When people find out that we have questions, there are several common questions, but the one that I enjoy answering most is "why chickens?" We have a few reasons that we decided to add backyard chickens:
- Bugs. We have a huge backyard garden and wanted a natural way to deal with an invasion of undesirable bugs. We had a recent season with potato bugs eating our potatoes and Asian beetles eating our raspberries. We were hoping that the chickens would eat the bugs. Fast forward, and the girls certainly keep the bugs down, but they do not find potato bugs or Asian beetles to their taste. So we still have that problem.
- Fertilizer. We were buying organic manure from the hardware store to supplement our garden. We thought it would make more sense to create our own fertilizer. Fast forward, and the girls provide a great source of nutrients for our garden.
- Bunnies and Squirrels. We were having problems with rabbits and squirrels eating a lot of our produce. We thought the chickens might be protective of their territory and scare away the rabbits and squirrels. Fast forward, and the girls unfortunately co-exist with both the rabbits and squirrels. But, the girls do attract predators (mainly fox) that have reduced both the rabbit and squirrel population.
- Local source of protein. We have fruits and vegetables from the backyard, but did not have a source of protein. Over the winter, we watched the documentary Food, Inc. and were inspired to provide our own eggs rather than rely on commercial sources of eggs.
- Entertainment. The chickens are our pets and just like cats or dogs, they provide us with endless entertainment. We didn't expect to be entertained by their antics, but it the most rewarding aspect of having chickens.