The Truth About Backyard Chickens

I am motivated by a recent Facebook post to post the FACTS about backyard chickens.  There are so many  misconceptions.

Myth: Chickens are noisy.

In reality, hens (not roosters) are one of the quietest domestic animals. They cluck softly from time to time, and will often cluck to let you know they recently laid an egg. Unless they are in danger, it is far better than your neighbors dog. They sleep at night just as people do and are completely quiet from dusk to dawn. They are quiet because they do not want to attract attention to themselves.

Myth: Chickens are dirty.

Chickens are very clean animals. They will occasionally give themselves “dirt baths” but this is actually in order for them to preen their feathers and keep themselves free of bugs. As long as they’re not caged or confined  their droppings do not smell. Just like all animals, the owners have the responsibility of cleaning after them from time to time.

Myth: Chickens carry disease.

Chickens are just like any other animal when it comes to disease. They are no more likely to carry disease than your neighbors dog. If they are well-cared for, fed, watered and kept in a clean environment, then they are more likely to stay healthy. Chicken diseases are much more likely in confined animal feeding operations. Where chickens are very overcrowded and not allowed to be chickens.

 Myth: Chickens attract pests.

Chickens love to eat insects of all kinds including worms, beetles, grasshoppers, earwigs, mosquitoes and their larvae, fly larvae, ticks and more. Chicken are an excellent method of insect and small rodent control in a back yard. As long as the responsible owner stores all feed properly there will be no issues.

 Myth: Chickens attract predators.

The predators that are in the local environment are preying on anything they can find, cats, rabbits, rats, and small dogs given the opportunity. Chickens do not attract additional predators. Chickens are just one more thing the predators will try to eat.

 Myth: Chickens need a lot of space.

I’ve never seen a yard that was too small for a couple of chickens. Chickens need far less space than a dog. The average city lot will easily accommodate 4-5 chickens.

 Myth: Chickens require a lot of equipment, work, or time.

Chickens are very low maintenance. They need water, food and shelter. They do not need to be groomed, washed, pet, walked, spayed, neutered, or trained. You can spend as little or as much time with them as you want. Their bedding area should be cleaned as needed. They’ll pay for the effort by fertilizing your yard and giving you eggs.

 Myth: Chickens are dangerous to have around children.

Chickens, unlike the neighborhood dogs and cats do have not teeth and unless you’re feeding them, they’ve little to no interest you. They are definitely NOT dangerous.

Myth: You need a rooster to have eggs.

Absolutely NOT TRUE! Roosters are unnecessary to the backyard hens. The hens even lay better without the boys around harassing them. Roosters belong on a farm, not your backyard.

Chickens are and excellent addition to the backyard of any responsible person. Keeping chickens is a great way for kids to learn about nature, agriculture, and the responsibility of caring for animals.

Okay, I’ve descended from my soap box now.

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