An Overview Of Reasons to Keep Backyard Chickens
By Tom Seest
Why Keep Backyard Chickens?
Keeping backyard chickens is an excellent way to ensure a consistent supply of fresh eggs. Not only does keeping your own chickens provide fresh eggs, but it also gives you control over what your family eats. Besides eggs, chickens can also produce meat. Although this is a hardcore backyard environment, some people choose to raise chickens for their meat.
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Table Of Contents
Do Backyard Chickens Reduce Food Scarcity?
One of the best ways to reduce food scarcity is to raise your own chickens. According to the World Organisation for Animal Health, keeping backyard chickens is one of the best methods for food production, as it is highly adaptable to local climate and requires little capital or input. This method is also very popular in developing countries, where it is a major part of small farmers’ livelihoods. Backyard chickens can provide meat throughout the year, as well as ready cash during times of economic crisis.
In urban settings, it may be difficult to raise a flock of chickens, but it is possible to find a local ordinance that allows you to raise fowl. This can include chickens, ducks, turkeys, and other egg-laying birds. These animals can contribute to local food production by providing eggs, and they can also be slaughtered for meat. Some studies have shown that chicken eggs produced on a small scale are more nutritious than those purchased in grocery stores.
Keeping backyard chickens also helps reduce environmental pollution. By turning kitchen scraps into protein, chickens can reduce the amount of food waste sent to landfills. Moreover, chicken manure can be used to fertilize gardens. This can help fight pollution and food scarcity, while at the same time making the local food supply more sustainable.
Backyard chicken farming is also a cost-effective way to reduce food waste. In some developing countries, such as India and Bangladesh, backyard chicken farming contributes 67% of the country’s total egg production. On average, backyard chicken farmers earn US$ 0.6 to 2.3 per bird per month. This means that backyard chickens can provide a significant portion of the population’s protein needs without consuming large amounts of resources.
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Do Backyard Chickens Improve Soil Fertility?
Keeping backyard chickens can be beneficial for your garden if you want to increase soil fertility. Their manure can be used for fertilizer. It contains up to 1.5 percent nitrogen and good amounts of other nutrients. Many plants and vegetables require plenty of nitrogen to grow healthy. And the added benefit is that chickens do not cause any unintentional damage to your plants.
Aside from providing eggs and meat, chickens also help improve soil fertility by adding organic matter through their scratching and eating bugs. Chicken manure also adds great water-retaining value to your soil and has tons of beneficial microorganisms. It is also lower in salt and weed seeds than other livestock manure, which makes it a great soil amendment.
You can supplement your soil with wood chips, straws, or leaves. These can also be used as mulch. Chicken manure is also a good source of nitrogen and can be used to compost for your garden. In a three by ten-foot (30-square-foot) bed, one hen can deposit the target amount of nitrogen in three weeks. But if you have several hens, you’ll have to watch how long each stays in a particular spot. For example, if you want to raise two hens in the same spot, they would have to stay in that spot for four to five weeks, and three hens would need to stay in one spot for two to three weeks.
Chicken manure is beneficial in improving soil fertility because they turn compost. This process is beneficial for gardeners because it makes the soil more available for nutrients. Chicken manure also contains beneficial fungi, which increase soil fertility. These fungi eat dead organic matter and cooperate with specific plants. Moreover, they also aerate the soil.
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Do Backyard Chickens Reduce Weeds?
Backyard chickens are a good way to reduce the need for chemical herbicides in your garden. During cooler months, chickens can be great weed eater and can make short work of Poa annua and other weeds. Large flocks will also prevent weeds from going to seed. Alternatively, you can treat weeds with pre-emergent herbicides like corn gluten meal. Just be sure to keep chickens away from any chemicals.
While it is true that weeding is time-consuming, it’s also important for weed-free landscaping. Backyard chickens can provide an additional benefit: feeding weeds to them can be beneficial for both the chickens and the garden. Asparagus is a long-term perennial, so the weed control necessary to maintain it is time-consuming and labor-intensive. Therefore, Marilyn and Rick had considered allowing the chickens to eat weeds in order to reduce their workload and costs.
If weeds are a big problem, you can treat the area by hand or by applying vinegar or fish carcasses. For larger areas, it is best to spray sections at a time. For smaller areas, you can also apply agricultural corn meal, which is a natural fungicide and can be applied to the lawn where your flock grazes. Fungicides are rarely necessary for an organic program, so this is an excellent option.
Chickens are good for your garden because they eat a variety of things, including weed seeds and insects. These creatures also help with organic fertilization. Chicken poop provides organic fertilizer and helps with lawn aeration. They also provide natural weed killers, which is a great benefit for your garden.
This photo was taken by Ernesto Alejandro Pérez and is available on Pexels at https://www.pexels.com/photo/white-and-black-chicken-near-a-wire-fence-6276628/.
Do Backyard Chickens Reduce Pests?
Keeping chickens on your property can help reduce pests. Their natural behavior to dust-bath is a natural defense against pests. Moreover, it keeps their feathers clean. You can also consider planting a trap crop along with your chickens. This combination is feasible even on a small farm.
Chickens are excellent predators and can eat many types of insects, including mosquitoes, spiders, and ants. In addition to this, they will also consume any kind of invertebrate that causes harm to plants. Insects that bite people are often small, fast, and stealthy. As a result, chickens have less time to reduce pest populations than slower-moving plants. They can easily catch maggots that are left behind by flies, but it’s impossible to catch adult-biting flies. Insects such as ticks and mosquitoes are also readily eaten by chickens.
Backyard chickens can be a great way to reduce pests in your garden. Besides giving you fresh eggs, they can also break the pest cycle that plagues your orchards or gardens. Backyard chickens can debug up to 120 square feet of land a week. They can also eat grasshoppers and Colorado potato beetles. They are also great entertainment and a good source of fertilizer.
The beneficial insects found in chicken manure can suppress insect populations. Beneficial insects that feed on poultry manure include parasitoids, predaceous mites, and hister beetles. The larvae of these insects can grow extremely in poultry manure. Taking care of these pests is essential to the health of your flock and your property.
Besides fleas and mosquitoes, backyard chickens can also help reduce the presence of lice. These parasites are carried by wild birds and rodents. Hence, it is essential to prevent these pests from getting into your backyard flock. It is also a good idea to maintain good biosecurity and separate your flock from other animals. In addition, you should examine your chickens regularly for signs of diseases such as lice. Early detection of these parasites will help you eliminate them before the outbreak becomes severe.
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Do Backyard Chickens Increase Social Interaction?
One of the easiest ways to encourage more social interaction with your backyard chickens is to spend some time around them. Chickens tend to pick their friends based on their personalities, so spend some time socializing with your chickens. Try to pick them up in your lap, offer treats, and spend quality time with them.
While there are many benefits to keeping backyard poultry, some risks are less clear. One of these risks is salmonellosis, which can be spread to humans by their chickens. To reduce your risk, you need to be aware of some facts about backyard poultry. Read the CDC’s Healthy Pets, Healthy People web page for more information.
First, keep in mind that young birds can be bullied by older birds. If you want to avoid this problem, introduce your new flock of chickens slowly. And try to introduce the new birds to the flock during the night when there is less conflict. By following these tips, you will ensure that your new flock of chickens will feel safe.
Second, chickens love to explore their surroundings. So you should place some interesting materials for them to investigate. For example, wooden ladders and logs on the ground will attract chickens’ attention. Stuffed chicken toys will also entertain your chickens. You can purchase realistic-looking chicken toys online.
Finally, chicken enrichment should always include both novelty and variety. If you only give them the same enrichment items, they may become bored and uninterested. Different chickens respond to different enrichment items. Providing multiple enrichment items at once will reduce squabbles and encourage your chickens to choose the most enjoyable item for themselves.
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