I could have been gardening god Josh Byrne (and my what a god…I have a celeb-crush on Josh) or perhaps gardening goddess Sabrina Hahn that said something along the lines of “if local councils were serious about landfill they would make it easier for homeowners to keep chooks”. Or something along those lines.
1. Chooks Reduce the amount of Garbage you put in Landfill
And my goodness, whoever said it, was right. Chooks are natural scavengers. They love the cold mushed up weetbix left over from breakfast and your kids don’t like crust?, no problems, chooks love them. I have 4 chooks. I think this is a good number for us. We produce enough scraps to feed the chooks, with layers pellets to supplement should the girls get a bit peckish.
I could go on and on about this point alone. Did you know that food waste in land fill is the number 2 producer of methane and that 38% of our garbage is food waste. Shamefull hey. Because food waste needs oxygen to decompose and in in landfill it gets buried, methane is produced. Methane is not so good for the environment. Yet, a simple and practical solution would be backyard chickens.
Fresh, produced in a happy environment, yummy scrummy eggs. And even when you factor in buying a chook and the layer pellets, they still work out cheaper than store bought eggs. This blog post from Leanne Daharja @ Hazeltree Farm shows you just how cost effective chickens are 🙂
3. They add character and warmth.
Even if your not an animal person, hearing the chickens bok and cluck is joyful. Mine see me at the back door and come running to the gate to see if I have any scraps. I love them 🙂
4. They contribute tothe gardens too.
They don’t just produce eggs. They can be very much part of the garden cycle as well. I heap hay, weeds and grass clippings into my chook run in a deep litter style way. The chooks scratch and poop and general turn everything about. When it starts to look like it needs a clean out, I rake it all out and place in the garden and some in compost bins. Chicken poop can be quite strong, so when I clean this out (it tends to build up where they sleep), I pop it into the compost to break down some more. This all adds nutrients to the gardens, the garden produces nutritious food for the humans, the scraps go back to the chooks and it is one big happy cycle.
Just a couple of notes. Some plants and weeds are poisonous, obviously don’t include these, or your chickens will be at the end of the cycle of life prematurely.
Also weeds may not die straight away. That is why they are weeds. Transfering them to the garden bed may give them a new lease on life. If in doubt leave in the coop longer, so the chooks can turn and scratch some more.
5.Chooks are an educational experience.
I’m not a fan of the “get a pet to teach responsibility”. It’s a bit nonsense if you ask me. However chooks can provide an array of teaching opportunities for your kids. You have basic animal care, where eggs come from, food cycles, waste cycles, life cycles, bi-cycles….nah just joking.
Eggs can lead to cooking lessons, scraps can lead to lessons in healthy eating (don’t want the chooks to eat bad food).
Don’t have kids that need educating? Well share your eggs with your neighbors. Educate them!
So what are you waiting for…go get some chooks.