Prepping & Survival

Poultry Primer: Adding Backyard Chickens to Your Preps

Additionally, your children will learn about life cycles as the birds grow up. Chicks losing their down and growing their adult feathers makes the birds look funny for a couple of weeks; it is analogous to teenagers going through puberty, as most of them quickly realize. Observing bodily changes and life cycles in animals makes those discussions with children about what happens as they grow up far less uncomfortable.

If you decide to process your own birds that get too old to lay eggs, children will get regular anatomy lessons. It is better to think about this before you buy chickens. They don’t lay eggs forever, and feed is not free. If you have the space to bury birds in your backyard like you would bury a beloved pet dog, that’s fine. But you’d be burying something you could, in theory, use to make a good soup.

Provide a Steady Source of Eggs

Eggs are a superfood. Egg protein is considered perfect for humans because it contains all nine amino acids in roughly the proportions most beneficial for us. They are naturally carbohydrate-free and incredibly versatile. Best of all, they take practically no skill to cook. Most high schoolers can prepare nutritious scrambled eggs for themselves. Your teenagers will have a breakfast that is cheaper and far healthier than cereal.

Cheaper, that is, unless egg prices spike again.

During the spike in egg prices in 2022, my grocery store simply didn’t have them for a few months. Prices dropped and are now back to more historical average levels, but they may begin to rise again.

Bird flu has been coming back. While the country’s largest egg producer, Cal-Maine, had been largely spared from outbreaks in 2022, they reported an outbreak in their Kansas facility in December 2023.

According to the USDA, 11.47 million birds tested positive for bird flu in December. This is up from 8.08 million in November and 1.37 million in October. Cal-Maine alone has had to cull nearly 2 million birds. And birds are still testing positive.

This article isn’t about criticizing industrial agriculture. However, it is worth noting that sunlight has been proven to kill viruses. If your birds have access to sunshine, are not too crowded,  and if you can keep wild birds (and their poop) out of your backyard coop, you will not have to worry about bird flu affecting your access to eggs.

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