Is Having a Few Hens for You?
Maybe you didn’t think about being self sufficient before 2020, but what about now? Did you see shortages, empty shelves at the grocery store? In spite of the grocery store shortcomings, at least I knew there were always gonna be fresh eggs right in my back yard. It was a nice feeling, real nice, but is keeping chickens for you? Let’s take a closer look…
Having backyard chickens is going to add to your chore list, and yes, they’re kinda messy, and yes, you’re gonna spend a little extra money just to have those “free eggs.” But, putting all that negative stuff aside, the question of whether or not it’s worth it is a simple one. Yes, and here’s why.
The flavor of a fresh egg is rich, the color is vibrant, and the texture is amazingly firm in comparison to grocery store shelf eggs. But here’s the best part, farm fresh eggs taste better, and hold more nutritional value than store bought. Studies have found that fresh farm eggs have less cholesterol, contain the right kind of fat and have more vitamins than conventional eggs.
Fact: By law, an egg can be sold for up to 30 days after the date it was put in the carton. And farmers have up to 30 days to go from when the egg is laid to the carton. That means those supermarket eggs can be two months old by the time you buy them. It only makes sense to assume after two months some nutritional value has been lost.
Upkeep and What to Expect
Every morning I spend about 10-15 minutes tending to my birds. I use a pooper scooper, pick up the droppings from the nest box and coop, fluff up the pine shavings, fill the drinker, collect eggs, and…. that’s it. Once a week the coop gets fresh pine shavings and the feeder is refilled. My birds free roam during the day on our property, however, if they were confined to a coop, a more rigorous cleaning regiment would be inevitable.
Probably the biggest mistake I made when getting my first backyard flock was how many birds to get. Lesson learned, I bought way to many, and ended up with more eggs than my family could possibly eat. Keep it simple, if you want to feed a small family of four, five to six hens is just about right.