If you’re looking for a good anniversary, birthday, or surprise gift for someone you love, let me make a suggestion:
Wait for it…
Better yet, a dozen chickens!
If you are scratching your head in confusion, let me enlighten you as to why I’ve made this suggestion.
Why You Should Raise Chickens:
1. Outdoor Exercise and Fresh Air – Chasing your chickens that have flown out of the pen (once again) and are now pooping in the neighbor’s yard not only is an adrenaline rush, but also a good form of cardio. Not to mention, cleaning the coop and raking the run is sure to get the blood pumping. As I write this, I’m smiling. Man, I love my hens.
2. Chickens are Easy and Entertaining Pets – Have you ever seen a chicken hop? Have you ever seen a chicken take a dust bath? Have you ever held a hen in your arms and felt her purr? I have…and it’s amazing.
3. No More Bleached Grocery Store Eggs! –There is nothing like fresh, organic eggs. They are hearty and delicious. Eggs from well-kept backyard chickens are healthier because they are allowed to roam the soil, peck for bugs, exercise, and eat natural grit for their digestive system. Most factory farms focus on quick, cheap egg production, which reflect an unnatural diet and living condition for the hens. Eggs purchased in the grocery store can be days—even weeks—old. As these eggs age, air seeps into the naturally porous eggshell, degrading the nutrition and consistency of the egg.
4. Great Opportunity to Teach Children (if you have them) About Responsibility and Caring for Animals – Children can participate in all of the chicken related chores such as stocking the feed, water, cleaning the coop and run, filling nest boxes with fresh hay or straw, and collecting the eggs. Most laying hens begin egg production around 24 to 26 weeks and will produce about 300 eggs a year (depending on the breed and environment).
5. Free Fertilizer- Chicken droppings are great to fertilize your garden or flowerbeds. They will enrich your compost pile because they are high in nitrogen.
6. Chickens are Great Conversation Starters – People are usually curious about folks who raise backyard chickens. It’s fun to describe the interesting things chickens do that most folks might not know. I’ve received lots of great questions about my girls. For example, I don’t need a rooster for my chickens to lay eggs. I purchased egg laying hens, but if I want my hens’ eggs to develop into chicks, then I need a rooster to fertilize the girls. (But I don’t want that.)
7. Chicken Dinner –When your chickens finish laying eggs, they can give you the ultimate gift…chicken dinner. (Although, my girls will probably never see my kitchen table.)
Reference: “Eight Benefits of Raising Backyard Chickens” by Robin Ripley. Home and Living. Jan. 18, 2009. <http://www.examiner.com/article/eight-benefits-of-raising-backyard-chickens>.