Here are nine reasons why your homestead needs chickens. (h/t to ThePreppingGuide.com)
If you're looking for a farm animal to start your homesteading journey, chickens are a great choice because they are extremely easy to care for. Supplying them with fresh food and water is an easy task, especially if you have plenty of space for your chickens to roam around freely. Chickens are known to forage for their own food if left to their own devices. All you need to do is support their diet by providing them with some feed and supplements so that they get an adequate amount of nutrition. You can even feed them the scraps from your dinner table.
The main reason people have chickens is that they're a good food source. If you're a prepper living in your own homestead, you will need a lot of protein and luckily for you, chickens can give you that. The average hen can produce approximately one egg each day, so it's a good idea to keep several so that you and your family can have enough on a daily basis. Having egg-laying hens around will be a great relief for you, especially if SHTF. Furthermore, chickens grow quickly and will be a good source of fresh meat after several months.
If you're prepping on a budget, you should know that it is relatively inexpensive to care for chickens compared to other farm animals. Plus, the return of investment you get from buying your first batch of chickens will return once you get a regular supply of eggs and meat from them.
If your homestead is yet to be fenced in, don't worry about how far your chickens will go. They are amazing creatures of habit and will definitely stick around as long as you continue to provide them with what they need to survive. Give them a few days of confinement in your property and then you won't have to worry about them wandering too far. All they need to know is where to roost for the evening and where to eat and drink.
Chickens are omnivores. This means they will happily eat both the chicken feed you give them, as well as any critters that may be wandering around in your homestead. If your area is filled with insects that are preying on your garden, releasing the chickens can help you control the insect population easily. Chickens are also known for hunting down rodents, so if you have a rat problem, they are your answer.
So long as you have several roosters in your flock, the number of chickens you have in your homestead will rise exponentially very quickly. Just make sure your hens have a safe place where they can incubate their eggs peacefully.
Depending on the kind of chicken you have, some of them will fare better in confined spaces. This isn't to say that you should just leave your chickens in a cage all their life similar to the fate of millions of commercial chickens. However, if your homestead isn't all that large, you won't need a lot more space to raise a flock.
Chickens are good at fertilizing. They are great at naturally aerating the earth around your plants, and they will leave behind their droppings as they do so, fortifying the soil with plenty of nutrients. This means that you can save a lot of money just by having a few chickens around as a near-limitless source of manure. (Related: Homesteading 101: Using chickens to help manage your compost.)
You should also consider chickens to be your homestead pets if you're in need of a source of entertainment. They are fun to have in the homestead and you can even play with them outdoors since they need to walk around in open areas in order to remain healthy and productive. If you're on your own, chickens can provide you with companionship.
Chickens are easy to raise, very productive and versatile farm animals. If you're looking to start up your homestead, consider getting a few chickens around. For more information on what else your homestead needs, head over to Homesteading.news.