Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Urban Chickens on the Rise? Follow the Money

At last, there's some interesting economic data about urban chickens in an article by Brendan Murray over on

Brendan had interviewed me about urban chickens earlier this month, and when he asked how big the urban chickens movement is, I gave the answer I give all reporters: I'm not sure, but there's got to be sales data for feed and chicks and whatnot available to show this urban chicken movement is real.

And when his article about the fight to legalize urban chickens in Washington, DC, posted online, I was thrilled to see he'd actually done some investigating on the economics.

Two highlights:
  • Ideal Poultry Breeding Farms (Cameron, TX) says sales to customers who buy just a few chicks has grown from less than 2% of Ideal's sales a decade ago to almost 35% of sales last year. (They shipped 4.5 million chicks last year)
  • Land O'Lakes Purina Mills, while not disclosing the numbers, sees sales increasing of its 25- and 50-pound bags of feed for adult birds, and this year is marketing a 5-pound package of feed for baby chicks, tailor-made for us urban chicken farmers. If a company that size is getting into the market, you know the MBAs have crunched away the data and see significant money to be made.
I know our local Feed & Fuel has seen a dramatic rise in selling chicken feed (again, no numbers, just an anecdotal observation by the owner) over the last few years.

Anyone else out there have firm data showing the growth of the urban chicken market?

I have a hunch that our showing the economic benefits of allowing urban chickens might be another arrow in our quiver trying to get hens legal inside city limits.

Photo credit to zizzybaloobah on Flickr

1 comment:

Terry said...

Take a look at Backyard Poultry Magazine's numbers. They're over 50,000 subscribers - way above their projections when they started.
Terry at


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