Sick of sky-high egg prices? Here are the benefits of buying, raising a chicken

HOUSTON, Texas – The avian bird flu has wiped out tens of millions of healthy chickens across the United States and has resulted in sky-high egg prices at the grocery store.

In fact, from December 2021 to December 2022, egg prices rose 60% in just 12 months.

That has brought anger and frustration from parents across Texas who are “shell-shocked” by the price of eggs. But, at the same time, it has caused Ken Cousino’s chicken-selling business to explode.

”As far as our chicken sales go, I would say we are up 100%. We went from selling maybe 20 to 30 chickens a month to selling 100 to 200 a month,” Cousino said.

As the owner of Quality Feed And Garden in north Houston, Cousino sells both baby chicks and full-grown Hi-Line Red hens to families who want to raise their own chickens in their backyard and never have to buy eggs at the store again.

How many eggs can you expect to get from one chicken in one day?

“Our hens are eight months old, right at the start of their egg-laying life. Each hen lays one egg a day,” Cousino says, “So if you have three hens, they’d produce 21 eggs a week.”

As far as the cost goes, Ken sells his hens are about $26 dollars a piece, and there’s a reason he recommends buying this particular breed of bird.

“Well, this is a very, very, docile breed and that’s why we sell them. You know, because they’re great with children and families,” Cousino said.

So, now you’re wondering how much money it will take to start raising your own chickens in the backyard.

Cousino said the average family will want to buy three hens, which will cost about $78. And you will need 30 pounds of feed to get started, which will cost roughly $15. A five-pound bag of grit, to aid in the chicken’s digestion, will run you about $5. A one-gallon waterer and a food bowl will come to about $15. And finally, a small chicken coop, which can be found online for about $160. The total comes out to around $273.

In Oak Forest, Will and Kate Vaughn are raising four children, as well as two chickens, Little Princess and Moxie.

”Well, the upkeep of a chicken is very similar to that of a household pet, a dog or a cat. You feed and water them every morning. You clean out their coop like you would a litter box and that’s about it. Oh, and they will eat almost anything, so we feed them table scraps every night,” Will said.

Loyce Gayo is also raising her own chickens, but in a much bigger way, and now has close to 20. She says the taste of her homemade eggs is so much better than store-bought eggs.

”I’ve gotten to taste the difference between the eggs that I raise and the eggs that I’m able to buy at the store, and they don’t even compare. It makes the eggs even richer, the yolks a deeper color,” Loyce said.

In Bellaire, Phillip Bowden is a nurse practitioner who is married to a doctor and is raising three children.

He said raising chickens at home is fun and a great experience in being responsible for the kids. He added that neither he nor his husband worry about their children’s safety when they are out playing with the chickens.

“As long as you wash your hands after handling the eggs or the chickens, you’re basically at no risk for salmonella poisoning or any other illness,” Bowden said.

In the end, Will has this advice for any family considering buying chickens to raise at home for eggs.

“Do it! Get a couple of chickens, but first check with your local HOA to make sure that there are no rules prohibiting chickens. Stop buying eggs and simply make your own,” said Will.

Also, the law says you can raise hens in Houston, but the chicken coop itself has to be at least 100 feet from your neighbor’s home. Either way, experts say it’s always best to check with your neighbors and your HOA before you buy a few chickens to raise at home.

About the Author:

Emmy-winning investigative reporter, insanely competitive tennis player, skier, weightlifter, crazy rock & roll drummer (John Bonham is my hero). Husband to Veronica and loving cat father to Bella and Meemo.