6 Reasons Why I Became A Crazy Chicken Lady

I have a confession to make. It shames me to admit that I used to hate chickens. I mean it, I hated them. I hated their scary faces, the fact that they fly more than you think, how smelly their enclosures can get when they haven’t been cleaned…the list goes on and on.

When I was little, my grandparents had a vicious rooster. He was the meanest creature that ever lived. It was a good thing he was a chicken and not something bigger because he was the bane of my existence. That was the reason for my hatred of the species. One ill tempered Rhode Island Red rooster and they were all dead to me.

But, I was given some chicks this year and they have changed my opinion about them. It has been a slow, grudging process on my part. I didn’t want to like them. I really didn’t. 

Now I’m the crazy lady in my backyard every morning talking to my chickens and cackling at their antics. Was it a pain at first? Yes. But now I have tiny, fluffy t-rexes zooming all over my yard and it’s awesome.

See? Fluffy butt T-rex

Fresh eggs and meat

At first, this was the only real selling point for raising backyard chickens. The cost of food keeps climbing and the less I have to rely on other people and corporations, the better, in my opinion. I know what these birds have eaten, how they were treated, how healthy they are, and whether or not they have been on any medications. It took several months, but now our little flock is providing a steady supply of eggs for our family. 

Some naysayers will point out that it isn’t free to raise chickens and therefore the eggs and meat are not free. That is true, but not necessarily the best argument against them. They are not free and the start up cost can be significant depending on what you are using for an enclosure. However, after that initial investment, they are no more costly than any of my other pets. Maybe cheaper to feed because they run around my yard eating bugs and plants most of the day. Also, in the chickens’ defense, the dogs don’t really pay me back with breakfast.

Fertilizer/ compost activator

One thing I knew for sure from the beginning was that chickens produce an insane amount of waste for such little guys. I did NOT want my yard to smell bad. But, we clean the coop out regularly and compost the waste and bedding. It has been great for my compost and there is not much smell since we stay on top of the cleaning schedule. As long as you hot compost it first you can use it for a high nitrogen soil additive.

Official landscape chicken

Pest and weed control

The absolute best thing the chickens do to contribute to our yard’s ecosystem is control pests. I have been at war with squash bugs for several years now. I have tried just about EVERYTHING to get rid of these invaders to no avail. There were simply too many of them and I couldn’t keep up. 

Then we got the chickens. When I tell you that chickens are relentless about devouring every single thing that moves in the yard, I mean it. We even seemed to have less mosquitoes this year. Plus, it is hilarious to watch them hunt.

Soil aeration

The chickens have improved the landscape in my backyard quite a bit. Since they take a lot of dirt baths and scratch at it to catch bugs, they are always aerating the soil. I have noticed a big improvement in my yard’s soil quality since they moved in. They are working oxygen and nutrients into it and keeping it from getting compacted. That helps water absorb more easily which helps my plants.

The drama queen

Chicken Shenanigans

They are honestly just hilarious to watch and interact with. Or at least mine are. We got really social birds and spend time with them daily, so they are nice to hang out with. They follow me around and make t-rex noises while I do chores. They are sweet and make good company. Also, they are so soft and FLUFFY.

But don’t get me wrong. There is a lot of drama in the chicken yard. It is like a feathered soap opera out there. Even though my chickens are nice to me, they have little warring factions that break out among them at times. One of my Welsummers is kind of a jerk. She tries to bully the rest of them and they have to gang up and put an end to her tyranny every once in a while. Like I said, I’m a crazy chicken lady now.

Education

It has always been important to me for my children to understand where their food comes from. I have lived with and around ranchers and farmers my whole life. Because of this, I have always known where food comes from and how to make it for myself. I want the same thing for my sons.

Participating in the cycles of nature is empowering and healthy for you mentally as well as physically. Raising chickens and growing a garden has been the best way that I have found to facilitate that connection with the natural world. 

My supervisor

Conclusion

After careful consideration on the subject, I have decided that chickens are not as terrible as I had once supposed. Even though they can be a bit of a handful and there is a certain amount of work involved in caring for them, they are worth it. They supply fresh food, clean up garden and food waste as well as providing a huge service to the soil. That is all aside from the fact that they can be entertaining pets. 

Also, through raising backyard chickens, I am teaching my kids about how to be responsible and take care of animals. They are learning how to live simply and in harmony with their surroundings. That is something that I value a great deal. So, if you have the space and think raising backyard chickens is right for you, I definitely recommend it!

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