Our family pets are fluffy and cuddly and a bit unconventional. They are curious, devoted, and give just as much as they take. You guessed it; we are proud chicken owners through and through!
Our journey with chickens started 8 years ago. We began with a hodgepodge homebuilt coop and half a dozen day-old chicks. We learned as we went with the help of google & local farming friends. Our laying hens foraged our North Shore forest during all 4 seasons, pooped way too much on our front steps, and followed us eagerly everywhere we went. We collected a handful of eggs from them each day and saw nature at work. Our kiddos adored the hens and they became extra little playmates alongside our family. Eventually our first batch encountered a predator, and we felt the loss of them deeply. Over the years, we've had a few cycles of chickens that have lived very full, wild lives. Our current batch of poultry includes 6 laying hens, 1 friendly rooster, and 2 hilarious ducks!
If you are considering bringing some furry feathered friends into your life,
I say absolutely DO IT!
Here's a few reasons why:
1) The best nutrient dense EGGS!
My favorite thing about having chickens is that they give back to us. My kiddos eagerly hop out to the coop every morning to collect these daily gifts in- a very adored chore! And did you know that backyard eggs contain higher levels of beta carotene, omega-3s, and vitamins A, D and E than store bought eggs? Our 6 hens provide enough eggs for our whole fam + occasionally some to share!
2) Food scraps are waste no more.
Like any family who has young kids, food waste can be a real challenge for us. We always try to consume or compost all extra foods, and backyard chickens provide the perfect solution for this. All remaining scraps and uneaten crumbs are added to a bucket which heads out to the chickens daily. How cool that these extras get eaten and in turn create nutrient packed eggs for us!
3) They'll be your (& your kiddos) best friends!
One of my favorite things about our flock is learning about each birds own personality, preferences, and quirks. (Am I sounding like a crazy chicken lady yet?) Chickens provide the perfect entertainment for kids! Ours take theirs on the playground with them (safely of course!), put hair clips in their feathers, and take them for special rides in the wagon. Especially if you have a friendly chicken breed, many are happy to be picked up and love to tag along with anyone passing by.
4) Caring for them is simple.
Chickens are the easiest pets we've ever had. Food, water, shelter- that's it! We do a quick in-and-out each morning and evening and are able to leave them for a weekend at a time, too. Even with free ranging birds, they tuck themselves back into the coop every night so closing them in is simple. We clean out their coop a few times a year, and add the old bedding as compost to our garden.
We love the regenerative nature of caring for backyard chickens- from utilizing food scraps to enjoying fresh eggs to creating compost for our garden- it's all beautifully beneficial!
Best wishes on your new chicken adventure- you're gunna love it!
Sara Clifton is owner and founder of North & Shore, homeschool mama of 4, and lover of all things North Shore! You can often find her exploring the forest with her kiddos with a warm drink in hand. Connect with her through our Instagram page or at northandshore.com.