There are many good reasons to raise chickens:
1. Fresh Eggs
There simply aren’t any eggs fresher than those that you can get if you raise your own chickens.
2. High Quality Eggs and Meat
When you raise your own chickens, you manage their food supply, water supply, and living conditions. Take good care of your chickens, feed them a balanced diet, provide a good clean water supply, keep their coop clean, keep your flock healthy, disease free, and stress free, and in return, they will give you excellent quality eggs and meat.
3. Sustainable Food
As long as you provide for their needs properly, your chickens won’t care whether the Dow Jones average is up or down or what the price per barrel is for crude oil this week. Your chickens can supply you with meat and eggs right through the toughest times.
4. Table Scraps
Does it bother you to throw yesterday’s wilted lettuce salad into the trash so that it can be carried off to the landfill? Feed it to your chickens instead, as a supplement to their regular diet, and they can convert it to eggs for your table and fertilizer for your garden.
5. Garden Fertilizer
Chicken manure can be an excellent addition to your garden, particularly if you feed your chickens organic feed. When cleaning out the coop, add the manure to your compost pile.
6. Stress Relief and Enjoyment
There are few things more relaxing and enjoyable than watching your chickens as they forage, chase grasshoppers and other garden pests, and do their other antics. Many people say that watching their chickens helps them relax.
7. It’s Great for your Children and Grandchildren
From my experience, most children love chickens. They love to feed them and gather the eggs. Helping care for the chickens helps children to grow up to become responsible, caring adults.
This list is just a beginning. What are some of the ways that raising chickens has enriched your life? Why do you raise chickens?
Just read my first comments section of the weekly McMurray newsletter. Until now I thought I was probably nuts for caring so much for my one little Silkie hen. I started with 4 one day old silkies, one died last summer, two were roosters, and now down to one (however she is setting on 4 eggs from church friends and will hatch on April 30th). She (named Chick Chick) follows me around our yard like a puppy, loves to sit under my chaise lounge when I am relaxing, flies up onto the lounge and will just sit there with me. I love watching her as she free ranges in our yard and garden and scratches around looking for bugs and worms. Actually I am guilty of digging for worms just for her, which she eats out of my hand. Who would have thought? I had no idea that chickens were this much fun, and Silkies lay eggs that are edible just like other breeds. And no, I don’t have any horses at this time, but appys are my favorite. Retired life and God are good!
We just got out 1st batch of chicks 3 weeks ago (14). Delaware, Red Star, & New Hampshire Reds. It has been so fun watching them grow. Our 3 boys just love them. It’s fun to let them out in the yard since it’s been warmer & watch them ‘fight’ over bugs they find. They are peaceful to watch & listen to. This will be a great experience for all of us and we’re looking forward to it.
I have had chickens most of my life on and off since childhood. I get very sick from most eggs and have to be extremely careful where they come from. It is easier for me to raise my own than try to find eggs that I can safely eat. My chickens run free, as we have no close neighbors. I have had very few losses, once a hawk and a few times with raccoons and possums. I may pasture them in fence this summer since I have 2 new young German Shepherds just learning how to behave on a farm. But I think they do better totally loose, they cover a lot of territory, get a lot of free food, and help tremendously with pest control.
I just ordered my first chickens – 5 Buff Orpingtons, 5 Black Australorps, 5 Light Brahmas, 4 Araucanas and 2 White Crested Black Polish Roosters! We chose them for cold hardiness, laying well and gentleness… I’m so excited I can hardly stand it! What better way to start off the first week of spring, when they will get delivered! Yippee! Thanks to you all for your stories, it confirms my obsession. And thanks McMurray for all you do to produce such a great reputation!
We have had chickens since my wife saw an article about Araucanas by Martha Stewart. After about 19 years, we are on our third set of 25 (a mixed lot), with about 8 Araucanas left from the second set. Living in suburban “country” we’ve had to fence them in to keep them out of the neighbor’s yards, and to protect them; dogs, foxes, racoons, redtail hawks and a weasel, I think. (We lost 6 hens in a week to something that could get through a 2″ wide in the chain link fence and carry 2 chickens to the roof of the coop to eat.)
Though we’ve never eaten the meat, we enjoy the (too many) eggs. Between the eggs and the rooster’s crowing we have gotten us to know our neighbors better, and occasionally the flock has a visitor of their own pay them a visit: before we netted the top of the coop area, we had a ring neck pheasant get in once, and twice a female wild turkey.
It’s the most amazing thing to have chickens! You are assured of their “natural” raising, without all the preservatives, etc., that go into commercial chickens. Hence, you are blessed with the most amazing tasting eggs ever! The chickens get to know you as their provider and follow you everywhere. They’re so precious! I don’t waste one thing from my kitchen. If it’s an edible product, the chickens are the happy recipients. It feels so natural to do what God meant for us to do; work and live off the land. We eat much healthier too, which is why we have chickens. They attract youngsters and oldsters alike, with their personalities and quirks. What a great place to start little ones to learn responsibility! I just love em!
My life just wouldn’t be the same without my birds .
I have 49 hens and several roosters, 5 gobblers, and 12 hen turkeys, and 20 quail in the back room of my trailer, so no matter where I am, it’s like laying in the field. Mine love to come and see if they can beg me out of scraps (LOL), and yes, they love pizza. Best not to eat it outside with the birds. They get rough for pizza. I just don’t think I would like the silence without them…
Some of my most cherished childhood memories are staying at my grandma & grandpa’s house. They had a little guest room in the back of their property next to the chicken coop where I would sleep any chance I got. The sound of the chickens rustling and nestling into their sleeping positions for the night was such a peaceful sound and feeling for me, except for in the morning when Mr. Rooster would raise the roof!
My chickens help “me” more than anything. I believe they must lower my blood pressure. I haven’t checked this out technically, however the peaceful feelings that they stir are overpowering. Their little chirping noises they make as they go hunting for bugs and grubs is also quite calming. Sure they provide fresh healthy eggs and delishious meat, but their theraputic value is understated.
I have always loved birds. It is wonderful to look out my window and see my chickens enjoying bugs and grass. What sweet birds they all are. Hens and Rosters. We started with a few different varieties, and each year our girls have hatched out more cute babies. They even helped out with the guinea eggs. I was so excited to be able to order 24 female Ameraucanas and one male for the spring, bringing our flock to around 50. Glad I have a large chicken house meant for that size of flock!
It’s been one year since my husband lost his job and we decided to become self sustaining since the was a dramatic decrease in our family budget. In his off time a coop was built from recycled materials, and we raised out first batch of Rhode Island Reds, mainly for eggs since I love to bake. It’s been a great stress reliever watching them grow from chicks to mature pullets and roosters. The eggs are the best I ever had. Having too many roosters, we processed four of the five and made Coq au Vin and Chicken & Dumplings. It was really good, and the stock is the tops! The manure has helped our compost pile mature into gardener’s black gold. We gladly give our chickens raw vegetable scraps from table and garden, bread trimmings, which we bake here at home, cooked rice..etc, but never meat scraps. We let them get their protein from grain, scratch, and mother nature. Lastly…it has been a great experience watching our three children learn about caring for chicken and that food doesn’t magically appear in the grocery store. This is an experience they can carry with them their entire lives and be able to use to sustain themselves if they choose.
Last year another hachery shipped me 100 hen chicks rather than the 10 I had ordered and paid for. Instead of shipping back they said just keep them so I did. All of the Leghorns are good layers so I didn’t know what to do with the 100 + eggs we were getting everyday. Then the light came on and I got in touch with our local food pantry. They supplied the ice box and on Fri. I take all my extra eggs to them. It’s a win for both of us as I am able to take my expenses off my taxes and no family goes hungry.
I agree on all seven counts! I’ve compared my chickens (more than 20 varieties!) to a pond of fish – I’ve always enjoyed watching the goldfish and koi ponds – however, the beautiful chickens offer up their wonderful eggs in addition to entertaining us. I get so much pleasure from just observing the girls doing their “chicken thing,” and it is such a thrill to share their eggs with family and friends.
All seven reasons are so true! Before getting the chickens, we hadn’t realized just how much stress relief and chuckles they’d provide. Their antics and personalities are endless fun for my family and guests. I now don’t think I’d ever consider home a place without chickens. Our eggs are in big demand with coworkers. The bakers in the bunch insist that their cakes “bake up” better with our hens’ eggs than with store bought eggs. One extra bonus I’d add as #8 is how well they turn a veggie or flower bed at the end of the season. Along with manure for composting from their coop, their work in the garden has areated my fill-dirt flower beds and made it easier to work with. When I don’t want them in my beds, I simply lay chicken wire over the area and cover it with fresh mulch. They leave it alone and go somewhere else!
I started about 10 years ago with 26 Araucana chickens from McMurray’s and of those there are about 15 left. Two roosters, Howard and Red are from the original shipment. Howard has taken to being lifted to his ‘shelf’ at night because he’s spoiled, and I think his age is showing a bit. The second shipment last year of Araucanas included one Cochin, which turned out to be a rooster, but he gets along with everyone very well. I love the colored eggs, and sometimes I sell them; however, for the most part I give them to neighbors and friends. In addition, I have them because I just love chickens! It is one of life’s little pleasures to see them in the morning, hear them crowing, and collecting their eggs!
Our hens, Black Jersey Giants, Silkies and a couple of unplanned Giant Sussex crosses are all about nine or ten years old…and still, even this rough winter, dropping a gorgeous brown-shelled egg a few times a week. The yolks are bright yellow-orange and the whites viscous, a lovely contrast to the repulsive pale yellow yolks and runny whites of commercial eggs. We bought a few feed-store chicks this month to add variety to entertain our friends, but intend to add some younger Speckled Sussex later this spring from McMurray.
I see the wonders of creation and the wisdom of the Creator.
I get a sense of peace and serenity when I watch my hens free range around the yard. We have 2 roosters who carefully watch over “my girls”. We collect eggs every day, and we get so many that my little boy is able to sell the rest to the neighbors, and he gets to keep the money we make. I love having chickens. Each one is a piece of “artwork” made by God. The feathers are so beautiful, the colors and patterns so intricate, especially the roosters.
I think my love of chickens started when I was a child and I would spend the weekend with my Grandmother. She always had chickens, and I loved gathering the eggs, cleaning the henhouse, etc. We feed our chickens all our table scraps along with their regular feed ration. I also make sure to have the right amount of chickens as to not “overload” their pen so they always have fresh green grass to eat. My Grandmother always said that was important for them. Besides our family having fresh eggs whenever we need them, I also give my parents and my 2 brothers and their families eggs. I would like to personally thank McMurray Hatchery for supplying me with such wonderful animals and for all the lives they have enriched. Keep up the good work guys and gals!!!
Thank you, Shannon.
I live in an urban setting and have kept a small flock in my backyard for 5 years. Urban flocks are a source of great curiousity to city folks! My chickens have provided me with more community than I had before as they are great conversation starters–kind of like dogs are. Teaching neighborhood children about where their food comes from has been a treat also. I have been lucky enough to be able to give some of my hens to other people in my neighborhood, so the hobby has spread to other urban farmers.
My Mom got me hooked on chickens. When she was a little girl, during the Depression & WWII, her family had a Victory Garden. Tending the garden was her “job”, & she had an amusing companion to keep her company while she did her chores: a little red hen that would hop up onto her shoulder & ride there as my Mom went about weeding & watering. She still remembers that particular hen with fondness, though doesn’t remember what became of her (may be a good thing as she probably ended up on the dinner table). When I moved out to the country, she convinced me to get some. I’ve had quite a variety of breeds, each with its own unique personality, & I’m completely sold on them! At one point, I was able to take 15 doz. eggs to the local food bank. Now that’s a great feeling!!
This is a first for us to have chickens. My brother has had them for many many years, and now I’m retired. I love to have something to take care of just as I do my garden every summer. I built a new chicken coop from ground up, pouring a cement foundation and making everything new and put water and electric lights in it, with a large totally fenced in run on the side. I now have some baby chicks from McMurray’s to take care of and are excited for my new hobby, and looking forward for fresh eggs and chickens to eat as well. Wish me luck. Thank you McMurray for the help.
Hey! Nobody has said how beautiful they are. I have a bunch of Silver Sebrights, and they are so pretty. They almost don’t look real. Everyday when I let them out of their coop to free range, I feel like a kid going Easter egg hunting again as I check the nest boxes for fresh eggs. My farm wouldn’t be complete without my beautiful chickens! ;-)
We keep chickens because we want our children to understand that food does not magically appear at the grocery store — food comes from labor, effort, love and care. Raising chickens has taught our family about life — the responsibility, the caring, the diligence and love that life requires of us all. Like life’s ups and downs, our family’s experiences with raising chickens have included both joy and sorrow. From a broody hen proudly bringing forth her lovely chicks and the sweet sounds of hens clucking to each other as they dig happily next to me in the garden to the laughable sight of the entire flock running to the back porch for bread and other treats, our family loves our chickens dearly. The sadder chicken stories have included a gruesome morning discovery after a ravaging mink slipped through a quarter sized hole during the night, leaving carnage behind. Grieving, we repaired our coop, learned about the habits of mink and other predators, and prepared again for a safer flock, even though for a while we thought we would not have chickens again.
We keep chickens, even though we know that predators may come, poop needs cleaning and feed prices rise. Chickens bring joy and lessons of life, as well as beautiful, fresh eggs and the promise of chicks in the spring. Murray McMurray Hatchery has provided us with many memories over the years — the beautiful catalog, the friendly staff, the peeping box of chicks at the post office, all add to spring on the farm. Thank you for being part of our lives.
Believe it or not, I never liked chickens. Seriously! Until I got them. They have enriched my life tremendously. I now have 14 and looking to add more in the near future. I am having so much fun with these chickens. I am a convert !! Raise your own – it is the best.
We started raising broilers because we wanted real chicken, not the mushy, flavorless meat from the store without added chemicals or hormones. You get so much more than just great meat, you get satisfaction and pride in knowing where your food came from and that you raised it. We also butcher the chickens ourselves so we know how the meat is handled. We love watching them in our backyard. Living in a rural area of Iowa, we always can find fresh farm eggs from someone, but we have decided to add a small flock of laying hens to our farm this summer as well. Perhaps they can help in our large garden too!!! Can’t wait to get our girls from you. Thanks for such a great website….
Thank you, Carla.
I got 10 two year old hens a few months ago. I saved them from the breeder’s freezer. Have since added 10 more younger ones. I read some where if I feed them well they will continue to lay until they die, albeit less often. Since I can’t bear the thought of killing any of my “girls”. I am spoiling them rotten. I actually buy cucumbers, apples, cabbages, oats, sunflower nuggets, freeze dried mealy worms and crickets, yogurt, cottage cheese, alfalfa hay, etc.. I also get all the scraps from the local restaurant, and layer mash of course.
Will put my chicken killing dogs on chains in the spring so the hens can get out of the 16×16 foot pen and chase grasshoppers.
Greedy, Pissy, Blondie,Bragger, Blackie, etc, are all very happy campers.
I grew up on a farm, and as a young child would go up into the hen house and collect eggs. I never forgot it, and have always wanted my own chickens. Last year I ordered 12, and now have 10 hens and one rooster, Heady. The other rooster went to another farm. I love them for their funny personalities, and their beautiful and yummy eggs. I doubt I will ever eat them (the chickens), as they are named pets now. They follow me around in the nice weather, and last summer, Penguin took to laying her eggs in my back hall! She would peck and scratch at the door until I let her in, then go straight to the corner and “make another egg”. My cat would sit by her some days until she was done. Heady is a great guardian of his “girls”, and sometimes to a fault. He has quite a bite. I use the “pin, pick and carry” method to curb this bad behavior, and it works temporarily. He randomly goes in and out of being kind.
Alas, beautiful green, blue, pink and brown eggs, and endless entertainment, not to mention that GREAT fertilizer for my garden…who wouldn’t want chickens?
I’ve enjoyed reading this article and all of the great replies. I haven’t had hens or livestock of any kind since the late 80’s – had to give them up due to my job which required me to travel. I’m retired now and have plans to build a coop as soon as the snow melts here and get a small flock of Silver Laced Wyandottes, five hens and one rooster. It gets very cold here in winter, so I want a cold hardy breed, and the Wyandottes are one of the few breeds that I haven’t had at one time or another. I have missed having hens so much over the years that I’m like a kid waiting for Christmas right now can’t wait to start building the coop and order the birds.
We live out in the woods where our chickens run free. There was a time when I had to cut the grass (and dandelions) with a weed eater since the ground is so uneven. Every spring I would have to fight the Carpenter Ants. Now, I sit at my kitchen window and watch the chickens mow the lawn, even in places that I couldn’t get at with the weed eater. The dandelions are gone! I’m not sure, but would guess that they just could not survive the constant pecking, but the grass does. And I haven’t seen a Carpenter Ant since we got chickens. Some of my chickens are now penned up in a spot where I would like to plant more grass, since I don’t have to mow it. They are busy working the dirt by scratching and pecking at weeds that do not stand a chance. Life is good, thanks to my little pest control and lawn maintenance crew!
My kids and I started raising chickens as a 4-H project. We’d order a clearance batch like the “Top Hat Special” every year, and the kids would pick out their favorites to take to the fair. Now that my kids are all grown I still raise not only chickens, but heritage turkeys, ducks, and pea fowl. I was never able to eat store bought eggs without getting sick on them, but I can eat the eggs from the chickens in my own backyard. The meat chickens and the meat turkeys are always in our freezer because once we tasted what poultry is supposed to taste like, we couldn’t go back to what is sold in the grocery stores.
We bought two each of 7 different breeds of chickens from McMurray a year ago – Black Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Jersey Giants, Red Stars, Silver Laced Wyandottes, Barred Rocks, and Speckled Sussex – because we wanted a good sampling of cold-hardy chickens so we could decide which breed we liked best. We love them all, and we’re not going to bother to choose. Fresh eggs are THE BEST, and our girls have been laying right through the cold months with no break (and we don’t put lights on them; they do this naturally in normal shortened daylight hours). They’re free to roam except at night when we shut them in their house to keep them safe from predators and they follow us around and talk to us while we do our chores. They are beautiful, bright, smart, attentive, active, friendly, gentle, entertaining, and no end of fun to watch and be around.
Raising chickens for the first time this past year has been a life saver in this turbulent, stressful year of on and off employment! It gives my husband a purpose to get outdoors and get fresh air while tending to their needs. Even after shoveling snow, we sit and watch the chickens peck away at hay or table scraps. We probably look a little strange to the traffic passing by, but the calming effect on the whole family is amazing! Watching them is better than watching any TV show! And it lets us forget about our cares while sitting and watching them for hours!
And watching my husband teach our city raised toddler granddaughter about chickens, roosters and egg gathering is just the best! He makes sure we always take photo’s of her with the chickens to send out to our family members, so they will know, going to Grandpa’s Farm is a fun, exciting, learning experience!
Thank you McMurray Hatchery for sharing the opportunity of joy with others!
Thank you, Lisa!
I love all 38 of my hens and 8 roosters. When I whistle they answer me with their cherry crows and kaka sounds. You are in another world when you spend time with them. Each one has a personality, and the way the economy is today they bring me to a higher level of happiness. Keep your website going. It’s one of my favorites. Thanks, Chris.
Three things: kids learn anatomy when we dissect the non-layers, kids learn responsibility because there is a direct co-relation between proper care and number of eggs, kids go vegetarian on me one by one. Much better for them and the planet.
It’s Soul Satisfying!
I love to take care of my chickens as well as just sit outside and watch them. They are very relaxing and each have their own personality. I love the fresh eggs, however I can’t bear the thought of eating my chickens, to us they are out pets just like our dogs and cat (only with benefits). I cannot wait until we move so I can order more!
Since moving from Manhattan in 1978 to the very NE corner of NJ, we’ve been blessed with a sweet property where the laws of the land have not outlawed keeping livestock.
We’ve had all kinds of fowl, from different breeds of chickens to beautiful ducks and turkeys. They have all brought happy times and funny experiences, especially from some of the roosters chasing our guests. We keep chickens for the eggs and just to have that connection to the old kind of life. We don’t eat our chickens. We grow to like them too much. Most of our chickens have been ordered through McMurray Hatchery, and we enjoy the catalog. We’ve received healthy chicks through the postal system.
I was raised a city kid so never had to do anything with live chickens. Our family are now hobby farmers, and one of the first thing we did was buy baby chicks. Those baby chicks are now chickens laying eggs. Our grandkids all have enjoyed having them to watch grow and become the source of eggs. One of the granddaughters had to have a special glove to gather the eggs at the farm. They even get involved in cleaning out the chicken house. It is a great experience. We love it!!
My chickens help me feel love for the rest of the stuff in the world.
I have 46 hens, all ordered from you. I love free ranging them on just about a daily basis. I started this as a way to stay active and my older girls (hens) just passed their first birthday. I really love all aspects of raising a flock. I love my girls and they love me too!
My neighbor started my chicken hobby by giving me a hen and a rooster. I now have 10 hens and 4 roosters. I am a breast cancer survivor, and they always managed to put a smile on my face in my darkest days and gave me a purpose to get out of bed each day to care for them. They follow me around, sit with me when I am relaxing outside and just love my “bread” treats. Never thought chickens could be so personable and their eggs taste so good, and I find they don’t give me indigestion as the store bought ones did. It gives me a sense of pride when I gather the eggs in the morning that I helped make this happen by caring for them so well! Just love it!!
Some cardiologists will tell you that eating fertilized eggs are better for you than non-fertilized. So keep a rooster around.
We love and keep chickens for every reason you mentioned here. They have truly become more like beloved family pets! I also love the cute photos they take…
I am retired, disabled, and I love working with my chickens. Fresh eggs and grandchildren that love to gather the eggs. It is a family project that brings all of us together. It is also a good way to get rid of leftovers.
I love my chickens. I like eating fresh eggs every morning. I have not tried the meat as yet, but I can imagine how great the taste will be. I will start eating them so I can order more chicks from you!!!!!
I raise chickens because they are an important part of a permaculture gardening system. They provide organic fertilizer and help with insect control while also providing high quality eggs and meat. I’ve also found them to be very engaging and amusing gardening companions. My favorites are more pets than livestock, and they follow me around in hopes that I’ll turn up tasty worms and insects. The only real drawback is that I always have to be careful that I don’t accidentally stab anyone with my garden fork!
My runner ducks ship next week. I have never been so excited over a bunch of silly ducks. And more, everyone around is waiting. I have never raised fowl, myself. I raise cattle. This is literally a pet project.
I ordered a straight run of 15 with hopes of ending up with about 5 to 8 laying females by the end of the year. I am counting on there being some males for eating. If all goes well I will supplement with some chocolate runners next year. Gonna build this up slowly.
The number one reason that I keep chickens is that I’m absolutely spoiled on those ultra-fresh, ultra-gorgeous eggs. But closely following that is that it provides a sense of food independence, and their diet is supplemented from my garden and table scraps. When the weather is nice we let them free-range and chase grasshoppers in the gardens.
Chicken personalities are also great to observe. We name our favorite chickens, and the boldest of them sometimes follow us around (and get in the way) during chores. We keep only well-mannered, gentle chickens. Any aggressive chickens end up in the stew pot. Every summer some of the hens go broody, and then I order in a batch of 25 chicks to be reared by the hens, timed to arrive around the time the hen’s eggs would have hatched. It’s a delight to watch a momma hen with her chicks.