Keeping backyard chickens will always add a bit of colour to your life. Taking part in #100happydays is really helping me appreciate the small things in life. I’ve made a commitment to notice the small things that make life a little bit better. And the lovely girls that we share our backyard with, do just that.
We’ve had Myra, Molly and Maisy now for about 18 months, and I admit that I often take them for granted. But sitting outside this week, enjoying the winter sunshine, I watched them scratching around and generally getting on with their chicken lives.
It has to be said, they are the funniest, oddest, most endearing creatures I’ve come to know. There are so many great things about keeping chooks in your backyard, here are a few:
- Fresh eggs, of course! Who doesn’t love a weekend breakfast of eggs. There is nothing quite like the feeling of listening for the crow of one of your chooks to signal a fresh egg has been delivered for your breakfast. And without a shadow of a doubt, eggs laid in the backyard taste better than those you find in the supermarket.
- Their chook poo provides soil that is incredibly rich in nutrients. This summer, our tomato patch was better than it has ever been, largely due to the nutrients in the soil that was raked through a couple of months before planting. It was all from the chicken house. So cleaning out their house might not be top of your joy list, but the compost will have a little party each time it’s done.
- If you want to live a bit greener keeping chooks is a great way to do it. All our household scraps go straight in to the chook tin and get delivered to the chooks after breakfast the next day. So by giving them your scraps you provide them with their food, and you reduce your waste (and landfill). So it’s a win-win.
- If you have kids and live in the city, its a great way for them to learn about the farm-to-table cycle. This simple act of waiting for the chicken to lay an egg for our Saturday morning breakfast shows them that food doesn’t just materialise at the supermarket, that there is a whole process that happens before food lands on those shelves.
- They are a low maintenance and affordable pet to keep. You need close the door to their house at sunset and let them out in the morning to keep them safe from foxes. (If you’re away a bit, you can even buy an automatic door that will close at sunset and open at sunrise.) They need fresh water, and every couple of weeks their house needs a clean. That’s it. Low maintenance and low cost.
- If you’re having trouble switching off or you’re stressed about something, go and spend ten minutes watching the chooks scratch around. You’ll be in a trance in minutes!
Do yourself a favour, get yourself some chooks. We’re all weighed down by our modern lives and making an effort to get lighter will make your life better. Simple things, like backyard chickens, make life richer.