Ask any flock raiser this question and your answer will be filled with passion. Birds give flock raisers across the country wholesome, nutritious eggs and meat. But birds give us all much more than that. They make us laugh. They are lovable and each one has her own personality.
Here are a few reasons why it’s fantastic to have a backyard flock:
Wholesome, fresh eggs and meat
One of the most prominent benefits of a backyard flock is that you can produce your own food. Poultry breeds are divided primarily into three groups: egg layers, meat producers and show birds. When cared for properly and fed a nutritionally-complete diet, one bird can produce up to 300 eggs per year or produce quality meat for your family.
Caring for your own flock also gives you flexibility over the production system. When collecting eggs or harvesting meat, flock raisers are filled with the pride of producing their own food and the confidence of knowing the exact origins of the food on the table.
Backyard flocks are sometimes referred to as “Pets with benefits.” Whether your flock is made of chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys, pheasants or quail, a backyard flock often becomes a part of the family. These new family members are a simple way to self-sufficiently care for your family, yard and garden.
Flocks can be housed in a coop with an outdoor run or allowed to roam free-range, depending on city ordinances and outdoor space. In either case, the birds strengthen the health of the soil by tilling the earth with their feet and beaks and naturally fertilizing the lawn or garden. Birds also eat bugs, which helps to control the insect population in your yard.
Played with each day and often called by individual names, a backyard flock is a popular project for the whole family. A backyard flock can teach children and adults alike where their food comes from, help them connect to nature and instill lifelong lessons of dedication and responsibility.
Before purchasing your first chicks, plan the flock-care program with your family. Make sure everyone involved understands how baby chicks grow into egg layers or meat birds. Then, visit your local Purina® retailerto pick-up supplies and select chicks together. Once the chicks arrive, work as a family team to care for the flock – from baby chick care to egg collection.
Almost all flock raisers have tales of their birds’ individual personalities and characteristics. Each breed of poultry is unique and, though there are commonalities within the breed, flock raisers can quickly learn their birds’ distinct personalities. Getting to know our birds makes caring for them even more enjoyable.
Whether you are watching a flock of hens from your back porch or helping baby chicks settle into their brooder, a backyard flock can provide entertainment through all life stages.
Show chicken opportunities
In addition to eggs, meat and entertainment, many flock raisers also enjoy exhibiting their birds at local, regional and national shows. At these events, birds are compared to their breed’s standard in The American Standard of Perfection. Judges assign birds a score using a point system for physical characteristics that include: body confirmation, color and feather quality.
Many flock raisers enjoy showing birds because it offers the opportunity to meet other bird enthusiasts from across the country and learn new tips for flock care.