You no longer have to be a dedicated farmer to raise your own chickens. Backyards in suburban communities across the country have become a pretty common environment for chickens over the past several years. For those wanting to step up their self-sustainability, raising backyard chickens is a great way to further remove yourself from “the grid.” There are several “how to” articles out there related to raising your own chickens, but here are some of the high level benefits of taking on this fun and rewarding project.
Let’s get the unpleasant part out of the way first. Chickens are a meat source, and when raised they can be a very sustainable food option in both everyday life and catastrophic situations. However, if you just can’t stomach the idea of killing and eating a backyard pet, rest easy; you’ve still got other food options.
Of course I’m talking about fresh eggs, and believe me, eggs harvested from your backyard chicken will taste better than anything you can buy at the grocery store. The average backyard hen will produce a single egg every 1-2 days, so that should help give you an idea how many birds you’ need given your specific situation.
Chickens will eat just about any form of scrap that comes out of your kitchen, be it vegetable, grain or meat. Those scraps are then turned into fertilizer (by obvious means), which will help add important nutrients to your yard or garden.
Many people don’t realize it, but chickens are quite predatory. They’ll take some pretty vicious steps to keep your backyard free of insects, mice and even reptiles (yuck!). This can keep your landscaping free of damaging species, ensuring your chickens have a lush and beautiful stomping ground.
They Make Great Pets!
You read that right. Chickens can be fantastic pets. They’re pretty darn low maintenance as long as you keep them fed, watered and living in a relatively clean chicken coop. When raised from chicks, they’ll be every bit as friendly and gentle as any other domesticated animal you’d choose as a pet.