There are five reasons that we decided to keep backyard chickens. We talked about some reasons we are migrating to heritage breed chickens. I would suggest learning more about the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy and their mission to save the genetics from traditional American livestock.
One important thing for us was to teach children that chicken and eggs were not something that originated in a grocery store. We have become so dependent on transportation that we rarely have a connection with our food. It is pretty easy to make a connection when backyard chickens are outside your window.
2. Fresh Eggs
We had friends that kept chickens and were always amazed at the color of the yolk. Pasteurized eggs are a deep orange yellow color, which is so different than the pale yellow yolk from typical store bought eggs. The freshness of the eggs from backyard chickens and the quality make a world of difference. The added benefit is the variability in the size of the egg and imperfections in the shell further educate that natural is unique and not the bland carbon copy eggs that you buy in grocery stores.
3. Fresh Meat
Imagine a world where chicken comes in something other than a cellophane wrapped tray. We have been disturbed in how meat chickens are raised and treated. The processing leaves even more to be desired. We wanted to make sure that we knew what was in our meat. Backyard chickens have allowed us to raise meat for our dinner table economically and without concern for the conditions that they are raised in. It also harkens back to the agrarian days when Sunday dinner was running around the backyard.
Most people would not consider backyard chickens being entertaining, but again we saw how funny they could be due to our friends flock. It is enjoyable to see the chickens come running when they think it is treat time. If we find worms or grubs while gardening it always is worth a five minute break to see the latest edition of chicken football. They give new meaning to stealing food off someone’s plate with their antics.
5. TEOTWAWKI Skills
If and or when a major life altering event happens the stress and change will be the last time you need to learn the valuable tools of animal husbandry. We firmly believe that self-sufficiency was the true American Dream and it also leads to a simpler life. Another great ancillary benefit is we are much better prepared in case anything happens.
We absolutely have no reservations about our decision to keep chickens. They have become an integral part of our homestead and life. Heck they even pay for themselves by selling extra eggs and providing meat for our table.
I would encourage everyone where it is allowed to start their own flock of chickens as many of the same five reasons we started can be applied to any household across America.