Table of Contents >>
Chapter 1: Why Chickens?
In case you're not sold yet on chickens, here are ten really good reasons to call them your own:
Great-Tasting, Nutritious Eggs
We all love our dogs, cats and fish, but do they actually produce something edible? Or pay their own
way? Chickens do, and once you've dined on their eggs you'll never reach for a dozen in the supermarket
again. They're so much more flavorful, in no small part because you'll eat them when they're only
minutes or hours old, not weeks or months. You'll even see the difference in the yolks, which are a
healthy orange - not the pale yellow you're used to.
Plus, you can feel good about the organic eggs you'll be feeding your friends and family. All it takes
to get organic eggs is organic chicken feed! Research shows that chickens allowed to roam freely and eat
grass lay eggs that are higher in Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E and at the same time lower in
cholesterol than store-bought, too. (Think of your hair and skin...)
Chickens Have Personality Galore -- Seriously!
Each chicken has their own completely unique quirky, kooky and endearing personality. They're
stunningly beautiful too, parading around in a variety of colors, patterns, shapes and sizes.
You'll name them, spoil them with treats, and pick them up and hug them any chance you get.
Get One Step Closer to Sustainable Living
Do you find it disconcerting how far removed we all are from the animals and plants we need
to survive? How our fast-paced lives and ever-increasing demands are trashing the planet
that sustains us? Believe it or not, keeping a few chickens in your backyard equates to
taking a stand against all this. How? Read on...
A Healthy Lawn without the Chemicals
Chickens LOVE to range freely, and allowing them to do so kills the proverbial two birds
with one stone: they'll eat any garden pest they can get their beaks on (earwigs, grubs,
beetles, even moles) and they'll turn it all into treasure in the form of fertilizer.
Say goodbye to toxic, costly pest control solutions and wasteful bags and bottles of
store-bought fertilizer. Chickens will even cut down on the amount of mowing you do
because they love to eat grass. That's right -- you sit in a lounge chair with your mint
julep while they do the hard work for you.
One Man's Unappealing Leftovers are another Chicken's Feast
Chickens can eat almost anything people can, and they adore "people food" -- so you can throw
those unwanted leftovers into the chicken run. No more feeling guilty about letting them
rot in the fridge or throwing them out! Watch out for the garlic and onion, though, unless
you want your eggs tasting funny. (See Chapter 7 - Caring for Chickens for a full list of the foods chickens shouldn't eat.)
A Balanced Compost Pile
Composting is a wonderful way to reduce your ecological footprint, and a nitrogen-rich
compost pile is a healthy compost pile. What better to provide the nitrogen than chicken poo?
Eggshells are a great addition, too, especially in areas where there's lots of clay in the
soil. At the end of the composting process you'll have "black gold" soil, so called because
it's so rich and fertile.
Handy Leaf, Weed, and Grass Clipping Removal
Leaves, weeds and grass clippings are a treat for Gallus gallus domesticus. They'll
happily dig through whatever you give them, eat what they can, and pulverize the rest.
Give a small flock a heap of yard and garden debris and a week later it'll be gone without
a trace. No need to bag it and pile it by the curb!
Save a Chicken from a Factory-Farm Life
If you're aware of conditions in factory farms, even in some of the so-called "free range"
farms, we needn't say more. If you're not, please research it. Factory farming is terrifyingly
cruel. The good news is that by keeping a few pet chickens of your own, you're reducing the
demand for store-bought eggs and sending a message to those factory farms that you don't
want what they're selling.
The Very Definition of Low-Maintenance
Chickens don't need to be walked, brushed, or fed twice a day. Essentially all you have to do is
gather eggs daily, fill their food and water containers a couple of times a week and change
their bedding once a month!
Be the Coolest Kid on the Block
Despite their many merits, backyard chickens are still relatively uncommon. Wow neighbors,
friends and family by being the first person they know to have chickens. Amaze them with
the green eggs from your
Easter Eggers, chocolate brown eggs from your Black Copper Marans, and olive eggs from your Olive Eggers. Confound them by walking your chicken around the block on a harness and leash.
Astound them when your chicken falls asleep in your arms after you've lovingly stroked its
comb and wattles. Make them green with envy at the lawn your flock has made
Chickens are, after all, the most "chic" pet you could possibly have. And we think it's
time everyone knew.