How I’m helping to save the birds by keeping chickens

It’s all about boosting bird numbers!

Zach Portman
4 min readJan 31, 2022

A while ago I heard that birds are declining all over the world, and I found that really upsetting. So I decided I something needed to be done and I am exactly the person to do it.

I thought about the best way I could help and did a couple google searches, and ultimately I decided to get some backyard chickens. This way, I’m boosting the number of birds and doing my part to help make sure birds don’t go extinct. Plus, I get the added benefit of fresh delicious eggs! It’s a win for everyone: the birds are saved, I get to personally benefit, and I look good while doing it.

One of the best things about chickens is that they’re so easy to get. You can just go buy them! That came in really handy when most of my chickens got some kind of disease and their feathers fell out and they died. In fact, every few years I cull off the old chickens and buy new ones to make sure my chickens stay nice and healthy and produce lots of eggs.

Chickens in a sad-looking enclosure. One chicken is missing a bunch of feathers.
Happy chickens in their healthy environment! Image from Wikipedia used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Some people have said to me “aren’t you personally benefiting from this because you get the eggs?” Those people couldn’t be more wrong. Any benefit I get from eggs pales in comparison to the wonderful knowledge that I am helping the environment and saving the birds.

Other people have said to me “But aren’t chickens not native to this area?” They may not be technically native, but they’ve been here for hundreds of years so they are practically native. By pointing out that a chicken isn’t “native” or “wild” you’re just being divisive. Why can’t you just accept that we’re all working towards the same thing, which is saving the birds? We’ll accomplish so much more if we work together rather than focusing on our differences.

Plus, keeping chickens has provided a gateway into the wonderful world of birds. Just the other day, I noticed a bird in my neighbors yard! Since I’ve started keeping chickens, my eyes have been opened to this amazing world. When I’m out feedings my chickens and gathering eggs, and doing regular checks for pests and disease, I just feel so connected to nature.

A low-quality photo of a bird in a bush
A wild bird I noticed recently because I am so much more in tune with the environment. Isn’t nature amazing?

Due to my efforts, there are now 30 more birds in the neighborhood. A recent study showed that there are 3 billion fewer birds in North America than there used to be. So if everyone in the United States, Canada, and Mexico kept just 6 chickens, that would bring bird numbers back up to where they used to be!

Recently, I’ve even started a company where other people or corporations pay me to keep chickens on their property and give them the eggs. This way, they can help save the birds too (and get fresh local eggs!) without all the hard work. The only thing they have to do is send me monthly cash payments. They also have the added benefit of being able to post pictures of their birds on social media so that everyone can know how much they are helping the environment. This is really important because some of these companies have really horrible track records when it comes to the environment, but by keeping chickens and boosting birds, they’re able to wash away any bad stuff they’ve done and show off what good environmental stewards they really are.

One of my neighbors claimed that because I have so many chickens in my neighborhood now, they are eating all the bugs that are needed to feed the other birds. I really don’t understand that. I have never seen one of my chickens chase or steal food from another bird, so I don’t see how they could be competing or having any other negative effects. Plus I’ve had barely any disease outbreaks among my chickens, so they probably aren’t spreading anything to wild birds.

I hope you’ll join me in keeping chickens to save the birds. It’s super easy. You can even order them online and have them shipped through the mail! The benefits are endless — fresh local eggs, and the knowledge that you are making a difference and helping the environment. Together we can boost bird populations and prevent birds from going extinct.

Postscript: this article is meant as a commentary on the misguided practice of keeping honeybees to save the bees.

It is a take on the quote: “keeping honeybees to save the bees is like keeping chickens to save the birds.”

Honeybees are like chickens because they are both livestock and are not native to the Americas. Plus they are in absolutely no danger of going extinct. Boosting honeybee numbers wont help the thousands of species of native bees, just like boosting chicken numbers wont help birds. Indeed, keeping honeybees is likely detrimental to native bees. For more information, see this article.



Zach Portman

I am scientist who studies bees. My research covers the identification, biology, evolution, and conservation of native bees.