In light of the latest major egg recall, many people are considering getting their own flock of chickens. Farmers have been raising backyard fowl for over 3,000 years but in the last five years, it’s become accessible for even the beginner farmer like you and me. With 380 million eggs recalled, raising chickens at home never sounded so reassuring. You’ll be able to raise them organically, free of hormones and antibiotics, and let them run around your yard versus being cooped up in a cage. You’ll get around 300 eggs per hen per year but the benefits don’t stop there. Here are 7 more reasons to convince you.
1. Backyard chickens are healthier. Factory farmed chickens are kept in confined areas and are often feed an unnatural diet with hormones and antibiotics to increase growth quickly and cheaply. The added stress of unhappy surroundings affects the taste and nutrients of the eggs and how many each hen produces.
2. The eggs are more nutritious. In contrast to factory farm eggs, eggs from backyard chickens have 25 percent more vitamin E, a third more vitamin A, and 75 percent more beta carotene. Not to mention more omega-3 fatty acids than factory farmed eggs.
3. The eggs are tastier. Grocery store eggs can be there for days and even weeks. Air seeps into the porous eggshell and affects the nutrients, taste, and consistency of the eggs. Fresh eggs should have firmer whites and super bright orange yolks.
4. Chickens are great for your compost. Chicken poop is high in nitrogen which is great for your compost bin and you can even compost the used egg shells.
5. Chickens will improve your garden. They are natural foragers so free-range chickens (those not confined to a coop) will scratch the soil looking for yummy bugs like grubs, earwigs, and the same bugs that eat your summer fruits and veggies. Plus, as they turn the soil, it’ll aerate, breakup vegetations, and accelerate the decomposing process.
6. Chickens are a great lesson for kids. It’s important that kids have a connection to their food and understand the farm-to-plate chain. Children will love collecting eggs daily and feeding them.
7. Barter with the neighbors. Many people love farm-fresh eggs but aren’t willing to make the commitment to owning a coop yet. Offer your eggs to your neighbors in exchange for something from their garden.
If you’re interested in raising your own chickens, check your local government website for rules and regulations – each state is different.
Would you consider raising your own chickens? Let us know and leave a comment!