Citizens in cities around the country have been battling over backyard chickens in recent years. Many residents have been up in arms at the idea of allowing their neighbors to own chickens, suggesting that the neighborhood will turn noisy, unsanitary and out of control.
In truth, backyard chickens have many benefits. Here are just a few.
1. They provide better tasting, healthy eggs. If you’ve never tasted eggs from free range chickens, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. The yolks are darker and brighter, the taste is more intense (think of the difference between skim and whole milk, or light beer versus ale) and studies have shown they’re higher in many nutrients.
2. They reduce dependence on inhumane, factory farms. By raising your own chickens, you reduce the demand for eggs from the large companies that treat chickens cruelly (click here to learn more — Warning: graphic images). If you give away or sell your extra eggs to friends or neighbors, you further reduce the demand.
3. They help your garden. Chickens are omnivores and they happily search the yard for tasty insects and grubs to gobble. They also produce excellent fertilizer for the compost pile.
4. They are quiet and clean. Despite the perception that many people have about chickens they are actually very easy to manage. Roosters are noisy and do crow, but roosters are not necessary for hens to produce eggs and are not allowed in many cities that allow chickens. Hens themselves are relatively quiet. As for messes, it takes a minimum of time to clean up after them, just as it does to clean up after any other pet. Your average neighborhood dog is both noisier and messier to clean up after than a handful of chickens.
5. They are fun companions. Backyard chickens can be delightful for both children and adults. They feel remarkably soft and if they’re raised around people they happily befriend them. Many folks who keep backyard chickens report that one of the most satisfying parts of it is watching their antics.
6. They provide fantastic pest control. Chickens will happily gobble up all those creepy bugs you don’t want like earwigs, ticks, millipedes, grasshoppers, fleas and mosquitoes and their larvae, just to name a few. They even eat small rodents.
7. They help the environment. Most people who own chickens feed them scraps as part of their diet. Just like composting, this keeps that much more garbage out of landfills. They also reduce needs for fertilizers and pesticides, since they provide both services naturally.
These are just a few of the reasons that chickens can be a benefit in the backyard. Feel free to chime in with other reasons in the comments!
If you want to learn more about raising backyard chickens, here are a few sites to visit.
This article originally appeared on examiner.com