A bountiful vegetable garden, the scent of apple blossoms in the air, laundry on the line, perhaps the blissful sounds of children playing outside…the dream of homesteading. One key ingredient to this picturesque scene is chickens. There are so many reasons for any suburban family to consider a few chickens. Maybe, like me, you are completely on board the chicken train…but your spouse is still sitting in the station. Here are nine excellent reasons to sell them on chickens as a pet or farm animal.
Chickens are hilarious
Honestly, chickens are super entertaining creatures. Whether they are chasing a bug (or each other) or roosting in the most random places, they are always fun to watch. Chickens are easy to care for
Once you have your chickens settled in, they require about 2 minutes a day to collect the eggs and check their food and water, and about 20 minutes a weekend to change their straw. Compare that to a dog that requires daily walks, baths and other care!
Chickens provide delicious food nearly year-round
Our six gorgeous chickens are a variety called Plymouth Rocks. They have thrived for two winters with mild assistance. We have a heated water dispenser, and we put plastic up on the sides of the coop. That’s it! We still collect at least 6 eggs a week, even in the middle of the winter.
Chickens in your yard don’t harbor disease-causing parasites
Unlike eggs and chicken that hail from large commercial farms, your chickens will have freedom to roam, and safe living quarters. This can help keep them free from the diseases that plague many factory-farmed chickens. Important for your family’s health, as well as the animal!
Chickens are great for kids
See #1: Chickens are EVEN MORE hilarious when paired with adorable children. Our kids love the chickens. They have a deep understanding of where our eggs comes from, and love bringing the chickens treats from our kitchen. Eventually, the chickens will also teach them responsibility, as they will have chicken chores!
Chickens get rid of ticks and other harmful bugs
Have you heard of Lyme disease? Chickens eat deer ticks as well as any other bugs they can get their little beaks on. This makes your yard safer and more pleasant throughout the year.
Chickens don’t bark
If you’ve ever heard of a chicken louder than a neighborhood dog barking at all hours, let me know. Because you don’t need a rooster to get your hens laying, the only noise you’ll hear is a pleasant clucking. If your neighbors have concerns, we recommend plying them with free fresh eggs (aka “eggstortion.”)
Chickens (can) save you money!
Where we live, trash pickup is $2.00 per bag. Because chickens eat pretty much any food scraps, we have cut out almost a whole bag of trash per month. This is a savings to us, makes the eggs taste great, and it cuts down on a resource going into a landfill. Just for reference, we spend about $25/month on straw and feed for the chickens and yield about $36/month in fresh eggs. The initial payback on an investment for the coop ($300 is what we spent) is quite a few years, so you should not get chickens purely to save money on eggs.
Chickens provide nutrient-rich compost for your garden
Chickens eat trash, produce eggs, AND the straw you keep in their coop can be turned into the best compost you’ll garden will ever see. This by-product has increased the yield of just about all of our garden veggies.
There are so many more reasons to consider chickens than just these nine. But there IS one that may deter you. Chickens are very often referred to as the “gateway drug” for homesteaders. So don’t blame us if you end up with goats, pigs, or cows somewhere down the line!
My favorite little chickies (at Franklin Park Zoo)