Updated: Aug 18
Ever thought about adding a flock of chickens to your backyard as pets, for fresh eggs, or meat? Let's talk a little more about the pros and cons, and if backyard chickens are right for you!
Chickens provide lots of benefits, including but not limited to the delicious fresh eggs that are nothing like eggs purchased at the supermarket. Typically those eggs are months old by the time you get them, and even the organic "cage-free" eggs are a pale yellow and have a less desirable texture and taste.
Nothing quite compares to an egg eaten the same day it is laid, with its dark orange yolk and firm shell. Let's hop into the pros and cons!
Nutrition: fresh eggs and meat
Fertilizer: chicken manure is one of the most sought after fertilizers and is in high demand. If you have your own source, you can be sure that your home garden will be quite fruitful!
Compost: chicken manure is a fantastic addition to any compost pile, and chickens themselves are a great way to turn a compost pile. With their built-in pitchforks in the form of their feet, they are designed to scratch through piles of compost and aerate the soil.
Pest Control: if you have issues with ticks, fleas, mites, termites, or ants--get a flock of chickens! They are one of the quickest and most efficient ways to eliminate pests that live in your yard. While they roam and forage, they will simultaneously rid your yard of dangerous pests while they fertilize your yard and stimulate new grass growth!
Recycling: while chicken feed prices can add up if you solely feed them store-bought grains, the optimal feeding practice that has been practiced for centuries is simply feeding them table scraps and food scraps that are too far gone for human consumption. This allows you to convert overripe fruits and squishy veggies, and whatever you didn't finish from dinner earlier in the week and turn it into delicious eggs and meat. I can't imagine a better trade than the food I can no longer eat for some of the best food I could possibly consume.
Noise: chickens are not the quietest animals known to man, but they aren't the loudest either. Most cities do not allow roosters within city limits, so this is something to consider when making your decision whether or not to purchase chickens. Make sure you don't get a rooster and find yourself getting citations from the local authorities!
Smell: an improperly cleaned chicken coop and run will begin to smell like ammonia and death, so if you do not plan on properly taking care of their environment, do not waste your time getting chickens in the first place.
Pests: chicken manure is a tasty treat for flies that love to lay their larvae in it as well as bite the chickens and try to lay larvae in their skin under their feathers as well. It is important to maintain as sanitary an environment as possible to keep your chickens in tip-top shape and disease-free. Another important thing to do is add apple cider vinegar to their drinking water in order to prevent parasites from getting into the chickens' digestive tract. This cheap and all-natural de-wormer is a great way to keep your flock happy and healthy, as well as the eggs and meat that they provide you with.
I hope you find this quick list of pros and cons useful in your decision-making process when considering whether or not to start a backyard flock of chickens!
While they may be a great addition for some, they certainly are not for everyone. Please take the time to consider whether or not they are right for you before going to the local farm supply store and buying a bunch of baby chicks.
If you have any more questions or want to know the local ordinances relating to poultry in your neighborhood, reach out to me on my social media and I will either point you in the right direction or get you the information you need!