A (Seemingly) Endless Supply of Fresh Eggs
Eggs are the most obvious benefit to keeping chickens. A healthy adult chicken can be counted on to lay between four and six eggs per week. Keeping six hen of a good layer breed should provide you with three dozen fresh eggs per week! For most people, that’s enough to feed your family and have plenty left over for friends, coworkers and neighbors. Everybody loves the guy or gal who drops off farm fresh eggs once in a while.
Backyard eggs are more flavorful and nutritious than store bought eggs that may have been sitting in storage for a month or more. Pastured eggs, or eggs from chickens that have are able to free-range, have less cholesterol and less saturated fat. They also have more vitamin A, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids, and beta carotene than store bought eggs.
A Meat Source You Can Trust
In addition to providing eggs to eat, chickens are also a source of… surprise… chicken. By raising and butchering your own birds, you will know exactly what is in their meat. More importantly, you will know what is not in their meat; specifically the hormones and chemicals that the meat chicken industry use to mass produce bigger carcasses for the supermarket.
Another benefit to growing your own birds for meat is that you can experience that old-fashioned, full-flavored chicken taste that you will never get from the supermarket. All store-bought birds are a fast growing but bland hybrid called the Cornish X. While you can raise your own Cornish X, you can also raise a number of heritage and hybrid chickens that grow more slowly and develop a rich chicken flavor you may never have tasted before.
Free Fertilizer for the Garden
Besides eggs, chickens are great at producing chicken poop. Being high in nitrogen, chicken manure is one of the best garden fertilizers you can find. And your chickens will produce a lot of it for free!
Before we began raising chickens, I didn’t put a lot of value in the idea of chickens as pets. It didn’t take long to realize that chickens are very entertaining! They are extremely intelligent and inquisitive, and it is fun to watch them explore the world around them and interact with each other.