15 Surprising Ways You Will Benefit by Owning Chickens

SURPRISING WAYS YOU WILL BENEFIT BY OWNING CHICKENS

Owning your own chickens will provide you with colorful farm fresh eggs and meat that are not only organic, but also healthier for you. Chickens will keep your whole family entertained while at the same time make you more aware of the food you are consuming and help you to become more self-sufficient.

1. Farm Fresh Organic Eggs

Get your chickens laying more eggs.Dollar Store Chicken Supplies -Wire Egg BASKET-OF-COLORFUL-EGGS
FARM FRESH EGGS FROM MY OWN BACKYARD

If you own chickens, you have access to an unlimited supply of farm fresh organic eggs. All you have to do is walk right out into your backyard and collect them from the nest boxes. It can’t get any fresher than that! (Supermarket eggs can be a few months old by the time you get them.)

The nice thing about owning your own chickens is that you are in control of what you feed them. By feeding them a high quality diet and allowing them access to bugs and greens on your property, they will provide you with eggs that taste better and are nutritionally better for you. (Supermarket eggs often come from hens that are fed genetically modified organisms, GMO, feed.)

2. Weed Control

DANDELION AND CLOVER LEAF ARE TWO OF MY CHICKENS FAVORITE WEEDS TO EAT!

Chickens can clear your weeds in no time flat. Just make sure that they have not been sprayed with any herbicides or pesticides before letting them have free range on your property. Below is a list of the top 10 weeds that homeowners can let their chickens eat to their hearts content as well as common poisonous weeds, shrubs, trees:

NON-POISONOUSPOISONOUS
DANDELIONSHOLLY
CLOVERPERIWINKLE
WILD STRAWBERRYOAK LEAVES AND ACORNS
FAT HENNIGHTSHADES
CATSEARLUPINE
SMARTWEEDFOXGLOVE
BITTERCRESSCASTOR BEAN
COMMON NETTLEBULL NETTLE
PENNYCRESSCURLY DOCK
ALFALFABLOODROOT
LIST OF TOP 10 POISONOUS AND NON POISONOUS WEEDS, SHRUBS, TREES FOR CHICKENS.

By feeding your chickens weeds, you are providing them with wonderful nutrients that their bodies crave. Think of weeds as a free nutritious treat that are filled with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients.

3. Excellent Pest Control

Chickens love to eat bugs of all sorts! Some of their favorites are spiders, cockroaches, grasshoppers, worms, termites, centipedes, flies, ticks among many, many other insects that they see running around. Bugs are a great, free sources of protein. It’s so fun to watch them jump into the air to snatch up a fly or chase each other around trying to get a worm!

We may see bugs and various insects as pests, but they are tasty treats for your chickens! Let your chickens free range around your yard and you can save some money on calling an exterminator.

CHICKENS LOVE TO FREE RANGE SO THEY CAN EAT A VARIETY OF DIFFERENT BUGS, LIKE THIS CRICKET.

FYI: Chickens can sense what their body is lacking or “needs” and will look for foods to fill that need. Also, unlike humans, chickens will only consume what they need for the day.

FYI: Most chickens instinctively know what is poisonous to them and will avoid it. Many poisonous plants have a bitter taste to them, so chickens that do decide to take one peck at it will decide to avoid it. But not all things that are poisonous taste bad. In fact, some are pretty tasty. This is why you need to take a scope of your land before you let your flock free range.

4. You Will Smile More

Backyard Chickens Mama - About Me Spending time with my chickens!
IT’S HARD NOT TO SMILE WHEN OUT SPENDING TIME WITH YOUR CHICKENS!

It’s true. Ask anyone that owns chickens and they will tell you that they are hilarious to watch! They will run up to you like you have a steak dinner for them when you are bringing them their food. And it’s so funny to watch them chase each other around trying to get a worm that one of them has hanging from their beak!

They know your voice. If you call them, the whole flock will come running from afar flapping their wings! They can’t get to you quick enough. Pure love.

Chickens can also be quite affectionate too. Try sitting out with them and you may have one jump up onto your lap and settle down to snuggle with you for awhile!

5. Entertainment for the Whole Family

You will never get bored if you choose to sit back and watch your chickens antics. Your chickens will provide entertainment for the whole family!

Watch them kick dirt up onto themselves as they dust bathe or hop up into the air to catch a bug flying in the air. Or how the “girls” all wait in line for one nest box, when there are 5 others to choose from.

Watching them eat yogurt is a hoot too. But don’t stand too close, because they have a tendency to get it on their face and when they shake their head it goes everywhere! They absolutely love their treats.

MEALWORMS EATING CARROT
I BREED MY OWN MEALWORMS TO SAVE MONEY ON CHICKEN TREATS!

Take turns throwing live mealworms out to your flock and your chickens will provide you with action packed entertainment. Mealworms are one of my chickens favorite treats and they will trample over each other trying to get them!

Because they are one of my chickens favorite treats, I decided to breed mealworms. I highly encourage you to breed your own mealworms for your chickens. It is easy to do and will save you a lot of money.

6. Income Source

For some people owning chickens can be another income source. Many chicken owners sell their eggs, baby chicks, older chickens and meat.

If you own enough chickens you can sell their eggs to friends and family. Word travels quickly. Before you know it, you will have your own group of returning customers. Backyard chicken owners have the advantage of being able to choose breeds that lay all different colors of eggs. There are not only the regular white and brown eggs that you see at supermarkets, but also shades of blues, greens and even dark chocolate browns!

You can also sell baby chicks. I enjoy incubating chicken eggs. I purchase a variety of different eggs to hatch out and then sell some of the chicks. I choose the varieties that you cannot buy at your local feed store. People are very grateful to be able to find chicks that will one day produce a blue, green or chocolate brown egg!

If you choose, you can also sell chicken meat. I have never done this part, but it can be a source of income.

Colorful Chicken Eggs in Baskets
PEOPLE REALLY ENJOY BUYING A CARTON FILLED WITH BEAUTIFUL, COLORFUL FARM FRESH EGGS!

If you are interested in what chickens I own that give me these beautiful baskets of eggs, read my article 5 Chicken Breeds Giving the Best Basket of Colorful Eggs

7. Beautiful Basket of Colorful Eggs

By having your own chickens, they can provide you with an absolutely beautiful basket of colorful eggs, if you choose the right hens. This is also an added plus if you are selling the eggs. Customers will pay more money for a nice assortment of colored eggs.

I like to have a variety of colors and sizes of eggs in my basket and the best egg layers for each are the following:

EGG COLORCHICKEN BREEDEGGS/WEEK
BLUE EGGSCRESTED CREAM LEGBAR4-5 EGGS /WEEK
CHOCOLATE BROWN EGGSBLACK COPPER MARANS3-4 EGGS/WEEK
SHADES OF BROWN EGGSORPINGTONS4-5 EGGS/WEEK
GREEN EGGSOLIVE EGGERS3-4 EGGS/WEEK
SMALL, OFF WHITE EGGSSILKIES3 EGGS/WEEK
VARIOUS SHADES OF GREENS, BLUESEASTER EGGERS4-5EGGS/WEEK
THIS GROUP OF EGG LAYERS PRODUCES THE BEST BASKET OF COLORED EGGS!

8. Reduces Food Waste

Owning chickens will most definitely help to reduce your food waste. Below is a list of the top 10 kitchen leftovers you can and shouldn’t feed your chicken.

FOOD SCRAPS YOU CAN FEED CHICKENSFOOD SCRAPS TO AVOID FEEDING CHICKENS
SALADAVOCADO PEELS OR SEEDS
VEGETABLESRAW MEAT
FRUITS: (AVOID CITRUS)UNCOOKED POTATOES
OATMEAL: BOTH COOKED AND UNCOOKEDSALTY FOODS
GRAINS: WHEAT, OATS, RICESWEET FOODS
PASTA: (SPAGHETTI IS A FAVORITE)SODA
EGGSGREASY FOODS
COOKED MEATSCHOCOLATE
BREADSPROCESSED FOODS
YOGURTMOLDY OR ROTTEN FOODS
TOP 10 FOOD SCRAPS YOU CAN AND SHOULD NOT FEED YOUR CHICKENS

It is important to still feed your chickens their feed first. After they consume their feed, you can offer table scraps to them. You will notice that they will not need to consume as much feed if they are routinely offered healthy table scraps in conjunction with being able to free range for bugs and other greens.

9. Provides Free Compost

ADD YOUR CHICKEN MANURE TO YOUR COMPOST PILE TO MAKE YOUR OWN GARDEN SOIL.
ADD YOUR CHICKEN MANURE TO YOUR COMPOST PILE TO MAKE YOUR OWN GARDEN SOIL.

Chickens poop a lot! The average chicken produces about 10 lbs. of poop a month. So, if you own 6 chickens, that is 60 lbs. of chicken manure. 15 chickens= 150 lbs. of manure. So, why not utilize the manure? It makes a wonderful soil amendment. It’s free fertilizer for your garden, trees and plants!

Chicken manure provides excellent nutrients to your soil. It is considered even better than cow, steer and horse manure. Add it to your soil to provide nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Your trees, plants and your vegetable garden will absolutely love it!

COMPOSTING SAFETY TIP: When adding to your garden, it is best to let it age first. Fresh chicken manure can burn the leaves and roots. Or, apply it in the fall, after you harvested your last summer crops.

10. Educates Children in Multiple Ways

  • Teaches children responsibility
  • Teaches children where their food comes from.
  • Teaches children about reproduction.
  • Teaches children how to be gentle.
  • Teaches children about death.
  • Teaches children about money.

Tending to chickens is something that even your children can participate in. Daily feeding, cleaning the hen house, changing their nest box nesting material out, socializing with them and egg collecting are all chores that a child can do. They especially enjoy collecting the eggs!

CHICKENS CAN TEACH YOUR CHILD HOW TO BE GENTLE, AND ABOUT RESPONSIBILITY.

Owning chickens can teach children many other things too. By having children participate in the daily chicken chores is that it teaches them where their food comes from. If you incubate chicken eggs and watch them hatch, raising them from baby chicks, they will learn about reproduction, how to be gentle and also about death.

For families that sell their chicken eggs or chicks, this can also teach your child about money too!

11. Awareness of Where Your Food Comes From

Becoming a backyard chicken owner can give you an increased awareness of where your food comes from. Just knowing that the eggs you eating are coming from a chicken that has not been fed genetically modified organisms and pumped with antibiotics, makes you feel better.

Many people that own chickens begin to realize the importance of the food they are putting into their body and begin to have a desire to eat healthier.

12. Become More Health Conscious

Once you become a chicken owner, it will change your awareness of where your food is coming from. Being able to feed a high quality diet to your chickens so they can produce a healthy organic eggs for your family is just the beginning.

Many chicken owners are aware of the benefits of eating organic:

  • food is free of pesticides
  • food is free of antibiotics
  • food lasts longer(no preservatives)
  • food is healthier for you
  • it is better for the environment to eat organic

13. Meat for Family

CHICKENS CAN PROVIDE FRESH, ORGANIC MEAT FOR YOUR FAMILY.

Chickens can provide organic meat for your family. Many backyard chickens owners get “broiler” chickens for their meat. It takes only 8-12 weeks for broilers to be fully developed and ready to butcher.

The advantage to raising your own meat chickens is that you know what you are eating. These chickens will be much tastier and healthier than any meat that you buy at the supermarket.

I haven’t gone this route, but maybe someday I will when I own more property and have more room for chickens.

14. One Less Family Supporting Factory Farms

When I speak of “factory farms,” I am talking about the farms that have their egg laying chickens confined to battery cages and not allowed access to the outdoors. They are housed in these wire bottom cages with several other chickens for the sole purpose of producing eggs.

Many factory farm chickens are fed genetically altered organisms, GMO, pumped with antibiotics and slaughtered after their egg producing declines(about 2 years). A lot of supermarket eggs still come from factory farms.

Organic Supermarket Eggs
FREE-RANGE NON-GMO SUPERMARKET EGGS

It is understandable that not everyone can raise their own chickens or knows of someone that is selling farm fresh eggs. When looking to purchase chicken eggs, if you want eggs that are healthier for you, do some investigating to find an egg producer that treats their chickens humanely. This would mean allowing them access to the outdoors where they can scratch, peck, eat bugs and greens, not pumped with antibiotics and are fed a NON-GMO diet.

15. Companionship

When I speak of companionship, I don’t only mean companionship with your chickens. When you become a chicken owner you also build friendships with others that are chicken fanatics or other “crazy chicken ladies!” This is not only in person, but also online.

There are so many social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest that have many groups with large followings. It is a place where chicken owners come together to ask questions, share tips and give support or advice. I never knew how many of us were out there until I started joining different groups!

Backyard Chickens Mama - About Me- Holding a Black Silkie Chicken
JUST ME WITH ONE OF MY SILKIES!

And of course you can develop strong companionships with your chickens too! Your chickens know who you are, will come running to the sound of your voice and probably even view you as one of their flock. You become used to hearing their “egg laying song” every afternoon and them hopping onto your lap when you are sitting out in the backyard watching them free-range.

They don’t care if you come out to feed them with your hair a mess, PJ’s and mud boots on. They are non judgmental. No matter what your mood is, they are ALWAYS happy to see you and will always make you smile!

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