Raising Chickens for Eggs – Can it Be Fun for Your Family
If you read the many Web sites, Facebook pages and online forums devoted to raising chickens for eggs, you’d think it was a wonderful idea, with little cost and less work.
In no time, you’d be gathering fresh eggs, laid by your own hens from the backyard.
However, there are good aspects of backyard chickens as well as bad ones you need to think about.
First of all, before you start your project, you must check with your local authorities if you are allowed to keep chickens at all and what restrictions might apply (no rooster).
Backyard Chickens – The Good
- The eggs laid by backyard chickens have more vitamins and minerals than mass-produced eggs.
- You have control over your food source. Your chickens are being fed quality store feed, along with table scraps and nutritional supplements. Factory chickens suffer health issues from their overcrowded environment and are fed antibiotics.
- Supermarket eggs can be old. You have no idea when they were laid, gathered, and shipped to the store. When you gather the eggs from the coop every morning, you know the eggs are fresh.
- Chickens can help with the gardening. If you let them roam parts of your garden, they will eat bugs, including roaches. Many chickens love to eat weeds, but also like to snack on flowers, so use some chicken wire to protect your flowers.
- Chicken waste makes good fertilizer or compost. Some of the waste can fertilize plants or flowers, but should not be used on the lawn (it’s too high in ammonia).
- Many experts and backyard farmers say chickens are affectionate, have distinct personalities, and make good pets.
Backyard Chickens – The Bad
Caring for chickens can get rather messy, if you do not take proper care of your flock and their environment. It can get even more complicated if you have difficult neighbors.
Think about these issues before you start raising chickens for eggs. If your yard or coop is too small, the chickens are going to be stressed and more likely to develop health issues. Sick chickens don’t lay eggs.
- Chickens can become egg bound. If you don’t want to engage a vet, the treatment involves either holding them on a warm, moist towel or soaking their butts in a pan of warm water for 30 minutes.
- Another aspect of treating an egg-bound chicken is to place the hen on her back, massage her lower belly until the egg moves down, then gently remove the egg from the egg duct. These treatment methods might probably not be liked by most people!
- If you live in a city, there’s a good chance you have an oversensitive neighbor: the kind who wears surgical masks during flu season. This person may give you trouble for raising hens, thinking they could start an avian flu epidemic on your block. Try converting the neighbors to the idea of raising backyard chickens for eggs before starting your project. Give them the facts (and promise them some fresh organic eggs for their breakfast table).
However, even if there exist some bad aspects of backyard chickens, do not let this distract you from raising chickens for eggs. After all, it doesn’t need to be too difficult.
With the right plans, material, and tools it is usually not that hard to build a chicken coop which will fit nicely in your backyard.
Furthermore, it will definitely be fun for the whole family.
And let’s not forget, nothing beats a fresh organic egg for breakfast. Your kids will love to collect them in the morning.