Putting the Chic in Chicken

Why Keeping Backyard Chickens is Trending in Europe

french hen

In the small town of Pince, France, the idea may have started as a joke, but it quickly evolved into a practical solution to recycle household trash. And in one town in Belgium, city officials gave three hens to 2,000 homes. (“…three French hens, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree.”)

Backyard hens to the rescue! Recent studies show that one chicken can naturally process approximately seven pounds of food waste and scraps in a single month. If 2000 households raised three hens (French or otherwise) each, 252 tons of waste could be recycled at home and kept out of the local landfill.

How does that work?

1. Hens eat bugs. So you don’t have to spray nasty chemicals in your back yard.
2. Hen eat weeds. They’ll even serve you well to help clean out gardening beds once the growing season finishes.
3. Dirt loves hens. Why not? Hens scratch and dig and break up soil, and they don’t use oil or gasoline like your tiller. Hen manure enriches the soil, and the hen’s natural tendency to dig means that the manure will be worked into the soil.
4. Save that heritage! When eggs are primarily obtained through massive farming facilities and methods, will certain breeds of chickens disappear? Keeping a few chickens of a heritage breed helps preserve the species for the future.
5. Pet the hen. Some experts put taking care of a chicken slightly less arduous than owning a dog and slightly more work than owning a cat. And when you handle a chicken, you release the same chemical in your body that’s released when you hug someone you love or pet your dog or cat.

Maybe you’re already chic, and you already have chickens in your backyard. Or maybe you’re thinking about the possibility for this spring. Either way, don’t forget your organic feed, always available for French, Polish and all-American hens – like yours.

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