Raising backyard chickens is growing in popularity, whether you live in a rural area, populated suburban neighborhood or busy city. Call it a trend, call it a movement, and if it has not happened already, sometime in the future, some chickens may be hatching in a neighborhood near you. Why? Because as others have discovered raising backyard chickens can be very beneficial for many reasons.
A permit isn’t required to have chickens. But there are laws that vary per city on how they should be kept. If you are considering raising chickens, the first step is to check on your municipality’s chicken L.O.R.E. (Law and Ordinances and your Rights and Entitlement). Some cities for example may only allow hens.
Today's backyard chicken may be considered a companionable pet by some, but it's also indicative of a movement toward a new way living. People want to be more self-sufficient and be close to their food. What are just a few of the benefits of raising backyard chickens?
- Farm-fresh eggs are more nutritious and fresher than store-bought factory eggs.
- Chickens raised for meat can be better tasting, without chemicals and hormones.
- Chicken manure can be used to naturally fertilize gardens.
- Chickens are great pest control: They will eat almost any type of bug.
- Chickens can be fed scraps of food that would usually be thrown away. They then produce more manure to compost your garden.
- Raising chickens is a great learning experience for children, who can feed the chicks and gather eggs.
- Chickens are easy to raise. They require nothing more than a few minutes a day to provide fresh water, food and egg gathering.
Why would you not prefer to eat chemical free eggs? With certified organic chicken feed available, you can keep your chickens healthy while supporting sustainable farming. You can even sell your fresh eggs for extra income.
No matter the setting of your home, however, having the right environment for chickens is essential. Chicken coops must keep the chickens in and the predators out. Chickens also need space and a place to run. The standard rule is that each chicken needs at least two to three square feet of space in the coop, and another three to four square feet in the run. Because chickens are social animals, we suggest having at least two to six chickens.
Chickens are fun and playful as pets, the way they run, waddle around and follow you. They are a great way to make you laugh, especially after you give them a name. The different breeds of chicken vary in egg laying and personalities. Brown-egg-laying chickens are more social, typically, which can be fun for children. Having a variety of breeds in your flock is perfectly fine.
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