Are you looking for a unique and rewarding pet that can also provide fresh eggs for your kitchen? Look no further than garden chickens! As someone who has been raising chickens in my own backyard for years, I can attest to the joy and satisfaction that comes with keeping these feathered friends. Not only are they charming and full of personality, but they also offer a range of practical benefits, from fertilizing your garden to providing natural pest control. In this article, I’ll share my insider’s perspective on why garden chickens make such great pets, and offer some tips for getting started on your own backyard flock. So whether you’re a seasoned chicken owner or just curious about this fascinating hobby, read on to discover why chickens might just be the perfect addition to your homestead or garden.
Gardening is tedious and labor-intensive work, it requires tons of hard work and care. From planting the seeds to watering them to protecting them from pests – it takes a lot of effort. However, what many gardeners don’t realize is that pet chickens that live in the garden have excellent abilities that may decrease your side of the job. Instead of just telling you whether garden chickens are a good choice or not, we will tell you the pros and cons of having them and then you can decide for yourself!
Pros Of Having Garden Chickens As Pets
The advantages of having garden chickens are so great that they outshine the problems made by these animals. If properly planned, leaving your pet chickens in the garden can help you in the following ways:
1. Chickens Can Be Used As Tillers
There is one thing chickens do the best – trying to eat everything and dig up the ground. So, why not let them do that? If you want to till your garden with reasonably short plants, you can deploy your flock in that place and let them do their work. On average, a single chicken can till 50 square feet of vegetation in 4-6 weeks, that is if the plants in the vegetation are within the reach of your chicken’s beak. Letting your chicken back in the garden at the right time will rejuvenate your garden and till the soil until the next season.
2. Chickens Can Be Used As A Source For Manure and Fertilizer
Chicken manure has a carbon-to-nitrogen ratio of 10:1. To compare this, good manure is supposed to have a ratio of 30:1. With the already available nitrogen compound, you only need to add carbon which is available in leaves and hay. Also, the same nitrogen can be used to fertilize the soil.
According to Ohio State University, a chicken can produce eight pounds of manure every month. And depending on the number of pet chickens you have, you can cut costs on your manure expenditure.
3. Chickens Can Help You In Spreading Mulch
Chickens are good at spreading things as they can’t stay still. You can use that to your power and transform your pet chickens into mulch spreaders. All you need to do is stock the pile in the area where you want the mulch to spread and then leave your flock there to do the work.
4. Chickens Can Eat The Left-Overs And Save Garbage Disposal Bills
Chickens are omnivores and they can eat anything that we eat. So, rather than throwing your leftover food into the garbage and spending it at its disposal, you can use it as food for your flock. Not only can you save on garbage disposal, but if you look superficially, that leftover is turned into eggs and meat. If you use this technique, then you are saving with one hand and profiting with another!
5. Chickens Can Be Used For Pest Control
Insects and pests are a real danger to any plantation. Instead of using harmful and unhealthy pesticides to protect your plants, you can deploy your flock to complete the task. Your chickens will locate and grab any moving thing above the surface – be it beetles, grubs, or other insects that are potential threats to your garden.
Again, you can save on pesticides and also chicken feeding as they will fill themselves with the threat of insects.
Cons Of Having Garden Chickens As Pets
Let’s start with the cons so that you don’t underestimate or forget the bad things these pet chickens can do to your garden after reading their pros. Just like everything has two sides – one good and one bad, garden chicken too can cause a bad effect on your yard. These are the wrong things these little creatures can do:
- Timing is everything, if let out in the garden at the wrong times, say goodbye to your grass and produce.
- They are meant to decorative grass laws, so be wary of that. Don’t let them out in summer when you are using your lawn.
- Your hens can eat newly sown seeds or pull them from the soil, therefore completely rupturing plant growth.
- Chickens can create a small dust tornado by moving rapidly on the ground. This can destroy the growing vegetation.
- They can also eat the leaves and fruits of your garden.
- A rooster can terrorize the chickens which will result in your flock running from here and there over your vegetation.
Precautions To Be Made While Using Garden Chickens
See how wonderful garden chickens can be! But still, we can’t turn a blind eye to the damage they can do to your farm. These are some precautions and tips you can use to prevent any destruction:
1. Use Fencing To Prevent Chickens From Roaming Around
The biggest problem poultry farmers face is that their flock often gets distracted from their assigned tasks and they start roaming in places you don’t want to be disturbed. To counter this problem, you should use fences in appropriate locations so that your chickens know their place and don’t cross the limits.
2. Don’t Allow Baby Chickens In Your Garden
If you don’t want your garden to become a place of heavenly cries and constant calling, you should keep baby chickens out of the garden. The reason is that these small creatures often get lost in the tall vegetation, and when they do, their parents start to call them, and then the whole flock gets enraged and might destroy your vegetation.
3. Plan Your Chicken Gardening According to Crop Timeline
There are times when you’re growing more than one plant in your garden, and in that case, the development period of each plant is different. So, when you think that it is the right time for pest control of a certain crop and leave your pet chickens to do the work, they might end up rooting off the tender and still-developing other crops. So, deliberately plan your chicken gardening timings and bear these things in mind.
4. Keep Brooding Hens Out Of The Garden
If you don’t want eggs all around your plants, you better keep brooding hens near their laying boxes. If a hen lays eggs in your garden, it will refuse to leave from there because of the natural feeling of parenthood and for the security of those eggs. This rebellion might delay your gardening process so watch out!
So is that a YES for Chickens in Backyard?
Let’s summarise some of the benefits that we have discussed.
- By raising your own chickens, you can enjoy a regular supply of fresh and organic eggs. These eggs are often tastier, more nutritious, and free from harmful chemicals.
- Backyard chickens can help reduce your carbon footprint by providing a local and sustainable source of food.
- Chickens are excellent at foraging and can help control pests in your backyard. They can eat insects, slugs, and even weed seeds, reducing the need for chemical pesticides.
- Raising chickens in your backyard can be a valuable educational experience for children and adults alike.
- Keeping chickens allows you to establish a closer connection with nature and the food you consume.
Hence for me personally it’s a big YES –
Yes, it is a great idea to use garden chickens as pets. There is no doubt about that. However, it is also a hassle at the same time and it will require labor and hard work to make sure your sweet dreams don’t turn into nightmares. Follow all the precautions listed above and make sure that you only profit from chicken gardening without any undesired losses or side effects.