Backyard chicken coops grow in popularity amid egg shortage

Many are turning to backyard flocks for an egg supply
With rising egg prices, more people are considering it. Here are the pros and cons.
Published: Jan. 31, 2023 at 5:41 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Some people go to the grocery store to get eggs, others go to their backyard. At-home chicken coops are growing in popularity.

Partially as a result of an avian flu outbreak killing over 40 million egg-laying birds in the U.S, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“Now that more is going on with the price of chicken, price of eggs, the price of meat, a lot more people are going to backyard flock and like to raise their own food,” says Mike Zittlow, the store manager of Country Visions Co-Op in De Pere. “That extends into people raising their own gardens. I think people are moving toward growing their own food.”

Country Visions Co-op in De Pere sells baby chicks and says there are many advantages to raising your own chickens.

“I personally raise chickens and so do several of my coworkers,” says Zittlow. “I started it because it was fun and we like having home-grown products. We just like having stuff on my little mini farm.”

Ron Kean, an Animal and Dairy Sciences professor at UW-Madison, warns potential chicken owners that the cost to set up and maintain a coop may be larger than if you relied on the grocery store for eggs.

“I’m not sure you’re going to save money in the long run by doing that,” said Kean. “If you want to raise chickens, then yes, there are a lot of advantages and positives too. I wouldn’t do it for a monetary standpoint.”

He recommends covering your shoes when you go in the coop and regularly cleaning equipment. He says to avoid exposure to Avian flu, make sure you’re chicken keep away from wild birds, especially wild Waterfowl.

If you decide to raise chickens in your yard, make sure to go through the city, town or village where you live to obtain the proper license.