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Benefits To Raising Backyard Hens 

Mother’s across the country are seeing the health benefits of raising backyard chickens. The fact is eggs from backyard chickens are healthier. Americans are learning, chickens hens can be raised easily right in their own back yard.
Eggs from backyard chickens are tastier, have firmer whites, and bright orange yolks filled with wonderful beta-carotene. But the real difference is in the taste. Backyard chicken eggs have a more robust taste that is difficult to describe. Simply said they just taste fantastic.

Eggs currently sold in supermarkets are nutritionally inferior to eggs produced by hens raised on pasture and in backyards across the country. That’s the conclusion of a 2007 Mother Earth News egg testing project. The testing was compared to official U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nutrient data for commercial eggs. 

A remarkable thing happened when the chicken is removed from the harsh, confined, stressed, factory farm environment. The EGGS get healthier. 

Eggs from backyard chickens contain:

1/3 less cholesterol
1/4 less saturated fat
2/3 more vitamin A
2 times more omega - 3 fatty acids
3 times more vitamin E
7 times more beta carotene
Omega-3 Fatty Acids Shown to Combat Obesity

When the chicken is able to live a natural more normal life, pecking for bugs, eating grass, and doing things chickens do. They are healthier and they produce healthier eggs. 

PENN State Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems - Poultry and Pasture

These results come from egg samples collected from 14 flocks around the country that range freely. The research team sampled six eggs from each of the 14 pastured flocks tested by an accredited laboratory in Portland, Ore. The egg samples were analyzed for nutrient content and then those results were compared with the official egg nutrient data from the USDA for conventional eggs.

These dramatically differing nutrient levels are most likely the result of the different diets of birds that produce these two types of eggs. True free-range birds eat a chicken’s natural diet. All kinds of seeds, green grass, insects, worms, and whole grain formulated chicken feed.

Factory farm hens never even see the outdoors or the light of day. These environmental conditions are designed to produce eggs quickly and cheaply as possible in the factory farm setting. Chickens are fed an unnatural and unvaried diet of the cheapest possible mixture of corn, soy or cottonseed meals. This feed is laced with all kinds of additives, supplements, and growth hormones so the hens will produce eggs as quickly as possible. 

What is troubling to me is all the antibiotics commercial factory farm raised hens need to stave off sickness caused by overcrowded stressful living conditions. Factory farm chicken hens are given their first shot of antibiotics before they even hatch.

The egg industry wants to deny that free-range/backyard chicken eggs are better than eggs from chickens kept in crowded, inhumane indoor conditions. The problem lies in the USDA definition of “true free-range." "Allowed access to the outside” is how the USDA defines “free-range.” This definition means that producers can, and do, label their eggs as “free-range” even if all they do is leave a door open to bare concrete. 

True free-range eggs are from hens that range outdoors on pasture or backyards so they can do what’s comes natural. Like laying in the sun, drinking fresh rain water, and foraging for green plants, insects, and worms. 

USDA considers eggs fresh 45 days after they are packed. USDA says eggs should be consumed within three to five weeks after you buy them. Following this policy, you could be eating eggs 9 to 11 weeks (77 days old) after they were laid. As these eggs age, air seeps into the naturally porous eggshell, degrading not just the nutrition, but also the taste and affecting the consistency of the egg.   

Why would anyone want to eat a 45 day old egg?

• In 1974, the British Journal of Nutrition found that pastured eggs had 50 percent more folic acid and 70 percent more vitamin B12 than eggs from factory farm hens.

• In 1988, Artemis Simopoulos, co-author of The Omega Diet, found pastured eggs in Greece contained 13 times more omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids than U.S. commercial eggs.

•  A 1998 study in Animal Feed Science and Technology found that pastured eggs had higher omega-3s and vitamin E than eggs from caged hens.

•  A 1999 study by Barb Gorski at Pennsylvania State University found that eggs from pastured birds had 10 percent less fat, 34 percent less cholesterol, 40 percent more vitamin A, and four times the omega-3s compared to the standard USDA data. Her study also tested pastured chicken meat, and found it to have 21 percent less fat, 30 percent less saturated fat and 50 percent more vitamin A than the USDA standard.

• In 2003, Heather Karsten at Pennsylvania State University compared eggs from two groups of Hy-Line variety hens, with one kept in standard crowded factory farm conditions and the other on mixed grass and legume pasture. The eggs had similar levels of fat and cholesterol, but the pastured eggs had three times more omega-3s, 220 percent more vitamin E and 62 percent more vitamin A than eggs from caged hens.

Family Food Security
Owning and raising hens creates a tremendous sense of security. Regardless of what happens around you. Your family has the ability to produce ounce for ounce and pound for pound the highest packed protein food source on the planet.    

Our vast interdependent complex system we depend on could breakdown at the drop of a hat.  A crisis could result from a wide variety of events, both natural and man made.  In the last few years in parts of our country and around the world we are seeing some familiar and unfamiliar scenarios unfold.

Just recently we have seem some abnormal weather anomalies that have done some serious damage. Every year it seems like we are experiencing something different. As a country we are currently facing global financial collapse and the possibility of war with Iran, and the Middle East. 

Food and gas prices are skyrocketing. We all see and feel it. Growing vegetables and raising hens helps offset the increasing living cost.   

Towns do not have the resources to take care of their residents. Being prepared is not about negative gloom and doom. The act of being prepared is a positive action. Having something you need when you need it is positive.  

Town officials need to start encouraging their residents to take care of themselves and become less dependent of their state and local governments. Old laws need to be reviewed and changed to mirror our current times. With a goal to help, not hurt in the quest for self-sufficiency.

Town Officials have to set Setting A Good Example For Sustainability. When it comes to residential sustainability some US towns have fallen way behind.

The fact is municipalities use less than 1% of the total energy consumed by most states. Towns can blanket their buildings with solar panels and it would not make a dent in total energy consumption. It won't make a difference until town officials start encouraging home owners to start practicing a more efficient sustainable lifestyle.

It's 2017 and residents still have to fight to change a law for the permission to live a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle. Towns and cities should be encouraging residents to do these things. 

Allowing residents to own chicken hens will help in this effort.
A small step in the right direction. 

Backyard chickens provide lessons for children about responsibility and where food comes from. Tending chickens is pleasurable and even easier than caring for a dog. There is no walking the chickens or even giving them a bath. Chickens require daily food, fresh water, and a coop cleaning from time to time.    

Children can participate in all of these chicken-related chores. The happier the hens, the more they will produce. A child's favorite chicken-related chore is running out to the coop to collect the fresh eggs.  

Currently in the U.S. our high school students are learning food security, altering consumption patterns, and developing sustainable practices in our environmental science classes. Raising backyard hens plays a part in all 3. 

Insect Control
Chickens provide natural insect control. As they hunt and peck for food, chickens gobble up grubs, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, earwigs, tics, slugs, stinkbugs, beetles, fleas, and other bugs, treating our garden pests as tasty, nutritious treats. 

This method has a positive impact on the local environment by reducing the use of harsh backyard chemicals and pesticides.  Backyard Pest Control  

Raising Hens Will Save You Money
Chickens are pets with a purpose. Hens lay eggs their entire life and live up to over 15 years old. By providing a high protein food source chicken hens pay for themselves. Organic Eggs in supermarkets cost as much $5.00 per dozen. Up 24% from March 1st 2015. With rising inflation and oil prices food and dairy cost could be rising dramatically.  

Each chicken hen will lay about 300 eggs per year. So with 3 hens you get 1,500 eggs per year. Purchasing organic eggs in the supermarket would cost a family $625.00 a year.

Buying Eggs vs. Raising The Numbers 
The Numbers Amount Per Year Cost Total
Chicken Hen Cost  $8.00 per 3 = $24.00
Chicken Feed 40 lbs. Bags 8 (320 lbs.) $30.00 = $240.00
Pine Shavings 8 Bags = $72.00
Total $336.00

Raising your own backyard flock would cost approximately $336.00 per year. That's a savings of over $289.00 per year. In our current troubled times raising hens for eggs 
will save families money.  

The Manure

Composted chicken manure is one of the most sought after fertilizers for gardeners! Chicken manure is now being sold for $.50 a pound. 20 pounds $10.00  Black GoldBackyard gardeners having access to this and not having to buy fertilizers is a tremendous savings.