Can Children Raise Chickens for Eggs, Fertilizer, and Pest Control?
Chickens are wonderful animals to raise, especially for kids. They are fairly self sufficient animals that do not require a lot of attention. These birds are popular for their eggs, being used in everything from cooking and cleaning to beauty and gardening. They also provide other wonderful benefits that make them the perfect first pets for kids!
The Three Secret Benefits to Raising Chickens
Who doesn’t love a delicious chicken egg? It is one of the most popular breakfast items in the world! A chicken can lay a single egg everyday, providing food for up to 2 or 3 years before she is retired. In addition, chickens are able to be used for pest control. They wander through the yard looking for insects, parasites, spiders, and small vermin to eat. Some will even eat field mice! Chicken owners love the reduced amount of spiders and ticks that they find in their yards. Chicken poop also makes for an excellent gardening fertilizer, whether the chickens are free range or kept in a coop. Cooped chickens are kept in a smaller area, so their feces can be gathered much more easily.
Ideal Amount of Chickens to Have
The number of chickens depends upon the amount of space available. If there is only a small yard, it is best to limit the yard to 3 to 4 hens. This many hens can still produce 21 to 28 eggs per week, plenty for the average family. If there is a quarter of an acre to dedicate to chickens, 24 or more hens could be kept. This turns into a great egg selling opportunity for those who would like to make a return on their hens.
What Is Needed to Raise Chickens
In order to raise chickens, you will need a variety of items. Chicks, chick feed, and a coop will be necessary. In addition, a run will need to be built. A run is a big fenced in area that keeps chickens contained and safe from predators. They will also require water and feed stations. For hens to feel secure laying their eggs, nesting boxes filled with nesting material will need to be mounted inside of the coop. Other than that, the chickens will do quite well!
Free Range Chickens or Cooped Chickens?
There are two different ways of raising chickens, each with its own benefits. Free range chickens are allowed to roam the property, and will sometimes be cooped at night to stay safe from predators. Some free range chickens spend their entire lives free to do as they will. These chickens are highly at risk for predators, but the risk is reduced in developed areas or on properties where there are lots of animals to defend the chickens (such as donkeys or guard dogs). The eggs and meat from from range chickens tends to taste better and be far more nutritious than grain fed chickens.
Chickens that are continuously kept in a coop or run are going to rely strictly on feed to keep them fed. They will have the occasional bug or two visit the coop, but it is not enough to keep them fed. They are much safer from predators than free range chicks. Eggs will be in one specific nesting area rather than potentially scattered across the property.