YOU need a few chickens in your backyard… here’s the number one reason to get backyard chickens.
I’ve decided that you need a couple chickens.
Wait. Maybe you already have a couple. Maybe you have a dozen. Or maybe, like me, you like having farm fresh eggs so much you have at least a couple dozen or so and you’re not quite sure just how many are out there roaming around, but it’s enough to keep a couple cartons full of eggs in the fridge. If that’s you, I’m not talking to you today (but you can keep reading). I’m talking to the folks who have been riding the fence on the issue and haven’t taken the plunge into owning their own little backyard flock. It’s nearly spring so now is the time to make your decision and learn about the best beginner chicken breeds.
If you fall into that latter category, I’m here today to convince you why you need a couple chickens.
The #1 Reason to Get Backyard Chickens
While there are lots of reasons to raise your own chickens, there is only one you need to know to tip the scales in favor of chicken ownership.
And it can be summed up in 2 words:
No matter what your food or dieting convictions may or may not be, cookie dough is a universal “no-no.”
And why is that? Why is it that you can’t indulge in a Chocolate Silk Pie or cookie dough without battling extreme fear and paranoia?
The answer is our modern food system.
In our modern food system, the hens who lay our countries eggs are confined in tight quarters under deplorable conditions. This compromises their health and causes them to harbor diseases such as salmonella which can be passed on to humans who partake of undercooked eggs.
Why Farm-Fresh Eggs are Safe to Eat
However, our wise Creator has put in place a system of checks and balances whereby each egg a hen lays is perfectly protected from external invading forces (such as salmonella bacteria) for the sake of the potentially developing life within. A fact which also happens to protect the eater of the egg from the bacteria as well. The problem is with the meddling hands of man. In our current quest for uniformity in the food we eat are washing that protective coating (called bloom) off of the egg after it was laid. This opens the invisible pores in the shell to admit harmful bacteria. Ironically, it also hastens the spoiling of the egg.
Many natural barriers help prevent bacteria from entering eggs. The “bloom” or “cuticle,” a gelatinous covering that dries after the egg emerges from the hen, helps seal the pores in the shell, reducing moisture loss and bacterial penetration. The many egg membranes also help prevent the passage of bacteria. The shell membranes contain lysozyme, an enzyme that helps prevent bacterial infection. The egg white discourages bacterial growth because it is alkaline and binds nutrients in a form that bacteria can’t use, and the thick white discourages the movement of bacteria. As the egg ages, the white thins and the yolk membrane weakens, enabling bacteria to reach the nutrient-dense yolk, where they can grow over time if the egg is kept warm. In a clean, fresh shell egg, internal contamination rarely occurs.- Source
When you control your own food supply, in this case by having the pleasure of raising a few hens, you are at liberty to protect yourself (and the inside of the egg) by abstaining from washing them and keeping the germs on the outside where they belong.
Eggs from truly organic, free-range chickens are FAR less likely to contain dangerous bacteria such as salmonella, and their nutrient content is also much higher than commercially raised eggs. –Source
And when your eggs are not as likely to be potentially infected like so many millions of conventionally raised ones have been in recent history, you’re free to enjoy a multitude of delicious foods such as homemade mayonnaise, the aforementioned Chocolate Silk Pie, cake batter, and cookie dough just to name a few.
I hope so. ‘Cause cookie dough is yummy.
Backyard Chicken Resources
Here a few wonderful resources to get you started on your way to chicken ownership.
- The Essential Homesteader’s Guide to Animal Husbandry
- Henderson Chicken Chart – A list comparing 60 chicken breeds to help you narrow down your choices.
- Backyard Chickens Forum- Where chicken owners unite to discuss… well… chickens.
- Salmonella Hoopla: Why I feed my children RAW egg yolks, RAW cheese, & RAW milk
- Learn How to Discourage Salmonella in your Backyard Flock
- Natural Homestead– LOTS of truly wonderful ideas and recipes so you can naturally care for your new little flock!
- How to Choose Backyard Chicken Breeds
What does your ideal backyard flock look like?
Oh this post makes me so much more anxious for my own flock! I have been cautioned to start small as a new homesteader but would love at least a dozen to start with. I’m still learning about the different breeds and which ones I think I would like to include in that flock. I know some Americanas, and probably Rhode Island Reds, but more research is yet to be done! Thanks Quinn! The cookie dough thing totally pushed me over the top! 😉
I had never seen your reason coming, but cookie dough is the perfect argument. My dream flock would be two fold: one flock of layers, enough to feed my family and maybe sell some and then a flock of meat birds, I would love to cull 52/year. Can you imagine having a chicken roast and soup every week? (btw. we just has a chicken roast Monday and I made soup yesterday, so I might be slightly partial)
Great reason I had not thought of.Just moved into a place with a good sized backyard and am excited at the possibility to a possible little flock.
Rosi Rodriguez says
My dream of a chicken flock would be happy chickens ranging on beautiful lush green grass with LOTS of pretty flowers.
Right now my dream flock would be any flock! We’re currently renting with plans to buy a place soon and chickens are at the top of my list once we have our own house!
My dream flock is outside right now! Well, almost. Bronze Breasted bronze turkeys – a healthy stock of them, along with some roasters would be great!
Jarnette Smith says
My dream flock would be free roaming, however due to our city location, that can not be a reality here. I have been sitting on the fence for a year now, trying to consider logistics to make a small egg-laying flock work…I would LOVE, LOVE, LOVE to have a few, a nice little coop for keeping them safe from critters and a small chicken tractor to allow daytime safe roaming. You inspire me Quinn…so wish were neighbors of closer distance! Blessings ~ Jarnette
Sarah R. says
This is our first year with chickens, and I love them!
I have a hen and a rooster. We culled our flock last fall, due to non-laying hens. Most were 3+ years, some one had been eating the egg that I had been getting from my young girl. All the TSC stores have chicks and I can’t decide on chicks or full grown hens for layers. I continue to ponder!!
Farm fresh organic eggs taste and look far superior over commercialized eggs! The consistency, color and flavor are perfect.
Vickie L. says
This is our first year with a flock of chickens and we love seeing how many eggs we will get each day. I need to learn more about them though.
Bethany Hollander says
My dream flock is free roaming and easy to find eggs. The chickens we have now are little escape artists that like the neighbors flock.
Daisy Hill Homestead says
I would love free ranging chickens and lots of colorful eggs. I would love a flock of 6 or 10.
Stephanie Skelly says
Ha! The cookie dough thing totally caught me off guard. My dream flock would be a mix of breeds and colors, day-ranging on lush green grass, behind a herd of Dexters, and sleeping at night in a clever resourceful mobile pen made of inexpensive (or free) used/recycled materials. That’s the dream flock. The real life flock isn’t that pretty, but the eggs are safe and yummy. 🙂
Tracy Harvey says
Definitely hoping to start my flock this year!
Amanda Bickford says
My dream flock would be an rainbow egg layer flock.
De Peaslee says
Love having my 5 hens, and wish I could have 20 more. There is nothing like fresh eggs. dream flock? More! 🙂
I would like a flock that would give all different color eggs. At the moment most give light brown eggs, but I would like some darker eggs and more Araucana chickens to give us blue eggs.
Sarah O'Neal Macri says
Dream flock would be pastured! Not sure on the type, but hoping to add this to my homesteading actions next year. 🙂
Katja Sheikh says
Its all true. I dont have much space. And I didnt want my beautiful garden to get desecrated so I decided to buy Silkies and one Naked-head (that one I regret little bit buying 😉 but she is so smart. In the winter she figured birds feeders are full of yammmi sunflower seeds so she climbed to the apple tree and ate out of the feeders! One smart chicken. Anyhow…you cant compare store bought eggs to home ones. Today you can have a number of fency chickens to look pretty in your garden and lay eggs as well.
Our Landlord has chickens so we get the benefits of fresh daily eggs, but we are looking into everything to have our own flock of truly organic free-range chickens ourselves, on our side of the fence 🙂
Dee Johnson says
About 20 – 25 (prolific) laying hens. All organic feed and sprouts with some home grown bugs (mealworms maybe?). We are actually about to surpass this in a few months. I have 10 laying hens right now (and 1 blind rooster), 24 eggs incubating and 21+ chicks coming in mid may (10 hens for laying, 10 meat roos, 1 free exotic chick, and any extra they throw in, lol). Of the incubating eggs, we are keeping the hens for laying and butcher the roos for meat. Oh, and my dad got a little crazy and has me incubating 12 blue chicken eggs with my others that he wants to sell, lol. I think I’m in over my head, lol.
I wholeheartedly agree! We started with a dozen reds, lost a few to our dog, added 4 more and currently have 13. I love my chickens! They are free range, but within limits. We have several differnet fenced areas so they have plenty of room to roam, take their dirt baths and scratch. There’s nothing like a truly fresh egg for breakfast!!
Janet Garman says
I love this post and the well cited facts. Will be sharing this one!
Thank you Janet!! ❤️