Watch Dog, Garden Aid, Pest Controll, Companion Animal…

Buff Orpington Hen

Backyard chickens are one of the easiest and most productive animals to raise for an urban farmer.

They require very little daily attention and contribute in many ways.

As a source of food, they provide fresh golden yolks that just can’t be beat.

Depending on the breed, a hen in her prime can lay about 240 eggs a year.

Some people prefer to cull older hens to make space for younger more prolific layers, but we like to keep our hens on through their “retirement” years.

Partly out of sentimentality, but also because we recognize that our hens provide a lot more than eggs.

We were really surprised when we realized how good these girls are at patrolling the property. They are in constant communication with each other, are always on the lookout, and are quite capable of repelling the stray cats that wonder into our rabbitry.

Eggs fresh from the yard

I’ve personally witnessed the hens killing mice and teaming up to stun rats with coordinated attacks, taking turns kicking and pecking the bewildered rodents into submission.

Our little garden buddies they do an amazing job tilling soil, breaking up hard packs, turning compost piles, and are always “spot fertilizing” around the yard.

As pest control  specialists they are unsurpassed in their dedication to hunting slugs, snails, cockroaches, centipedes, flies and caterpillars.


Patrolling the compost bin for grubs

As companion animals they are unbelievably social. They are always close by, and are never more content as they are just being in your company. If you’re raking leaves then they want to be right by your feet watching to see what you uncover.  If you’re reading in the yard, then they are sunning themselves on the lawn secure in knowledge that you’ll keep an eye out while they relax. If you’re pruning or weeding they coo and cluck to remind you that they are available to take care of any grub or worm you might need to get rid off.

Our hens motivate us to get out of bed in morning, keep us company throughout the day, and remind us that when the sun goes down is time to start wrapping things up. They produce eggs, and work along side us as valuable contributors to our home.