7 Ways to Survive a Pandemic with Backyard Chickens

January 3, 2022

I guess you would call me a seasoned chicken keeper. We’ve now kept chickens for 12 years. It seems like only yesterday when they arrived in the mail. Now, we are still on our third flock and seven hens remain. I’m so tempted to order more this spring, because I can’t imagine my life without them, especially as we head into year two of this pandemic. Chickens have always been good for the soul and I believe it even more now. It got me thinking, our chickens have helped get us through the pandemic in more ways than one.

Venturing in the coop in my pajamas
Sometimes I wear my pajamas out to the coop early in the morning.

1. Chickens make great companions. They combat loneliness and stave off isolation. Spending only ten minutes a day with them is a great way to connect with other living creatures. Much like with a dog or cat, chickens can be considered pets. This proved especially important for me when I was working on the Covid unit at the hospital and avoided all but my immediate family. In addition, chickens don’t require social distancing or masking with your flock.

2. Chickens do make great pets and with lots of socialization, handling, and visiting they can become as docile and people loving as dogs. Some chickens will even seek you out, sit in your lap, enjoy a good petting/snuggle and accompany you around the yard and garden.

baby chicks under heater
The most adorable little balls of fluff warming under the heater.

3. Backyard chickens also have the ability to supply you and your family with fresh eggs during the pandemic. As food supply chains have moments of instability, backyard chickens deliver breakfast practically to your doorstep each and every morning. They might even encourage you to take the plunge into growing a small vegetable garden.

4. Chickens are also highly entertaining. Even from an early age in the brooder, we call it “chicken t.v.”. Within the flock there is always something to watch. Sit back and enjoy watching the flock and their interactions, vocalizations, problem solving and dynamics.

5.  In addition, chickens also have a way of getting you outside for some fresh air. Nature is all around and spending time outside is good for the soul and spirit. For instance, take some extra moments and spend more time near the coop, in the yard and your flock. Maybe you’ll find yourself craving more outside time during this pandemic.

Egg supply is no problem during the pandemic

6. They also make wonderful boredom busters for kids when they are home with “nothing to do”. Unplug and get off those devices that we are depending on even more during the pandemic and go visit the chickens. Initially, start with the daily chores and soon enough, you’ll find your kiddos wanting to linger just a bit longer outside with the flock. An afternoon collection of the eggs gets them outside again and locking them up in the evening, might have you catching them tucking them in and perhaps moon or star gazing. Chickens can influence new hobbies and interests.

7. Likewise animals, including chickens, are great for mental health. Science has shown that they help with anxiety, stress, depression, loneliness and isolation.

chickens help beat the pandemic blues

What else would you add to this? How have chickens helped you survive the pandemic? I’d love to hear your thoughts. For those of you considering backyard chickens, perhaps this will help you take the plunge. And for more thoughts of hope about the pandemic, click here.

 

 

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Melissa

Sharing adventures with backyard chickens, beekeeping, gardening, crafting, cooking and more.

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18 thoughts on “7 Ways to Survive a Pandemic with Backyard Chickens”

  1. I got chickens about the same time you did! I found your blog online (what a true blessing that was) on how to take care of chickens, cleaning the coop, airing it out, you were instrumental in me being successful!! I now have 26+ farm in Alabama – I have 10 chickens to start, I love having chickens , they keep me company, they all have such a unique personalities!

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  2. I have been a chicken keeper for 21 years now. I kept chickens when keeping chickens wasn’t cool or in vogue. But it is something I enjoy doing and the eggs can’t be beat, I have taken my fair share of teasing over the years about being the crazy chicken lady, (and the crazy goat lady as I also had a herd of Nigerian Dwarf goats for 15 years) however, when we got locked down in 2020, all of a sudden I was the most popular person on the block! People were calling me left and right and asking me to sell them eggs. I did give eggs to my close neighbors and family of course, but I found it kind of amusing how all of a sudden the crazy chicken lady wasn’t so crazy. My kids are grown so I didn’t have to worry about that, but we homeschooled from 2000 on anyway, so they never were attached to electronic devices as we didn’t allow them. They were always outside and helped with the animals anyway. During the lockdowns, I tried to spend as much time outside or in the garden or coop as I could. We only have a small 1/4 property, but I am doing as much as I can with it. I enjoy just sitting in the run with the girls and watching them go about their day. Very relaxing and it was good to see some things go on as normal.

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    • Oh thank you so much for sharing Vicki. I can relate on the “crazy chicken lady” part. Sounds like you have a little slice of heaven where you are. Wishing you all the best.

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  3. Melissa, your writing is so encouraging! I have kept chickens for almost nine years. Your helpful tips have gotten me through many a challenge. I agree that keeping chickens has been so helpful in these pandemic times. What a blessing it is to have the company of these beautiful hens and a plentiful supply of fresh eggs. As I have mentioned in previous comments I still have one hen remaining from my first flock almost nine years ago. With temperatures dipping to 4 degrees over the next few days I am considering bringing her in. I do have a flat panel heater in the coop which raises the temp a couple degrees above the outside air. What is your experience with aging hens in winter weather?

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    • Hello Susan and thank you so much. Lucky you to have a hen that old. I think if you can leave her out it is best. Big temperature fluctuations are what make chickens ill. If you do bring her into the house, then I would keep her in until temps are much warmer outside, but by bringing her inside, you might disrupt her spot in the pecking order and the pecking order itself. I hope this helps.

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  4. I absolutely love your blog! I found it a few days ago no one has shared my love for chickens like you!
    I got chickens on my Birthday, so they are extra special to me. I absolutely love them and they let me tote them around, sometimes I even hand feed them. I have 3 Nee Hampshire/Rhode Island red mixes, 2 sapphire gems, 2 ameraucanas, and 1 silkie roo.

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  5. Hi Melissa, thanks for the great chicken info! I have raised and shown horses and livestock all of my life and knew a few crazy chicken ladies myself. In 2020, decided that I really really loved fresh eggs and even though I wasn’t a chicken fan, it was time to build a coop. I had no idea how much I would love my girls! Of course, the eggs are amazing but my girls are the very best part. We still raise horses and now have 20 hens. I love and adore all of them. Thanks for sharing such great information with this chicken rookie. Blessings!

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  6. I am so sorry. I was writing to Melissa, not Susan. Please adjust the post or delete and I will repost. One of those days!!!!! Thanks Melissa!!!! Elle

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  7. I have wanted chickens for a long time. A friend of mine was moving south and offered me his entire setup in 2021. Game on! Since then I have learned so much. I started designing and building a larger coop. It will be finished soon. And I have more babies on the way that I will slowly integrate. I am excited to grow vines are out the larger run and I am keeping the smaller setup for back up, sick or injured bird, new chicks, etc. Hawks are my largest concern so I’ll be making additional efforts around the yard to deter them. They can free range when I am out and since I work from home now I have a backyard desk for Spring and Summer.

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  8. Hello Melissa, What a truthful post this is! Chicken need us, but WE need them as well! Chickens don’t worry about anything! (except if your eating out of rank…lol) They are refreshing reminders to keep our lives simple. And as the technocrats and elites promise that technology will ‘save’ us nothing could be further from the truth. What a beautiful contrast to see God’s wonderful creatures and enjoy spending time with them.

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  9. Just discovered your blog. Adore it. I especially love how you have journeyed into new worlds and new maps with living creatures. I live quite rural in western Mass, embarking on a seemingly infinite herb garden and, in just a few weeks, becoming a first-time chicken mama! Thanks for your inspiration.

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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.