Keeping chickens is becoming an increasing lifestyle for many people these days. In the last few years, poultry keeping has enjoyed massive growth, especially since the Channel 4 TV programmes and Jamie Oliver’s campaign.
These days many of us are getting sick to death of mass produced tasteless supermarket food. What better than to nip into the back garden to get your fresh eggs for breakfast? Knowing the hens have been well kept, fed and loved. Until you have tasted your own free range egg, you won’t realise the difference to those you can buy in the supermarket that are labeled as free range. There are endless guides on the Internet on how to keep chickens and many books to purchase with helpful tips and advice. One of the most informative sites I have found is Keeping Chickens a Beginners Guide. The author has included every topic that is needed to get you started on keeping chickens, and well worth a visit prior to keeping hens.
There is, if truth be known no economic benefit in keeping chickens at home for eggs these days but the difference in freshness and quality beats shop bought eggs by a long way and the pleasure in seeing a group of hens scratching around the garden providing you with a daily dose of amusement as well as organic bug control makes them so worth while. Depending on the breed of hen you have, will determine the colour of the egg shell. Colours can range from pure white, many shades of brown to blues. The breeder or wholesaler is the best person to identify which chickens lay which colour eggs.
Many people treat their chickens as pets, and give them names and become very attached to them. If you are unfortunate enough to lose a hen to a fox or to illness, it can be very traumatic if you have a bond with your girls! Sadly this is all to be expected when keeping chickens and an inevitable part of nature.
Another benefit to keeping chickens is that their droppings and waste materials can be used to enhance your compost. Also spent egg shells can be baked and rushed and used as an effective slug deterrent.
Before embarking on poultry keeping, in addition to visiting websites like Keeping Chickens a Beginners Guide, it is always a good idea to talk to someone that already has a flock, and get some first hand feedback and advice. Another significant issue is do you wish to own a cockerel? An important consideration bearing in mind they “cock-a-doodle-doo” at sunrise, which can be a huge implication to both you and your neighbours!
Have you got any chicken ownership experience you would like to share?