to your table. What’s also very concerning to most consumers is the added hormones, growth enhancers and antibiotics that are placed into those chickens that inevitably make it onto your table.

Compare that to the idea of raising your own chickens. The chickens are in a yard instead of an overcrowded factory. They’re given a specific chicken feed that you’ve chosen for your particular preferences and needs. Feed can even be supplimentary, if you choose to freerange your chickens. They’re healthier because they are getting a variety of bugs and plants as well as their feed, and they’re building their own immunities.

You have an essentially chemical free, organic, healthy chicken that you can feed to your family, providing you with the peace of mind that they are safe from the hazards of store bought meat. It’s no wonder that raising meat chickens is so popular!

Gardening and Fertility

With Garden grocery prices continually on the rise, its always nice to be able to cut prices with fresh fruits and veggies right out of your own backyard. Not to mention the peace of mind in knowing that they’re safe and chemical free. However, often times with gardening, our soil can become depleted of its nutrients and over time lose its fertility. But don’t worry, if you have chickens, they can help you with that!

Chicken tractoring is a great way to supplement your chicken’s feed while at the same time putting them to work for you. A chicken tractor is a moveable coop with no floor, allowing you to move the chickens to areas that you want fertilized by your chickens. They’ll basically act as a natural tractor, preparing your soil by digging in it and eating away the existing vegetation, while leaving behind fertilizing manure, which is great for your soil!

Another great way that chickens can help you with your garden soil is through a method called a paddock shift. With the paddock shift method, you have sections of the yard split up, and you move the chickens from section to section, typically with one week intervals. This allows them to dig and fertilize your yard without using a coop.

Composting is yet another way chickens can help you with your garden. An easy way to compost is to lay out some hay in your tractor coop or nesting area. These are the places that the chickens spend most of their time, therefore this is where most of their manure will be. Having the hay allows the manure to build up underneath and create rich soil. About twice a year you can harvest that rich fertilizer and use it to help the plants in your garden.

Raising Chickens Instills Responsibility

Girl Collecting Chicken EggsInstilling responsibility in our children is one of our most important jobs as parents. Raising chickens is a great way to aid you in this endeavor. Like any pet or livestock animal, chickens require various types of maintenance, and most, if not all of it, is something that your children can help with.
From learning to handle and raise baby chicks to providing clean and safe nesting boxes and homes, you and your family can share in learning responsibility, while experiencing the joy chickens have to offer.

All living creatures require their basic needs to be met in order to survive, which is a great place to start when teaching your children to be responsible chicken owners. Having the kids feed the chickens and check their water every day is an important and necessary chore.

Keeping your chickens alive and healhy should always be your number one priority, and having children help out in this area will teach them the importance of being a responsible livestock owner.

One of the most exciting responsibilities (and probably a good place to start for the little ones) is egg collecting. Children get the opportunity to daily collect eggs, and learn about the importance of daily collection. They’ll also have the opportunity to learn how to properly interact with the hens while they are collecting their eggs.

Depending on how you keep your chickens, some other needs may require attention as well. Such as cleaning out the coop from time to time to ensure sanitary conditions. Or moving the chicken tractor everyday, so that the chickens have a new supply of plants to graze on. These are great chores for older children to do, and opens the door for them to learn about taking on a larger amount of responsibility as they grow.

Whether it be collecting eggs, feeding and watering the chickens, cleaning out their coops or tractoring their coops around, there are plenty of opportunities for children of all ages to learn about responsibility and caring for their chickens.

Pet Chickens

Pet Chickens With KidsWhen most people hear the word pet, their minds automatically go to the picture of a cat or a dog. But what about a chicken? Chickens can make wonderful pets while providing sustenance for your family at the same time.

From chicks to hens (or roosters if you so choose), these lovely creatures provide us with endless entertainment and joy. While raising chickens, you and your family will learn how to care for your chickens while building a mutual trust.

One of the main benefits of having pets is the joy they bring. Chickens are no exception to this. Holding baby chicks and watching them grow can be one of the most interesting and educational experiences for you and your family.

Experiencing a chicken come running when they see you and follow you around the yard can be a fun and humorous event as well. Each chicken has their own personality, and you’ll enjoy getting to know each of your chickens’ personal likes and quirks.

Another benefit of having chickens as pets is that they are fun for the whole family. Quality family time these days can be hard to come by, but having chickens is a great excuse to get the whole family together to take part in their care and make memories that will last a lifetime!

Final Word

When all is said and done, you will find that the benefits of having chickens far surpases any negative consequences that arise. From eggs to meat, to family time and responsible growth, raising chickens has lots to offer.

And don’t forget about the fun quality time you’ll have with your family, and the life lessons you’re all bound to learn together. Raising chickens isn’t just about having food from your backyard, its about building memories as well.

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