Backyard chickens may not pencil out, but it feels right


Perhaps keeping backyard chickens in a down economy is analogous to the way sales of candy and beer spike up in a recession; when financial stresses loom, we do what makes us feel good.

A New York Times article remarks on both the data reflecting the spike in chicken keeping (hatcheries say this is their best year, ever), and calculates the cost of feeding and housing hens compared to the price of eggs (the fixed costs of the often-pricey and whimsical coops are what keep most chicken keepers from ever breaking even).

Next is a rundown of the cost of raising and feeding "broiler" chickens (meant for food), about $8 each, compared to one restaurant chain offering chickens for $1.99, cooked.