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How to Get Started With Backyard Chickens

Chickens 101: Your family guide to keeping hens

Becca Hedlund

Published on: May 11, 2020

boy with hens and egg in front of chicken coop in yard

Thinking of getting some chickens for your yard?

First off, why keep chickens? Well, it's easy, cheap and fun! Here are our top five reasons to become a backyard-chicken family:

1. Chickens are easy: 

While raising chickens in the city isn't quite as easy as caring for houseplants — though there are some parallels to raising kids — but once their basic needs are met, you just give them food and water every couple of days and they’ll be fine.

2. They make great pets:

Really! Hens gossip among themselves, have charming little personalities, come when you call them and follow you around. Some love to be patted and all look forward to a tasty treat from you (such as a banana or cracked corn). They're endlessly entertaining. Kids adore them, and toddlers can chase them forever (and never catch one).

3. They provide cheap, nontoxic pest control:

Chickens weed your garden and eat insects as they patrol your yard devouring bugs, slugs, snails and weed seeds. Many homeowners report seeing fewer pests once they introduce chickens to the backyard.

4. Chickens make 100% organic fertilizer:

Chicken manure is famously beneficial for gardens (let it mellow first, though, as its nitrogen content is so high that plants can get fertilizer burn if it is not composted for a few months before it goes on the garden.)

5. They're a food source:

Their most obvious appeal is farm-fresh eggs. But, theoretically, you could keep chickens for meat, too. (Though most people take the eggs-and-pets approach.)

Use the arrows above the image to get cracking on our Chickens 101 guide!

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