5 Reasons to Start Raising Chickens: I was raised in a neighborhood suburb, but never owned any animals except dogs and cats. However, I did go to school with farmer kids. In our town, it was not a strange sight to share the road with a large tractor on its way to the field. But, never once did I imagine that one day I would be the proud owner of MANY chickens. See how life is? Surprises around every turn. So, I’m here to tell the 5 reasons of why YOU need to start raising chickens.
1. Chickens are easy farm animals to raise.
You can read how I got started raising chickens here. I told my husband I only wanted 3 chickens to start with, just to see how I liked it. What did he do? Like every good husband, he listened to me and bought 28. Kind of forced me into loving my new job as a chicken-mom.
But, in under one year, I loved raising chickens so much that I started hatching my own. I’ve determined that you can never own too many chickens. Well, maybe if you live in an urban area, you shouldn’t have a million chickens. However, if you’ve got the land and the coop for lots of chickens, go for it!
I’ve discovered that chickens are easier to raise than dogs or cats. Chickens need 3 basic things in life, which are food, water, and space to run. I spend ten minutes in the morning and at night feeding and watering all of my animals. In addition, chickens don’t need a lot of love and attention. In fact, they are mostly self-sufficient.
The best part about chickens is that they LOVE to sleep. My older chickens go into the around 7:00 p.m. during the summer, even though dusk doesn’t arrive until 8:30 p.m. I don’t have to run around, yelling for them to go into the coop because it’s bedtime. Nope. They’ve already put themselves to bed.
Since getting chickens, I’ve now expanded and gotten geese, a sheep, and a cow. One thing led to another and now I have a whole farm. Plus, I can’t wait to get more! How’s that for my plans of never owning any animals?!
2. Free Eggs
Number two is so obvious it should be number one. FREE EGGS! This is a great reason to start raising chickens. Okay, now we know that the eggs aren’t really completely free. You need to factor in the cost of building a coop and the cost of feed. But, the knowledge that you are getting cage-free free-range eggs every day is amazing. It’s great for your health and on your wallet. Do you know that I went to the store the other day and a dozen cage-free eggs were being sold for $6.00?
Free-range eggs are all the rage right now. I think we are becoming more aware of livestock living conditions and how it directly affects the product being produced. With that being said, happy chickens produce healthy eggs that are good for you.
3. Chickens produce free compost
Maybe it’s common knowledge and I should’ve known this going in, but chickens poop. A LOT. Like constantly. But the good news is that you can take that poop and turn it into compost. Compost is great for being spread around the garden and encourages plants to grow.
Please note that chicken poop is “hot”, meaning that if you place chicken poop directly onto plants, it will burn them. Chicken poop should be composted first and then spread around plants. But if you are a big gardener, then this is a great reason to start raising chickens.
4. Chickens are fun!
When I first started raising chickens, I didn’t realize how much I would come to love their fun personalities. Each chicken is different. Some are spunky while others are shy. My favorite chicken, Lola, holds my heart and I don’t deny her any treat.
Chickens are hilarious when they have come to recognize you as their owner and food-provider. When I used to let my chickens free range (I don’t anymore and you can read why here) and I would come home from work, the chickens could see my car coming. From every corner of the yard, chickens would come running. They already expected their treat and would loudly cluck around me waiting for their meal.
The best part about treat giving is that once one chicken would grab a treat, they didn’t eat it right away. Instead, the chicken would run around cackling and causing the other chickens to chase her, hoping to grab the treat out of her mouth. I never understood the thought process behind that, but apparently they get really excited.
Chickens love to be outdoors, scratching and pecking. They like taking a good dust bath, flinging dirt everywhere around them. Even in the rain, they are outside looking for the worms that pop out of the ground. And sometimes after they lay an egg, they get so proud that they cackle and loudly squawk to show off to the other chickens.
I find that chickens can be meditative to watch. Although, baby chicks are probably my favorite to sit and watch for long periods of time. But grown chickens are so quirky that they can provide a form of quiet enjoyment.
5. Start Raising Chickens to Get Baby chicks
The best part about raising chickens is that you can hatch baby chicks! Because, like I said earlier, you can never have too many chickens! By hatching your own chicks, you are saving money. No longer do you have to buy and order chicks from a breeder and then wait for the shipment to mailed a month or two months down the road. Nope. Simply make sure you have a rooster on your farm and start hatching.
I hatched my first batch of chicks last year and it turned out great. This is the incubator that I used. It came with its’ own turner, so I didn’t have to manually turn the eggs multiple times each day.
Keep in mind that chickens stop laying after a couple of years. So, you need a constant supply of chicks each year to keep up the production supply of eggs. In addition, don’t forget that chickens take about 6-9 months to start laying eggs, so the lead time will need to be factored in as well.
Chickens are so much fun and they are the perfect animal to start raising on a homestead. From gathering your own eggs to hatching your own chicks, I hope that these reasons help to convince you that chickens are a great addition to any farm. I hope that you will join the journey with me!