Chickens- The Easiest of the Homestead Animals

For anyone desiring to become more self-sufficient, one of the simplest ways to start is by getting chickens.  They are relatively easy to care for and can be quite beneficial.

1.  They provide wonderfully tasty eggs.  If you have only ever had store bought eggs, you are missing out.  The yolks from my chickens’ eggs are dark yellow and taste much better.  The eggs are high in omega 3s, beta-carotene, and Vitamins A, D, and E.  They are also lower in cholesterol and saturated fat.

2.  Chickens will eat up almost all your table scraps.  Instead of throwing away scraps to start stinking up your garbage can, you can throw most of it to the chickens who will be delighted.  As soon as I open the door to my deck, the chickens come running across the yard hoping for a snack!

3.  Chicken manure is fabulous for your garden.  You should compost it for a while, though, and not put it immediately on your garden.  Once given the appropriate amount of time to break down, it will add great organic material to the soil and work as an excellent fertilizer.

4.  If you have ever watched free ranging chickens, they are pecking at the ground most of the day.  What are they eating?  Why, those pesky insects, of course!  We have noticed less ticks on our dogs since getting chickens!

5.  There will come a day when your hens are not laying as well as they used to and you have to make a decision.  Either they have worked their way into your heart and get to become a permanent guest that you feed or you have to use them for their other purpose….meat.  Some of our hens are already not laying well after a couple years so we are at the point of needing to butcher and replace.  That will be a job for the hubby!

6.  If you keep a rooster, you can raise your own chicks, thus saving you money.  Our rooster is quite mean and I have thought many times of just adding him to the freezer.  We haven’t purchased an incubator yet, but plan to raise our own chicks soon.

7.  Sometimes we like to sit outside and just watch the chickens.  They can be quite entertaining!  Some of mine will let me hold and pet them LOL….Just wash your hands afterwards!

We really love knowing where our eggs came from and how the chickens were raised.  One of my most favorite things is walking outside in the morning, gathering some freshly laid eggs, and cooking up an omelet.  It doesn’t get much fresher than that!

So, if you have ever thought about getting chickens, you should.  Plan on one chicken per member of your family and you will have plenty of eggs for those omelets and baking needs.  Many municipalities allow a certain number of chickens now, so you don’t have to live in the country to have them.  A rooster, though, is usually frowned upon in town.  They don’t just crow in the morning.  They crow!