Long story short: Eggs!
To get that sweet sweet yellow drip with the white layer on top, Ah! That’s the stuff I’m talking about.
All jokes aside though, the biggest reason why anybody would want to raise chickens, in their own backyard, is for eggs.
Biggest Pro of Raising Chickens: Fresh Eggs
You’ve probably heard people say that pasture-raised eggs are much better than industrial eggs. Well, that’s kinda true.
Pasture-raised eggs – or in our case, eggs laid from chickens who have enough space to roam around, squabble, and dig in the dirt – have twice as much nutrition than eggs laid from depressed chickens held in tight cages with no room to roam around.
Besides, have you ever seen the richness in the yolk when you break one open? Backyard chickens (with a rooster, of course) have that golden-yellow yolk compared to the drab yellow-gray that’s in store-bought eggs.
So if you don’t want to eat store-bought eggs, and you don’t want your loved ones consuming them, raising your own chickens is the next best option.
Let’s face it: we all like to be self-sustainable and whatnot. However, with our jobs and commitments getting in the way, gardening or hooking up solar panels to your Tesla is not the easiest or most rewarding.
For me, this was one of the major gripes I had. Gardening wasn’t fun and it never took off.
Those 100W solar panels I installed on the roof were only good enough to recharge my phone.
But chickens: well, chickens were easy and it’s the most fun and continually rewarding aspect of my journey towards creating my own food.
Also, chickens make great pets. They may not prefer to be picked up and might start acting “Chicken” whenever you’re around, however, taking care of them, and watching them roam around in your yard (or chicken run) is just too much fun.
It’s a great activity for the kids and creates more opportunities to bond with your family, especially when recapping what your chickens were up to at the end of the day.
While watching over my chickens, I’ve had plenty of “core memories” with my dad, mum, and wife, talking about each of the chickens and how we can improve things even further.
As Motivation and to De-Stress
Also for me personally, raising chickens has been a great motivator to learn more about carpentry and construction DIY.
Although by no means an expert, I’ve managed to build a holding cage, brooder, and a small pond (for the ducks).
It’s helped me improve my skills, bond with my family, and save a ton of money in the process.
Also, building something in real life and watching it grow has offered me hope. Hope for the future and for my babies: the chickens.
For Gardening and Soil Revitalization
Now, these were my personal list of perks that I pulled off the top of my head. There’s a ton more, but without boring you any further, I want to talk about the benefits of chickens in your garden.
Although I’m not that fond of growing and maintaining “Plants,” I can still understand the allure of having to send your chickens into an old garden bed to have them dig out the soil and take care of any snails and insects (snails are the worst!).
So if you’re free-ranging your chickens, or letting them run around some dry or weed-infested garden beds or an enclosed area in your garden, by all means.
Chickens will take care of it, and they won’t shy away from pooping on it either.
Cons of Raising Backyard Chickens
All good things aside, it’s not “all sunshine and rainbows, playing guitar while a chicken dances to your tune.”
There’s gonna be a few things you’re going to hate.
Dealing with Dead or Dying Chickens
For starters, you will run into a dead chicken or two at some point, so finding the means to bury them or take care of them is important.
Chickens are live animals after all, and they need to be taken care of.
That means, protecting them from predators, drowning (yes, that’s a thing), disease, and each other.
Don’t Blame Yourself (Too Hard)
Aside from that, you also need to remember to take it easy on yourself.
Whenever a chicken dies, either due to predators, injury or because it snuck out into the duck pond, you shouldn’t have to blame yourself.
Simply acknowledge what happened, pay your respects, dispose of the carcass, and make sure it won’t happen again. Simple as that!
Constant Morning Routines
I’ve always been a morning person and an introvert, so waking up early in the morning and taking care of animals on a farm, day in and day out, isn’t an issue for me.
Raising chickens means waking up to let them out of the coop, and making sure they have enough food and water.
And, doing it every single day.
However, you might not be such a morning person and you won’t be open to this big of a commitment.
This is a big deterrent for many homeowners, and it’s understandable. Not everyone is willing to go through the same routine and feel like a prisoner in their own home because they can’t leave the chickens for a couple of days.
How to Break Out
All that being said, there are several tricks that you can pull off.
For instance, you can get a family member or neighbor to take care of the chickens while you’re away.
Other than that, you can “smartify” your chicken coop so the coop opens automatically and the chickens take care of themselves for a couple of days (or even a week) while you’re out on vacation.
So there’s always something you can do, or somebody’s help you can employ, especially if the constant morning routine isn’t your favorite.
The next big flaw is the huge upfront costs and recurring costs for feed.
For beginners, the first hurdle is budgeting up for a coop. So whether that’s building your own, buying one, or getting someone else to build it for you: coops can be expensive.
You can cut costs by DIY-ing it, but even then, you still need to buy lumber, fencing, and other materials, which are essential to keep your chickens safe.
Even if you’re free-ranging your chickens, you still need a coop so it’s the most significant factor.
However, after that, it’s smooth sailing, you only need to cough up the extra dough for the chickens (or baby chicks if you’re raising them young), feed, and other supplies and equipment (such as feed containers, etc.)
But depending on your situation, you might have already got these covered. If so, that’s awesome.
All things considered, keeping chickens are a great option if you want to farm fresh eggs and have fun in the meantime.
That being said, they can be expensive and might restrict your routine.
So make sure you consider the pros and cons and also check out my beginner-friendly resources to learn how well to manage your chickens despite a busy lifestyle and other engagements.