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.
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.
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.
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.
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.