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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Chickens!

Homesteading 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 leap.
  1. 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.
  2. 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 disposals.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 chickens.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.

Article submitted by  http://savings.whitefence.com/

4 comments:

daisy g said...

So many great reasons to have chickens. The entertainment factor alone makes it worthwhile! We're movin' toward the dream...

David said...

Marisa, your list of 10 benefits to raising chickens is great. Although, I don't have the desire to raise chickens in my Urban development, I'm sure they will be helpful to those who do. Living in an Urban environment has other things to think about. Even if the ordinances allow it, the neighbors just over the fence might not think it's such a great idea. The bird flu has really put an unjustified stigma on raising birds in the back yards of the city. I suppose if I was raising kids I might feel the same way. In my case the shepherd dogs next door would drive them crazy.

When I was growing up in the city over 50 years ago nothing hindered folks from having chickens or a few rabbits to supplement the dinner table. Today, if I was to slaughter a chicken in my backyard the Humane Society would at my door before I finished the process and I would most likely get a fine. It's kind of sad how far us city folks have become disconnected from the food we eat. The not so young generation just knows that meat comes from the store with no knowledge of what it takes to get it there.

Always glad to read a blog post from you.

marisa said...

Daisy, keep on moving towards the dream, you will get there!

Dave, it is always so great to hear from you!

roysfarm said...

Raising some chickens is also very pleasuring along with the above advantages.