Urban Chickens: Pets with Benefits

 

Chickens are just for people who have farms and who can dedicate their lives to caring for the land and their animals.  At the very least, they are for people who have a lot of land and live in the country and have grown up on a farm. They are not for people who live in the city or who work full time or who have zero experience with “farm animals”, right?

Wrong!

 The Urban Chicken movement is clucking and scratching its way into our lives and bringing loads of happy benefits to city dwellers everywhere. In our first post about composting, Dee mentioned how her chickens contributed to her over-abundant garden. Today, I want to unpack it a little more and really show just how awesome owning chickens can be and why you might want to consider getting your own feathery friends.

I know that when I used to think about why a person would have chickens only two reasons came to mind: eggs and meat. The egg part intrigued me, but not enough to go through all the “trouble” I thought owning chickens would be. I also knew that there was no way I could use them for meat. My tender little heart gets too attached to things for that to be possible. So, I wrote off ever owning chickens. Little did I know that they can play such a big role in allowing people to truly live a “no waste” life, saving them and their communities tons of money all while responsibly caring for this beautiful earth of ours.

There is no shortage of information out there about owning your own chickens and what all goes into that, but today I just want to give you my top 5 reasons why owning your own chicks is an eggcellent idea!! The most economically and politically compelling reason is that they recycle food and yard waste, keeping it out of landfills and turning it into an invaluable soil builder for your garden. You feed your chickens scraps from your kitchen, they poop nitrogen-rich fertilizer that you mix with leaves and other yard waste to grow an amazing garden which feeds your family, and the cycle continues. Pure gold.

  1. They are your own personal exterminating service. Chickens eat bugs, bugs that may have otherwise ruined your garden. They also eat many weeds, keeping your garden healthy and beautiful with little effort on your part. That, my friends, is a HUGE win in my book.

  2. They help make your soil top notch. Not only do they contribute fertilizer, but they also are expert tillers. Their scratching and digging tendencies mix your soil with the compost and fertilizer making it prime real estate for your growing veggies.

  3. They help with depression. Now, I bet you weren’t expecting this to be on the list! But ask almost anyone who has chickens and they will tell you that their effect on your happiness is the same as owning a dog or cat. There are even therapy chickens out there!  Who knew, but it’s true, having chickens around releases oxytocin (the love hormone) and gives you the warm fuzzies deep inside.

  4. Their eggs can add a little extra income. Not only can your family benefit from the fresh eggs your chickens produce but so can your neighbors and surrounding community. If you chose to do so, selling your organic, fresh eggs can absolutely bring in some extra cash. How much they bring in obviously depends on the amount of chickens you have and the amount of eggs they are producing, but as we all know, every little bit helps.

As you can see, chickens can be used for so much more than those cheesy jokes that you learned as a child. They can add joy and health and bounty to your home, even when living within the city limits. I know that owning chickens isn’t for everyone, but I hope that if you have even slightly considered putting your eggs in this basket that this post has encouraged you to go for it and not chicken out!

 
Keisha Gansen