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by Chris Lesley of Chickens and More
In a world seemingly dictated by coronavirus, many people are using their free time away from others to pick up new hobbies. Some are taking up instruments, others are learning languages, and surprisingly, many are learning the art of keeping backyard chickens. Now more than ever, backyard chickens are exploding in popularity as more and more people begin to realize the increasing benefits of keeping them. Chicken hatcheries across the country are sold out as backyard chickens of all breeds become one of the most sought after commodities during the pandemic. In other words, backyard chickens are thriving during COVID-19, and here’s why:
For those who fear to go to the grocery store for food as COVID-19 continues to spread like wildfire, backyard chickens can help take a load off your shopping cart and wallet. Keeping chickens is an excellent way to get delicious, healthy, and inexpensive eggs without the need to take a trip to the store. Chickens can also provide a renewable source of cost-effective meat which is invaluable to shoppers who are constantly finding empty aisles and freezer sections in the wake of panic buying hoarders. Chickens can provide a lot of food in a relatively short span of time compared to other animals, which is one reason they are appearing in more and more backyards every day. Producing your own food also provides a unique feeling of security in what you eat. You know exactly where your meal came from, what the chicken has eaten, and how fresh it is. This kind of knowledge is not often provided with goods from a grocery store, which is another reason for keeping chickens.
Aside from its practicality, the practice of chicken keeping is a highly rewarding and satisfying experience. Chickens, much like other livestock, require routine feeding and cleaning which can go a long way to fight the monotony that is life in quarantine. While some may struggle to adhere to a proper schedule in a world that no longer provides consistent events such as work and school, the obligation to keep their chickens happy and healthy could be just the thing to motivate someone to get out of bed in the morning. Due to chickens’ shorter lifespans, you can successfully watch a chicken grow from egg to adult which is a very gratifying and fulfilling experience to some.
Anyone who has ever kept chickens can tell you that they make excellent pets. They require a very low initial investment, and eat far less than traditional house pets like cats and dogs, making them a great alternative for those who don’t want the lengthy commitment involved in a four-legged pet. These friendly fouls are also highly intelligent and charismatic, making them perfect pets for young children. For this reason, chickens can also make excellent teaching tools. As students are being sent home from school, parents are helping to continue their children’s learning at home by introducing them to chickens which can teach them about responsibility and about where their food comes from.
The opportunity provides another explanation as to why chickens are selling out in the time of coronavirus. Many large farms have since canceled sizable orders of chickens due to the lack of business caused by COVID-19, meaning that there is now more availability than ever in the chicken market. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for someone who has been kicking around the idea of purchasing some chickens but has had neither the time nor the money to do so. With such a unique opening in farming, COVID-19 provided the casual chicken enthusiast with a perfect chance to snag a deal on some high-quality chickens that would have otherwise ended up on farms.
Chickens are also a great asset to a yard. Anyone who is interested in gardening or yard work may find a chicken or two can go a long way in improving the health of their yard. Chicken manure is an excellent form of fertilizer that can help create a lush green lawn wherever the chickens are allowed to roam within a short timeframe. In addition to being excellent lawn care workers, chickens can also serve as a form of pest control. Chickens commonly eat bugs and their larvae, acting as a pesticide-free way to keep down the bug population. This method is perfect for those who have started gardens to keep busy during quarantine as there will be fewer bugs around to disturb their plants.
As more and more people are beginning to recognize the many positive aspects of keeping chickens, hatcheries everywhere are selling batch after batch of them to smart consumers throughout the nation, resulting in a thriving population of backyard chickens. With the many problems that coronavirus creates in the world, it’s nice to know that chickens are a part of the solution.
Chris has been raising backyard chickens for over 20 years and is the Chickens and More poultry expert. She has a flock of 11 chickens (including three Silkies) and is currently teaching people all around the world how to care for healthy chickens.