Should You Keep Your Own Chickens?

We’re gonna say “nope.” But since we’re all here, let’s look at the recent New York Times article over the subject and consider whether the current “chicken boomlet” is right for you.

The crux of the article is that keeping your own egg-laying chickens might be an “interesting” hobby (I speak from childhood experience when I say that it is neither fun nor torturous—it’s just another annoying chore), but it is not very financially rewarding. If you’re just looking to save money, supermarket eggs cost less once you factor in the cost of acquiring and sheltering the hens as well as feeding them. Feed, in fact, eats up pretty much any savings.

Instead, it may be that raising your own chickens is a way to make yourself feel more self-reliant in uncertain economic or political times, sort of like stocking up on firearms.

Nancy Smith, whose family owns Cackle Hatchery in Lebanon, Mo., said there were times over the last year, as the economic news grew worse and worse, that her customers seemed to be “in a panic mode” to buy birds they could begin raising at home.

“I see it as a sense of security,” Ms. Smith said. “If they don’t have the dollars that week to get the meat they need at the grocery store, they can go kill a chicken.”

“Keeping Their Eggs in Their Backyard Nests” [New York Times]
(Photo: woodleywonderworks)

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