If you’re trying to live more sustainably, raising some of your own food is key. Chickens are one of the easiest animals to start with, and they provide a number of benefits. Here are 4 reasons you should be raising chickens.
Being able to be at least partly self-sufficient when it comes to the food your family eats is a big part of living a sustainable lifestyle. Growing a garden is a simple, fun, and educational way to do just that, and we encourage you to check out our sustainable gardening blog for lots of helpful tips on how to do this. But when it comes to raising animals, things can get a bit more complicated. Many animals require a large amount of outdoor space, including a barn or large shelter, and consume quite a lot of food before you can use them as a food source in any capacity.
This is where chickens come in. Whether you’re an aspiring homesteader, or you just have a decent-sized backyard and want to add a healthy, sustainable food source to your family’s assets, chickens are a great place to start.
Chickens are relatively cheap and quick to raise, offer rich fertilizer for your garden and yard, help control pests, and provide multiple sources of food without requiring a ton of space.
Here are 4 of the top reasons to consider raising chickens:
1. Fresh, Healthy Eggs & Meat
There are certain commercial brands of chicken eggs that proclaim to be the best, healthiest, (and often most expensive) brands in your local grocer. The fact is, however, the nutritional content of pasture-raised chicken eggs can be much better than any of those who are never allowed to see daylight or forage for natural foods like weeds, grasses, grubs, and insects. Allowed a more natural diet, egg-laying hens also stay healthier and have much lower risks of disease and infection. As an added benefit, you can also raise different breeds of hens and get an array of different colored eggs which can be especially fun for children.
…If you’ve ever tasted the difference between a farm-raised chicken and commercially produced chicken you find at the grocer, that alone should be enough incentive to raise your own birds. Beyond that, however, the cost-per-pound of raising a chicken compared to buying one makes it an economical choice as well.
2. Quality & Health Control
…GMO’s along with chemicals and unnatural ingredients are very common in commercial livestock feed. To avoid consuming them, you can sustain a healthy backyard flock of chickens with little to no feed whatsoever. Our chickens consume a bit of non-GMO feed, but mostly, we have found ways to sustain our flock with a combination of natural foods and foraging. This ensures that our egg-layers produce rich, nutritious eggs, and our meat chickens are always healthy and delicious.
There are a variety of garden vegetables and cover crops that make wonderful natural chicken feeds such as clover, winter wheat, oats, as well as naturally growing grasses and weeds…. The chicken’s natural pecking and scratching along with their auto-fertilization skills make them an integral part of our backyard ecosystem.
3. Small Space Requirement, Big Rewards
One of the best things about raising chickens compared to other livestock is their limited space requirements. With a small backyard run and a simple shed to allow for roosting and nesting, one can easily raise enough hens to provide a regular and self-sustaining supply of food. If you are blessed enough to have extra space, you can even experiment with a larger flock and have enough eggs to sell or share….
The reward of this small devotion of space and effort is essentially a guaranteed supply of nutrition for you and your family. For those who don’t care to rely on commercial grocery stores in times of crisis or emergency, having a self-sustaining food source right in your own back yard can be of enormous value, in every sense.
4. Raising the Responsibility Bar
In general, raising animals is a great way to teach responsibility. In the case of chickens especially, I have found that children absolutely thrive on caring for them. Not only are the needs of chickens relatively simple compared to most animals, but they also leave colorful and tasty presents for the kids on a nearly daily basis! (Meaning eggs, of course, not well… you know)…. As an added benefit, taking care of the chickens seems to be a good source of exercise for the children and comedy for me….
See the full article at HomeAndGardeningIdeas.com…