Are you feeling the pinch when shopping for eggs at the grocery store and wondering if it might be time to consider getting your own chickens?
It is easy to find plenty of arguments online against getting backyard chickens. The New York Times published Egg Prices Are Spiking. Buying Chickens Is Not the Answer. The Washington Post posted Think backyard chickens will solve your egg problems? Think Again. The Wall Street Journal added their take with Raising Chickens for Cheaper Eggs Gets Expensive Fast.
Despite all the articles discouraging getting backyard hens, if you are interested in backyard chicken keeping, I believe it is worth serious consideration.
I’ll agree with some points in the articles mentioned above. It is important to note that keeping hens requires effort and resources, including setting up a coop, providing appropriate feed and care, and adhering to local regulations. However, I think chickens are very much worth it, and not only for the eggs. They can provide so much more than just eggs.
Why are Eggs So Expensive?
Before we get into raising hens, let’s look at the current situation and how we got here. I am no expert, but the current egg shortage has been attributed to several factors, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and changes in consumer behavior. Disruptions to the supply chain, including staffing shortages and transportation issues, have made it difficult for egg producers to keep up with the increased demand. Some experts also point to chicken disease outbreaks, such as Avian Influenza, which is said to account for the loss of 50 million commercial and backyard birds. These factors have all contributed to the current egg shortage, which has resulted in higher prices and limited availability for consumers.
Is Raising Chickens Cheaper Than Buying Eggs?
As I said, It’s important to note that raising chickens for eggs may not necessarily be cheaper than purchasing them at the grocery store. Setting up a coop, purchasing feed, and providing appropriate care for the chickens can incur costs, and if you purchase chicks, it will take several months for them to begin laying eggs.
However, the benefits of raising your chickens go beyond just cost savings. Keeping backyard hens can help you become more self-sufficient and less reliant on the grocery store, which is particularly important during supply chain disruption or uncertainty.
The importance of self-sufficiency during supply-chain disruption cannot be overstated. In recent years, we have seen how disruptions to global supply chains, natural disasters, and other events can cause shortages of essential goods and services, including food and other necessities. By becoming more self-sufficient, we can lessen our dependence on external sources and better prepare ourselves for unexpected events.
When Uncle Sam Expected You To Keep Hens and Raise Chickens
There was a time when the government encouraged and supported self-sufficiency. During World War I, the government actively encouraged self-sufficiency to support the war effort and lessen the strain on the food supply chain. The government did this by promoting victory gardens, which were gardens planted by civilians to help supplement the nation’s food supply. People took great pride in their gardens and planted herbs, fruits, and vegetables in backyards, vacant lots, and public parks.
In addition to victory gardens, the government also encouraged people to raise chickens for eggs and meat. Backyard chickens became a common sight in many neighborhoods and were seen as a way to increase the availability of local food supply and reduce the need for imported goods.
By promoting self-sufficiency during World War I, the government helped to ease the burden on the food supply chain and ensure that essential goods were available for the war effort. Additionally, victory gardens and backyard chickens helped to build community and promote a sense of shared responsibility for the nation’s well-being. These efforts gave Americans a way to support national and local goals during times of crisis and the opportunity to learn skills that would help them weather hardship and lean times.
A lot has changed over the last 100 years, but the principles of self-sufficiency and community support are just as relevant today as they were during World War I.
Getting Back To Basics
It’s often said that backyard chickens are a gateway animal to a homesteading lifestyle, and it’s true. As more people become interested in self-sufficiency and sustainable living, they may find that raising chickens is a great way to start. Backyard chickens can be a source of fresh eggs, companionship, entertainment, and education, and they can also expose you to a range of traditional skills and knowledge.
Learning how to keep hens healthy and producing can give you the confidence to explore other livestock, self-sufficiency skills, and become more involved in raising your own food.
So while raising chickens may not always be cheaper than purchasing eggs from the grocery store, it’s an activity that can bring many benefits. Even if you don’t decide to take the plunge into full homesteading, you might find that raising chickens can bring a lot of joy and purpose to your life.
If this was all the encouragement you needed, make sure to check out these articles below that you might find helpful:
- My favorite docile chicken breeds
- Everything You Need To Know About Ordering Chicks From a Hatchery
- How to protect your flock from foxes
- My recommendations to the best books to read about chicken keeping.
I hope this post has encouraged you to consider keeping a small flock. Don’t forget to leave a comment and share your thoughts below.