Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is It Worth It? Raising Chickens For Eggs

Our family is blessed to live near the city of Atlanta and enjoy all the benefits that come from being residents of such a cosmopolitan city. We are also blessed because many of the suburbs of Atlanta have kept to their agricultural roots. A half hour to an hour drive from the city among strip malls and subdivisions are horse ranches, corn fields and wooded areas. In essence we enjoy the best of both worlds.

A few weeks ago we got an invitation by one of our dear friends and neighbors to go to the East Alabama Poultry and Goat Auction. This family lives outside of a subdivision and have a bit of land so they raise chickens and have many times provided us with delicious eggs laid by their own hens. In case you are wondering, oh yes, these eggs from their homegrown, organically fed, free range chickens do have a wonderful robust flavor that tastes markedly better than your run of the mill store bought eggs. To be honest we have never consider raising our own chicken for eggs but our family of four eats a lot of eggs. So this gave us a chance to look at raising chickens first hand and determine for ourselves: Is it worth it?

On our day trip the the auction we met a family who, since the economic downturn eliminated many construction jobs, has been living chiefly from raising and breeding chickens. Well we learned that there are a great variety of different breeds of chickens and just like dogs, rare breeds are worth more. Frankly I was surprised at how beautiful some of these birds were but how about buying and raising some chicken for their eggs?

Is it worth it? Not for us. Frankly the up front cost is quite high. You have to buy the birds, feed and have the room to contain them or build a chicken coop. Also we don’t even have a dog so caring for animals would be a huge learning curve for us. It just seemed like the amount of time you have to spend caring for chickens is more than we have to spend. Of course, for the family that lives on a rural block of land, has the initial investment of the coop and who has the room to breed and then sell the eggs, it may potentially be worth it.

It is was amazing to be able to step out of our comfort zone for a day and spend some time learning about something brand new but I think we’ll continue paying for the convenience of getting organic eggs at the grocery.

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  1. We started keeping chickens in our suburban backyard. I cannot say it is a profitable endeavor, but if you count in the pet angle and the good lessons in responsibility and hard work it is to the kids, I would say it is worth it.

    We have 4 chickens who have such distinct personalities and habits I would compare them to dogs in that regard. Much quieter and cleaner, though. And they provide breakfast to boot . . . all in all, a good deal if not a profitable one.

  2. Our little trip to the auction really highlighted for us the appeal of taking on raising chickens but ultimately it wasn't a responsibility we wanted to take on. I would definitely recommend that to everyone to at least take a moment to consider and look into it instead of dismissing it outright. It is good for us to challenge our assumptions.


What are your thoughts? Your comments are welcome!