Farmers have been raising backyard urban chickens for over 3,000 years, but in the last 5 years, it’s become accessible for even the beginner farmer like you and me. With 380 million eggs recalled recently, raising chickens at home never sounded so reassuring. You will be able to raise them organically, free of hormones and antibiotics, and let them run around your yard verses being cooped up in a cage twenty-four hours a day.
You’ll get around 300 eggs per hen per year but the benefits don’t stop there. Here are several more benefits:
* Backyard chickens are healthier. As we mentioned above they are kept to confined areas, causing stress, fed and unnatural diet, and given hormones and antibiotics which affect the taste of the eggs.
*Backyard chicken eggs are more nutritious. They have 25 percent more vitamin E, a third more vitamin A, 75 percent beta carotene, and taste fresher.
*Small chicken coops are good for your compost. Chicken poop is high in nitrogen which is great for your compost bin and you can even compost the used egg shells.
*Backyard chickens are good for your garden. When not in their chicken coop, chickens forage the soil looking for yummy bugs, grubs, earwigs and the same bugs that eat your summer veggies and fruits. Plus they turn the soil and aerate it.
* Backyard chicken coops are a great lesson for kids. It’s important that kids have a connection to their food and understand the farm-to-plate chain. Plus they will love feeding them and collecting eggs from your coop.
You can point to many different reasons, but it pretty much boils down to three things for having a backyard chicken coop: food, fascination and family.
Also you can have the fun of picking what type of chickens you want to raise. With more than 100 recognized breeds, the sheer number of different body types is amazing. Chickens range in size from the 12 ounce Serma to big bruiser’s such as the 13 pound Jersey Giant. Feathers can be blue, red, orange, gold, brown, white, gray or black. Rhode Island Reds provide brown eggs, Leghorns provide white eggs, and Ameraucanas can lay blue, green or even pink ones. Brahma and Cochin chickens flaunt fancy feathered legs. A Silkie looks like a ball of fluff adorned with turquoise earrings. Chickens personalities vary as much as their colors. They can be affectionate, curious, loyal, adventurous, shy, aggressive or hard to tame. Be sure to study up on what type of chicken you may want before you choose what to buy.