Introduction – Why Chickens?
Hello, my name is Typhani and this is my new blog about my latest endeavor: raising backyard chickens. This is really my boyfriend Fish’s idea but I will happily catalog our entire journey for others to follow. We decided to keep chickens after repeatedly being grossed out by all the ‘news’ we hear about the store-bought eggs and chicken meat. From a health perspective we just wanted to eat something that wasn’t chock full of antibiotics, growth hormones, and God knows what else, before sitting on a shelf for a few weeks. Farm fresh eggs are not only lacking in these harmful elements studies have shown they are higher in all the good nutritional benefits. For instance they are 4-6 times richer in Vitamin D than store bought eggs, they have twice the amount of mega-3 fatty acids, two thirds more vitamin A, three times more vitamin E, and a whopping seven times more beta carotene. They are also have less cholesterol and saturated fat as store bought eggs. So why is there such a difference? Several things contribute to this but the most prominent issue is probably the treatment of the chickens themselves. The vast majority of eggs in the United States come from industrial non-organic chicken farms where chicks are ordered from a hatchery, loaded full of anti-biotic laced feed, grown up, and thrown into “battery cages” where they have about enough room to turn around. This limits their food supply to store-bought feed and the feathers of surrounding chickens. These birds are made egg laying machines and as soon as they outgrow their peak laying at a little over two years of age they are then sent to the slaughter house and a new batch of chickens is ordered.
For awhile we were content to buy the expensive organic free-range eggs that our health food store carries but we learned recently even fancy labels don’t make something good. In order for them to be called “free range” all they need is access to the outdoors, which could be anything, even a tiny little bit of fencing attached to an enormous industrial coop, on top of a concrete slab for easy cleaning. That’s better than nothing but they’re certainly not going to access to the bugs and whatnot that make their eggs healthier and most chickens raised in this way don’t even bother to check it out anyway. They are more content staying with the flock indoors where there’s no predators.
Some people look at these issues and decide to become a vegetarian or vegan. My option was less drastic – lets raise chickens in a warm free environment where we know they are getting treated well and go from there. We’d love to have truly free-range chickens but we live in a neighborhood full of dogs and likely people who don’t want chickens in their yard. To ease these issues we built a nice size enclosed run for them and only ordered hens so the roosters wouldn’t add to the noise pollution in our area. Roosters are not needed for egg production as some believe, only chick production!