We love our hens! I think any urban chicken keeper, who has raised their birds from early on, given them names, collected their eggs, cleaned their pen, fed them by hand, watched them bustle around with their constant activity, and let them free roam in the garden, can attest to what wonderful additions chickens make to any homestead.
Here are ten reasons we love having hens at our little urban farm:
1) manure - chicken manure hugely benefits our gardens
2) permaculture - closed loop permaculture principle (i.e. hens eat compost scraps, turn it into manure, back onto the garden, grow more veggies, which we use in the house and compost goes back to the hens - and the cycle begins again)
3) companionship - hens make loyal companions and are incredibly social birds
4) pest control - hens are excellent fly, mosquito, snail, slug and earwig catchers
5) soil health - hens help till up our soil while scratching for bugs
6) eggs - wonderful omega-rich eggs provided every day!
7) new skills - teaching our children animal husbandry skills (feeding, cleaning, watering, animal care)
8) earth connection - greater connection to the rhythms of nature and cycles of life
9) entertainment and fun - hours can be spent watching the constant antics of our hens
10) food security - adding our small part to develop greater food security for our urban areas