10 Reasons To Keep Backyard Chickens (And Ducks)
If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen that we recently acquired some backyard chickens and a few ducks. I’m kind of in love. When we first bought our house, we inherited chickens and they became my new favorite pet. They kind of are like pets – not the cuddly kind, but the useful kind. So many people have asked us why we got ducks this time around and my answer is the same… “Why not? They also lay eggs?” They are super fun, and because they are around the chickens so much, they think they are chickens. Adorable, right?
There are so many things to love about chickens and ducks. Is there anything better than farm fresh eggs? Yes, frozen custard made with those eggs.
10 Reasons Raising Backyard Chickens is Awesome
- Entertainment. I remember with our last batch of chickens, one found a mouse and was running around the yard with it while the other chickens tried to chase him down. One chicken would escape from the coop constantly. As soon as she would see me and I would say, “Tiny, are you supposed to be out?” she would waddle over to me so I could put her back in the coop.
- Eggs. Healthier eggs, at that. Chickens are not meant to be vegetarians (contrary to what the grocery stores want you to believe and advertise). You will see that, when they eat a variety as pasture-raised chickens, the color of the yolk is deeper and the taste is, well, tastier.
- Less waste. We feed most of our leftover organic produce to them, which lowers the amount of trash we are throwing away daily.
- They are an almost self-sustaining compost bin. You don’t have to turn it over or anything, since they do that all for you. Just throw your food scraps, weeds, and grass in there, and they scratch, eat, and poop all over it. Wonderfulness.
- Meat. If you can do it. Once they stop laying, a lot of people will kill their chickens for meat. We haven’t done this yet, and I don’t know if we ever will. Maybe if we start raising meat birds (that might be stretching it though).
- Help keep the bugs down in the yard. Chickens love bugs, and I hate bugs (the bad kind), so this is a win-win.
- Weed control. They love weeds, and I love feeding weeds to the chickens. They will also eat weeds around the yard if you let them free range.
- Great learning tool for children. Children get to learn how to take care of animals, as well as where our food comes from. Plus, collecting eggs is a fun and easy chore for children of just about any age.
- It’s pretty inexpensive after you get everything up and running. I know some people who don’t feed their chickens anything, but simply let them go free range around the farm. We don’t have enough land for that, so we still have to purchase food. Food is relatively cheap, depending on the kind you get. We pay a little more for organic feed, but you do what you fancy.
- Make some money or at least break even selling eggs. Our local co-op sells farm fresh, non-GMO eggs for $4.50 a dozen, which seems expensive to me. I know, I know. You are paying for the quality. Once the girls start producing, we could easily sell a few dozen a week, which should cover their food expenses. I’ve calculated that we will break even at about $2 a dozen when they are in full production. So, we usually sell the eggs for $3 to help cover the cost when production slows during the winter, as well as when they are young and not producing.
Have you had chickens before? Did you also love raising them?
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