Keeping chickens is rewarding for so many reasons and it’s not just about the eggs! Anyone who’s new to the backyard chicken scene or thinking about joining in on the fun may not realise that they’re also great for gardens, as family pets, and more!
The trend of keeping backyard chickens has been on the rise over the past number of years, and it’s easy to see why. From free therapy to learning about self-sustainability, here are some of the amazing benefits that backyard chicken keepers worldwide are enjoying!
1. Pest Control
When you get your backyard chickens, you’ll have a great excuse to ditch the pesticides and chemical-laden bug killers. Your chickens will do that job for you. They eat pretty much any bug including beetles, slugs, ticks and grasshoppers.
2. Fresh Eggs
Hands up who doesn’t like fresh eggs for breakfast!!!
Fresh eggs produced by well nourished, free ranging hens are so much better than their store-bought counterparts. Not only do you get the satisfaction and egg-citement of collecting them every morning, but nutritionally they are better for your health! They have more Vitamin A, Vitamin E, Omega-3, Beta Carotene and less saturated fat.
3. The Best Compost Your Gardens Could Ask For
Maybe free chicken manure isn’t something to get too excited about, but if you’re proud of your garden it can work wonders. Chicken manure is actually classed as being one of the most desirable manures due to its high nutrient level. Utilizing this is an important part of sustainable and organic agriculture.
It’s estimated that having between 5 and 10 chickens should produce enough fertilizer to take care of your entire vegetable garden and yard for the year. It’s also great to add to your compost.
4. Friends for life!
Most domestic chicken breeds form a real bond with their owners and vice versa – running up to greet them in the morning, jumping on their owners laps for cuddles and pottering around the garden whilst you’re doing your gardening.
The benefits of keeping chickens stretch far beyond simply having fresh eggs everyday – although that is a great perk! If you’re thinking of getting chickens, keep in mind that they can actively contribute to the health of your garden, make great pets for your children AND keep pests at bay!
5. Educational Value
Did you know chickens have a great memory and can differentiate between over 100 human or animal faces? They love to play, they dream, they mourn for each other and they feel pain and distress. They also make great mothers – they talk to their chicks while still in the egg and turn the eggs about 50 times a day.
The term ‘pecking order’ didn’t come out of nowhere – hens have an ordered social structure based on a hierarchy. If you make room for them in your back garden, you and your family will get to learn all about these fascinating creatures up close. Have a look here for even more amazing facts about chickens.
6. A Source of Therapy
Move over cats and dogs, these beautiful creatures could be the next therapy animals! They’re already being used to help those with autism as well as the elderly.
Keeping chickens is seen as therapeutic for children on the autism spectrum by getting the kids involved in feeding and caring for the chickens, thereby promoting independent living skills.
They have also been used for patients with dementia and other psychiatric disorders. Because chickens are always moving around, pecking and socializing, they’re seen as calming.
7. A Taste of Country Life
Have you always wanted to live in the country but your job or family meant you needed to be in a town? Well, keeping backyard chickens is one way of bringing country life into the town!
They don’t need much room to be happy (of course, it depends on how many you keep) and you’ll get a taste of keeping your own animals and collecting your own food – fresh from your mini-farm.
8. The Social Aspect
Would you believe there are entire communities dedicated to raising backyard chickens? Just do a quick internet search and you’ll see. It’s a great way to share your newfound passion with others, to pick up some tips and tricks, and to brag about how great the new additions to your family are.
The best way to ensure your chickens live happy, healthy and stress free – so you continue to reap the rewards of these benefits – is to give them the perfect coop to live in! There are lots of things chickens need to stay comfortable – nesting boxes, perches, ventilation and more!
Avian influenza (bird flu), a disease of birds, has been identified in wild birds in England in 2018. All poultry keepers are required to review their biosecurity, sign up for disease alerts, and register their birds with APHA. Keepers must report any unexplained deaths or sickness to their vet.
All keepers must follow the detailed legal requirements on strict biosecurity, whether they have commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock. Click here to view best practice biosecurity advice.