Raising chickens is nothing new. Many farms, even those whose primary income isn’t chicken production, raise some chickens, and commercial chicken producers raise thousands of chickens at a time.
However, a less common practice that has recently started gaining popularity are backyard chickens. More and more people are opting to raise chickens for eggs in their own backyard — even in urban and suburban areas.
The average person consumes about 275 eggs per year and laying hens can lay as much as one egg per day. That would mean that an average household would only need one laying hen per person to meet their demand for eggs!
But before you jump in, here are a few important things to consider when evaluating whether backyard chickens are for you.
There is the obvious benefit that you’ll have a consistent supply of fresh eggs. These eggs tend to be richer in both color and flavor. But there are a number of other benefits of raising your own chickens for eggs. For one thing, you’ll know exactly what your chicken eats, so you won’t have to worry about unhealthy additives. What’s more? Kitchen scraps make great chicken feed!
Additionally, chickens are natural omnivores that readily devour bugs and small animals, making them a natural pest control. Also, chicken manure contains a significant amount of nutrients which can be used as fertilizer for your garden.
Things to keep in mind
However, there are some cons to chicken ownership. For one thing, it can be costly. Even with the recent rise in egg prices, once you factor in the cost of the coop, fencing, feed and the chickens themselves, it may still be cheaper to purchase eggs from a grocery store.
Germs are another factor to keep in mind. Chickens can carry harmful germs that make people sick. These germs can cause a variety of illnesses, ranging from minor skin infections to serious illnesses.
Chickens are also noisy and create a lot of manure. While this may not bother you, the increased noise and associated smells could bother your neighbors. You should also be sure to check any restrictions in the area you’ll be raising the chickens. Certain municipalities and homeowners’ associations, especially those in urban and suburban areas, have restrictions on owning animals, including chickens. Be sure to check these regulations before beginning a backyard farm!
Last but not least, maintenance. You’ll have to feed and water the chickens regularly and clean the coop often.
Did you know?
Whether or not you decide backyard chickens are for you, here are some fun facts to know about chickens.
As people pursue their dreams of rural home ownership or running a hobby farm, raising backyard chickens is one of the many questions we are asked, and we’re happy to help! Country Living Loans from Farm Credit East can help make those dreams reality.
Contact your local mortgage specialist for more information at CountryLivingLoans.com.