About Chickens

Grace Heritage RanchHaving a garden and orchard are very important for homesteading. However, there are many animals that are also key. One of the most common and useful animals on a homestead are chickens.

Chickens offer several benefits to a homesteader. Eggs are an obvious value. Female chickens, called hens, will lay eggs with or without a male chicken, called a rooster. A hen alone will lay unfertilized eggs, meaning chicks will not develop inside them. Of course, these eggs are edible. If an adult rooster mates with hens, then the eggs she lays will be fertilized. Fertilized eggs are still edible as no chick will develop until they are incubated, either by the hen sitting on them or by placing them in an electronic incubator. This produces another benefit of having chickens…chicks to raise for yourself or to sell.

Not all eggs are created equal. The eggs you get from chickens that are free ranging in a pasture eating plants and insects will be more nutritious and have more flavor than the eggs from chickens that are restrained in some way and given mostly feed. Pasture raising chickens also helps reduce what you might spend on feed, and you’ll have much less work to do in keeping their coops clean.

Meat is another common benefit of keeping chickens. Again, not all meat will be the same depending on whether you raise it pastured or confined.
A lesser known benefit of chickens is that their waste can be collected and used in compost. However, it’s not recommended that you put the chicken waste directly on the plants or trees because the waste will be really high in nitrogen and can burn your plants. Therefore, it is best to compost the waste first.

Chickens certainly earn their keep on a homestead!

To learn even more about homesteading, join us at Grace Heritage Ranch for our Saturday morning tours. We are located just 30 minutes northeast of Harlingen, TX near Santa Monica. Please visit us at www.GraceHeritageRanch.com or www.Facebook.com/VisitGHR. For a recorded message, please call 1-855-447-8687. We offer both public and private tours.

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