Chicken pens may look out of place in urban or suburban milieu, but these backyard fixtures are no longer contraptions of rural life, given the increasing number of people getting more conscious of the quality of eggs and chicken meat they consume. Chicken pens can be practically built anywhere, even in a backyard with limited green space. It’s all a matter of design: You can either do them yourself, or buy pre-made chicken pens from poultry farms. The rewards of having them in your backyard far outweigh possible inconveniences – like the smell of manure or the incessant clacking chickens make – they might present. Here are some of the rewards of making chicken pens a part of your backyard landscape.
Chicken Pens Benefits
1. Fresh, organic eggs. On average, it takes two or more weeks for eggs to hit the produce aisle from the time of their harvest. Layers are also likely to be loaded with hormones so they can produce more eggs than their natural cycles would permit. By building your own chicken pens, you can glean fresh eggs everyday without ‘contamination’ from hormone-boosters.
2. Tastier meat. Among organic chicken farmers, the consensus is that poultry meat gleaned from free-range settings or backyard chicken pens taste far better than chickens raised in industrial poultry. They say organic chicken meat need not be loaded with artificial flavorings to bring out its authentic chicken taste. This was how chickens were raised in the past; breeds were preserved for their flavor and hardiness and not for their fast-growing characteristics.
3. Free fertilizer. Chicken manure is an excellent source of organic fertilizer because it is nitrogen-rich. Chicken pens can be moved from one area of the backyard to another so organic matter is scattered across the lawn, fertilizing grass that will in turn feed chickens. Even if you don’t have a vegetable patch, you can always donate chicken manure to local nurseries or community gardens.
4. Biological pest control. Chickens have natural prey. Worms, cockroaches, bugs, aphids, grubs, and even mice, are all chicken food. These are their natural protein source which they need in abundance because of their active lifestyle, as far as free-range chickens go. Even if your poultry is placed in movable chicken pens, the enclosure can always be moved to a fresh patch of soil so chickens can scratch and eat off the ground. Chickens are increasingly beneficial if you have a vegetable garden because of their symbiotic relationship. The leafy patch and resident pests can be the chicken’s source of food, and chicken manure will be your vegetables source of nutrients.
5. Food security at the local level. Food need not be imported from several miles away. The United States’ local food movement is gaining ground, and in Australia, the number of community gardens and backyard chicken pens is increasing. A lot of people have realized the immense benefits of growing their own food outside the kitchen door: they cut their produce bills in half; they get adequate nutrition; and they can cook whenever using whatever is in the backyard. Since there is diminished dependence on outside food, the need for transporting food also decreases, reducing carbon emissions. So on a larger scale, vegetable gardens and backyard chicken pens are not only cost-saving measures to secure organic produce, but also exemplary efforts towards preserving the environment.Learn more about me