They’re a common sight on the farm, but chickens are also becoming a popular addition to the urban backyard. If you’re on the fence about whether chickens are really right for you, here are some surprising things you might discover about your new pets.
Your chickens have personalities. Watching a chicken run across the yard is one of the most entertaining things you’ll see in your back yard — but your hens’ funny antics are only the beginning. Over time, you’ll probably find that your chickens will develop an affection for you and will come to you when you call, eat from your hand, and perhaps even sit on your shoulder. The more time you spend around them, the more likely it will be that your chickens will show you the love.
They’re a lot easier to care for than other pets. After you get over the initial worries about what to feed them (chicken pellets, of course) and where to house them (in a cute, simple coop outfitted with nesting boxes and a roost) you’ll find that your flock doesn’t require much fuss at all. If you develop a system to automatically open the coop door in the morning and then to shut it again at night, the small hassles involved with raising chickens get even less hassle-y. In short, in return for a few minutes of your time (or that of a willing child in your household) you’ll reap delicious rewards.
And speaking of that, prepare to turn your nose up at store-bought eggs from here on out. Once you’ve cracked open your first deep orange home-grown egg, it’s going to be really hard to stomach the ones you might find at the grocery store. Compared to your home-grown eggs, store-bought eggs will seem pale and lacking in flavor and nutrients. To get eggs of similar quality to what your ladies are producing you’d have to pay premium prices at your local farmer’s market.
Those eggs will be hard to peel. While that sounds like a bad thing, it’s actually a mark of freshness. When you hard boil your eggs for Easter or to create a batch of deviled eggs, it’s best to allow the eggs you’ll use to sit for a week or two. The shells of fresh eggs will peel away in tiny bits, unless you let the eggs “age.” From that experience, you’ll realize that the eggs you bought from the store were none too fresh. All the more reason that a backyard flock is indeed worth your while.