Thursday, March 30, 2017

Economic Benefits of Raising Backyard Chickens

Chloe Krumenacher
Mr. Reuter
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.


  1. This blog post provided great examples and reasoning as to why one should raise chickens in their backyard, if able. It certainly gave me the incentive. Anyway, the explanations behind the examples of the benefits, such as how the eggs won't need to be refrigerated due to a special coating on the shells, demonstrated how spending a few dollars on the chicken coop and the chickens will provide a marginal benefit that totally outweighs the marginal cost. Should more people choose to do this, people will be saving money on the cooling systems used in their refrigerators, save money on buying eggs, and have free chicken meat. Farmers that make a living by selling eggs and chicken meat, however, will see a decrease in their total revenue, but will remain in business since a huge percentage of the population lives in areas, such as cities and densely populated urban & suburban areas, are unable to keep chickens. There's also those, of course, who just don't want to keep a chicken.

  2. Raising chickens and selling could also be a fun way of starting a small business. True, it will take a while to even out and start making a profit after buying all the supplies, but this is true with every company. When doing this, it is important to look at the average costs of eggs and how much people are willing to buy them for. Once you do this, you could price your farm fresh eggs at a competitive price and make advertisements. People nowadays are always looking for organic foods, so these eggs would be perfect for them. This may end up turning in a nice profit and you could expand your business and become even more competitive in the market.

  3. This post was very interesting and well done. The whole egg industry is an example of a perfect competition. Anybody and everybody can get into the market, and sell or consume their own eggs. Like you said, it probably is more of an hobby to raise chickens instead of a get rich quick method. Obviously a profit can be made but with egg prices being low, it would take awhile to break even at least. The whole idea is pretty neat though, being able to produce your own food source and possibly get a little extra cash flow as well! With the cost of chickens being so little, I am surprised not more people are investing in this market.

  4. Currently "organic" products are becoming more popular, however; these products are significantly more expensive. To gain quality and avoid chemicals associated with a lot of production you have to dish out the extra cash. If people were interested in eating clean as well as saving money chickens seem like the best option. I don't believe there is any other farm animal that is this cheap to sustain and requires minimal time to harvest. If enough people invested in their own chickens the egg market could take a hit and soon enough you'd have to buy your eggs from your neighbors. History would repeat itself and people might just go back to their roots of farming. The opportunity cost of saving money and having your own chickens is putting in the extra labor.

  5. It was interesting to hear about all of the benefits of raising chickens, but its hard to star a flock if your city doesn't allow you to have backyard chickens. I feel that more cities should allow families to have backyard chickens. But with this comes change in supply in demand curves. If more families start hobby farms it will be a change in tastes of consumers because they will like having eggs at home instead of going to the store to buy some. This causes a shift left in the demand curve. With this new equilibrium comes less eggs supplied by producers for a higher price. This might cause consumers of store bought eggs to buy less. Although this event would not happen if there were very few backyard chickens, but if this number increases a lot it will effect the larger market and farms. Backyard and hobby farms are great for a small number of people and give great positive externalities for locals but the market for store bought eggs might diminish if the market for backyard chickens grows throughout the country.


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