Benefits of Raising Chickens
by Manda H
Published December 5, 2023
When egg prices went up in the Spring of 2023, a lot of people contemplated whether they should start raising chickens themselves, I read a lot of comments on social media from naysayers who wanted to discourage others from getting chickens. There is a lot to consider when deciding to get into chickens and oftentimes it surrounds the financial aspect.
“Do you know how long you have to raise chickens just to get eggs?”, “Do you know you have to take care of the baby chicks, feed and water them and provide them shelter every day of their lives?” and of course, “Do you realize that raising chickens for eggs can cost more than buying eggs at the store?”
All of the questions/comments had a point to them, but they focused primarily on the financial aspect of obtaining those farm-fresh eggs that we love so dearly. After raising chickens for the last 20+ years, I dare say, there are a lot of benefits to raising chickens that make them worth having around and it goes so much deeper than simply looking at the dollars.
The 5 most important things that chickens need are time, food, water, protection from both weather and predators, access to fresh water, and shelter. They are not able to completely care for themselves and they do come with needs. What does the chicken owner get in return? Glad you asked!
The Benefits of Raising Chickens
Farm Fresh Eggs
As you can imagine, eggs are the first thing most people think of when it comes to what a chicken provides back to their owner in exchange for meeting their chickens’ needs. It is very tangible and likely is the main reason you are raising chickens. There is nothing like the smell of your farm fresh eggs simmering up for breakfast in the morning to make that trek to the coop with fresh water and some feed worth it. But that is only the icing on the cake, they have more benefits yet!
Chickens can fill a niche in the life of someone who has depression or PTSD. They provide a wonderful therapeutic benefit to those who raise them. Yes, you can become a bit angry if they tear up your flower beds, but it is a very satisfying experience to raise a baby chick to become a hen who provides you with eggs for breakfast. They often provide companionship for those who are lonely. We frequently hear from customers who are getting a small flock of birds for their elderly loved ones because it gives them something to nurture and love. They are entertaining. I love sitting on my back deck, watching my chickens ranging among the grasses, occasionally chasing some bug or scratching under a tree. It is a very peaceful experience. When the stresses of life weigh us down, it can be very relaxing to watch how peaceful it can be to be a chicken. They do keep an eye on the sky and stay alert, but they get to spend their days wandering the yard for something to eat and something to do.
Reduction of Pesky Pests
Speaking of scratching under trees, chickens provide a wonderful benefit of pest control. When I first moved to my current home we had a huge problem with ticks. In my state ticks can pose a risk for Lyme Disease. 5 years of free-ranging chickens later, I cannot remember the last time I saw a tick on a human or my pets. It is wonderful to watch chickens go crazy over tent caterpillars or gobble up everything that moves when I move something that has sat on the ground for a short time. My chickens absolutely love following me when I put my garden in. They think the tiller is kind of like a taco truck of the chicken world. I try to tell them that the worms are mine and not for them, but they never listen to me. I figure it’s a trade-off because they love those large white grubs that can turn into Japanese Beetles, which are quite the nemesis to me due to the damage they cause to my fruit trees.
Adds Fertility to the Soil
Let us not forget that everything they consume must come back out. Chickens not only swipe at my grass, doing a little mowing one blade at a time but in their wake, they leave behind morsels of fertilizer. You will save money on having to buy fertilizer. If you are keeping your girls in a coop you can still build a nice composting pile to then shake out the composted manure on your lawn or to apply to your flower beds or under your fruit trees.
Sure, I shrug my shoulders when I walk past the eggs at the grocery store. I see that I could technically buy some commercially produced white eggs for $1.29 a dozen currently, upwards of $5.29 for a dozen cage-free brown eggs. I wouldn’t have to trudge outside in the middle of the night when I suddenly remembered I didn’t shut the chicken door. I wouldn’t have to brave the frigid winter blizzard to take my girls a bowl of warm oatmeal and collect potentially cracked eggs. I can’t imagine though, to have my whole experience with chickens be limited to simply touching the styrofoam egg carton and somehow be content. For me, I will always have a few birds running around the backyard; they provide so much more than just eggs.
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