Generally speaking, you should be able to take care of a small flock of chickens in just a few minutes each day, less time than it takes you to take your dog for a quick walk.
Ok, let’s start with the obvious reason – you’ll have the best tasting supply of fresh eggs on hand. Not to mention the convenience, as you’ll have absolutely no need to get out of your pajamas and head to the store to make a fresh, healthy breakfast.
#2. Better for your health:
Free range eggs from your backyard have been shown to have a far greater nutritional value than commercially grown, AKA factory farmed. There are more than seven times the Vitamin A and Beta Carotene (essential for good eyesight) and almost double the Vitamin E in free range eggs (Vitamin E considered a strong anti-oxidant). When it comes to the essential fatty acid Omega 3 (which is necessary for heart health, healthy cholesterol levels and positive mental and behavioral health), the free range variety win again with an incredible 292 mg, versus a pitiful 0.033mg in factory eggs. You’ll also get less saturated fat in free range eggs.
#3. City chickens as a backyard organic exterminating service.
Chickens love to eat protein-packed insects, which works out well because they can serve as the organic pest-cleanup crew in your garden and devour ticks on your property. They also love to eat many weeds, and serve as post-harvest garden bed gleaners, potentially making your work as a gardener very, very easy.
#4. Heritage-breed & 7city chickens as an extinction-prevention task force.
Because factory-farm operations prefer pretty much the same type of high-volume laying breeds (or in the case of meat, heavy, fast-growing meat birds), the preservation of rare, heritage breeds is threatened. If we lose these beautiful breeds, we wipe out genetic material from a species, perhaps losing genes that could save the poultry industry one day if the standard production breeds fall susceptible to illness. To learn more about heritage breeds, Please check out your blog on what chickens are best for you.
#5. Urban chickens as soil builders and savers.
The health of your food is tied directly to the health of your soil. And chickens perform multiple functions that can turn parts of our boring old yards into fertile garden patches. Their natural scratching and digging tendencies serve them well and can help you create top-notch garden beds. They are expert in mixing manure with mulch to create raised beds, which allow you to grow more produce in a smaller space and use less water, which is particularly useful to urban gardeners. They also act as gasoline-free, pleasant- noise tillers, mixing the top layers of soil with compost or other mulches. (OK, I think hens sure do make cute noises, adding entertainment value for the whole family!)
#6. Urban chickens as antidepressants; your own serotonin.
Ever hear of oxytocin, the love hormone? It’s a stress-lowering chemical in your body that’s unleashed when you hug someone you love, or even pet your dog or cat. And anyone who has raised backyard chickens can probably contend the same effect holds true for hens. Believe it or not there are actually hens employed as therapy chickens! That’s something to sing or cluck about!
#7. Urban or city chickens as cheapest backyard city workers.
This aspect of keeping chickens has been studied for centuries and concludes that the most economic and politically compelling reason to keep hens is to recycle food and yard waste, therefore keeping it out of landfills as it composts into an invaluable organic soil conditioner for your garden. The idea is that you feed your chickens kitchen scraps, they poop out a nitrogen-rich fertilizer, and you compost it with leaves and other untreated yard waste.
To quote one study in Belgium, one city is actually giving three laying hens to 2,000 homes in an effort to reduce landfill costs. City officials expect to recover a significant portion of the $600,000 a year the city spends on dealing with this type of household “trash.” According to Foreman, a single chicken can bio-recycle about seven pounds of food residuals in a month. If just 2,000 households raise three hens, it could divert 252 tons of waste from landfills annually.
Keeping Micro-flocks of Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Makers, Bio-recyclers, and Local Food Producers (Good Earth Publications, 2010).