Raising chickens is an increasingly popular pastime these days. Over the last ten years or so keeping backyard chickens has become common in the suburbs and in urban areas alike.
While many of these individuals are raising meat chickens or laying birds, there are some surprising benefits to keeping them for their own sake.
Here are a few reasons why keeping chickens has come into vogue.
1. Chickens Can Make Great Companions
Most people tend to dismiss chickens as farm animals and little more. However, these feathery friends can make great additions to your family.
Some birds, like the silkie, are actively bred for this purpose as their unique appearance makes them a bit of a novelty.
They’re also more intelligent than they get credit for.
Chickens can recognize human faces and learn to recognize who their owners are. And as playful creatures, they’ve been known to play with not only each other but their human friends, too.
They’ve also demonstrated that they understand object permanence to some degree. This idea, that an object still exists even if it cannot currently be perceived, is one that animals like cats —usually presumed to be smarter than chickens — still struggle with. So it would appear chickens have more going on than you might assume.
2. Raising Chickens Is an Excellent Way to Get Some Exercise
For individuals with mobility issues or who are otherwise unable to perform high-impact exercises, raising a flock can be a great way to stay active, particularly for free range chickens.
The seemingly simple work needed to raise chickens like rounding them up every night, cleaning the coop, gathering eggs, and moving around feed can give you plenty of physical activity. For more info on that last point, take a look at some examples of the quantities that livestock feed comes in to see if you’re up to the task.
3. Interacting With Animals Is Good for You
Humans are social beings, so we have a natural inclination to interact with other friendly creatures. Doing so is linked to health benefits like lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, better mood, and improved mental health.
And interacting with friendly chickens is no exception.
This can be especially true for people already struggling with mental issues or who are afflicted by feelings of loneliness or isolation.
The Benefits of Tending Chickens Go Well Beyond Fresh Eggs
Farm-fresh eggs would be reason enough to consider investing in a small flock, so we didn’t feel the need to tell you what you already know. But the perks of raising chickens go well beyond that.
They can be a source of companionship, exercise, and overall wellness merely through the need to be cared for. Relative to that, the eggs are almost incidental.
But keeping chickens is just one novel way that you can improve your lifestyle. For more tips, remember to keep up with all of our latest health and lifestyle guides.