Although having a chicken coop in your backyard was banned from most large cities and their surrounding suburbs, those regulations have changed a lot in recent years. While some cities still have bans in place, others have decided to allow it as long as your yard meets certain size requirements and your neighbors do not complain. Why the sudden change? People have grown tired of having to buy week or month-old eggs at the grocery store, and want to be self-sustaining — a big part of which is keeping their own chickens. Here are several reasons why it’s a great idea to have your own backyard chicken coop:
1) Chickens make great, low-maintenance pets. Chickens are very easy to take care of. They need a coop to nest in, and a yard to roam in. If you are worried about predators getting in and harming your chickens, then you can build a large fence around the coop, as long as they have enough space to wander about freely. You’ll need to provide them with adequate food and water, and clean their coop once a week, but other than that, you can sit back and relax.
2) You’ll be able to enjoy fresh eggs without having to pay for them at a local farmers market. Plus, you’ll have a ready supply of fresh chicken meat as well, depending on the breed of your chickens. The cost of a dozen fresh eggs from a local farm can be over $6.00, depending on the breed of chicken and your location. Because of this, it’s much cheaper to harvest eggs from your backyard on a daily basis. Once your supply grows too large, you can barter with your neighbors and trade eggs for items that you need. Or sell the eggs yourself.
3) You have full control over how the chickens are raised and what they’re fed. Commercial chicken farms are notorious for keeping their chickens in small cages, clipping off parts of their beaks to prevent them from gouging each other in such close quarters, and are fed hormone-laced chicken feed to make them lay more eggs. When you grow your own chickens, there are no questions about how they are treated – since you are the one keeping them cage free and feeding them proper food.
4) A chicken population is self-sustaining, as long as you have a rooster. Once you buy several chickens and a rooster, they will take things into their own hands, so to speak. Check the eggs using the candling method to see which ones are fertilized. Set a few of these into an incubator every so often and chicks will hatch, keeping your chicken population growing. Of course, all of this is under your control, so make sure not to grow your flock too large if you have a smaller yard.
5) They make fertilizer for your garden. The waste left behind from the chickens can be repurposed as natural, organic fertilizer for your yard and your neighbors, since it is high in nitrogen. Make sure to let it break down into compost for a few months before using it in your garden to keep it from harming your plants. The best part is that chickens can be fed a mix of commercial (hormone free) chicken feed and leftover food scraps from your kitchen, thus completing the cycle.
Pick by Martin de Witte.