You read correctly dear readers. Keeping backyard chickens has changed my life. And for the better I may add. There are probably more than four ways but these are the most important changes I think made the most impact to our lives.
They converted me into an early bird
That’s right. Even on weekends when I have nothing else going on, I am up at 6.30am to feed the chooks. Come rain or shine or dark of morn, I am out there filling up their water bowls, and feeders. And you know what? I do it with a smile on my face, because my feathered girls are always happy to see me. In fact, besides Holly who wakes me up if I dare try to sleep past 6.30am (The chooks need feeding Dad!), they are the first beings that I talk to each morning. Most of the time they talk back.
Yes, I talk to them. I just wish I sometimes that I could talk chicken. What an interesting conversation we would have.
Oh, and I don’t go back to bed. Once I have fed the girls, I get stuck into the rest of my jobs around the garden if it is a weekend. If a weekday, I trundle off to work. It is a great way to start the day.
I became more aware of Animal welfare issues
Raising your own chooks opens your eyes to the welfare of other farm animals that probably don’t have it half as good as my girls in Cluckingham Palace. Caged hens that provide the majority of Australia’s egg supply live in a space as small as an iPad, along with 3 to 4 other hens sharing the same cage. After 18 months of laying, they are culled, usually turned into pet food. It isn’t right.
I have hens that are over six years old, and still laying at least 1 egg a week. I am quite happy running a home for the aged feathered lady.
Same goes for pigs, cows, and any other animal we abuse for food. Just because we eat them, no animal should undergo a torturous life in cramped conditions, just so that we can have cheap food.
We eat more wholesome food.
Our girls provide us with wholesome eggs, and with seven hens we usually get about 3-4 eggs a day. Remembering that all of my chooks are now at least past commercial laying age, I count my lucky stars each time I empty the nesting box.
Of course, having chooks means that we have an abundance of eggs, and between the 3 of us at home, and Megan and Amy who live locally, plus the two dogs, we manage to eat them all and rarely give them away or sell eggs.
I look forward to my cooked breakfast once a week on Sunday morning, that consists of free-range organic bacon, fresh eggs from the girls, homegrown tomatoes, and homemade bread! Best breakfast ever. We have even been known to skip the bacon and just eat eggs and organic baked beans on toast. The flavour of the eggs are just amazing. Far tastier than shop bought eggs. Wholesome eggs deserve wholesome accompaniments!
We also now buy as much organic fare as possible, and I try to grow as much fruit and vegetable that we can here in our own backyard. We didn’t really give much thought to where our food came from before backyard chooks.
We eat less meat, and when we do eat it, we choose free-range organic/biodynamic.
Because we have our own chooks, and the animal welfare awareness I mentioned at point two, we want to ensure that any animal we eat only had one bad day in their entire life. That bad day is obviously the one where they are dispatched.
We decided not long after we got our chooks that we would cut back on meat consumption, now down to two days a week, and any meat we bought would be free-range, organic or biodynamic raised. If we could, we try to source it locally, but our criteria makes that quite difficult to achieve. We rarely eat beef or pork, relying mainly and ironically on chicken. We also eat sustainably sourced seafood.
Before we kept backyard chickens we ate meat every single day. Not bad for a couple of die-hard omnivores.
So there you have it, that is why keeping backyard chickens has changed my life. How has backyard chickens changed yours?