There is a ‘saying backyard chickens are good for eggs, for the garden for the environment.’
But the real reason I keep them is they are good for the kids. We get a good number of eggs and some serious amounts of manure and compost from them but if I look at the cost of feed we are probably only just slightly in front on all this.
The level of self sufficiency is great and the eggs do taste better but nothing beats my two and half year old asking me ‘can we get the eggs’ and then helping me to lock up the girls.
Being a bit of a permi (permaculture wanna be) I have tried to build the chickens into my backyard structure. I have put my chickens right up in the back corner out of the way. Some of the advocates of permaculture would argue this is in the wrong zone but with such a small back yard (1/8 of acre) I only have two zones to play with (three if you count the fact I am espaliering all the fences with tree’s and putting some more on the front nature strip) so I have put it right up in the back corner.
I did this as chicken runs can smell and are a bit messy especially in the wet times and my wife is a city girl and prefers it to be out of the way. On the upside I have structured my back yard so that when anyone lets out the chickens, lock them up at night or collect the eggs they have to all through the main garden area’s so you often end up coming back with cucumbers, tomatoes, figs or berries of one type or another along with a couple of eggs.
I will go over how I built the run and how I feed and keep the chickens in another post along with a couple of easy suggestions for people to keep them in their back yard and how not to let the most destructive creature to a garden know to man loose on your private world.