With food prices on the rise and eco living at the forefront of many people’s minds, homesteading options are beginning to look more appealing to some homeowners. Since many municipalities allow backyard chickens and since chickens don’t seemingly require too much space, some rural and suburban homeowners alike have taken to raising their own chickens. Here’s what you should know if you’re considering raising backyard chickens.
Fresh eggs are an obvious benefit to raising chickens. Backyard chickens that have space to roam can create healthier eggs at significantly less cost than the local farm or even grocery store.
If you have a garden, spreading out your old chicken bedding can be an excellent way to protect your plant roots and fertilize the soil. Even a standard-sized suburban yard can benefit from a chicken coop and a small garden, allowing you access to fresh food throughout the year.
Chickens naturally want to roost as the day gets darker, meaning (unlike ducks) you don’t have to herd your animals into their home at night. You can even purchase coops with automatic doors that close at night to keep your chickens safe and warm.
Inexpensive and Eco-friendly
While your access may vary depending on your location, chicken feed is relatively inexpensive. Additionally, chickens love scraps of veggies, so you don’t have to worry about tossing those cuttings from your last meal prep.
Chickens do require more space than people assume. However, their roost or coop does not have to be large as long as they have a place to roam during the day. This means you can let your chickens out into the yard for a few hours but keep your yard set aside for your family the rest of the time.
Noise and Care
While hens aren’t incredibly loud, they do make some noise. This can be disruptive if your neighbors are extremely close, so be willing to consult with them before making a decision. Just like any other animal, you’ll need to find someone to care for chickens if you are away.
The Chicken or the Egg
You’ll need to consider whether you want to incubate eggs or would like to purchase chickens that are already grown. Incubating eggs and raising chicks can mean a lot of time before you’ll get eggs, but you will also have chickens that are more familiar with you and people.