The popularity of backyard farming is growing at a rapid pace. More and more, families are looking for healthy, sustainable options including raising chickens for fresh eggs. A majority of the baby chicks and started pullets we sell at McMurray Hatchery are intended for egg production.
Eggs are one of the healthiest foods you can eat, full of essential vitamins and proteins. Ask any chicken owner and they will tell you that their home-grown eggs are better tasting than the supermarket variety. While that fact has been debated, the real benefits of fresh eggs are in their nutritional value. Studies have shown several benefits including:
- Less cholesterol
- Less saturated fat
- Increased vitamins A, E and D
- More omega-3 fatty acids
- More beta carotene
In addition to these health benefits, as a poultry owner, you can rest assured that your eggs were humanely produced. Chickens are proven to be healthier when they are free to roam, able to forage for themselves, dust bathe and roost nightly.
Raising your own happy and healthy hens for a sustainable supply of home-grown fresh eggs is just one benefit of keeping your own chickens. Other benefits include:
- Insect and weed control — Foraging chickens are a great solution for those looking for a natural and sustainable way to rid their gardens of unwanted insects. Chickens will eat many varieties of insects including beetles, slugs, worms, and even grasshoppers. In addition, when chickens are foraging their scratching and pecking the dirt can do wonders to keep weeds at bay. However, we recommend fencing off areas to keep your chickens from decimating wanted plants and flowers.
- Fertilizer – Chicken manure is rich in nitrogen and phosphate. The high nitrogen and balanced nutrients are the reason that chicken manure compost is the best kind of manure to use. However, we recommend you compost it first vs. adding it directly to your garden. Uncomposted chicken manure is very ‘hot’ and can burn or kill your plants. Once your manure is composted, it is great for your garden.
Many poultry owners like to add some variety to their egg baskets by adding different breeds to have a variety of colored eggs. Gone are the days of just having white or brown eggs. Today, flock owners are filling their baskets with blue, green, olive, light brown, dark brown, and cream eggs of varying sizes. In addition to chicken eggs, many are also adding ducks, geese, turkeys, etc. for added variety.
Here are our most popular breeds by egg color:
- BLUE & TURQUOISE EGG LAYERS — Ameraucana, Cream Legbar, Whiting True Blue
- GREEN & OLIVE EGG LAYERS — Whiting True Green
- BROWN EGG LAYERS — Australorp, Black Star, Brahma, New Hampshire Red, Orpingtons, Rhode Island Red, Red Star, Delaware, Dominique, Rocks, Wyandottes
- DARK BROWN EGGS — Cuckoo Maran, Welsummer,
- CREAM EGG LAYERS — Egyptian Fayoumis, Salmon Faverolle, Silver Dorking
- WHITE EGG LAYERS — Ancona, Andalusian, Houdan, Leghorn, Minorca, Polish, Silver Spangled Hamburg
- OTHER FOWL — Pekin Duck, Chinese Geese
For help selecting a laying breed that fits your needs, visit our website and try our interactive Chick Selector or contact our customer service department at 800.456.3280.
Below is a list of resources related to sustainable living, homesteading, raising chickens and egg production.