We all know that Devon is a very rural county, but how many people do you think use their own eggs?
Should you buy your own chickens? That may sound like a silly question – if you think it’s a bad idea, you would say “NO!” But, if you do have your own chickens, you understand just how great it is. Check with your zoning laws, and see if you can have chickens. If so, there are some great reasons to raise your own chickens and harvest your own eggs.
Freshly laid eggs have the best taste of any food. Did you know that an egg can sit, after it’s been laid, for 10 days before it’s refrigerated? So you can guess how the mass-produced chicken farms handle the eggs. If you have your own hens, however, you can harvest the eggs yourself, knowing just how old they are. Not only that, you can guarantee vitamin and mineral-rich eggs by supervising your hens’ diets properly.
Farms that produce eggs by the millions often submit their hens to abusive living conditions. While these chicken coops are supposed to be regularly inspected, even then, the conditions are awful. Your chickens, on the other hand, will probably be free to roam around, eating bugs in addition to their regular feed – which, by the way, you regulate. You don’t have to provide antibiotic feed to your chickens, because they are not living in the cramped, unhealthy condition of commercial chickens.
Commercial chickens often have their beaks clipped to keep them from pecking other hens dwelling in their close, cramped quarters. This can also interfere with their eating and drinking, shortening their lifespan and usefulness for the farmer. This is unnecessary with home-bred chickens, who have plenty of room to roam and don’t start feeling “cooped up”.
With your own chickens, you have a built-in fertilizer factory. Chicken poop is very fertile, and quite useful in the garden. Since it is all natural, it won’t have the negative effects that chemical fertilizers have. Most household chicken coops produce a small amount of fertilizer that is just sufficient for that particular garden. On the other hand, major egg and chicken producers dump tons of poop into the environment every year. Some of it is sold as fertilizer, but a lot of it is not sold.
Think of it this way – those eggs you buy at the grocery store come in cartons, right? That egg packaging is made in a factory, which produces waste. How much better is it to walk into your own back garden and pick up a half dozen eggs for your family’s morning omelets? The only waste there is the shell, which can be added to a compost bin.
Remember, too, that with chickens, you have a level of self-sufficiency. If it’s snowing, you don’t have to drive into town for groceries. You have eggs and chickens in your own garden. Chickens are low-maintenance – they don’t have to have a farrier visit, they don’t have to be castrated like calves and hogs, and if they get loose, they won’t break down a fence!