Some consumers have found a new way to feather their nests and hedge against rising food prices: They’re raising backyard chickens.
According to the 2021-22 American Pet Products Association’s (APPA) National Pet Owners Survey, individual chicken ownership climbed from 8% in 2018 to 13% just two years later. Chicken hatcheries are reporting sales increases of anywhere from 100% to 500%, according to thehappychickencoop.com. Even Amazon is getting in on the action, with almost 100 listings for prefabricated chicken coops and myriad searches for baby chick supplies and nesting boxes.
Chickens are being raised mainly for eggs, followed by meat. While dodging inflation is a key motivator, consumers also want to make sure chickens are raised naturally, cage-free and in sanitary conditions. Others began raising them as a hobby during the COVID-19 crisis. Additionally, chicken manure is an excellent fertilizer for tomatoes and other vegetables.
More men than women raise chickens, noted the Stamford, Conn.-based APPA. Among chicken owners, 22% are Millennials and 19% are Gen Zers. Many are affluent and regard chickens as pets.