I have shared about my adventures in raising chickens on past blog posts here and here. We are on our second batch and we still love them! Today I wanted to let you know my top 5 reasons why I think everyone should raise their own chickens and also show you the new coop we got this year, yay!
1. It’s great learning experience for kids.
My kids share in the chores and responsibility of raising chickens. They loved playing with them in our kitchen as chicks, and they still go out and visit them almost every day in their coop. It is their responsibility to get the eggs, and they also let us know when they are running low on food and water. When the kids get a bit bigger we will teach them how to do the food and water too. I like that they can get an idea of where our food really comes from, even if it includes the hard lessons about how you get chicken on the dinner table.
2. It makes you the “cool” house on the block.
All of the neighbor kids have loved getting to know our chickens. When people have excess scraps from their vegetable gardens they bring their little ones over to feed our chickens. It’s a win win! The only downside was when one of our hens ended up a being a rooster and kept our neighbor’s baby awake at night with his crowing. We weren’t very popular at that point 😉
3. FRESH eggs in an emergency.
While storing powdered eggs can definitely do in an emergency, there is something so GREAT about being able to have fresh eggs, even if I can’t run to the store. If I run out of chicken food I can always let them free range or feed them grains from our food storage so they will keep producing. Too bad I couldn’t keep my rooster friend in order to get fertilized eggs too!
4. You can save money over time.
The price of eggs varies and seems to always be going up. Chicken food is pretty cheap and can be supplemented with lots of scraps. Once you purchase a few initial items, the cost of maintaining your chickens is very minimal. In this post I outlined that it was only about $70 to get everything you need in the beginning. The coop can be your biggest expense but it’s also possible to build one using scraps if you can make that work. Once you’ve made up the cost of the coop, you will come out ahead with the maintenance!
5. Organic, fresh eggs are healthier!
If you crack open and egg from the grocery store beside one of your home-grown eggs, you will notice a big difference. Eggs from your own chickens will be healthier and yummier than store-bought eggs. You know exactly what your chickens have eaten, and what treatments (or NON-treatments) they have been given. Organic at it’s finest, but for a fraction of the cost.
Check out my new chicken coop!
We moved to a new home last fall (which is why we started a new batch of chickens). Our chicken coop that my husband built didn’t take the move very will and he didn’t have time to build me a new one as he was doing lots of other projects on the house and yard. So we got one of the chicken coops from ChickenSaloon.com instead and have been more than happy with it!
We opted for “The Ranch” model so that we wouldn’t have to build a separate enclosure for them to have space to run around.
What I love
I LOVE the built in laying boxes. They are in a good location and my three year old can collect from them. I love the tray underneath the sleeping area, you can pull it out for easy cleaning. There is also a rear door that you can open if you prefer to access it that way. There is an opening that opens up from the sleeping area that leads to a ramp that the chickies can go up and down. I love that there is a trap door there that you can open from outside of the coop area so you don’t have to walk inside the enclosure to open and shut it. The play area for the chickens is big enough that they aren’t too squished. We have our 6 girls in there and they are doing just great! The entire coop and enclosure is very light and can easily be moved around if you need to relocate your coop.
What I don’t love
The little ramp going from the sleeping area down to the ground seems to be a bit delicate. I’m not sure what happened but ours came apart (it’s held together with staples). I’m guessing it had to do with a certain three year old who likes to play with the chickens. My hubby put together a new one for us so it was no biggie. We spoke to the company and they said they would send us out a new one but since we already fixed it we didn’t worry about it.
HOME DELIVERY AND ASSEMBLY
If you live in Utah along the Wasatch front the nice guys from ChickenSaloon.com will even come and deliver your coop for you and assemble it and everything. Just give them a call to discuss delivery options. Otherwise, shipping is free to anywhere in the lower 48 states and the coop will come in three boxes and includes instructions for how to put it together yourself.
Hope that helps encourage you to want to give raising backyard chickens a shot! I never thought I’d be a “farmer” but I sure am having fun with my vegetable garden and little farm animals 🙂
-Jodi Weiss Schroeder