Can backyard chooks help you go green?
For Australians, eating eggs is a rite of passage – and we're eating more and more each year. In fact, according to the Australian Egg Corporation Limited, Australians ate a huge average of 213 eggs per person in 2011.
You may already be part of this yummy statistic and are filling your reusable bags with free range eggs at the supermarket. However, it's possible that you could reap even more green benefits by keeping your own laying hens.
Get rid of leftovers
Chickens are renowned scrap eaters, and are perfect for clearing up leftover dinner and food that's spoiled. Instead of throwing out the occasional food not suitable to be composted, chickens will be happy to eat it – saving unnecessary waste. They'll also clear out garden weeds and bugs. Just make sure they can't get to the vege garden!
Make your own fertiliser
Hen manure can make a great garden fertiliser when made right. EcoCouncil Australia recommends providing chickens with a deep litter box in their coop. The litter should be comprised of a thick layer of hay, sawdust and shavings. This combination makes a great eco-friendly fertiliser when mixed with hen manure.
Educate your children
As well as the eco-friendly benefits of keeping your own flock, chickens can be used to educate children on the importance of sustainable living. Owning chickens as pets as well as a means of producing food is a great way to get kids interested in the process of fertilising the garden and looking after a free-range animal.
Know where your food is coming from
By owning your own flock, you ensure you know exactly what's going into the chickens that are producing the eggs your family eats. This way, you can keep it organic and free-range – and rest assured that the eggs you're eating are produced in an environmentally friendly manner.