Truth: A properly maintained coop will not have an odor. The composted manure is a beneficial fertilizer for the garden. Additionally, chickens can be fed kitchen scraps, even scraps that cannot be directly composted, therefore, decreasing municipal solid waste.
In comparison to the average dog, producing ¾ pound of manure a day, the average hen produces 1-3.5 ounces of manure per day. While dog waste cannot be composted due to the potential of infecting humans with trichinosis, whipworms, hookworms, roundworms, giardia and coccidia, chicken waste can be composted. In fact, chicken manure has valuable nutrients used to replenish depleted soil. There will be less need for hen owners to drive to the store to purchase a bag of manure.
Chickens also reduce the need for pesticides because they eat bugs and weeds, providing a natural abatement for pest bugs and weeds. Having a small number of hens would reduce or eliminate the need for chemical applications of 2, 4-D which is a common lawn pesticide found in the “weed and feed” combination lawn treatments and is linked to cancer and altered reproductive health in men and women.
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (2012) “veterinarians have reported in three published scientific studies that dogs with Canine Malignant Lymphoma are about 70 percent more likely to live in homes where 2, 4-D is used to treat the yard compared to dogs without this fatal disease. Canine Malignant Lymphoma is very similar to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in people”1 According to the Journal of Environmental Health, “Pesticides have been associated with the development of certain cancers in children, including leukemia, sarcomas, and brain tumors. Many classes of pesticides have been shown to adversely affect the developing nervous system of experimental animals. Parental exposure to pesticides
has been linked with birth defects in children. New studies suggest that pesticides may compromise the immune system of infants and children. According to Stanhope & Lancaster, children exposed to environmental hazards such as pesticides are at risk for developing learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, chronic diseases such as asthma and cancer, and illness resulting from central nervous system damage (Massey-Stokes, 2002)” (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2006, p. 104).
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