In your mind’s eye image of the family farm. What comes to mind first? It’s a good bet that you see chickens pecking around a barnyard. They are part of that idyllic picture for good reason.
The Benefits Of Poultry
A flock of chickens can provide many benefits. A well-chosen breed of laying hens will provide eggs dependably for a couple of years. They will be thrifty and forage for a good part of their diet. They are often found to be useful in controlling tick and grasshopper populations too.
If you have chosen a breed given to broodiness (the urge to set eggs and raise offspring) and have a rooster, you will also have a self-sustaining flock. Cockerels from the resulting hatches can provide Sunday supper too.
The egg is a nutritional powerhouse. It is a good source of protein, minerals, and vitamins (all except C). They have high levels of D, a nutrient many of us are deficient in.
Starting With Chickens
Chickens make a good beginning project for the prepper because they don’t require a lot of space, are small and thus easy to manage, and will make use of your table scraps.
Many breeds are very colorful and attractive and sometimes you get a few so tame you can hand-feed. Children often really take to them and can share much of the responsibility for caring for them. And there’s not much cuter than a bunch of fuzzy little heads poking out from under their mother’s protective wings.
In future postings, I will discuss the best homestead breeds, housing options, and other considerations.