and self-reliance is one of the hottest trends out there, even reaching
to the urban farm movement. While the average homeowner may not be able
to swing a fully self-sufficient homestead in their suburban backyard,
you can make the effort to grow and raise your own food. If you've been
on the fence about building a coop and investing in a few chickens, here
are ten of the reasons why you should seriously consider taking that
Fresh Eggs– Many new chicken owners took the
plunge solely to reap the benefits of having a steady supply of fresh
eggs. What often comes as a surprise is just how many eggs you can
actually collect. If you want a reliable stream of fresh, additive-free
eggs, keeping chickens is a wise move, indeed.
Reducing Waste– A single chicken can recycle
roughly four pounds of kitchen waste in a single week. If you're not a
composter and have several chickens, you'll find that your kitchen waste
is reduced dramatically with the addition of these feathered garbage
Fertilizing Vegetable Crops– Chicken manure is a
nutrient-rich source of fertilizer for all manner of crop plants, and is
an absolutely organic growth-boosting solution. Cut the chemical
fertilizers out of your gardening routine and opt for the plentiful
resources right in your own backyard, provided that you have chickens on
hand to supply your needs.
All-Natural Pest Control– Insects are a special
treat to chickens, who will forage for them endlessly. That means that
the Japanese beetles decimating your tomato plants will be gone in short
order when there are a few chickens flitting around the backyard.
Additive-Free Meat– While some families may not
relish the idea of eating their pets, those who do raise chickens for
meat are able to enjoy fresh protein that has not been contaminated by
antibiotics, steroids or hormonal therapy. You'll know exactly where
your meat came from and what it contains, and most cities do have
slaughterhouses where you can get someone else to do the dirty work for a
relatively small fee.
Teaching Kids Responsibility– Children who care for
animals gain a sense of responsibility and compassion. Keeping backyard
chickens and getting kids in on the effort of caring for them not only
helps to lighten the workload for you, but also teaches kids the
benefits of animal husbandry.
Instilling Good Stewardship Skills– In order for
kids to learn the importance of caring for the environment and the world
around them, they need to have a practical application of stewardship.
Knowing the cycle of life, where eggs come from and how important it is
to take care of the animals that supply their food is a strong lesson in
stewardship that will instill those values.
To Do Your Part for the Environment– The eggs at
your local supermarket have been shipped by truck, releasing fumes into
the air and gobbling finite fuel sources the whole way. Kitchen waste
that isn't composted goes into a landfill. Fertilizers contain chemicals
that can contaminate groundwater. There are a host of environment evils
that can be reduced significantly on the personal level by keeping
Sourcing Cruelty-Free Food– When you grab a carton
of eggs and a bag of frozen chicken breasts from the grocery store, you
have no way of knowing whether or not the animals who supplied them were
treated humanely and ethically. Knowing where your food comes from and
raising your own chickens allows you to source it from cruelty-free
methods. Keeping chickens is good for your family, good for the
environment and good for your conscience.
For Fun!– The surfeit of eggs and high-quality
fertilizer that comes with keeping chickens aside, they're also fun and
entertaining pets. Their social hierarchy is firmly established, which
can also be a learning experience for kids and adults alike.
There are scads of benefits to keeping your own chickens, but
you should first make sure that there are no local ordinances preventing
you from doing so in your area. Some metropolitan areas will allow
residents to keep small backyard coops that house hens, but prohibit
roosters due to noise issues. Make sure that you're well apprised of the
legal implications of keeping chickens in your area before you build a
coop and start stocking it with feathery egg making machines.