Are you thinking of getting chickens for the first time this year? That’s wonderful. There’s a lot to love about raising chickens. Before we got our first flock, I never could have imagined how much fun having chickens would be. But more than just being fun and sweet, there are many reasons to raise a backyard flock.
With current egg shortages, the security of having freshly laid eggs every day is a beautiful thing. Farm eggs are tastier, fresher, better for baking, and just plain ole better than any store-bought eggs. Plus, a 2010 study done by Penn State’s College of Agricultural Studies found that pasture-raised eggs contain twice as much vitamin E and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids as their commercially produced counterparts.
Another bonus of having chickens is their composting skills! Almost all kitchen scraps can be fed to your flock. This reduces kitchen waste, keeps the cost of feed down, and turns your scraps into compost which you can then add to your garden as a fertilizer. You can even think large scale, and use them in reclaiming pasture land or regeneration of fields.
If you spend your summers fighting flies, mosquitoes, and other insects, you’ll be grateful for a flock of backyard chickens. Your feathered friends will happily consume these pests and keep their numbers down. This can be particularly helpful in the garden where a single chicken can single-handedly take out a pest problem for you. Just take precautions that don’t take out your whole garden. They can be destructive if not watched. Additionally, bugs and insects are a vast source of nutrition for your chickens, and a steady diet of bugs may even improve the quality of your eggs.
Almost any chicken keeper could spend hours regaling you with tales of their birds' antics, individual personalities, and characteristics. It’s a hard thing to explain to people who don’t raise chickens, but each breed and each bird is unique, with distinct personalities.
Caring for a flock is a singular joy that will bring hours of entertainment to the whole family. Whether you’re watching your hens from your back porch or helping baby chicks settle into their brooder, a backyard flock can provide wholesome entertainment through all stages of their life.
When we first got our chickens, I had no idea that we would spend hours just sitting and watching them. Or that we would take hundreds of photos and hours of video. I often look everywhere for my husband only to find that he is out back in the coop “bonding” with the chickens!
Surprising Health Benefits
Of course, all those fresh nutrient-rich eggs can help to improve your health, but keeping chickens can benefit your health in other ways too.
Numerous studies link pet ownership to better health, including cardiovascular health. One reason for this in chicken keepers can be credited to leading a more active outdoor life while caring for their flock.
Another perk is improved mental health. Flock owners often experience an increase in Oxytocin levels while experiencing the joys of chicken keeping. Oxytocin is the hormone linked to a range of positive functions, including forming social bonds, decreasing stress, and increasing generosity and empathy.
The reasons people choose to raise chickens are as numerous as the people themselves. But no matter the reason, they all experience these benefits and more. Just remember, nothing good comes easy! If you’re getting ready to start your first flock, check out our Chicken Keeping 101 page for everything you need to know! Be sure to tell us in the comments why you’re getting chickens, and as always, until next time,