Would Raising Chickens be an Option for You?

Jesus Lopez-Valadez, Staff Writer

With the arrival of COVID-19, economic instability and partial business closures have become more frequent than the previous years. These businesses include malls, certain restaurants, and nonessential businesses as defined by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Opportunity. Along with partial business closures, the pandemic has also caused a shortage and a higher demand of certain goods like water, meat, eggs, dairy products, sanitation items, and paper goods. With the high demand for these items, my family and I have decided to do something that would be beneficial amidst the pandemic. We have decided to raise some chickens of our own for various reasons that I will be sharing with you today.

The first is raising your own backyard chickens yields a better tasting, higher quality chicken. When you allow your chickens to free range, you allow your chickens to have access to a wider variety of foods like bugs, herbs, and grasses that makes your chickens more nutritious and healthier than store bought chicken. When you raise your own chickens, you know what is going into your chickens, as opposed to those found in the store. In fact, according to healthline.com, free range chickens, chickens that are allowed to forage for food, is significantly lower in fat, higher levels of protein, higher levels of iron, and higher levels of zinc compared to chickens raised in the conventional way, chickens that are raised in small spaces and given feed fortified with vitamins and minerals. As you may or may not know, eating excess fats, like saturated and trans fats, cause many health problems and paves the way for having lower defenses, something that I can not afford to have during these times. 

The second reason I am raising chickens is for their eggs. Along with the quality of meat, allowing your hens to free range also promotes the production of good quality eggs. According to Dr. Axe, eggs that come from free range chickens, than those that come from conventional raised chickens, have one third less cholesterol, one fourth less saturated fat, two thirds more vitamin A, two times more Omega 3 fatty acids, and seven times more beta carotene. The Omega 3 fatty acids are excellent for lowering blood pressure, plaque forms in the arteries, and reduce your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. Retinoids, like vitamin A and beta carotenes, help boost the production of collagen, reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles, producing new blood vessels for the skin, fading age spots, and softening rough patches of skin. The lower levels of bad fats and higher levels of retinoids, as well as good fats, makes free range eggs a better choice for your overall health. 

The third reason is the uncertainty of the pandemic, as well as this year in general, holds. Ever since COVID started to affect more areas of our daily life, there began to be business closures defined to be nonessential. Along with business closures, certain goods and products were beginning to have higher demand such as items like eggs, meat, tissue paper, toilet paper, and sanitation products. Due to the higher demand of these products, businesses started to start this kind of ration of how much of a product a customer can obtain, a limit. Because my family is big compared to the average American household, my family and I need more of everything since there are more of us. I would like for local grocery stores to be more understanding of every shopper’s situation and be more lenient or flexible with these limits. But since my family and I know that is probably not going to happen, we decided to learn together and be self sufficient in eggs and poultry meat.