THE TWO FACES OF RAISING CHICKENS

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By Jordan Walker

chicken1Raising farm animals like chickens are not so common in citified places. But many people just want to have a feel of the suburban life and recreate this by having their small chicken farms in their backyards. A chicken farm makes you forget about the noisy traffic, the smog in the city and the hectic schedule at the office. Looking at it from the pictures and videos or real chicken farmers, this hobby looks easy enough, a child could do it. But there are actually the good and the ugly side of raising chickens.

The Advantages:

eggsandchickens2 1. Healthier Eggs When scientists compared the quality of eggs produced by chickens in industrial settings compared to hens on pasture, the latter was found to be more nutritious. It indicates that chickens that were fed on varied foods were able to produce eggs that have better omega-3 fatty acids and higher amounts of vitamin E. Since you can choose the diet of your own chickens, you also get to dictate the quality of eggs being produced.

2. Teach Kids Responsibility Instead of just letting the kids spend most of their time watching television, you could get them involved in maintaining your mini farm. This way, as young as they are, they are already given their own chores which teaches them how to handle a bit of responsibility.

3. Chickens Aren’t Needy As a pet, chickens can be left on their own outside the house. If you had a dog or a cat, this will not do. You have to keep these pets inside the house where they could end up soiling the floor and the furniture. Chickens in comparison are outdoor pets and you do not need to share a roof with them.

4. They Are Cheap Chicks are very cheap. They grow very fast too and are considered fully-grown by the time that they are 6 months old. From this time on, hens could start laying eggs. Contrary to common belief that hens need roosters in order to lay eggs, this is not entirely true. Roosters are only needed to fertilize the eggs but hens could lay these on their own.

5. Recycling Benefits These animal pets could be very useful with leftover foods. Instead of letting the maggots have a feast on these, you can just let the chickens have them instead. This could save you extra cost on chicken feed too.

6. Beautifies Garden If you have a flower or a vegetable garden, you can make plants healthier by making use of chicken waste as a fertilizer. There are now organic chemicals available in stores that can be used to treat chicken and pig manure, removing their foul smell so that this can be used as an organic fertilizer without the nuisance of repulsive odor.

7. Can Provide Extra Income People are always on the lookout for healthier food options. In the city, it can be difficult to find organic meat and egg products. If you raised enough chickens and are now producing more eggs that you can consume, you can sell these to neighbors and make yourself some extra cash.

8. Entertainment Raising chickens could be a great form of entertainment. Watching them interact with one another while sitting on a bench in a backyard is a great diversion from a fast-paced environment. When you just want to quite your mood, they offer that natural sound that make you think of green grass.

The Disadvantages:

chickens31. Noise Hens cluck and that sound may be okay to the neighbors. However, roosters can be very loud and call on you to wake up before the break of dawn. If you do not want to call the attention of neighbors, you may still get to keep your chicken farms- just make sure that all of these are hens.

2. Expense on Cages If you are not a DIY expert, you may to hire someone else to set up the chicken cages which could cost you an added expense. The more chickens you plan to breed adds up to more costs you will need to incur on cages.

3. Can Damage Plants When left to run about in the backyard, you may need to watch the plants. Chickens have this habit of pecking at things and this includes plants found in the garden. As mentioned earlier, chicken on pasture eat varied foods and this may include the fruits and flowers of your plants.

4. Smelly Issues If manure is left untreated, you and your neighbors may end up with unwanted odor. This could attract the attention of local authorities and you may be advised to remedy it or abandon the idea of raising chickens altogether if this becomes a bother to the community.

5. Attracts Predators Chicken is not only delicious to humans. Their meat and eggs are also attractive to other animals such as cats and rodents. Instead of having your own free meals, your gullible pets may become dinner to predators.

6. Daily Chores Chickens may not need that daily bath but their cages do. One day you miss at cleaning these could make it stink like a skunk. You also need to take care that chickens are fed at certain times of the day. Clean water should also be provided to keep them hydrated.

7. Short Lifespan If you keep chickens as pets, you should not become too attached to these. Pets like chickens aren’t meant to become your best friends like dogs. They are bred for their eggs and meat. If your son or daughter are giving the chicks their own names now, it may become difficult to butcher their pets once these become too old to keep.

Verdict:

Backyard chicken raising provides you with a healthy source of organic chicken eggs and meat. However, this may only be possible in areas where the authorities are allowing it legally. Is it cheaper to raise your own chickens? Some say that it’s actually more expensive because they needed to shell out extra money for the cages. However, with the prevalence of unhealthy processed foods, this should be enough motivation for people to start rethinking about raising their own chickens.

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