6 Points to Help You Decide if
Backyard Chickens are for You!
If you are a real food enthusiast who strives to eat real, fresh, healthy, local food, getting backyard chickens may have crossed your mind. Or the road. Or… well you get the point. And the point is that why should you buy fresh pastured eggs when you could simply walk into your backyard and retrieve them from a nest? Sounds pretty romantic, right? So, here are some things to consider if you are thinking about backyard chickens.
Studies have shown that pastured eggs are a far superior source of nutrition to conventional eggs from factory farmed chickens. They have:
• 1/3 less cholesterol
• 1/4 less saturated fat
• 2/3 more vitamin A
• 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
• 3 times more vitamin E
• 7 times more beta carotene
Con: Once you account for the cost of set-up, feed and upkeep, you may not actually save much money keeping your own backyard chickens. I don’t like math, but from what I have read from people who do, eggs end up costing the chicken hobbyist between $4 and $5 per dozen, which is probably what you would pay your local farmer for them. Plus, nobody tells you that the chickens don’t lay all year long and will take random breaks for bad weather, low light or to molt.
Pro: Are you kidding me?!!?!? You get freaking EGGS IN YOUR OWN BACKYARD!!! From your own chickens! It doesn’t get more local than that! Plus you have control of what the chickens eat, so you can choose to make sure they are not eating GMOs or unnatural diets. And fresh eggs are one of the most delicious and versatile foods known to man. Plus, everyone you know wants to be your friend now, because they want you to share your eggs with them. End rant.
Con: It happens and it stinks
Pro: It is great fertilizer. If it bothers you, keep your chickens away from your porch. But the truth is, everyone poops. Chickens are no eggception.
Pro: Backyard Chickens eat scraps, which is awesome. I don’t see a negative to this. It reduces food waste and the more scraps they eat, the less you have to feed them (this will vary depending on how much free space they have to roam).
Pro: As long as you don’t get a rooster (which is noisy and many places it’s not legal to have a rooster within city limits anyways) many times your neighbors won’t even know the chickens are there. And when they do, they will try to make friends with you to get free eggs. Or, alternately you can bribe them with eggs. 😉
Chickens eat bugs, so in my book, this is a huge pro. But hey, if you have a rare bug collection that you don’t want to feed to your chickens, perhaps this isn’t for you.
In my experience chickens do not eat kids, so you’re safe there. Kids generally love chickens and find them both entertaining and educational. It is important to teach them good safety and hygiene rules when dealing with chickens. Hand-washing is important. But overall chickens and kids can be a very positive experience.
What you need to know to get started with Backyard Chickens
Before rushing into it (you know you want to). Make sure you do your homework. Check with your city or municipality for the legalities (how many, how big of a space, etc). Then you will want to research what kind to get and how to care for your backyard chickens. The best resource I have come across is this e-book:
It is a thorough guide that covers every topic you can think of from care and feeding to housing and troubleshooting. It is simple, readable and very accessible to the average person who may or may not have experience with chickens. I wish I had read it last year when I was getting started with my chickens! I actually like it so much that I became an affiliate to sell it (that’s how excited I get about chickens). I cannot recommend it highly enough! Click here to check it out!
If you already have backyard chickens, you might enjoy reading Things you should never feed your chickens.
Please give me your best backyard chicken advice in the comments!
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DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor and the statements on this blog have not been evaluated by the FDA. Any products or techniques mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. I am just a mom who shares what works for me!