On Raising Chickens – There’s no denying how vital livestock raising and husbandry is to sustaining the modern agricultural nature of developed and undeveloped countries alike. Breeding and raising animals for food and companionship is something humans have been doing for thousands of years, and we are fortunate today to have that wealth of history and knowledge to guide our agrarian pursuits. Raising chickens offers a berth of benefits and is absolutely essential for maintaining our current way of life.
These humble, flightless birds have been an integral component of diet and lifestyle in the Americas for over three thousand years, though domestication of the chicken in other parts of the world dates back considerably farther. Not only that, but chickens, like many other animals on which we rely for sustenance, have become part of our cultural fabric – no matter the age of the observer, the form, function, and behavior of the common gallus gallus domesticus is instantly recognizable. Raising chickens as livestock is a practice just about every farmer across the country engages in, even if their trade is not in poultry – the eggs and meat chickens produce are essential components to healthy diets.
Over the many millennia, chickens have yielded to the hobbling secondary effects of domestication – it would be no stretch of the imagination to say that domestic chickens are completely dependent on humans for survival. They move slowly, cannot fly, and are plump targets for predators such as foxes, wolves, and cats. It is for this reason that special attention must be given to their habitat and security. Depending on the area in which you live, extra security measures beyond the plain chicken wire fence may be necessary – building sturdy, fenced in enclosures will ensure no harm befalls your precious fowl. Chicken feed is typically nutrient rich grain, and chickens can be fed directly from the hand. However, like other types of birds, they prefer to forage and will not eat from a bowl or trough. A good diet is perhaps the most important factor in raising a healthy stock of chickens because this will directly affect the quality of the meat and eggs they produce.
Chickens have a variety of uses when it comes to feeding people. Their meat is rich in protein and is considerably leaner than other staples, such as beef. The eggs they produce have an array of applications, from confectionery to cosmetic to even pharmaceutical (chicken egg yolk contains egg oil and lecithin, which is a component in many beauty and medical products we use every day). Of course, raising chickens can be a leisurely pursuit and doesn’t necessarily have to be for the purposes of food. Many people find joy in raising chickens as pets, much in the same way they would a dog or a cat.
The act of raising chickens is not something to be taken lightly, and education is the key to success. Remember, whenever you take up the charge of nurturing another living thing, you are responsible to that creature and must treat it with the respect and care you would any other life (yes, even if you plan on eating it!).