I get asked this question fairly often… pretty much as soon as I mention that I have 14 chickens. I didn’t really have a specific reason why I wanted to raise chickens, I just knew it was something I was interested in. Mostly what started this interest was an article I saw in the local paper when we lived in California.
Two local girls launched backyard chicken rental business called Backyard Hens. Now, unfortunately I was not able to rent hens from them at the time because we lived in a fairly new development that had talk of starting an HOA. I didn’t want to risk being fined since I didn’t know the local ordinances on owning chickens in a neighborhood that may have been within city limits. So when we moved out to Maryland with almost fourteen acres, I knew I was going to get my chickens as soon as I could. It just so happened one fateful day that I drove past tractor supply and their signage was out by route 40 saying their baby chicks were in store! I bought six baby chicks that day.
My father in law, step father, and mother in law were all so gracious enough to not only try to surprise me with a pre-built coop but they hand made a HUGE chicken coop. In the span of a few weeks I had my original flock of six Rhode Island Red chickens in the coop and a second batch of baby chicks in the brooder. A brooder is pretty much a fancy term for chickens in a container with a warming lamp by the way lol.
Over these past few months the reasons it’s great to have backyard chickens have become apparent. Aside from laying eggs, which my chickens are not old enough to do yet, I have learned a lot of things about chooks! For one, you can call chickens chooks, that’s a pretty fun term I love to use. Chickens are great for pest control, they ate a ton of stink bugs when the bugs were rampant along with spiders and random grubs around the property. The chickens have been great for teaching our son about different chores and how to take care of animals. He helps me with cleaning the coop, bringing them water, filling their feeder, and more.
Aside from the logical reasons to have chickens, honestly they’re just a fun bunch to have. I always loved birds growing up, with more than a few bad experiences keeping them. Having birds that won’t run (or fly) away, and don’t necessarily have to be caged just feels so much better. The birds get to free range often, they listen to country music on a blue tooth speaker (I tell myself it’s to deter predators), and they eat almost ALL our leftovers that we don’t want in the fridge anymore. They’re like flapping garbage disposals (okay, there’s some stuff they can’t eat but the list is fairly short). Keeping chickens has been very rewarding so far. It’s made me realize how much I love the idea of homesteading and that I’d like to take more steps in the homesteading lifestyle. Maybe bees in the spring and a garden? We’ll see! Have you ever thought about keeping chickens in your backyard?