F.A.Q. about the backyard chicken boom
April 11th, 2012
12:30 PM ET
Share this on:

We chatted about backyard chickens live on CNN Newsroom with Suzanne Malveaux this afternoon. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions about the growing trend.

Q: Will having a backyard chicken reduce the cost of eggs for my family and me?

A: This varies wildly depending on the way you decide to house them (a do-it-yourself coop or pen versus a fancy Egglu) and if you decide to feed them chicken feed, organic chicken feed, kitchen scraps or allow them to be free-range. You should also factor in how many chickens you or your neighbors have, since buying bulk can reduce the cost a tremendous amount.

Try this handy chicken cost calculator and explore a few ways to reduce expenses.

Read: Can You Actually Re-coop the Costs? and Urban Chickens: Frugal Fad or Pricey Pastime? and Are backyard chickens profitable? A cost per egg comparison for more insight.

Q: If I'm not saving money, why would I bother?

A. What you're really paying for is the knowledge of exactly what your chickens are eating (and what's going into your diet), assurance that they're both humanely treated and not as susceptible to conditions plaguing factory farms (poor hygiene, battery cages, and infection that leads to salmonella), and better tasting eggs that haven't traveled hundreds of miles to get to you.

Chickens also produce excellent garden fertilizer and provide an incredible lesson for the young people in your life about where their food comes from.

Q: Who else is taking this crazy ride with me and who can help me when I get stuck?

A: You're hardly alone in this effort because there are 128,012 members of the forums at backyardchickens.com, a chicken hotline at mypetchicken.com (or 888-460-1529), publications like Backyard Poultry (distributed nationally in an average of 75,000 copies per issue) and Chickens magazine.

Not only are local chicken raising communities popping up in towns and cities around the country - there's also Andy Schneider, better known as The Chicken Whisperer, just a click, "like", tweet or podcast away.

Q: So what are some other things to consider?

A: Your local laws (and neighbors) may not be chicken-friendly, and it's vital to check beforehand.

Consider your attention span and level of commitment. Are you willing to keep a hen after her egg-laying years or are you ready to humanely dispatch her or eat her?

Does your lifestyle support having chickens? Do you have children, pets, a sitter or feeder for when you're gone?

Can you afford to feed, house and keep up their quarters?

A few fun facts:

Chickens come in an incredible variety of breeds, plumages, sizes - and they produce eggs of all different hues and sizes. Some chicken breeds are so tiny, they can be kept in an apartment.

Chickens have personalities, just like dogs and cats, and they can live well over a decade.

Nope, contrary to popular misconception, chickens do not need a rooster to produce eggs. While they're not totally silent, at least they won't be crowing at the crack of dawn.

Previously – Backyard chicken farmers say egg harvesting is all it's cracked up to be and Backyard chicken farming makes a comeback

See all egg safety information on Eatocracy

Watch CNN Newsroom weekdays 9am to 3pm ET and weekends. For the latest from the CNN Newsroom click here.

Posted by:
Filed under: Backyard Chickens • Content Partner • Eatocracy TV • Food Politics • Local Food • Television • TV-CNN Newsroom

Next entry »
« Previous entry
soundoff (228 Responses)
  1. Ngoc Sapp

    The next time I learn a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I imply, I do know it was my option to learn, however I actually thought youd have one thing interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about one thing that you may repair in the event you werent too busy in search of attention.

    December 16, 2013 at 4:48 am |
  2. Emelina Krauth

    Can I just say what a reduction to search out someone who really knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You positively know how one can bring a difficulty to gentle and make it important. More folks must read this and understand this facet of the story. I cant imagine youre not more well-liked because you positively have the gift.

    December 15, 2013 at 3:32 am |
  3. hidden cam

    I do not even know how I stopped up right here, but I assumed this post was once good. I do not recognise who you are but certainly you're going to a well-known blogger in case you are not already. Cheers!

    February 1, 2013 at 5:52 pm |
  4. hid lights

    I have been exploring for a bit for any high quality articles or blog posts in this kind of space . Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this site. Reading this information So i'm happy to express that I've a very just right uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed. I so much unquestionably will make certain to don?t overlook this site and provides it a glance regularly.

    November 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  5. Affordable Work Clothes

    It is perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy. I've read this submit and if I could I wish to counsel you few interesting issues or suggestions. Perhaps you could write next articles relating to this article. I want to read more things about it!

    April 24, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  6. Nigel Barker

    I have learn a few excellent stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how so much effort you set to make such a excellent informative web site.

    April 24, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  7. Redruth Computer Repair

    You recognize therefore considerably on the subject of this subject, made me personally imagine it from so many numerous angles. Its like women and men are not fascinated except it is something to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs great. All the time deal with it up!

    April 24, 2012 at 2:32 am |
  8. California Wing Tsun

    Great paintings! That is the kind of info that are meant to be shared across the internet. Shame on Google for no longer positioning this publish upper! Come on over and seek advice from my site . Thank you =)

    April 21, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  9. kageprint

    Great items from you, man. I have bear in mind your stuff prior to and you're just extremely magnificent. I really like what you have acquired right here, certainly like what you are saying and the way in which by which you assert it. You are making it entertaining and you continue to take care of to keep it smart. I can not wait to read far more from you. This is really a terrific website.

    April 20, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  10. bank home loans

    I savor, cause I discovered just what I was having a look for. You've ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

    April 17, 2012 at 2:09 am |
  11. Website

    I comment each time I like a article on a site or if I have something to contribute to the conversation. It's triggered by the fire communicated in the post I browsed. And after this post %NAME%. I was actually excited enough to drop a thought ;) I do have 2 questions for you if it's allright. Could it be only me or does it look like some of these responses appear like they are coming from brain dead visitors? :-P And, if you are writing at other social sites, I'd like to keep up with you. Could you list every one of your community sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

    April 17, 2012 at 2:02 am |
  12. Deb

    My husband want to buy chicks this year. We live in a community and are not allowed to have farm animals. (Even though chickens are not considered "Farm" animals). If we get caught with chickens we will get fined.

    April 16, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • KD

      You sure those are the kinds of chicks he wants to buy?

      April 17, 2012 at 7:08 am |
  13. KP

    Raising chickens at home is not a good idea. Just in case, in times of bird flu epidemic, etc; culling and control of spread of disease will become very difficult and could become very dangerous for people. Having animals, meant for food, in a centralized locations is a sensible thing...

    April 16, 2012 at 5:58 am |
    • ThaGerm

      This response sounds like it comes from a person with NO experience in the subject matter; rather, a phobia that they wish to pass on to others. If I am wrong, please post some sources or let us in on your extensive credentials in farming and virology. What, no experience in either farming or virology? Noooo, you don't say. No really please DON'T say.

      April 23, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  14. how to remove a redirect virus

    Hello my loved one! I wish to say that this post is amazing, nice written and come with almost all significant infos. I would like to look more posts like this .

    April 14, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  15. Cattle Feeder

    Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your weblog and wished to say that I've really enjoyed surfing around your weblog posts. After all I'll be subscribing to your feed and I am hoping you write once more soon!

    April 14, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  16. John

    More and more communities are allowing people to have a few hens for eggs. Fresh eggs are much better than the ones that have been sitting in the grocery store for weeks. Some of you city folks sound like you might have to start seeing a therapist once your neighbors start raising chickens.

    April 13, 2012 at 1:01 am |
    • ThaGerm

      Classic! This post cracks me up for all the right reasons! Amazing how many people with no idea of what they are talking about or experience at all in the subject matter feel we need to hear their opinion. Simply Amazing!

      April 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  17. Joyce

    My chickens are great company and they furnish me with good fresh eggs. I am a widow and I enjoy watching my chickens every morning while I have my breakfast coffee. I live in the country so my chickens do not bother other people. Try it you will love it yourself.

    April 13, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  18. abbydelabbey

    check out your community's laws and regulations about farm animals ... you'll find out that in many communities you can't have chickens or goats or sheep or horses.....

    April 12, 2012 at 7:37 pm |
    • ThaGerm

      Most places don't consider chickens farm animals and are not put in the same category as, well, everything else you mentioned. Nice, um, try...not really.

      April 23, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  19. The_Mick

    My county requires a minimum sized lot and a minimum distance of the coup and chicken yard from the property's boundaries: that means I can't do chickens. My neighbor and I looked into doing them together until we found we were out of luck even if both of our 1/4 acre lots were treated as one lot.

    April 12, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
    • JustWatchin

      I have often found that asking for forgiveness afterward is more effective than asking for approval beforehand.

      April 13, 2012 at 7:27 am |
  20. lokii

    Be prepared for your neighbors to hate you. In a rural setting they are no problem. In a city they are a nightmare. I've been around chickens working on farms and ranches, but would never have them in town. If I had a neighbor with those things going off at 4 in the morning expect noise complaints to the cops. Aside from that, chicken crap smells like nothing else. I have been in coops that had not seen a chicken in 50 years and they still smelled horrible. Plant a garden instead, you can grow crops in spring, summer, and fall.

    April 12, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
    • Monger(as in fish)

      I agree wholeheartedly. AFAIAC, if my neighbor decided to raise chickens, he would run out of chickens well before I would run out of 12 gauge shotgun shells.

      April 13, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  21. Ladybird

    I've promised my hens they'll never have to get a job as a drumstick or sandwich. (I eat meat but don't eat my friends.) I live in a middle class suburb – houses close together- but no one is the wiser about the lovely large hens in my back yard. They're quiet and don't smell. I get nutritious eggs because they also eat fruit, meat and vegetable scraps (instead of the dismal feed used in battery cage ranches) and they're friendly too. No rooster = infertile eggs but no incessant cock-a-doodle-doos either!

    April 12, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
1 2
Next entry »
« Previous entry
| Part of