©2010 Shanna Ohmes
If you would like to be a part of the growing food revolution movement to eating real foods, then you have probably already learned how eggs are a part of a healthy diet. You may have also learned that how chickens are raised affects the nutrition of those eggs.
Did you know it’s simple to raise chickens in your own backyard? Why would you want to? Here are a few reasons why you should raise your own chickens.
• More nutritious for your family—a homegrown egg, from a hen that’s allowed to eat bugs, seeds, grass and other goodies from your yard and garden, has a deeper color than factory-eggs. This deep color indicates denser nutrition, and is rich in beta carotene, vitamin D, vitamin E, folic acid and vitamin B-12.
• By raising your own hens, you’ll know they are humanely treated. You can feed them wholesome feed that’s free from antibiotics and growth hormones, most of which they will forage for themselves. In factory raised hens and meat birds, these additives are passed onto us through the eggs and meat, and the chickens are kept in cramped cages or close confinement indoors.
• You can preserve endangered breeds. These heritage breeds have been reduced in numbers because the commercial growers focus on the faster growing types.
• Chickens are small and can easily be raised in portable mini-coops which can be moved around your yard daily. This is good for your lawn and keeps the hens happy eating bugs, seeds and grass. Chickens also eat termites, grubs, fire ants, grasshoppers, fleas and flies.
• They are quiet and make good pets. It is the roosters that crow and make the most noise. Just 3-4 hens are quieter than most dogs. At most they squawk when they lay an egg and make small clucking sounds when scratching in the dirt. A hen will lay an infertile egg almost daily. The only reason to have a rooster is for fertile eggs to raise chicks. So, you really don’t need a rooster for egg production.
• There are many breeds to choose from: most are dual-purpose, which means they provide both meat and eggs. Some are very small and lay tiny eggs. Some lay brown or green eggs or even speckled eggs. Fancy breeds have topknots of feathers on their heads while others have feathery legs.
• Raising chickens with your children involves them in learning where their food comes from. Many children today think their food somehow comes from the back of the store. Now they can make that connection in how it gets to their plate.
Raising chickens in your backyard is easy and entertaining. We spent hours watching ours jumping up to peck the seeds from drooping mammoth sunflower heads. They were very comical.
When you keep chickens, you will discover the true meanings behind many of those old “chicken sayings” that your grandparents used to say. Like, “hen party”, “madder than a wet settin’ hen”, “hen-pecked”, “like a banty on a june bug”, and “rule the roost”.