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Raising chickens in Springfield is legal but may not be worth the cost

We compared the cost of raising your own chickens for eggs to that of buying eggs at a grocery store.

October 05, 2010|by Cara Restelli, KY3 News | crestelli@ky3.com

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- City council members approved a measure on Monday night to let Springfieldians raise chicken.  People will have to decide, however, whether it's worth it.

All natural is all the rage but buying a chicken isn't without cost.  It's one that farmer Curtis Millsap says could be worth it.

"In exchange for food, water, and housing, you get eggs, which is a pretty good deal," said Millsap.

He warns, just like any pet, chickens require care that costs.  We compared the cost of raising your own chickens for eggs to that of buying organic range free eggs at a supermarket. 

Looking at a two-year period, which is about the amount of time a chicken produces eggs regularly, you'll need to pay for the cost of the chickens, which could run you about $60 for six of them.  Then, you'll need to feed them -- most likely organic non-genetically modified feed, which costs about $20 a bag and lasts you about a month.   That breaks down to about $5.30 a week in exchange for about 28 eggs.  Buying 28 organic cage-free eggs at a grocery store would cost you about $8.59 a week, a difference of $3.29.  

So, egg to egg, it's cheaper to raise your own but, if you only eat a dozen eggs a week, it's probably cheaper to go to your local grocery store to buy eggs.  Buying a dozen eggs a week would save you about $1.60 over raising your own chickens. 

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Of course, you could always sell your extra eggs to make up the difference, but Millsap says it's not about the money. 

"Mostly it's about people knowing where their food comes from and being able to trust that," he said.

Millsap says they taste really good. 

"Once you've had fresh eggs you don't go back."

Keep in mind, we're look at ongoing costs, not start-up costs, which Millsap says can run anywhere from nothing if you have a fenced in yard to $1,000 and beyond for a fancy coop, feeding and heating system.  

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