Have you noticed the trend lately of more and more people raising chickens in cities? Ever wonder what the appeal is? Well I am here to tell you from experience there is lots of appeal. My husband and I started raising urban chickens last year when we rescued a golden one. We found her during one of our summer walks just strutting around. We searched our neighborhood, asked many people, but no one knew where she came from. Naturally, we brought her home and named her Goldie. She was our guinea chicken. We had always wanted to raise backyard chickens, especially after our neighbors started their own flock. So here was the perfect opportunity to find out if this was really for us.
Obviously what I did next was the next logical step in finding more information about raising Goldie. I headed to Pinterest. I researched DIY chicken coops, how much space she needs, what she can eat, how to keep her entertained.. Yes, entertained. The phrase "All cooped up" is a real thing that started when chickens got too bored in their coops and started acting out. But don't let that deter you! Simply putting a piece of newspaper in their coop will keep them entertained for hours.
Now, heading in to our next summer, we have four girls and we love it! So here is a list of 9 reasons why you should start raising your own backyard chickens this summer.
1. Fresh Eggs
This is the most obvious reason. When chickens are in their laying season you can get several eggs a day. Not to mention if you feed them organic feed, then you have organic eggs! For a fraction of the cost. If you do decide to raise chickens, don't be shocked when you crack open your very first fresh egg. The yolk is orange. I mean, bright orange! But you know what? That means the eggs are super fresh and you are going to get so many more nutritional benefits!
Having chickens is awesome for your compost. Chicken poop in the compost = super awesome organic dirt. The poop is an excellent fertilizer and provides several nutrients for amazingly supercharged organic dirt. Which means you are going to have more beautiful flowers, a healthier garden, and not to mention the smell of fresh organic dirt is just wonderful.
3. Keeps You Active and Outside
I won't lie, raising chickens takes some effort. But it is not a ton of effort, unless you are building your own coop or have a huge flock (which is not likely if you live inside the city limits). But the effort is worth it. I love being outside. I love doing yard work in the summer, tending to my compost and garden, and I love seeing my girls peck around the yard. Which takes us to reason 4!
Chickens are hilarious. There is no disputing this. Watching them dig their dust bowls so they can dust bathe is pretty funny to watch. Not to mention it is a site to see watching them roll around in the dirt. And kids love chickens! One of our neighbors came over for a visit and her two year old son got the biggest kick out of seeing our girls. And then one of the girls started pecking at his shirt and toes (it doesn't hurt) and for some reason this was the funniest thing we had seen. I will also admit to you, shamelessly, that I could watch my chickens chase my little Shi Tzu around the yard for hours. It.Is.Hilarious. I am telling you, non-stop entertainment.
5. Conversation Starter
It is amazing how many conversations have started between co-workers or neighbors once they find out we are raising chickens in our backyard. People love to know more about it and come and see our set up. It is fun being someone that does something interesting! And once they find out you are getting fresh eggs, don't be surprised if they ask you to bring them some. They may even offer to pay you, and getting some extra money is always fun!
6. Reduces Waste
Chickens will eat anything. Seriously, anything. They eat chicken! This sounds wrong and horrible on many levels, but they will sometimes peck at their own eggs just to break them open and eat the yolk. They are doing this because they need the protein. But back to waste. We give our girls everything to peck at. Tomatoes, lettuce (lettuce is also a source of entertainment for them because they will kick it around), fruit, yogurt. You name it. Which means your household waste is reduced. They also love to play with your leftover newspaper, another way to reduce waste.
7. Insect Killer
Our chickens go CRAZY over bugs. It is like watching the scene from Finding Nemo when the bubbles are let out of the treasure chest.. BUBBLES! If you let your chickens roam around your yard for a while, they will most definitely find the insects and gobble them right up.
8. Learning Experience
If you have kids, or even if you don't, raising a flock is a great way to learn about responsibility, nature, and really the circle of life. We feed the chickens, the chickens produce an egg, which feeds us. The chickens also produce waste, which feeds our compost, the compost feeds our garden, which again feeds us. See how that works? Gotta love the circle of life.
9. Save the Animals
Not to get on a soap box and start preaching (I will only put one foot on the soap box), but raising chickens in your back yard saves them from being raised on a factory farm. If you don't know anything about factory farms, take a moment to research them. Even if this article didn't convince you to consider raising your own flock, watching videos about factory farms will probably convince you to only buy organic and free range eggs. So if the fresh eggs, hours of entertainment, and fertilizer arguments didn't get you excited, just think of it as doing a good deed for the animals.
So there you have it! My 9 reasons why you should definitely start raising your own backyard chickens this summer. If this is something you are seriously starting to consider, I would recommend you do your research. First, check with your city about the laws and regulations regarding raising farm animals within the city limits. For example, we can only have 5 chickens within our city limits. And then head over to the Back Yard Chickens website  to learn everything you need to know about having an urban flock. This was and has been my go to place for all of my chicken raising needs.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and it has inspired you to try something new! Good luck and happy raising!