Chickens were domesticated around 9000 years ago in Indian and Eastern Asia. Since then they have been the source of much amusement, enjoyment and food.
Today, we want to honour the backyard chicken and show everyone just what an incredible animal they are. For instance, did you know that the average US household would need 5 chickens to ensure a fresh supply of eggs all year round?
We have decided to prove exactly how great chickens are for your garden and also how environmentally friendly backyard chickens can be.
Here are 14 ways keeping backyard chickens saves your garden and the environment (Please click on the image to view it full size):
Environmental and Garden Benefits of Backyard Chickens
Garden Benefits of Backyard Chickens
1. No Insects or Pests!
Chickens are extraordinary at pest control and will keep your garden beds insect free.
Chickens love insects and grubs overall, plus its extra protein for them!
You only need a flock of six chickens to have a pest and insect-free garden.
Now I will add a caveat, do not just let your chickens roam in your garden willy-nilly.
Chickens don’t discriminate between insects and veggies.
Let them roam for about 20-30min a day to keep them from eating and pecking at your crops.
2. Chicken Manure
Chicken defecate, just like the rest of us!
However, gardeners that have chickens have started to use chicken muck as manure for fertilizing their crops.
One chicken can help create 8 freaking pounds of manure per month!
3. Your Own Personal Tiller With Legs
Need to till and make way for new crops?
Have no fear!
Your friendly neighborhood chicken is here.
A single chicken can till over 50 square feet of grass per month.
Get a couple of those bad boys (girls), and you’re in business!
Much cheaper than the manual tiller!
4. Get Rid of Weeds
Your chickens also will eat weeds as much as they eat grass!
Weeds and grass help your chickens get a balanced diet.
Vegetation like weeds and grass helps your chickens convert the nutrients into healthy, great-tasting eggs and meat.
5. Keep your chickens away from these plants.
Chickens love plucking at grass and pests, but some plants are actually toxic.
Keep chickens away from the following:
- Tomatoes (if they aren’t ripe)
- Rhubarb (the leaves)
- Bell Peppers
- And many more check out here
Environmental Benefits of Backyard Chickens
6. Chickens Eat Grass and Leaves
In 2019, 13.60 million tons of yard waste (grass clippings, leaf, and yard waste) made it to the landfill.
Most of this “waste” could have been fed as a chicken’s natural diet outside of the feed you buy at the local market.
7. Fewer Food Scraps To The Landfill
After reading that header, don’t just go and toss whatever food scraps you have to your chickens.
Chickens still need a balanced diet.
But, you CAN feed them food/table scraps in moderation as treats.
8. 28 of Garbage In Landfills in 2019 Could Have Fed Chickens
Like I said in the past two statistics, food and yard trimmings were a massive percentage of the waste in a landfill.
28.1% of the “waste” in a landfill were yard trimmings and food scraps.
Both of these would have been better off being fed to chickens instead of putting more carbon emissions into the air.
9. Fewer eggs from the grocery store = less cardboard, styrofoam, and plastic usage
On average, chickens eat 263 eggs per year.
To be honest, I eat closer to 400 or more eggs per year.
Anyway, the majority of Americans buy their eggs from the grocery store.
And most companies that send their eggs to the store for purchase use cardboard, plastic, or styrofoam.
All of these will end up in a landfill only to be combusted, which adds more carbon emissions into the air.
Having chickens on your property and getting yourself a fancy skelter or reusable carton reduces your carbon footprint significantly!
10. Egg Transport Hurts The Environment
Now, I am not the biggest fan of electric cars.
But, as you can tell, I think having chickens on your homestead is fantastic for the environment.
Think about how many thousands of trucks travel across the state every day and week to get your eggs to your local market.
On top of that, think about how many miles each truck has to travel?!
Well, I have the answer for you.
And it’s a lot.
The average egg travels 317 miles before it makes its way to your plate.
Keeping chickens obviously reduce this number for you to zero.
And if you can buy from a friend or local chicken owner, that works too!
11. Chicken Fat as Jet Fuel
I don’t know how I feel about this since I travel occasionally.
But apparently, NASA tested and used chicken fat as an eco-friendly alternative to jet fuel.
It’s crazy to think about if you fly from Florida to New York, fueled by CHICKEN FAT.
12. More Chicken Manure
So we know that chicken poo can be a solid alternative to store-bought fertilizer.
Well, if it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough for larger farm operations.
Recently, not sure where exactly, but chicken “muck” is being recycled and reused as “bio-oil.”
This “bio-oil” is being used to run everyday farming operations.
The more you know, right?
13. Fresher Eggs For The Family is Healthier
This one is more of a statistic and less of a benefit.
For a basic US household, you would need at least 5 chickens to have eggs yearly.
One could argue that this is also healthier for you and the chickens.
These chickens end up in a backyard vs. a factory focused on egg-laying and meat.
Most egg-laying operations are probably a bunch of chickens all cooped in cages spreading illnesses and diseases.
They don’t have access to the outside.
They are fed a scientific diet designed to produce as many eggs as possible in the shortest time.
Now I know recent bad publicity has caused a lot of companies to allow the chickens more room and outdoor access, but still.
This doesn’t sound humane to me, and I know from my research that these chickens don’t live long.
Having your own chickens may not produce as many eggs, but the chicken will produce healthier eggs.
Which is better for you long term.
They will also lay eggs for longer.
So get some chickens, and you and your chickens can thank me later!
14. Less trips to the grocery store
I have already harped on this, but this is a little different twist.
So having your own chickens will not only reduce your carbon footprint, but it’ll also help with keeping our outsourcing lower.
This might sound like a stretch to some, but let me explain.
So in 2020, it was released that our agricultural exports are 3.7 times higher than in 2000.
On top of that, this includes dairy products and eggs, meat, and meat preparations.
So here’s the kicker, having chickens helps reduce our need to receive exported eggs and chicken meat.
I’m not going to name any names, but I know there are subscription companies that send frozen meat stored in a dry-ice container.
This meat comes from a totally different country!
We need to bring our agricultural trade back to the US.
And getting chickens helps us get there.
Wow, who knew how much backyard chickens could help?
Did you know about the environmental benefits of backyard chickens?
What about the benefits of backyard chickens for your garden?
Let us know any other interesting points in the comments below!
- Ohio State University
- California Polytechnic State University
- New York Times
- Mike’s Backyard Nursery
- American Egg Board
- US Environmental Protection Agency
- Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
- Mother Earth News
- The Prairie Homestead
- United States Census Bureau
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