Why do people keep chickens?

Chickens make good pets and lay eggs.

Chickens are a versatile animal that can provide fresh eggs, meat, pest control, and companionship. If you are thinking about keeping chickens, be sure to do your research to learn about the proper care and management of these animals.

I keep chickens because I like having them around, they are pretty to look at and fun to have. I also show some of my birds at both regional and national level.

Keeping chickens is not without its challenges but for me and millions of others it is worth it.

Below: My chickens scratching around in the grass.

Chickens also provide me with eggs and a source of income from selling eggs and birds. For me keeping chickens makes environmental sense.

Why do I keep chickens?

  • They lay the best eggs. Backyard chickens lay much nicer eggs than you buy in the store.
  • Help with sustainable living. Backyard eggs do zero food miles.
  • Poultry and egg shows. You can breed chickens for showing.
  • Pest control. Chickens will eat bugs and pests from the garden.
  • Fertiliser. Chickens poop is excellent for the garden and lawn.
  • Easy to keep. Chickens are low maintenance.
  • Amusement. Chickens are funny to watch and have distinct personalities.
  • For educational purposes. Chickens can be a great way to teach children about animal care and responsibility.
  • Some people raise chickens for meat production. Broiler chickens, specifically bred for meat, can be raised for consumption. Raising your own chickens for meat gives you control over the quality and source of your food.
  • For companionship. Chickens can be very social creatures, and they can provide companionship for people who live alone or who have limited social interaction.
  • Heritage breed conservation. Many rare breeds of chicken are endangered and backyard keepers can help preserve them.
  • Pets. You can have a pet that produces food.
  • Social community. There are millions of keepers all over the world to be found in forums and groups.
  • Reduce waste. You can feed your hens your food scraps to supplement their feed.

What are the benefits of owning chickens?

There is an increasing demand for a self-sufficient and sustainable lifestyle as it has been correlated with better mental health, physical fitness, and a cleaner environment. 

People are becoming aware that they need to eat food from their garden instead of relying on food companies and stores.

Keeping chickens at home can help reduce the things we buy when we go grocery shopping. Even though it is just eggs we are taking off the grocery list, there is a feeling of satisfaction from having a product that you have produced yourself.

In addition, a home-grown natural eggs may be more nutritious than those raised in industrial farms.

Below: Who doesn't like fresh eggs produced in the backyard.

Chicken muck is some of the best fertilisers you can get for your garden. It is rich in nitrogen and other nutrients that will improve the soil and stimulate plant growth.

All you need to do is let your chickens free range over the garden for several days. Then, after they return to the coop, collect the chicken manure and compost it to use on your garden.

Apart from the preparation of their arrival, when they are chicks, and their food, chickens are one of the easiest animals to look after. They are so well-mannered that you don't need to worry about the health of your backyard garden, as they love to eat bugs and other pests.

Below: Chickens are social animals who love to be around people.

They can be very entertaining as they have playful personalities.

They also have a lot of characters and interact well with children. Although, it is recommended by the CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) for some people and very young children to avoid them.

Is it worth keeping chickens?

If you need another source of income in your household, chickens are a good investment. Depending on the climate and type, a hen can produce between 180 and 300 eggs yearly and your flock can be made to pay for itself.

Whether or not it is worth keeping chickens depends on your individual circumstances and preferences.

If you are willing to put in the time and effort, chickens can be a rewarding addition to your family.

Here are some of the pros of keeping chickens:

  • Fresh eggs. Chickens are prolific layers, and they can lay an average of 250 eggs per year. This means that a small flock of chickens can provide a family with all the eggs they need.
  • Meat. Chickens can also be raised for meat. While they are not as popular as other types of poultry, such as turkeys or ducks, chicken meat is a delicious and healthy option.
  • Pest control. Chickens are natural foragers, and they will eat insects, rodents, and other pests. This can help to keep your garden and yard free of pests.
  • Companionship. Chickens are social animals, and they can make great companions. They are relatively low-maintenance, and they can provide hours of entertainment.

Here are some of the cons of keeping chickens:

  • Cost. The initial cost of setting up a chicken coop and buying chickens can be significant. However, the ongoing costs of feeding and caring for chickens are relatively low.
  • Time commitment. Chickens require some daily care, such as feeding, watering, and cleaning their coop. You will also need to collect their eggs regularly.
  • Space. Chickens need a coop to sleep in and a run to exercise in. If you live in a small space, you may not have enough room for chickens.
  • Noise. Chickens can be noisy, especially in the morning. If you live in a close-knit community, this may be a concern.
  • Predators. Chickens are prey animals, and they are vulnerable to predators such as foxes, coyotes, and hawks. You will need to take steps to protect your chickens from predators, such as building a secure coop and fencing in your yard.
  • Local regulations. Some towns and cities have restrictions on keeping chickens. You will need to check with your local authorities to see if it is allowed in your area.

Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to keep chickens is a personal one. If you are considering it, be sure to do your research and weigh the pros and cons carefully.

If you manage to keep a flock, your income from chicken eggs can be substantial.

With the high demand for fresh and organic chickens, you can also sell your home-raised chickens at a reasonable profit.