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If you’re thinking about getting a pet, chickens are one of the best to start with. Here’s 5 reasons why:
#1 Ease of maintenance. Once you’ve set up the run it’s pretty much done. You don’t have to walk them, groom them, register them, or apply tick and flea treatment every few weeks. You may need to worm them a few times a year, and of course fill up their feed and water every few days and perhaps rake out their bedding once a week or so. But you can still go away for the weekend without having to find carers for the chickens.
#2 Happy helpers. The kids love going to collect the eggs every day – it’s like finding treasure. Neighbours love looking after them when you go away for longer holidays as they get to keep all the eggs that they find.
# 3 A you-beaut compost system. From an environmental perspective, one of the worst things to throw out in the garbage is living matter – like food scraps. And it used to really bug me when I’d gone to painstaking effort to prepare a good healthy meal for the kids only to have them take a few bites and discard the rest. The chickens however, LOVE these food scraps and return it in kind the next day in the form of a perfect egg. You can also throw lawn clippings and weeds over the fence into the run – the chickens will peck and poo and scratch away until it composts down into soil, which in turn you can put back on your garden.
#4 Entertainment. Chickens are hilarious. Seriously. I love sitting outside with a cup of tea just watching them. From the moment they wake up and trot down the ramp all puffed up with purpose, they are busy. They always seem to have a lot to do – there are dust baths to be had, grubs and weeds to be found, earth to be turned, a strict pecking order to be reinforced and of course eggs to be laid which then each require a proud announcement to the world.
#5 Seriously fresh eggs. Once you’ve poached an egg that was freshly laid that morning by a happy hen, you’ll never go back to store bought eggs again. It’s something about how “perky” and upright the eggs are – they stay together once you crack them rather than run all over the place. The colours are bright, the taste is YUM and the karma is all good. It’s one of the happiest ways to start the day.
There are plenty of companies who offer great kits to get you started. Most of them are very passionate about it and have plenty of advice. Some even offer an opportunity to try them out before you commit - for example www.rentachook.com.au.
Image courtesy of http://www.picalm.com