Thinking about getting backyard chickens? I thought about it for YEARS.
We lived in an apartment in Rome when the idea first hit me but now that we’re nestled into our mini farm in North Carolina, having backyard chickens is one of those dreams that sounded so fun…and it totally is!
Here are a few things that I love most about having backyard chickens:
- Chickens are adorable. Just look at them! I love all their feathers and faces. Plus, it’s a kick to see them wobbling around our yard like they run the place. (They do.) I also love my chicken coop. My husband built it and I’ll share more details on that soon.
- Chickens eat ticks. Do they ever. Last year I had so many tick bites that I actually contracted a tick-borne illness, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. So did one of our kids. We were constantly pulling ticks of each other — dozens over the whole summer — and it was JUST as gross as it sounds. We’ve had chickens for 8 months now and guess how many ticks we’ve pulled? Two.
- Fresh eggs! It’s hard to beat the color and flavor of eggs laid THAT DAY. Plus, we know exactly what our birds are eating (organic pellets, and I guess tons of ticks but stay with me here).
- Supporting healthy chickens. Instead of being penned up with thousands of other birds and never leaving their cage or barn, our chickens roam, cluck, run, even fly around all day long.
- Built-in garbage disposals. Did you know that one of the main contributors to landfills is actually leftover food waste? And that decaying food causes methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. Our eight chickens eat all the leftovers and food past its prime. Which leads to…
- Free compost. You can’t put chicken droppings directly onto the garden because it’s too “hot”, and will damage your plants. But when I clean out my coop (every couple of weeks), I pour the whole wheelbarrow right into my compost pile. The heat from the compost breaks down any dangerous strains of salmonella plus, the nitrogen that makes it “hot” also decomposes into great fertilizer after a few months.
- Teaching kids where food comes from. I love that our kids get a closeup on Mother Nature through our chickens. They see me feed the chickens, water them, keep the coop clean and then…all the fresh eggs we can eat!
If you’re considering backyard chickens of your own here’s my two cents: Do it!