Four Myths About Having Backyard Chickens

Posted on August 21st, 2013 by Discount Debbie

I am one blessed Thrifty Diva to have a husband who appreciates what I do to help our family eat and live in a healthy and thrifty way. Well, in addition to being supportive, my husband was so excited to share more about our chickens that he wrote most of this post. I didn’t ask him to; he offered! So, here’s another glimpse into the value of backyard chickens…from my hubby’s perspective! 🙂

Most of us living in residential neighborhoods, when we walk into our backyard, want to somehow feel that we are not really as physically close in proximity to our neighbors as we actually are. When the stresses of suburban life weigh us down, we feel that if we could just take a walk in the countryside, breathe fresh air, and watch the honeybees work the wildflowers, we could relax and wind down. Life, in spite of a hectic day at work, would be okay. But, most of us have to take trips to the countryside in order to get away.

…Unless you have a garden and chickens.

Owning a garden is an honorable medium to experience country life in a suburban setting. But, if you want to really satisfy that deep thirst to bring the country to the city, you can own hens. Having three or four poultry pets helps you feel you are in the country without actually taking the drive. But, there are a few misconceptions about chickens that may hold you back from having your own.

The four myths of having chickens are:

1. Chickens are loud.

No, the neighbors’ dogs are loud. A rooster is loud. You will not have a rooster. Hens cackle and cluck when you feed them in the morning and afternoon, but any pet will express themselves when they are excited. They call out when they lay an egg. Compared to your neighbors’ dog, it is night and day.

2. Chickens stink.

No, three to four chickens do not stink if they are properly managed.

  • Keep a healthy quantity of hay in the sleeping quarters of the coop and remove the droppings every one – two weeks. The hay absorbs the droppings’ odor and keeps the coop smelling fresh. When I do clean the coop, I use the droppings as fertilizer in our backyard garden along with the used hay.
  • The scratch pen dirt needs to be turned or raked. This area will be the source of the most smell if you don’t periodically go into the scratch area and turn/rake the dirt and water hose this area.

3. Hens need a rooster to lay eggs.

No, hens do not need a rooster to lay eggs. Hens lay eggs regardless of the presence of a rooster. Hens begin laying about six – seven months after hatching. When hens are laying eggs, they will lay about one egg per day.

4. Organic chicken feed is pricey.

Yes it would be, if you bought it. But, why buy chicken feed when chickens eat anything green and any and all table scraps? If you do not think your family will produce enough table scraps, why not supplement with regular oatmeal or rice in bulk and feed this to them? It is less expensive. Give your garden scraps to the chickens. Give your grass clippings to the chickens. Hotdogs and hamburgers. It doesn’t matter. They will eat it. Trust me. It is fun to watch. I bet what you will give them will be better quality than any chicken feed product you could buy in a bag.

 Above photo: Chickens are feeding on leftover pizza crust, crackers, an old leftover
hotdog and some soaked oatmeal…fancy chicken feed! 😉

Once you build a coop and scratch pen, owning hens is a low-maintenance/high reward experience. I recommend having backyard chickens to anyone who wants to eat healthier, practice an eco-friendly lifestyle, and save money (if you can build your coop cheaply) in eggs and garden fertilizer. Also, the kids love them too!

 

Do you have your own chickens? What do you like most about having them?


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