Thursday, May 17, 2007

10 Reasons Why Everyone Should Keep Chickens

  1. You get eggs

  2. They're no trouble. You top up their food and water occasionally, clean out their house occasionally, collect the eggs and that's about it

  3. Honestly, they're no trouble at all. A lot less effort than having a dog or even a cat. About the same as having a guinea pig or a rabbit, I'd say

  4. The eggs are cheaper than buying them because the food costs, well, chickenfeed

  5. The eggs are much, much nicer than shop-bought eggs, even free-range organic ones

  6. When they stop laying you can eat them if you like, as long as you haven't got sentimental about them

  7. They eat garden pests such as slugs, snails, leatherjackets etc.

  8. You can put their bedding plus the manure on the compost heap. It's excellent activator and will improve your garden or veg plot no end

  9. Even free-range eggs are often produced in conditions you might not expect. The hens must have theoretical access to an outdoor run but in practice they might never get there. They're less crowded than battery hens it's true, but still their living conditions won't be a patch on your own pampered hens, and that's why your own hens' eggs taste better (see point 5)

  10. You really feel you're living the good life when you have chickens in your back garden

30 comments:

Sara said...

I second these points. A great article.
Sara from farmingfriends

Hedgewizard said...

Amen to all of that!

Joanna said...

Here here! Black rocks if you want lots and lots of eggs, rare breeds if you want less (we had a couple of Silver Dorkings for a while, beautiful birds, pure white eggs once in a blue moon), Buff Orpingtons if you want docile, stunning birds which lay pretty well ... we have two buff hens and a cockerel, and they enliven the garden no end ... Melanie, you are SO right!

Joanna
joannasfood.blogspot.com

welsh girls allotment said...

Oh - oh I am going to sound like a whinging ranter again, I would love to have chickens, my parents used to keep bantams when I was younger and there is nothing like the thrill of looking for eggs - or the shock of being chased by an angry hen when you make off with her precious creation ! -

Anyway it is not possible for 'everyone' to keep chickens, people who live in flats or rented accomadation where the tenancy agreement forbids it, personally I would love a few hens pottering around my garden but we go away most weekends and it would be unfair on them for me to be a weekday mummy and leave them to fend for themselves for three or four days.
Oh for the day when I can have my couple of acres and do all this properly !!

Karla said...

My husband and I are looking into getting some chickens for the backyard but we are worried about what we would do with them in the winter. Any tips?

Melanie Rimmer said...

Karla - backyard chickens cope very well in the winter. Depending on where you live and just how cold it gets. As long as their house is dry and small enough to stay warmish from their own body heat, as long as you make sure they have access to water that hasn't frozen over, and as long as you check on them every day (even if that means digging a path through the snow to their accomodation) they should be just fine. They won't lay in the winter unless you put artificial light in their house so they get "daylight" at least 13 hours a day. But last winter we didn't bother, we just reduced our use of eggs for three months, and relied on shop-bought eggs for our needs.

Melanie Rimmer said...

Welsh Girl - I take your point. Actually I thought of naming the aricle "Why Everyone Should Keep Chickens (Except Those Who Live In Apartments, Rented Accomodation, Old People's Homes, Student Digs, The Homeless, People Who Go Away A Lot And Anyone Allergic To Feathers)" but I didn't think it was quite as catchy.

Bill of Ballaugh said...

Educational for the kids too. And they're easier to look after.

janet said...

I had chickens when I lived in Denver, our home in Denver is in an unincorporated area, so chicken were allow. Loved the fresh eggs and came to see them as pets. They all lived out their lives happily and didn't become stew.

I enjoyed reading your site and am bookmarking it so I remember to come back.

Found you through Hugg, how do you publish on their site?

Melanie Rimmer said...

Hi Janet. Thanks for your kind comment. You can submit news stories to hugg via their "submit" tab. It then goes into the "queue" tab and if enough people "hugg" it it appears on the front page.

Jo said...

I love having our hens. When I go into the garden, I get a real thrill when they all come running to check if I might happen to have a slice of bread with me. They are all such individual little characters. And you are quite right - they are very little trouble, lay great tasting eggs and are very rewarding.

billy said...

"Honestly, they're no trouble at all. A lot less effort than having a dog or even a cat. About the same as having a guinea pig or a rabbit, I'd say"

You wait until one falls ill and you take it to the vets and it costs you twenty quid and dies anyway. Then there is the tears when the fox gets one. Then you breed and get seven cockerels.
Guinea pigs are much less trouble and several times more intelligent than a chicken!

steve said...

what about noise? are they loud? we have a backyard but we have lots of close neighbors. i don't want the chickens waking everyone up (though i don't know why i care...my neighbors have no problems letting their dogs out at 4am to raise all hell).

a nice follow-up post would be how to get started raising backyard chickens.

great stuff!!!

Anonymous said...

Uh, you forgot the number one reason (which is a huge oversight given you repeat reasons to make a "top ten
" list), which is that they eat all your kitchen scraps and turn them into eggs.

Steph in Roker said...

Billy - I prefer chickens, as guinea pigs don't lay eggs, and there's not much meat on them either.

benjymous said...

We got a small flock of four chickens last month, and love them to bits - the only downside I know of is make sure you've got a local vet who knows what they're talking about. One of ours was sick, and our local family vet took two attempts - once gave her a dose of multivitamins, and next to proclaim that she only had a few days left to live, and should be put down and autopsied to spare the rest of the group!

Thankfully we took them to a more rural vet who took one look at them, and proscribed a course of Coxy+ in their drinking water, which perked them up no-end. Sadly this ended up quite a costly endeavour with three lots of vets bills to pay.

I guess my biggest bit of advice is to think of Chickens as pets who'll give you a tasty bonus of fresh eggs (which are fantastic compared to shop bought ones!) - don't expect them to pay for themselves in what you'll save from not buying eggs!

Anonymous said...

just took delivery yesterday of my chickens. Decided after years to give it a go after seeing the eglu which is a really cool chicken house available from http://www.omlet.co.uk. So far it seems really easy, no sign of any eggs yet though!

Anonymous said...

The only problem with chickens is that they are very destructive. My neighbour adopted 12 hens last year and I have had to put up fences around all my flower beds. They use their large claw feet to rip up the soil in search of goodies. If this means your flowers, grass, hosta, or starwberry patch is in the way...well too bad. Also, get rid of seed bird feeders when hens are around. The hens will spend hours ripping away the soil in search of dropped seeds.

PiggyBank Raider said...

I love this idea. In fact, Hubby and I hope to buy a farmette one day so we can have chickens.

MVP said...

I agree with Anonymous. We've had a pair of backyard hens for a couple years now. And while I adore them (we'd never eat them, let's put it that way ;), they've been a serious pain in the butt at times. Yes, they destroy the yard (and we only have TWO!), yes they're noisy at times and my least favorite part is they leave poop bombs on the back porch, right where we exit, which isn't very sanitary. So, my husband and I recently invested a bunch of time and a couple hundred bucks into building a run that confines them to a small corner of the yard. We love our girls, but we likely won't continue having chickens after these two are gone because of the hassle factor. But, YES, the eggs are excellent!

Anonymous said...

I have been reading, trying to find out how to keep my chickens out of my neighbor's pathetic garden. I have always let them roam, epecially when it's hot like it is now. Neighbor decided to TRY to grow a garden, it's in the WOODS, and he never waters it...still...I want to ask him if he would consider putting a fence around it if I buy the fence. (is that tacky?)To the ones who doubt that chickens can be a good backyard hobby...aside from the eggs, we love watching them, they crack us up. They do require little care, and I really like giving my fancy colored eggs away to friends. Winter is no problem here in northern Indiana. I put an infrared light in their house to help with keeping it light, and it also helps keep the water from freezing.

Em said...

"Guinea pigs are much less trouble and several times more intelligent than a chicken!" -Billy

Chickens are alot smarter than most people give them credit for.

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