As more people seek fresh, more healthful food and a sense of self-sufficiency, interest in keeping backyard chickens is growing.
Chickens are the perfect “gateway” livestock, often showing would-be homesteaders that they have what it takes to raise their own food. You’ll save money on your grocery bill by keeping chickens, and if you raise them naturally on pasture, the eggs from your hens will be much better for you than the typical eggs available at the store.
Keeping chickens is not a lot of work—in fact, it’s tons of fun! However, there are hundreds of chicken breeds to choose from, and some folks need a little advice getting started. To help people choose the best chicken breeds for their needs, Mother Earth News provides readers with information in their magazine (with articles such as Best Chicken Breeds for Backyard Flocks) and, for the more digitally inclined, even created a cool app called Pickin’ Chicken.
The Pickin’ Chicken app—which works on an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch—allows you to pick and choose the qualities you want in your flock, such as egg size, egg color, lay rate, growth rate and temperament. The app is easy to use and comes with lots of resources. If you’re interested in keeping rare heritage chickens, the app helps you by noting which breeds are heritage and endangered. The app was also recently updated and now includes even more breeds, pictures and information. To find out more about how the app works and its recent update, see Pickin’ Chickens Expanded and Improved.
If you’ve been considering getting a small flock, take the leap! Start doing a little research now, get everything you need set up, and bring a few chicks into your life. You’ll be glad you did.
Photo by Fotolia/Aliaksei Hintau