12 reasons to raise chickens on your homestead

Do chickens have a place on your homestead? We have many chickens, ducks and Guineas running around our backyard and they each have a specific job. All are breeders and some are more like pets....but they all are mini garbage disposals! Let me explain. We have 5 breeding groups. All these groups provide us with:

Why you should raise chickens

1) Food, obviously! Eggs from backyard chickens are so much much higher in nutrition than store bought eggs, and they taste better too! Plus it's really nice knowing what goes into your food supply. Also, you can easily raise your chickens organically if you want and you're eggs are guaranteed cruelty free! For every happy backyard chicken you raise, that's one less chicken living on a factory farm.

2) Bug control. Chickens will demolish the grubs in the garden! They love cabbage worms and can destroy an earwig nest in seconds. I've often found an ant nest while digging in the garden and the chickens have attacked it scarfing down every single egg they can find. They're not as fond as the adult ants, but we had a lot of ants and they have made a huge dent in the population. 

Why you should raise chickens

3) Fertile hatching eggs which I incubate all spring/summer long. I sell their children. I'm evil like that! 😉 No, but seriously. You can make some serious money by selling hatching eggs and/or chicks.

4) Extra eggs to sell. You can also make some extra money selling eggs for eating. Especially in the summer when production is at an all year high and feed expenses are at an all time low. Save that money for winter feed and you can take some pressure off your winter budget. 

5) Weed control. Chickens can help you in the garden both during and after the gardening season. Chickens love to eat small weeds as they pop up, weed seeds and more. I let my chickens into the garden every fall to help till the ground and get any left over weeds and bugs cleaned up. 

6) Compost. Chicken poop is high in nitrogen (green) and the chickens have wood chips in their coops for bedding (brown) which is exactly what you need to make compost! Awesome, right?

Oh sure, I usually add in moisture and more green material but basically used chicken litter is the perfect compost starter. Compost makes the garden grow beautifully.

why have chickens?

7) Mini garbage disposals which will consume any leftovers we may have. Anything that I can't compost, I feed to the chickens. They like pasta, rice, oats, bread, meats....pretty much anything from the kitchen. There are only a few things from the kitchen that chickens can't have. Check out: Feeding your chickens leftovers.

8) Amusement! There is nothing funnier than dropping a few meal worms or grapes into a chick brooder and watch them run around squealing about their treats! Or when you throw the first treat out to the hens and one snatches it and runs away....then the rest follow trying to steal the treat. Too funny.

They also can be trained if you have some patience. I have one chicken that walks on a leash and even goes to shows and meets people/poses for pictures.

9) Teach your kids about food. So many people are out of touch with where their food actually comes from! My friends daughter told me that she only eats chicken nuggets and not 'real' chicken because nuggets are made in factories and not from animals. 

Want something scarier? 16 million American adults think chocolate milk comes from brown cows! Raising chickens at home help kids to better understand where their food comes from. It also teaches them compassion and kindness towards our food sources.

10) Being more self sufficient. Take control of your own food supply! By raising chickens you can provide more healthy food for your family without worry of GMOs and all these scary food recalls we've seen lately. Isn't it nice to rely on yourself instead of big business?

11) Smaller footprint. There's this scary thing called food miles. That is the distance food is transported from where it's grown, to factories, then on to stores and finally to your house. Yes, even you driving home from the grocery store counts! 

When your food comes from your backyard through gardening or raising chickens for eggs, there is no environmental impact! Well, at least no negative impact! Obviously a pineapple is going to have to travel a long way to get to you, but if you can cut down how far your eggs are traveling, it's definitely a step in the right direction!

you should raise backyard chickens

12) You can get blue eggs! Green eggs too. You can't buy those at the grocery store,  but you can raise chickens that lay colored eggs! I raise Marans for their chocolate brown eggs. You can even raise ducks that lay black eggs if you'd like. 

Bonus: If you raise meat birds then you will know what exactly is going into your meat. Have you seen this post about the chemicals in a package of fresh chicken from the grocery store? That is SCARY! If you have the will to raise and butcher your own chickens you'll know exactly what is going into your food....and it won't be some chemical you can't even pronounce!

Honestly, if I wasn't running the chickens as a business I would probably cut down to a dozen Guineas for tick control and maybe a dozen chickens. Or less. (We have a lot of acreage for the guineas to cover!) That would be more than enough to provide our homestead with everything we need from them, without requiring a huge feed bill.

Related reading: How raising chickens saves you money.

Although the first year is expensive, after that it's all about the balance...what you get from them needs to be worth more then what you spend on them. If that's the case, then yes chickens do have a place on your homestead.

Want to know more about raising chickens? Click here for my top posts on chicken keeping!


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Why raise chickens

1 comment:

  1. Well said! We are hoping to move so we can have chickens again. Miss them :-(
    Thank you for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop. We hope to see you again this Wednesday.
    Simple Life Mom