Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Benefits of Raising Chickens

These are Silky chickens.

   There is a trend in the United States permitting those in quasi urban and suburban neighborhoods to own chickens.  Most of them have restrictions sufficient to prevent all night cackling, and I have read that many cities outlaw roosters, but I see the change in zoning to allow at least some chickens,   as a good thing.  Chickens allow families to have eggs, often in abundance, and that alone, can make them very worthwhile. Chicken manure when composted can be some of the best fertilizer.
          Chickens can also be incredible pets.  We have raised several injured chicks by hand who were simply thrown away by the feedstore, and each of them grew to be intelligent, cooperative and loving creatures, and one of them was a congenial rooster.   At our maximum here we had one hundred chickens. We presently have about fifty and they are either Rhode Island Reds or Bantams.  Many mornings I eat a large hard boiled brown egg fresh from one of the hens.    Linda from the blog  Practical Parsimony can vouch for what fantastic companions chickens can be. 

Chicken coops don't have to conjure Great Depression era shacks.  They can be attractive additions to yards, and actually a selling point to a particular home or an area.

I love this one.  It looks like it has a screen door.

This one has a greens tray for growing greens for them, or for you.


This coop can be moved around your yard, permitting your grass to recover, and allowing your hens weekly fresh grass.

              All the pictures above which have appeared on this blog post were taken by, and were constructed by

     Laughing Chickens.     

   They are custom built, but are available to be constructed and sent via UPS in modular fashion, so that they can be easily assembled all over the country.    They are also constructed of reclaimed wood.

You can e-mail the owner at:

 You can call Duck at     (415) 295-4696

You may see additional and larger pictures at the Williams-Sonoma catalog online.


         Or, you can use all of this as inspiration, and build your very own

    We have so many eggs at the moment , but they decrease in Winter.

This is what we do with them:

*Have eggs for breakfast.   (We all have low total cholesterol)

 * Make a variety of different quiches, and freeze them in the freezer as quick dinners or lunches.
    (We make Quiche Lorraine, Broccoli and Cheddar, Chive and Cheese, Veggie and Herb)

* We cook them and add them to dog, and sometimes cat food.  Our animals are long lived and have great coats.

* Eggnog when the season is right.

* Give or trade some to friends.

*Make your own egg custard.

Egg custard recipe
(Although we use white sugar instead of brown in this, and we use less.)


This is another chicken coop builder who makes wonderful structures:

This allows you to walk inside and collect eggs without a lot of bending or squatting.

     The two coops at the bottom of the post come from:



     This is the excellent post on eggs which Linda mentioned in her comment above. Please take a look. It discusses not only freezing eggs, but also increasing the Omega 3 fatty acids in the eggs by having the chickens eat greens.

Additional UPDATE:

      These are additional chicken coops that a man on Craigslist will build for customers.  This is a reminder to check Craigslist in your area to see if someone in your own area does this too !



Gorges Smythe said...

I'd like to have some, but keep putting it off. Maybe I'll break over someday and surprise myself.

Linda said...

Yes, they are good companions, great pets. I have an egg post tomorrow. I do believe in the benefits of eggs eating green. My cholesterol, so far, is great.

Their house is not pretty but not ugly.

Thanks for mentioning my blog and my feelings about chickens.

Sandy said...


I love watching chickens, and having fresh eggs. I also like the idea of having chickens to feed the family. Where we live chickens are allowed but our landlord is not to keen on the idea. So we must wait until we move on before getting some. Have you considered raising ducks? Duck eggs are great for baking and taste fabulous too.

JaneofVirginia said...

Yes, we have actually had ducks longer than we have had chickens. I keep them separately though. Ducks are larger and can be messier than chickens, and most people think the eggs taste a little gamier and so they are less comfortable with eating the eggs. We love the duck eggs. They are higher in protein and larger than chicken eggs so we use those in cooking, and it makes a cake measurably higher ! We serve the ducks eggs for breakfast sometimes, and to quell the gamier taste, we add homegrown chopped chives and chopped small squares of cheese. Our ducks are Khaki Campbells and Silky Swedes. Thanks for your post !

JaneofVirginia said...

Thanks for posting Linda. You feeling about your chickens always shine through and they are lucky to have you. I don't think most people appreciate these wonderful creatures as much as they should.

We eat a lot of eggs here, but I free range birds whenever I can and I think it decreases the total cholesterol in the eggs. (Like Eggland's Best) My total cholesterol is 108, so I think that many people could eat more eggs but that they have the mistaken impression that they are not healthy. We try to have a "Breakfast for Dinner" night once a week.
The chicken house needs to simply do the job for the chickens. A lot of people are encouraged by a pretty house, but only one of our chicken houses is pretty. The rest of them are on the edge of the woods, and simply do the job. Some of the Bantams will actually roost in trees.
You are very welcome for mentioning your blog. Both you and Sandy have excellent ones !

Anonymous said...

MsJane, you have disappeared from my blog again? Do you know why I have disappeared from yours also? the rat

JaneofVirginia said...

Every once in awhile when Blogger renews or does maintenance on blogs, some of the members drop off. There is a woman in Canada who regularly signs up to my "LearnedfromDaniel" blog and gets dropped from it during maintenance. I hadn't noticed that either of us weren't on on another's blogs, but I will sign up to your again. Thanks for being so observant and letting me know ! Wishing you the very best Memorial Day. Thank you for your service to our country.

Anonymous said...

thank you! that's much better! the rat

JaneofVirginia said...

Thank YOU. I miss details sometimes, and I'm glad you caught this. I would miss your thoughts and views. Best wishes on this Memorial Day.

Linda said...

I just saw you added my egg post. I was never one of the people who believed that eggs were bad for people. It turns out I was right. The cholesterol in eggs is different from cholesterol stored in arteries. )I think that is what was said.) I never ate so many eggs as I have since I started raising chickens. Thanks for linking my egg post on your post.

JaneofVirginia said...

Linda, Thanks for your post. I am aware that some families who genetically can't process forms of cholesterol (as in congenital hyperlipidemia) and some individuals cannot manage cholesterol in their livers properly, and for these individuals, eggs should be restricted. However, eggs have been a major source of protein for me for about ten years, and I still have a total cholesterol which ranges between 108-110. Most people should know their cholesterols numbers and their HDL and LDL, and make good choices accordingly. For most of us eggs are a great alternative to more expensive forms of protein, like beef.

BBC said...

My new neighbor has chickens but no rooster, not that a rooster would bother me. I like the chicken culture thing, when ever the rooster jumps on a hen and knocks some off all of them get excited about it.

Sunnybrook Farm said...

We have had chickens for five or six years and have had to cut back on the number of birds as the price of laying food has doubled in the last couple of years to where the egg sales don't pay for the feed. The price of eggs in our area won't go up as people keep selling them at a loss for some reason. I am trying to research to find out what kind of food was given chickens a hundred years ago before feed companies. There has to be a home grown solution to the feed store monopoly?

JaneofVirginia said...

I think most people are like me. We free range many of them for much of the day and they eat grass and bugs, and any vegetable matter that we have spare. (As do our ducks) Then we supplement with corn based grain. We also don't buy from a big company. We buy from one man who has a small feed, hay, small livestock, fencing and farm incidentals company. He charges less for supplies and draws a smaller profit than the big companies because he operates out of a tiny rural former train station. We trade a lot also.
I no longer sell my eggs because our lawyer told us that we would have to have inspections before even small scale sales would be possible. Virginia has become more strict about milk, eggs, and even roadside stands. So we don't sell our eggs. We use a percentage of them, provide eggs to our daughter at her house, and trade to people who do things for us.
We have no doubt that we don't make anything on the eggs, however, having our own abundant source of protein is worth it to us.