When people ask me how many pets I have, I say nine- two dogs, a rabbit, and six chickens. Sometimes I can get some very interesting looks when I include the chickens, but if you’ve been following me for a while, you’d know that the chickens are just as much a part of the family as the rest of my animals. Each of my six feathered ladies has their own personality, their own egg color, and their own quirks! As with the rest of my pets, my birds are spoiled. They run up to me when I open the back door begging for treats, they make their way inside the house, and they have their very own tiny house in my backyard. And if you’re anything like me, you tend to go overboard with the spoiling, so to both keep myself check and to focus on keeping sustainable backyard chickens I’ve learned a few ways to keep my flock eco-friendly!
To me just the act of having backyard chickens is a step towards sustainability on its own. Not only are you producing breakfast in your backyard every morning, and thus not supporting factory farming, chickens are a great addition to your yard’s ecosystem. They are wonderful little foragers, they till up the land, eat excess insects, and they deposit fertilizer to add to the soil’s composition! I’m especially excited about the bug-eating- I have never seen so many earwigs in one place until I moved into this home a few years ago- and the chickens keep those creepy crawlies at bay!
3 Ways to Have More Sustainable Backyard Chickens
So you have chickens, you’re loving the gorgeous orange yolks and flavorful whites of your (backyard) farm fresh eggs, but you want to make sure that you stay in line with your beliefs. We all know that having pets can create a lot of waste (see how I help change this with my dogs!), so while they are very worth it, we can look into ways to mitigate that waste and make sure that the packaging we do buy comes from a wonderful place!
Choose a Sustainable Backyard chicken Food
The first is food. As with most animals in an urban setting, we have to buy their food in packaging. Knowing that for most people this is a give-in, try to focus on making sure the food you do buy is high quality, sourced well, and comes from a brand whose values align with your own. I’ve been working with Manna Pro and their new Non-GMO poultry line for the last few months and my feathered ladies have been loving it! We currently use their Non-GMO Layer Mini-Pellets and their Non-GMO 6 Grain & Flaxseed Scratch, and my chickens literally will wait by the door when they see me walking out with a bag!
The ingredients are wonderfully balanced for my laying hens, there are no artificial colors or preservatives, the layer feed is soy and wheat free, and it is packed and sourced right here in the United States! I feel good about feeding my chickens Manna Pro’s line of feed (btw, they have Non-GMO Chick Starter & Grower and it is making me want babies SO badly!) and I feel that the way this feed is made and the way that Manna Pro runs its company- animal care forward! So look for a food that gives your backyard flock all it needs while staying eco-friendly.
Reduce Food Waste with Chicken Treats!
I’m passionate about food waste- it is such a big problem both here in America and across the world. I’ve written posts about how you can curb your food waste through things like composting and food preservation, but one of the ways that I start fixing the problem in my own home is through feeding kitchen scraps to the chickens! My little mini dinosaurs LOVE IT when I am cooking, canning, or preserving because they get all of the tops, the skins, the end cuts of my veggies as I go! I canned tomato sauce last week and I swear the chickens were doing their own, very awkward, version of a happy dance! While you get the hang of what you can and can’t toss out into the yard for the chickens, make sure you look up what’s good for them, just like you would before testing out a new treat for any of you other pets!
Reuse What You Have!
Chickens require a ton of calcium. From their daily egg production to regrowing feathers, they need supplements to keep them healthy. Most often you see this in the form of oyster shell (I used Manna Pro’s Oyster Shell for years before I started working with them!) but when you’re getting an exorbitant amount of eggs and thus eating them- try saving the shells! Because the pretty little egg shells are made of calcium you can actually use them to replace the oyster shell in their diets when eggs are abundant. I still have oyster shell on hand when the ladies slow down in the winter or when they’re molting, but it is a fun way to reuse shells! Also, want to add some life back into your garden soil? Toss eggshells in!
Bonus! Do your chickens look like they are exploding because they’re molting? Save those feathers! You can use them while making arts and crafts- earrings, dream catchers, christmas ornaments? All so much fun!
These little tips for sustainable backyard chickens I use to reduce my carbon footprint are just the tip of the iceberg on what you can do to be a bit more eco-friendly in your daily life! I’d love to know what you do to treat your chickens (or other pets!) while keeping it eco-friendly! Pop me a comment on Instagram! Also, if you’re a backyard chicken owner- check out Manna Pro’s account for urban chicken lovers- City Yolks! It is such a fun page and a great resource!
This post was sponsored by Manna Pro. All opinions are my own. Some links are affiliate links.