Thought about having chickens, but a bit afraid of where to start, due to lack of knowledge and experience with chickens? Fear no more!

Firstly, let me attest that introducing chickens into my yard was sincerely one of the very best moves I ever made. Not only for the sheer thrill of being able to have eggs produced mere meters from my backdoor, meaning zero food miles, coupled with the knowledge I eat actual free-range/chemical free eggs, but also the incredible environmental benefits these humble girls have brought to my world.

You buy some chickens, and think that’s all pretty fabulous until after a few days you make the biggest exciting discovery ever:  not only is it pretty darn easy to look after chickens, but the penny drops when you discover how darn fabulous they are with recycling scraps, amongst other benefits they bring.

Let’s be honest, we all produce a lot of food scraps. Best intentions often go out the window. No matter how much we try not to, you find you very easily fill up your worm farm/compost heap (if you have them). So having chickens is a great way to reduce food waste.

Chickens very happily gobble all your scraps up for you. And believe me, they eat a LOT of scraps: more the merrier in fact! Quite simply, backyard chickens are in heaven as they go utterly mad for veggie scraps. I feed them my leftover meals, which includes leftover cooked meats, rice and bread (in moderate portions), basically anything that would end up in the compost caddy scraped off your plate, you can feed to chickens. Instead of throwing these amazingly nutritious food scraps into the bin, you give them to your girls who will thank you heartily! {N.B. Please do not put your food scraps into the general curbside bin – they go to the rubbish tip, which then produces dangerous methane gasses which are actually mega bad for Mother Earth. Pop them in your green waste systems or find a nearby compost collector via the ShareWaste app if you don’t compost yourself}.

If you have the luxury of having a yard big enough to have chickens, then I wholeheartedly encourage you. Especially if you have children – chickens not only make really great companion pets, but your children will get to experience where their food comes from and observe the daily miracle which is egg laying.

The ritual of my daily visits my hen house retrieving the eggs has seriously not lost its gloss, even after four years of having chickens. I love it so much. I even give my gals a pat (the ones who will let me – some of my breeds are shy) and thank them out loud for providing the nutrient packed eggs for me to eat.

The eggs my hens provide me are so rich in protein and contain a great deal of nutrients, which make my body perform better. These nutrients come from the food my gals eat. So you my ask: what do I feed my chooks? Well, pretty much anything that is organic, any of my food waste, along with their chicken feed (made up of a blend of calcium, grains & grit providing optimum nutrition for laying birds), grass, weeds, slugs, snails insects, and believe it or not – little rocks! They do this as it aids the chicken’s digestion plus they don’t have teeth, so it helps grind up their food. Clever right?!

Chickens forage all day long and they kill garden pests. Plus they poop – and that manure is amazing for the garden! All of this, along with the food I provide them means one thing:  chickens are an awesome natural waste disposal system and brilliant recyclers! Chicken owners almost never have to remove waste from their property. This cutting down on biomass wastage and usage of Council rubbish/greenwaste systems, which are costly for governments to run, is a very good thing for our planet.

Although you still need to provide a purpose-made or store bought blend of chicken fodder via grains/shell grit etc for a complete diet, recycling all your food waste, weeds and veggie bed debris to your chickens makes a lot of sense to our environmental footprint and impact. So what are you waiting for?