Does someone in your life need convincing of the many wonderful benefits of chickens? Send them this list. There are a plethora of reasons why those of us with backyards or homesteads start chicken keeping, and a near-constant supply of the freshest and best eggs you've ever had is just the start.
Benefits of Chickens
Raising chickens yourself for meat and/or eggs in your backyard or homestead has so many benefits. Let's go through some of the many ways that chickens can improve your life.
Your Own Organic Eggs
Collecting eggs from your own backyard is a unique and rewarding experience that cannot be compared to anything else. These eggs are not like any other eggs you've tasted before. They are the freshest, most flavorful, and nutritious eggs you could ever eat. By raising your own chickens, you can control the feed and treats they receive, and even make fermented chicken feed for added benefits. Unlike store-bought eggs, these eggs are richer in taste and texture.
A Spectrum of Egg Colors
Have you ever seen a blue egg? It's quite a marvel. Breeds like Ameraucanas and Azure Blues lay these beauties. It's not just about the novelty – these colorful eggs add a touch of magic to your breakfast table.
Beyond blue eggs, there are pink, purple, green, every shade of beige and brown, speckled, and more. It's truly incredible.
Some people raise chickens primarily for egg-laying, others for meat, and many choose heritage dual-purpose breeds to raise for both eggs and meat.
If you've ever tasted chicken meat from your own flock, you'll know it's leagues ahead of what you find in stores. Especially if you're raising them free-range. The meat has a depth of flavor that store-bought chicken simply can't match and you have the satisfaction of knowing exactly where your meat comes from.
Your garden will love the chicken manure. It’s packed with nitrogen and works wonders in compost piles. It’s free, it’s effective, and it’s a great way to recycle waste. If you implement something like the deep litter system for coop management — and I highly recommend that you do — you will make incredible, abundant, and easy compost that can be used to grow your food.
When we moved to our homestead, that first spring hit us with a ton of mosquitoes each dusk. Then suddenly, one day, I noticed they were gone. It was the chickens and ducks decimating the larva populations and even snatching them right out of the air come dusk.
The relentless rains we have had each year saw earwigs coming out in droves — and the chickens went crazy hunting them down in the grass. I've even witnessed them catching and eating MICE on more than one occasion. One of the definite benefits of raising chickens is great pest control.
Earn A Side Income
Selling eggs or meat from your chickens can be a nice way to earn some extra cash. With people increasingly seeking out organic, home-raised poultry, there’s a growing market for what you can offer.
You can sell your fresh eggs, meat birds, fertile hatching eggs, day-old chicks, or even ready-to-lay pullets right from your own home. With the rising popularity of keeping chickens, this can become a nice source of extra cash. Certain breeds command very high prices if you're interested in selling hatching eggs or live chicks.
Not only can you recoup your costs from starting your own flock of chickens, but you can earn some great money here. Getting your children involved is also a great way to teach them about business and entrepreneurship in a very hands-on way.
Taking Control Of Your Food Supply
In these times of food scandals and rising costs, there’s a reassuring sense of control in raising your own chickens. You know exactly what goes into your food, and that peace of mind is priceless.
Have you noticed rising food costs and shortages?
Have you heard about or read about the various food-related controversies and scandals?
Take control of a small part of your food supply by producing it for yourself and your family on your terms. You will know exactly what is going on.
Raising your own chickens is an act of self-sufficiency that gives you peace of mind. I was blown away at how easy it was. How much cheaper it was to do. We had more eggs than we knew what to do with — so much so that we had to give away and preserve all of our excess eggs! And we are a family that eats a lot of eggs to begin with.
After the growing season is done in the annual garden, the chickens and ducks are released inside to pick at the bugs, plants, and weeds that remain behind.
Chickens will also eat many types of weeds in their daily foraging journey. Sure, they may also eat some of the plants you don't want them to eat, but there are ways around that.
Kitchen Scrap Waste Disposal
Those kitchen scraps you’d normally throw away? Your chickens will turn them into eggs. It’s a satisfying cycle – reducing waste and feeding your flock.
There’s a unique kind of pleasure in just watching these birds. It’s a connection to nature that’s both grounding and delightful.
I have spent hours outside alone and with my family just staring at my chickens living their lives. It's one of the benefits of raising chickens you don't generally think about, but it is a big one.
I find that spending time with my chickens is incredibly calming. It's a break from the hustle and bustle, a moment just to breathe and enjoy the simplicity of life.
Speaking of getting outside, is there a better way to reduce stress and let your mind wander than sitting outside on a peaceful sunny day watching chickens scratch and peck in the grass? Try it; it's a lovely way to spend a few hours.
Way Less Maintenance Than Other Pets
I have cats and have had dogs. They are WAY more work and maintenance than a flock of chickens. Even when my chicken and duck populations get as high as seventy or so birds in the summer, the daily work was not that much.
Great Tool To Introduce Responsibility In Your Children
As a little girl in Croatia, the chickens were my responsibility. From the time I was 3 years old, my mother would send me out each morning with a basket of yesterday's kitchen scraps to feed the chickens and collect the eggs.
Now, my toddler son does the same and proudly presents me a basket of eggs each morning.
Unlike dogs, which require considerable training and daily walks, chickens largely take care of themselves. They make for a great starter animal and are a great teaching tool.
If you decide to incubate and hatch your own eggs and brood and raise your own chicks from day-olds, your children can be a vital part of this process as they learn about the egg-chicken life cycle first-hand instead of just through books.
Candling an egg for the first time to see life pulsing inside is exciting for children and adults alike.
We can all do better for ourselves and our families by becoming self-sufficient. And it doesn't require a homestead like mine or a large farm. Growing food, starting a survival garden, and raising small livestock like sheep and chickens don't require much space. If you have a yard — you can raise chickens.
The question of legality is a separate issue, but groups of committed people have changed ordinances and laws before, and so can you if your township doesn't allow them. Also, fences can sometimes be enough — just saying.
Build A Community
There is a whole community of passionate backyard chicken keepers and homesteaders. Frequently, we overlap and exchange valuable information and goods. Since moving out into the country, my family has started producing our food but also sharing it with friends, family, and neighbors. It has led to many valuable connections and friendships with like-minded people.
A strong community is vital for happiness, contentment, and survival — we can't do everything alone.
It's Cheaper & Easier Than You Think
Raising chickens has been more than just a hobby for me; it’s a lifestyle that brings daily joy and ongoing learning. It’s about more than just the eggs and the meat; it’s about connecting with a simpler way of life, understanding the rhythms of nature, and the satisfaction of caring for these fascinating creatures. If you’re on the fence about it, I encourage you to give it a try – it’s a rewarding experience that offers something for everyone.