This is no yolk. Egg costs continue to soar in Oregon and across the US due to the spread of avian flu and other supply issues. The price for a dozen eggs in Portland ranges from $2.19 to $8.49 right now — making for some dang expensive omelets. An even bigger party fowl? Fried Egg I’m In Love had to raise its breakfast sandwich prices.
But what if you cook up your own supply? It’s completely legal to raise chickens in residential backyards here — and coops for egg production can be a sizzlin’ hot commodity. Here’s what you need to know to get crackin’ — and calculate their worth.
Research pecking orders
Official Portland ordinances allow for up to “four domestic fowl” on residential lots — which is kind of a lot — and even more for properties over 10,000 sqft. But the law bans backyard roosters. Those early wake-up calls aren’t cool for your neighbors.
Don’t just wing it
This isn’t like getting a goldfish — raising and caring for poultry requires a lot of work. Be sure to review Oregon’s avian influenza information and basic animal husbandry practices. If you’re still feeling clucky, you’ll need:
- Lil’ baby chicks from places like Flock City PDX, Burns Feed Store, or Foster Feed and Garden.
- Space for a coop and enclosure that can hold a feeder, water container, roosting area, and a nesting box (secure from predators).
- A designated outdoor area or run for your chickens to stretch their skinny little legs.
- Bags of feed, which you can get at local farm supply stores like Cully Farm Store, Left Field Garden Supply, and Wichita Feed & Hardware.
- The willingness to clean up poop nonstop.
- Pro tip: You can even add egg shells to your compost.
Eggs in one basket
What should you expect when your chickens are expecting? Healthy, well-fed hens can potentially lay up to 320 eggs a year — and they’ll be as fresh as can be. Read up on safety tips before handling, though.
As for your wallet health, expect to shell out ~$650 initially, with regular expenses ~$25-$30 per month. So, buying eggs at the store is probably more cost effective — just not as much urban farming fun.