1101 Essay on Back Yard Chickens


11 Years
Aug 18, 2008
For my freshman comp class I'm writing an essay on why it is better to keep your own chickens, grow/raise your own food and the cruelty and disease that come out of commercial farms. (ex. the huge egg recall in the mid-west over the summer) Your input and any links you have for me to research would be greatly appreciated. Also if I use your comments I'll use you in my citation as an "expert" opinion

Thanks BYC'ers!

Hi Kelly, sounds like an interesting essay. Growing, raising and hunting my own food has become a passion of mine in recent years. I won't be a whole lot of help for your paper, but I'll share with you some of my reasons.

I want to know that the produce my family uses to sustain them has been handled properly from the seed to the table. When I open a jar of home canned green beans, for example, I know that they are getting a 100% wholesome source of nutrition. I have the peace of mind that there are no residual pesticides on them because I don't use pesticides. I know how they were handled during the picking, processing and storage. As a result of my efforts in the garden, I have started recycling too. I have a compost pile that generates quite a bit of black gold that goes back into the garden to improve the soil. My chickens have proven to be a good source of organic, natural fertilizer. I have had much better success with my garden since owning chickens. I turn them out into the garden spot pre- and post- planting to clean up any residual pests and weed seeds. While they are working, they add more fertilizer.

My husband and I have always hunted and fished for our own meat. We are now raising chickens for eggs and are getting my first meat rabbits this weekend. I am also planning to get meat chickens later this spring. I see absolutely nothing wrong with appreciating and caring for the life that eventually sustains you. I treat my vegetable garden very well. I strive to give my plants the best growing environment that I can and meet each individual plants needs. I have a very healthy laying flock. I ensure they get the nutrients that they need, clean, fresh water daily, and keep their coop clean. I inspect my chickens every day for injury, parasites and signs of poor health. I have been preparing for my meat rabbits all winter long. I have been researching how to take care of them, and purchasing items for their housing for months now. The man I will be getting them from has been raising them for years. I expect to have a long and lasting relationship with him. We have talked several times now. He will become my mentor.

I catch a lot of grief from my friends over the thought of raising, butchering, and consuming your own meat. It's not something that I advertise, but not something that I am ashamed of either. I will know that my herd is healthy and clean. I will know the conditions under which they were processed. I will know that my family's health will not be compromised by eating the meat they generate.

I have economic reasons for this passion as well. When I began this journey, we had a family of seven. My husband and I both work a full time job. We work at the same place. Over the years, with the economy being what it is, our hours have been cut repeatedly. I was just put back on a 40 hour schedule yesterday. I have been on a cut hour schedule for the past six years. I am saving seed from year to year. My fertilizer no longer has to be purchased. My garden is now "free". I start most of my plants indoors to get a jumpstart on the growing season. I have accumulated lots of canning jars over the years. I purchased a bulk roll of freezer paper for the meats. I have enough for the next several years still. I do not know how much money that I save by doing the things that I do, but I can tell you that I wouldn't be able to feed my family if I had to buy it all at the store. Three of the kids are now out on their own. My schedule is now back to normal, but I will continue to grow and raise my own food as long as I am able to do it. When I sit down at the dinner table, I appreciate my meal much more than when I bought everything because of the investment of my time that has gone into preparing my meal, not to mention, it all tastes better.

Good luck with your paper.
Thank you! Personal reasons are great as well.

Tell your friends to do a youtube search on battery hens, then do a search on how meat chickens are kept. Raising your own food is a much more humane way to do it. I tell you I have been close to tears doing research for this paper. For instance when a battery hen no longer lays or becomes ill the commercial farm doesn't even bother to put the bird out of it's misery, they simply throw the still living bird into the dung heap for it to die a slow death.
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When you finish your essay, you should post it. I have never researched commercial food operations, but I have had a friend who worked at a chicken farm. She won't touch eggs to this day because of her experiences there. She said that she doesn't want to promote commercial egg production. I know that I would like to read about what you have learned.

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