Keeping small flocks of chickens in your backyard has a wide variety of benefits. Either because of the profit from selling fresh eggs or the option to know where you’re getting your food from, keeping backyard chickens is just becoming more popular nowadays. As it turns out, you may have a neighbor giving you nutritious, warm, fresh eggs for free.
Keeping livestock has been a long developed practice since the ancient times for food and the trading of goods. Whether its pigs, ducks, sheep, goats, cows, or other livestock, this has been a common custom that people around the world participate in, even in times of war and economic depression. Whether you are from a rural or urban area, keeping livestock is something that we have inherited from our ancestors which keeps us living day by day. Though keeping livestock such as pigs and cows does not really rhyme with today’s period, having backyard chickens is a hit to some people.
Below are some of the benefits of having backyard chickens in your area:
1. You know where your food comes from –
It is important to know that the food that you are eating does not contain any substances that can affect your health such as “chemically-raised” food. Especially in the case of eggs which have been labeled as free-run, nest-laid, free range, or cage-free which for some can mean that they came from factory farming. However, raising hens in your backyard means that you know where your eggs come from.
According to the Mother Earth News, pasture-raised eggs from chickens that were given space to peck for food are more nutritious that the industry-sourced eggs. Pasture eggs contain two to three time more omega-3 fatty acids and one-third the cholesterol of factory-farmed eggs.
2. Chickens are a natural pest for your garden –
In some circumstances chickens might ruin your plants and the design of your garden, but did you know that chickens are known to lessen and eradicate the population of termites, slugs, grasshoppers, fleas and rodents? This is because they clean up food sources that might interest them. Now that you know about it, it is recommended to let the chickens range around the garden, but you can also use chicken wire to protect your garden.
3. An instant excellent fertilizer –
Nitrogen is an exceptional element that gardens, yards, and farms need for the growth of plants. Chicken poop contains nitrogen that can make a great compost for your vegetation. Moreover, chickens are also known as recyclers since they can eat from your table scraps, any unwanted weeds, or garden clippings. This can be their supplement for day to day. Whatever scraps and weeds they eat can turn into fertilizer as manure which can be a valuable substance for your garden.
4. Reduce stress and serves as entertainment –
Studies have shown that tending chickens releases oxytocin hormones that can lower stress. In addition to that, it lessens blood pressure and reduces the feeling of loneliness.
According to the book “Zen and the Art of Raising Chickens,” authored by Clea Danaan, watching chickens increases mindfulness skills.
“Caring for chickens gets us outside regularly, and watching their methodical scratching and foraging around the yard slows us down and grounds us in the present, providing a meditative experience that can be difficult to achieve in our busy day-to-day lives, particularly in urban settings.”
Moreover, adults aren’t the only one’s who can be entertained by chickens. Kids are naturally curious and love to ask about animals such as chickens. It can also be a learning process for kids to help them understand the environment. Just be careful that they don’t get pecked by the chicken.
5. Used as a Therapy –
Foreman said that hens are actually employed as therapy chickens. They can be helpful to people of all ages. This can address issues such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, depression, psychiatric illness, and autism. That is because it has a calming effect that can help the symptoms of emotional distress, anxiety, or social frustration.
6. Meet new friends –
Having a conversation with your neighbor or someone who has backyard chickens can help give you a topic that you can talk about. You can also help each other in sustaining backyard chickens and exchange ideas for a better result.
It is really challenging to have backyard chickens but it is worth the effort. The nutritional benefits, profit, and sustainable living are just some of the advantages of keeping this kind of system.