Though it may not be for everybody, there are many potential benefits to keeping chickens in your yard, whether they’re free range or in a coop. It can be rewarding in many ways, and it isn’t just about eggs! Though of course, that’s a big part of it. They can be good for gardens, they make great pets for the family, among many other things. They are surprisingly loving and affectionate, and anyone who has had properly cared for, happy chickens can attest to that. This list will go over just a few of the many reasons you should consider keeping hens.
There’s nothing better than cracking open a fresh egg over a skillet first thing in the morning. This is the biggest perk to owning your own chickens. Eggs are nutritious and extremely good for you, packed with vitamins, Omega-3, and Beta Carotene. Fresh eggs even contain less saturated fat. Plus, by keeping your own chickens and collecting their eggs, you aren’t contributing to factory farming, which subjects chickens and other animals to incredibly cruel living conditions. You can rest easy, knowing the eggs you’re eating come from healthy and happy hens!
An equally compelling reason to keep hens is to make compost. Your plants love it! Everyone who gardens knows the value of good compost, and chicken litter is one of the best fertilizers available. If you keep your chickens in a coop, you can just dump out the bottom right into the compost when it needs changing – easy clean up that makes perfect fertilizer. It is better for your garden than store bought, synthetic fertilizers.
Not only that, chickens are natural experts at tilling soil, perfectly mixing the top layer of soil with mulch. They scratch and dig constantly, and can help you dig up a nice garden bed. Raised garden beds grow more produce in a smaller space, and even require less water – perfect for the urban gardener.
Everyone hates those seasonal pests: flies, mosquitos, ticks. But not a chicken, they see a yummy protein packed dinner. Chickens will hunt and peck over the entire lawn searching for delicious little snacks. Keeping chickens near your garden ensures it’s fully protected from those hungry little pests like snails, that want to eat away at all your hard work. Not only that, chickens will eat many different types of weeds, and can even help out in the garden by serving as a post-harvest garden bed cleaner. It’s truly a win-win situation, your chickens stay well fed and happy, and your plants stay safe and healthy.
Have you ever heard of the love hormone, oxytocin? It lowers the stress chemical in your body and is unleashed when you hug someone you love, even if it’s just your cat or dog. It even holds true for hens. Many chicken keepers absolutely love their flock, and not just for their meat or eggs. Chickens can form a real, devoted bond to their caretakers, rushing them in greeting in the morning feedings, hopping up into your lap for pets or cuddles, and following you with a gentle cluck while you tend to your lawn or garden. There are even some hens employed as therapy chickens, just like dogs or cats.
The benefits to keeping chickens are endless, and far outweigh just having fresh eggs for breakfast every day. They can contribute to the health of your garden, the health of your soil and lawn, and even your own mental health. They make excellent pets, wonderful little animals full of love and affection. They even make perfect and nearly free pest control – just need the cost of the hen herself.