Fab Frugal Friday: Grow Your Own . . . Eggs!

Checking out the goods at Portland's Urban Farm Store

It’s no great revelation that growing your own food is by far the most affordable thing to do whenever possible. Most of the time, when this comes up, people are talking about gardening, of course, but there’s an ever-growing trend that takes it a step further: that of the backyard chicken.

 

Chickens may be par for the course for people who grew up on or around farms, but for us urban and suburban types, we take it for granted that we get our eggs from the grocery store, turning a blind eye to the significant markup in price as well as the less than optimal source, in terms of health and humane treatment. (Even with eggs labeled “free-range”, your mileage may vary dramatically.)

So, one of the very best things about moving to Portland is the abundance of urban chicken husbandry! Among my close friends, three out of three households all have chickens in their backyards, eating their kitchen scraps and providing free, healthy, beautiful eggs! Also? Great toddler entertainment. (Lily literally says “Hi chickens! How’s it going?” every time we go out to see them.)

Hey, chickens! Come back here!

 

 

They don’t lay nonstop year-round, and the chickens at my own place belonging to my good friend/landlady (The Urban Luddite) are just now starting to ramp up their production, but still, just imagine, for most of the months of the year, your eggs are basically free, with the cost of a little upkeep. There’s some startup involved, of course, with buying a coop and possibly a run, plus the feed and such, but wow, does it ever pay for itself and then some.

The flavor and vibrancy of the couldn’t-be-more-fresh, couldn’t-be-more-local eggs is just beyond compare. And I love that my daughter gets to see for herself exactly where her food is coming from, and will grow up with a direct experience of that.

Free-range parenting

 

 

Do you have backyard chickens? Have you ever thought about it? What have your experiences been?

 

Comments

  1. says

    I can’t wait to have our own chickens. We keep talking about it, but we don’t have the space right now. Hopefully either this spring or next spring we can clear out some land for a coop and go chicken crazy!

  2. says

    Actually, you CAN induce most breeds to lay all year round. It just takes a low-wattage light bulb. Last winter we set a light bulb on a timer so that the light was on from about 4:30-7:30 a.m. and again from about 4:30-6:30 pm. This extends the chickens’ day so they think it’s eternal summer (their feathers insulate them from the cold) and they keep laying eggs at the rate they do all summer.

    We had great success with this last year. This winter, however, a leaky roof ruined the light bulb and we decided to let the girls have this winter off to see how it would go. From now on, we’ll have a light bulb in winter, it’s a much better system!

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