Why Raise Chickens In Your Backyard? The Many Reasons & Benefits

Are chickens the new "dog"?
By BYC Support · Jan 10, 2012 · Updated Mar 6, 2014 · ·
  1. BYC Support

    Are Chickens the new "dog"?

    Having a small backyard flock of chickens is a growing trend in countries around the world. And it is not just country folks who enjoy raising chickens, more and more cities are relaxing their laws and ordinances and allowing chickens, so city dwellers can enjoy this pleasant hobby too. Many celebrities such a Jennifer Aniston, Barbra Streisand, Miley Cyrus, Chevy Chase, Reese Witherspoon and Martha Steward raise backyard chickens. So why are pet chickens so popular? Let's have a look at some of the benefits of raising backyard chickens.

    Chickens are easy, inexpensive pets with benefits

    - Starting with and keeping chickens is relatively inexpensive. See here for a breakdown of start up and ongoing costs.
    - Meat birds (Cornish Cross) are usually processed around the age of 7 – 9 weeks. So after feeding them for only 2 months, you can stock your freezer with your own wonderful, fresh, home-grown meat.
    - When you raise your own chickens, you know what went into the meat and eggs. It’s a safer and healthier alternative to factory farmed poultry and eggs.
    - The meat of farm-raised chicken has significantly less fat (and fewer calories) than typical store-bought chicken.
    - Backyard and free ranged hens produce eggs that are very nutritious and great tasting. Not to mention they are always fresh! Free ranged and backyard hens' eggs are also much healthier than battery hens' eggs. Here is a comparison between the nutrient content of free range vs battery eggs:

    Nutrient Content - Battery EggsNutrient Content - Free Range Eggs
    Vitamin A - 0.97mgVitamin A - 7.37mb
    Vitamin E - 487IUVitamin E - 763IU
    Beta Carotene - 10mgBeta Carotene - 76.2mg
    Folate - 47mcgFolate - 0.71g
    Omega 3 - 0.033mgOmega 3 - 292mg
    Cholesterol - 423mgCholesterol - 231mg
    Saturated Fat - 3.1
    Saturated Fat - 2.31g

    - Chickens make great pets for children and great 4H projects.
    - They are friendly, easy to manage, low maintenance and can be kept as house pets as well.
    - Chickens are a food source. Hens will provide you with wonderful fresh eggs and cockerels (and retired hens) can be processed and eaten.
    - Chickens are entertaining and keeping and spending time with your feathered friends, or just "watching chicken TV", can be rewarding and at times very funny, as this member discovered.

    Free range chickens are excellent, hard working gardeners

    - Once you’ve harvested everything you want from your vegetable garden, your chickens will happily clear the beds, scratching out and eating unwanted weeds, slugs and seeds and fertilizing the soil while they're at it.
    - Own an orchard or a few fruit trees? Chickens will devour the fallen fruit before it can attract insects.
    - Chicken manure contains high levels of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.
    - Chicken manure is more economically valuable than synthetic fertilizers.
    - Chicken manure can be used to make fertilizer tea.
    - Chickens love digging and scratching around in compost heaps and composting with chickens can be very beneficial for your compost heaps too.
    - Chickens will happily take care of crickets, grass hoppers, snails and other pests in the garden.

    Want even more excellent reasons to add chickens to your life?

    : See what our members say herehttps://www.backyardchickens.com/t/614991/what-are-the-top-three-reasons-you-have-chickens

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    Lady Lionheart and Nlchicken like this.

Recent User Reviews

  1. Anonymous
    "nice info!"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Apr 22, 2019
  2. Anonymous
    "Nice info."
    3/5, 3 out of 5, reviewed Jan 27, 2019
    Good start on basic info.
  3. ronott1
    "Excellant article!"
    5/5, 5 out of 5, reviewed Aug 7, 2018
    Very nice job explaining some of the benefits of raising backyard Chickens!


To make a comment simply sign up and become a member!
  1. Sharla 1
    When can I let my store bought chicks start free ranging?
  2. Trellinius
    Nice article overall. I love the chart showing the nutritional differences between caged bird eggs and free ranged eggs! Thanks.
    And as for the last part about chickens taking care of "other pests" in the garden....the #1reason I have chickens is to control the tick population.Used to be that when I went out to pick blackberries I would come in with around 50 ticks crawling on me. now when I go out to pick blackberries I only have one or two ticks... and sometimes none at all!
  3. N F C
    Nice article for someone trying to decide if raising chickens is right for them.
  4. kglazier
    what is the source of the nutrition data in the post. I am not questioning the information. My daughter may need to reference the source for a school report. thanks
    1. FlyWheel
      +1 on adding nutrition value source. I have also read that the national egg board has concluded the nutritional difference is nil. so something to back up your claims may be prudent.
  5. chickenlily13
    9 months into having 8 hens is great so far , this cold snap in Vermont is not what they wanted! They like to explore and they love their treats!
  6. MyPetNugget
    They are so friendly.
  7. fabfowl
    Chickens are really great to show in the fair! I've had so much success with my birds, and tons of fun!
  8. chickenbusiness
    Chickens: If you click on my avatar you will see hay bales, dogs, and a real live deer to the far right, the chickens were to the left out of focus of camera but real close to the dog and the deer in the background is just looking at it all. Chickens are friendly they will eat with and out of the dog food bowl if allowed to. They will come to your door peck and knock to receive your attention and treats. They will fertilize your garden, eat your bugs, mosquitos, cluck and cheer you along your way all during the day. They will put themselves up at night and only ask for you to close and lock their house door.
  9. chickenbusiness
    Love raising, hatching chickens. Love the fresh eggs. Love it when the chickens see the grandchildren coming and they run to them for snacks. Grandchildren love the chickens and you would be amazed of the creative writing and communication this helps in school. I have yet to meet someone who does not like fresh eggs. I am actually shocked at all the information that my grandchildren give out to others about their chickens and the how to do this and that etc. Wonderful egg/baby chicken sellers also may I add. Raising chickens is educational!!
      AvaCabo likes this.
  10. colbees
    Agreed. I don't regret one bit getting my hens, they're so much fun to watch
  11. sigmachigirl
    Agreed. I never knew how much joy they could bring. I even don't mind them digging in my garden, and I am a major control freak over how my yard looks.
  12. TNchickies
    They make great pets---they are some of the least expensive (as long as you don't get carried away), and they are so funny and cute! Chickens are just....perfect for me... :)
  13. Afterburner
    Hens are much lower maintenance than conventional pets and are great for people like me, who need to be ocassionly away from home for business.
  14. BrendaJ
    Agreed - Love my flock :)
  15. Vickery
    SITTING and watching them brings your blood pressure WAY DOWN!!!

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