The idea of welcoming some charming hens to your yard is tempting you, but you ask yourself why should you take on a trio of layers? Here are the top 10 reasons why.
Produce a (small) part of your own food
Of course, we need to eat more than just eggs, but all the same; what pride in producing one’s own eggs! Each hen lays about an egg per day when all goes well, so you can even share your production with those around you.
Contribute to animal welfare
When you have chickens at home, you can be assured that the eggs you consume were produced by healthy, happy hens… a certainty we cannot have when buying eggs that were industrially produced.
Eat fresh eggs daily
It’s impossible to miss the difference in taste between a fresh egg and one from the grocery store. Your eggs will have better flavour, freshness, nutritive value and quality compared to the eggs on the supermarket shelves.
Contribute to children’s education
In the city, it’s sometimes difficult to show young people the origin of food that is typically produced in rural areas. By having laying hens in your garden, your children will be in the front row for this aspect of food production.
Reduce your ecological footprint
There’s no transport - other than from yard to kitchen! It’s hard to beat the ecological advantage. Even more, you can give your compost to the hens; they’ll feast and transform your table scraps into fresh eggs. Now that’s a win-win!
Adopt some pets
Hens are very endearing pets - and quiet, too. No rooster, no noise! When a hen lays an egg, she just clucks softly. Nothing compared to meowing cats or barking dogs.
Enjoy the fun and comforting presence of hens
An aspect that we often forget to mention is that hens are actually quite funny! Besides being entertaining to observe, they’re approachable and will let you pick them up and pet them. They also love pecking grain from any hand that offers some.
Reconnect with food production
Many people believe that one needs a rooster in order to produce eggs. Actually, a rooster is only necessary to produce chicks! This belief shows to what extent urban dwellers have become disconnected from the origin of their food.
Free access to abundant fertilizer
A single hen can produce up to about a kilo of excrement each week. Their faeces provide excellent organic fertilizer rich in azote, phosphorus, potassium and calcium.
Connect with your community
As with all urban agriculture it is advised to share your knowledge and the benefits. Most testimonies say the same thing: chickens create a great pretext to stop and make ties with your neighbours.
If you’re still thinking about the idea of welcoming hens to your yard, why not talk about your project with your neighbours, or even with your “green alley” project committee? Joining forces can also mean eggs for everyone… and fewer chores for everybody.