27 March 2017
Economic Benefits of Raising Backyard Chickens
I’m sure you have heard from your grandparents or other relatives that they were raised on a farm that had lots of chickens. Their chores were to collect the eggs and feed all the birds. Raising chickens was an important part of the past in sustaining families. Now they are becoming an economic benefit of the present. There are a couple opportunity cost to raising chickens. You might have to put in a little bit more work than grabbing eggs from the store refrigerator but the product quality you receive from your backyard chickens cannot be beat.
According to the National Chicken Council, in 2014 per capita egg consumption in the U.S. was 263. That’s the total number of eggs produced, divided by the U.S. population. Egg consumption increased by 4.6% between 2013 and 2014 (Josephson). “The top egg producer in the U.S., Cal-Maine Foods, housed 34.2 million layers (chickens that lay eggs) in 2014” (Josephson). That’s a lot of eggs, and a lot of money your family is spending on eggs. If your city, village, or town allows chickens and you have a large enough backyard, chickens might be a great compliment to your backyard and to your total revenue.
The pie chart here is used to show how much some states and areas of the country rely on poultry for a food source whether that is the eggs the chicken produces, or the chicken itself. Most of the poultry in Georgia is raised in residents backyards.
The cost of starting your flock is fairly inexpensive. The biggest investment is the coop that the chickens will reside in. Feed and basic supplies are also inexpensive. When it comes to how many chickens, the marginal benefit outweighs the marginal cost. A chicken costs about $3 and if you were to buy the maximum amount of chickens allotted in your location it would make more sense and benefit you more.
Raising chickens isn’t a get rich quick scheme, it’s more about the enjoyment and benefit you get from those fresh, high quality eggs. Most chicken raisers are able to break even with the expense costs or earn some profit. The economic benefit is being able to have a sustainable food source in your backyard. The eggs that you buy from the grocery store are weeks old before they even make it to the store refrigerators. That’s why the eggs are refrigerated in the first place. Fresh eggs from your backyard flock don’t require refrigeration because the egg has a natural coating that keeps the inside of the egg fresh for weeks if they aren’t washed. In Europe they don’t even refrigerate their eggs. In fact, the US is one of the few countries that does. Backyard chicken raisers are saving some money on electricity because they don’t refrigerate their eggs, and if more people did the same imagine the impact we could create.
One other great use for backyard chickens is free fertilizer! The waste chickens produce is great for gardens and pest control. Instead of spending a pretty penny on chemical filled fertilizers, you can simply place the chicken waste in your garden. It saves time and money, making your home more green friendly. Also pest control is a big one. The chickens during the day will free range and eat bugs, grubs and anything good they can find. They especially take care of the pesky mosquitoes and ticks. We live in a very wooded area that would normal be consumed by mosquitoes and ticks during the summer, but because of the chickens we don’t have to spend money on having landscaping companies spray our yard with bad chemicals to get rid of the pesky things.
If more people got into raising chickens it would create an economic impact. At one point in our past Uncle Sam was encouraging Americans to keep backyard chickens to sustain a family. I have a feeling that in the near future this will come up again.
Josephson, Amelia. "The Economics of Raising Chickens." SmartAsset. N.p., 05 Feb. 2016. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.Smartasset. "The economics of raising chickens." CBS News. CBS Interactive, 17 Feb. 2016. Web. 28 Mar. 2017.