There are loads of benefits of keeping backyard chickens.
If you don’t have pet chickens – you need to – and here are the top 7 reasons why.
1. Eggs from backyard chickens – nutritional powerhouse
Eggs from backyard chickens are a nutritional powerhouse and can’t be compared to conventional eggs you find in the supermarket.
Thats because backyard chickens are able to roam free, eating grass, foraging on insects and are given vegetable scraps to top up their diet.
So called ‘free range’ eggs from the store often come from hens that are fed solely on grains, with limited to no access outdoors – let alone grass paddocks.
Studies show that eggs from truly free range – pastured hens are much more nutrient dense, with significantly higher amounts of good fats, vitamins and minerals.
2. Eggs – free from nasty stuff
When you raise chickens, you know exactly where your eggs come from and what conditions they are raised in. You know that eggs from your backyard come from happy, healthy hens that are free of antibiotics.
Intensive farming practices mean that commercial hens are stressed, often get sick and lack vitamin D (cause they often never see the light of day). To deal with the inevitable spread of sickness and disease caused by these conditions, commercial hens are regularly fed antibiotics.
Commercial eggs you find in the store are also washed in a chlorine based chemical solution which is absorbed through the egg shell surface which is porous.
3. Don’t support chicken cruelty and torture
Commercial egg factories are a system of cruelty and torture for chickens – who suffer as one of the most abused farm animal. It has been shown that chickens have a nervous system a lot like people. This means that caged hens which are stressed, sick and hurt – respond with abnormal behaviour like feather-pecking. To deal with this, caged chickens are tortured even more by cutting off their beak (debeaking) at a young age. A chicken’s beak has lots of nerves which means debeaking causes significant pain.
4. Family pet
Chickens make great family pets. They are not especially cuddly, but they are great entertainment. Chickens can be trained to come when you call them, take dust baths and have a clear pecking order which makes for some interesting antics. Backyard chickens are also a fantastic way to teach kids about food and where food comes from.
5. Eggs from backyard chickens taste best
Fresh backyard eggs taste amazing and can’t be beat. The yolk is richer and creamier and stands up a lot firmer than store bought eggs. If you have not tasted a fresh backyard egg, then you don’t know what you are missing.
6. Insect control
Chickens love to eat protein packed insects. They will even gang up to chase down a tasty bug. They are also known to eat ticks and love eating lots of the weeds that are a nuisence in your yard. They make for an excellent backyard “farm hand” and are the equivalent of an automatic pool cleaner, except they do a much better job.
7. Waste = food
Chickens turn waste into food like Magic! Rather than all the valuable nutrients and energy from your vegetable scraps ending up in landfill, chickens break it down and turn it into food (eggs) and fertilizer for your garden. It creates a mini natural ecosystem in your backyard.