The Pros and Cons of Raising Chickens

If you are considering whether or not to raise chickens, what the disadvantages of raising them are, as well as the benefits of raising them are,...
By cluckcluckgirl · Nov 6, 2012 · Updated Mar 25, 2016 · ·
  1. cluckcluckgirl
    If you are considering whether or not to raise chickens, what the disadvantages of raising them are, as well as what the benefits of raising them are, this article could be of much help. As everyone knows, there are pros and cons to everything in life, especially pets and animals. Do pros outweigh the cons, or cons outweigh the pros?

    Important! Before considering raising chickens, be sure to check with your city council to see if chickens are even allowed in the city. If you raise chickens in a city that doesn't allow them, you may face a penalty. If you don't live in a city, but live in rural areas, chickens should be allowed.

    I have owned chickens for over three years, and have tried to learn as much there is to learn about chickens in that time. I continue to tend to my chickens' everyday needs, including giving them food and water in the mornings. Let's look at the advantages of owning chickens first.

    You have probably heard from someone you know that the difference in taste between farm fresh eggs and the factory eggs you buy at the store are very different. I can conclude that to be true, and I never have had any interest in eating store bought eggs ever since our very first egg from our chickens. The difference in taste may be from a variety of reasons. It could be from the difference in food they receive, where they're kept, how much space (square feet) is allowed per bird, and/or the motive that many chicken farmers want with their eggs: quality not quantity. Raising your own chickens allows you to monitor what your hens consume, so you know what goes into the egg. Unless you work for one of the major egg factories, you may not know what went into the store bought egg(s) you ate for breakfast. Many people, including myself, enjoy farm fresh eggs because they are delicious and you know what went into that egg.

    You can also sell the eggs to someone you know so that you can hopefully make a profit. Each hen lays about one egg per day, and if you keep 10 hens (as much as the city I know allows), that comes to about 7-10 eggs per day! Please note that some breeds of chickens do not lay one egg per day, but many breeds lay 3-4 eggs a week, which is very good. Most people are willing to pay more for better quality eggs, and you don't need to run to the store to buy eggs. (Read more about how you can make money via egg sales, etc here: Making Money with Chickens - Yes, you can!)

    Some breeds of chickens lay brown, others lay white, and a few even lay blue or green. If you're looking for brown egg layers, Rhode Island Reds, Plymouth Rocks, Jersey Giants, Barnevelders, Delawares, Marans, Penedesencas, Dominique, Orpington, and Welsummers are ideal breeds. Common white egg layers include White Leghorns, Anconas, Campines, Hamburgs, and Hollands. Blue and green egg laying breeds are Easter Eggers, Ameraucanas, and Araucanas. (More here: Egg Color Chart - Find Out What Egg Color Your Breed Lays)

    Chickens are also known to be very friendly, and they reduce my stress for sure! Whenever I feel depressed, a simple 20 minute session with my girls helps me to cheer up. They will do funny things, like hop up on your lap when you sit down, perch on just about anything, and pace the perimeter making a squawking noise as they go along. They may even all gather at the entrance to your coop when they see you coming! Talking to other chicken owners, the same thing works to reduce their stress as well.

    You may also choose to raise chickens for their meat. You may enjoy the meat, provided you are fine with the process of getting the meat. It is a rather graphic process, but when I was forced to kill a rooster who was attacking and injuring my hens, I found the meal to be tasty and full of flavor. If you decide to raise chickens for their meat, consider the following tips: 1. Try not to get too attached to the chicken, as it would be harder to do this process if you named it and petted it. 2. It is better to have a hen laying about 1 egg a day, rather than kill a laying hen for 1 or 2 meals. (Ever hear of the saying, "A pig will give you one breakfast but a hen will give you many"?) 3. Once you are done completing the process, be sure to clean and sanitize any materials that were used. (Also see this article on How To Process A Chicken At Home.)

    Chickens also produce a very effective fertilizer. Their poop can be treated and used in your garden to speed your plants' growth. You can add the poop to your compost pile, which is recommended. Before you put it in your garden, you must make sure it reaches a temperature of 130- 150 degrees Fahrenheit (54-65 degrees Celsius). Be sure that it does not exceed or reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit (71 degrees Celsius), as that may kill beneficial bacteria that help the plant to grow. Allow the pile to cool, and let it rest for 45-60 days. Once all these steps have been completed, you can use it in your garden or even sell it. (Also see this article on Composting With Chickens)



    However, chickens can be dirty, and therefore their coop material needs to be replaced about every month or so (depending on how many chickens you have). I have used straw as the bedding material in my coop because it provides cushioning and is cheap. Another bedding option is pine shavings, which are cheap and provides cushioning as well. However, pine shavings may tend to stick to the egg(s). It is a dirty job, but it keeps your hens healthy. It is advised to wear gloves and a mask that covers your nose and mouth so that dust doesn't get into your lungs. A good alternative to this would be the Deep Litter Method - The Easiest Way To Deal With Chicken Litter Dlm.

    You may also have to put your birds in at night, just for safety. That means that you'll have to set aside time in the morning to let them back outside. It shouldn't take much time, about 10 minutes each.

    In addition, you constantly need to make sure they have enough food, water, and grit. Grit is crucial because it consists of small rocks, which help your birds to digest their food. You should be able to find all the supplies you'll need at a farm store, but it does require money. Farm stores also may carry chicks in the early spring, around March-April. If you don't have a farm store nearby, a hardware store may have what you need. You may also choose to build your own coop, which requires time, money, and labor. If you choose not to build your own coop, you would have to buy a coop from a farm store or online. Buying a coop would cost more, but it would save you time and labor.

    Chickens require many needs, and the owner has to be willing to care for them and make sure they receive adequate nutrition. Oyster shells, which I have seen at a local supermarket, are an excellent source of calcium. Ground up egg shells can also be fed to your chickens, as the shell is mainly calcium. If a hen does not get enough calcium, the calcium that goes into the eggshell came from her bones, and you may notice little "bumps", or calcium deposits, on the eggs. Another sign of a calcium deficiency includes eggs that have soft shells.

    Overall, the pros outweigh the cons for me, and I love raising chickens, and so do many other people. In my 5 years of raising chickens, I have never looked back to the day we got our first chicks and thought, "I wish I never got chicks." I do find myself looking back and smiling at what chickens do. Now it's time for you to decide if the pros outweigh the cons, or not.

    Pictures from and credited to: picture by rocksmom
    and picture by willowbranchfarm

    Share This Article

Recent User Reviews

  1. 007Sean
    "Good article"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed May 13, 2019 at 2:31 AM
    Good article on the good and bad of raising chickens.
  2. ronott1
    "good article"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Aug 27, 2018
    Thanks for the pros and cons!
  3. mrs_organized_chaos
    "Good starting point"
    4/5, 4 out of 5, reviewed Jul 29, 2018
    This is a good brief summary of raising chickens. There are links included that allow the reader to do some additional research into owning chickens.


To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!
  1. twinsmom6
    We got our first two when my sweet teenage son went to the store for fresh chicken...... so he brought home chicks!!! We now have a beautiful little flock of 10. They are relaxing to me they are very simple to care for and the eggs are a bonus. It's like having a bunch of beautiful pets with the bonus of breakfast and baking ingredients from a fresh known source.
  2. king tail
    loved it! love the pic to!
  3. boomercide
    Funny how you mentioned getting the goats cows and so I can by luck have to we started with the chickens now in the spring we are going too pick up too goats hahahah glad I'm not the only one out there
  4. grannyh6
    Im having a hard time getting my hens to lay eggs. I get organic feed and them oster shell and they still don't lay
  5. puppies9099
    yes very true chickens are contagious once you get chickens( you start with 5 or more) than you what more chickens. Then you want a cow and goats and turkeys and rabbits then you have a full running farm and will never go back to the city ever again
  6. boomercide
    Arron Dunn you said it once you start you can't stop I had 8 dropped too 6 for I did not want the too I got and now in the spring I'm all ready planning on 6 more!!! And we live out in the sticks can have all the birds we want well I want the fiancé dose not want as many as me my coop holds 40 at least lol
  7. JessHeller
    I completely with Aaron Dunn - once you start its hard to stop! I only have 4 hens which is the limit for my city but I have seen at least a dozen other breeds, besides what we have now, that I wish I had. I think one that is a negative and a positive which the article covered is the poo. Poo is great for fertilizing but if they free range in areas that you want to also me in (ie - your back yard) poo then is a problem. We now pick it up the same time we do for the dogs. I love our hens and so glad my son talked me into getting into this crazy but fun and rewarding hobby.
  8. chicksurreal
    Great article! The benefits far outweigh the negative aspects for us as well.
    I love my chickens!
  9. chicken4prez
  10. Birdlover 13
    Great article, really helps a lot!
  11. Aaron Dunn
    Warning ! Warning ! Warning !!!!!!!!!!! Chickens are very contagious !! Three years ago my wife wanted a few chicks. So what started out as about a dozen chicks is now up to 54 !!!!! Three coops, a brooder, incubator, egg turner, and etc. later, we are still into them. We love the eggs and meat they give us. People at church also love the eggs. The LORD has blessed us greatly.
  12. itswhit
    Thank you. :)
  13. Mountain Peeps
    Awesome article! Very helpful!
  14. cluckcluckgirl
  15. willowbranchfarm
  16. Mr MKK FARMS
  17. clucky3255
    wow pretty good!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: