Love to garden? Give your chickens an open invitation to garden alongside you as you dig in your garden! Chickens make great garden helpers. Not only will they chat along with you and keep you company, they’ll devour any and every weed, pesky insect pests, and drop manure while turning it over into your garden soil. If you’re concerned about your garden being trample or pecking at new saplings, just make sure you protect young sprouts with netting, cloches, or wire cages.
The sooner you get started, the sooner your table will be filled to overflowing a delicious bounty of homegrown vegetables, fruits, and herbs.
There’s an urban farming movement sweeping the world. For some countries, urban farming has been around and will continue to be around as long as there is a city. Keep in mind your local ordinances, not every city is welcoming to our feathered friends.
However, in the United States, the rise of factory farming made part-time backyard animal husbandry a thing of the past, however the landscape of farming has changed over the years. Bring in a resurgence of backyard farms. Land and water are becoming scarce. The general population is now more educated about factory farming and a younger generation has come of age with a consciousness of where their meat, eggs, dairy, and vegetables are coming from. At the same time, small, organic farms have sprung up around the nation. Young people who didn’t grow up farming, who don’t know how much work it takes have nevertheless begun to see the small, organic farm as a viable career.
But guess what else is happening? Not just on small organic farms, but in suburban backyards and cities? Even the cities like New London and Hartford! People are growing edible gardens on their rooftops, windowsills, fire escapes and backyards.
More small-scale urban farms are popping up in cities all over the place. However, it’s not just plants. The next generation is raising pigs, goats, and chickens. Chickens might be the gateway farming trend to backyard animal husbandry.
From an environmental standpoint, the benefits of backyard chicken keep producing. You have your own eggs, you are eating extremely locally. You eliminate the carbon emissions associated with getting your eggs from another source, which then have to be shipped to you and you are also no longer contributing to the pollution associated with factory farming.
The pitfalls – The Smell. Just as with other animals, chickens do stink. If your space is extremely limited, take into consideration how this will affect your quality of life and/or your relationships with your neighbors. Chickens require relatively clean coups and bedding, as well as fresh water and food to remain healthy, even if they are free ranging over your yard. And there are always pests and predators where chickens are kept. Rodents love chicken feed and chicken coups, and a variety of wild predators are very interested in your chickens.
Backyard chicken keeping can be one of the most rewarding endeavors and do really good for the environment and gardening!