May 20, 2009–Today’s Way: Most people are not aware that the eggs we buy at the supermarket (even organic ones) are already a month old by the time they reach the store.  For the freshest of fresh eggs, it’s hard to top raising your own chickens, plus, they’re just so darned cute.  Yes.  Chickens.  Cute.  Really.

Racquella, Our Barred Plymouth Rock

Racquella, Our Barred Plymouth Rock

Unlike the deplorable conditions on industrial egg farms—noisy, polluting operations which house thousands and thousands of birds in shamefully tight quarters feeding them antibiotics and hormones to keep them producing—small backyard chicken flocks make good sense for the health of the planet. Chickens make excellent, gentle family pets with lots of personality, are surprisingly easy and inexpensive to maintain, and require less space than you think.  They’re also quite quiet (as long as you don’t have a rooster).

Chickens come with other environmental benefits as well.  Aside from the obvious fresh eggs, chicken droppings are a fantastic natural fertilizer for your lawn, gardens and houseplants.  Furthermore, chickens make for great chemical-free bug and weed control because they love to scratch around and eat grubs, insects and seeds.  Happy, healthy, free roaming chickens with access to quality organic food, sunshine and the outdoors produce the healthiest, most nutrient-dense form of protein available in the way of their organic eggs.  By the way: you don’t need a rooster in order to have daily fresh eggs; roosters are only necessary if you want fertilized eggs for hatching.

You’ll need to check your local regulations regarding keeping chickens, but you may be surprised to find out that most suburban and even urban areas do allow them.

To learn more about keeping your own chickens, visit these sites from Back Yard Chickens or My Pet Chicken.