When it comes to self-sufficient living, nothing quite compares to the benefits of raising chickens in your backyard.
Our small flock of hens provide us with so much more than just great tasting eggs.
They also help eliminate weeds, keep insect populations under control, and energize our compost pile.
In addition, they provide all-natural nutrients that power our garden to bigger and better yields every year.
And the best part, they do all of the above without much fuss at all, and just a few basic needs.
Chickens are one of the easiest animals to raise. With modest shelter, a little space to roam about, and the basic necessities of food and water, raising chickens is a breeze.
Here is a quick look at just how helpful a little flock of hens can be!
The Power of Raising Chickens
Chickens and Compost
Every time we clean our chicken coop, the shredded straw and mix of dried and fresh manure go right into our compost pile.
There is no quicker way to heat up a compost pile than with chicken manure.
Fresh chicken manure contains high levels of nitrogen. When mixed into a pile, it can heat the temperature of the compost quickly, helping to speed up decomposition.
That higher heat also helps to destroy weed seeds, making the finished compost perfect for powering your garden and flowerbeds.
You can even use that fresh or dried manure to make an incredibly powerful homemade manure tea.
It is perfect for giving an all-natural and powerful boost to garden plants, hanging baskets, containers and more.
Insect and Pest Control
Chickens are the champions of home insect and pest control. Left to roam about, they can decimate populations of beetles, slugs, aphids, ticks, cabbage worms and more.
Each fall, when the garden has been harvested, we turn our chickens loose to do their magic.
As they scratch about, they devour everything from insects, to weeds and weed seeds.
They also scratch and feed on larvae laid by insects in the top layer of soil.
That helps to reduce and eliminate next year’s insect problems as well.
The Magic of Egg Shells In The Garden
The egg shells of chickens are loaded with calcium, and are wonderful for vegetable plants in the garden.
Many vegetable plants need and use calcium to grow strong and healthy.
In fact, one of the biggest problems for home gardeners is blossom end rot, which is directly related to a lack of calcium in the soil.
Blossom rot forms those all too familiar ugly black spots on the end of tomatoes, squash, peppers and zucchini.
But by using a few crushed egg shells in every planting hole in the spring, you can help to alleviate and remedy the problem.
And those same egg shells crushed and placed around the base of your vegetable plants can provide protection from slugs.
And of course…the Amazing Eggs!
So yes, raising chickens can also provide you with simply the best, farm-fresh eggs you have ever tasted. And a lot of them!
On average, each of our Golden Comet and Amber Link chickens provide us with an egg 6 of the 7 days each week.
That means even with just a small flock of four chickens, you can average 2 dozen eggs per week! Perfect for baking, cooking and making the best homemade omelets ever.
Here is to raising chickens in your own backyard this year! Jim and Mary.
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