My farming journey began with sheep then expanded to include chickens. Today I am going to be sharing 5 benefits to backyard chickens that I have learned. Some of these benefits are pretty obvious others you may not be considered.
1 of 5 Benefits to Backyard Chickens: Pest Control
Backyard chickens are wonderful at pest control. They can help maintain bug population in your yard and near your garden. Here at my home, we had a tick problem. You literally could not walk outside without picking one of the little blood suckers up. It was awful! My chickens really helped cure this problem. Last year was the first in a long time we could actually enjoy the outdoors without tick issues. The chickens also helped with beetles, spiders, worms, and any other pest they could get a hold of. They also exterminated many of my frogs around the house. I was not overly impressed with the frog exterminations because I actually enjoy listening to them croak.
2 of 5 Benefits to Backyard Chickens: Kitchen Scrap Garbage Disposals
Backyard chickens love to eat your kitchen scraps! This is a win/win situation. It keeps your kitchen and trash fresher and the chickens get a treat! My chickens love banana peels, squash, cucumber,crushed egg shells, any kind of berries and you can even feed them peppers! Chickens do not have the sense of taste that humans do so they do not feel heat when eating jalapeno peppers. If you feed egg shells be sure to break them up really good, you do not want your chickens to start pecking on their eggs. Helpful hint do not feed chickens raw potato because it can be poisonous to them. If you feed onion or garlic your eggs are likely going to have the taste of the table scraps so you might want to avoid these treats as well.
3 of 5 Benefits to Backyard Chickens: Fertilizer
Backyard chicken poop is like a diamond mine to your garden and plants. It is wonderful to use for composting. Chicken poop is high in nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. This is much better than using chemical fertilizer you purchase at stores. Chickens also dig through waste, soil and shavings to mix the best recipe for plants! I actually have my chickens in the spot where my garden is going next year. They are getting my soil prepared for planting, keeping grass from growing, and keeping bugs away!
4 of 5 Benefits to Backyard Chickens: Fresh Eggs for Breakfast
One benefit that most everyone thinks about is having fresh eggs. Fresh farm eggs are healthier because they contain more Omega-3 fats, Vitamin E and beta carotene than store bought eggs. Walking to the coop to collect breakfast also ensures you know exactly what is in and what has been done to the food you are eating. There are no chemical baths just a good old fashion water bath for my eggs.
There is no comparison for me when it comes to fresh farm or store bought eggs but not everyone makes the transition so easily. If you struggle with the darker fresh eggs try getting chickens that lay white eggs. A couple leghorns should do the trick. The white leghorn is the most widely used bird for factory egg farming. Other than what is done to the egg after it is laid you get the same thing on the table. Better for you food and a better way of life for your chickens!
5 of 5 Benefits to Backyard Chickens: Product an Income & Help Others
Once you have the eggs needed for your household you can share the wealth. You could pass some on to family members to help with their grocery budget or you could try selling your overage. I am currently using LSN, Facebook, and other social media in an attempt to sell some of my eggs. Remember I have 50+ hens so I have a lot of eggs! Not all my chickens are even laying yet so I can only imagine what I am in for!
If egg sales are not working or your not into the idea, you can raise and sell baby chicks. This could be a good income side stream in spring, summer, and fall. I do not recommend this in the winter because most folks do not want to raise baby chicks in cold weather, me included.
You can sell laying hens. If you are not attached to your chickens you can raise them to laying size and them sell them for more of a profit. Many people who are searching for backyard chickens want the eggs and not the chick raising experience. Laying hens will often sell faster than chicks. Figure up your costs to come up with an acceptable offer price. Just enjoy the chicken raising adventure recoup your fees and break even!
Meat birds are just one more option if the idea of slaying a chicken doesn’t bother you. Cut your own grocery budget by raising your own meat, help family, and sell some as well. If you raise birds specifically for meat purpose known as broilers, they mature quickly so you do not have a lot of time and effort in the process.
Backyard chickens have a lot they bring to the home front. In return for your care they will keep pests at bay, fertilize your garden, dispose of your kitchen scraps, provide you good fresh clean food and maybe even help you earn a bit of income. Their care is pretty simple. They need secure shelter, food and water. I feed scratch and layer crumbles once daily. Kitchen scraps are fed as they are available. The chickens then pretty much just do their own thing.
Reader’s Time to Share
Share your backyard chicken expertise! What are some ways you have found that your chickens benefit your farm and home? Do you have any other creative income streams you have been successful with? Let’s share our knowledge and help each other out!
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