When we were first blessed with our “Little Ranch on the Hill”, I was excited about the prospects of gardening, having our own animals and trying out a little “off the grid living”.
Almost 3 years in our little piece of paradise and the excitement hasn’t waned. My husband and I spend most of our free time outside on projects including garden beds, working the horses, building barns and more.
One of the first of the projects I insisted on was our beloved chicken coop. I had no idea that the benefits of having our own chickens would go well beyond egg production!
The Perks of Keeping Chickens:
• They are great pets! I have been amazed at how fond I have become of our little brood and how friendly they can be! We have 10 hens and 1 rooster.
Initially I was sure they would just be little egg production machines, but I found that I have a special relationship with each one and they seem to have their own little personalities.
Yes, I am that crazy “chicken-loving-lady” and I never thought I would be!
• Fresh, home-grown eggs are better for you. Free-range chickens that are properly cared for and fed well (ours get lots of herbs, kale, garlic and much more!) have significantly more nutritious eggs.
They have higher levels of Vitamin A and Beta Carotene, as much as double vitamin E and higher levels of Omega 3s.
• Your chickens provide opportunity to give. With 10 chickens we get about 10 eggs a day during their peak season. This is way too many eggs for just me and my husband which allows us to give dozens of eggs away – at least a couple cartons a week!
You would be amazed at the joy a fresh carton of eggs brings a neighbor or co-worker!
• Free fertilizer. This benefit was not something I thought much about at the time but have found that our little brood helps us garden! Things around our little ranch are growing so beautifully with the help of this beneficial by-product.
• They are great weed control. We have more weeds than we can keep up with but I find I am more motivated to get after that chore because they are our brood’s favorite treat!
I pull piles of weeds every weekend and they make quick work of disposing of them!
• They love our leftovers and help cut down on food waste. Chickens will eat most anything from last night’s leftovers such as:
- Salad Scraps
- Tortilla Chips
- Squash Rinds
There are a few things that should not be given so be sure to do your research!
• Pest control. Not only do the chickens love to eat bugs, but the egg shells we save help deter certain pests in the garden too!
I have even watched our brood hunt mice!
• They are well loved and well cared for. One of my favorite things about having our own chickens is I know they are loved and treated well.
It is our small investment into helping stop cruelty in big production facilities.
• Morning wake-up call. Norman (our rooster) not only has the typical morning cock-o-doodle-doo, but he is so social, he crows at you when he hears you are home.
I look forward to it every morning!
I have not found a down side to having started my backyard brood and wouldn’t change it for the world!