The enactment of Proposition 2 earlier this year not only spurred the literal movement of chickens in enriched cages throughout the egg industry, but another movement entirely: owning backyard chickens.
As a result of the proposition, which required eggs in California to come from egg-laying hens that have enough room to stand up, lie down, turn around, and fully extend their wings, egg prices throughout the state have skyrocketed — a change which dealt a heavy blow to consumers.
“After Proposition 2, the prices of eggs went up and I heard nothing but comments from people on campus about the costs,” said Turlock High School FFA advisor Joe DiGrazia. “The price of a dozen eggs went so high and people were frustrated that they have never had to pay this amount before.”
“So I imagine a lot of people thought—if they have to—they’ll just raise their own eggs,” continued DiGrazia.
According to a recent survey conducted by Tractor Supply Company, which took into consideration approximately 1,000 Americans, there is a growing trend towards backyard chickens in neighborhoods and joining communities nationwide.
“No matter where they are, families who want to eat better and live life ‘out here’ on their own terms are learning more about fresh, local eggs and driving interest in raising chickens,” said Ken Wilmes, senior vice president, general merchandise manager at Tractor Supply Co. “Our survey shows that more than a third of Americans personally know someone who owns chickens.”
Amongst other conclusions, the survey found that half of all adults are familiar with the practice of raising backyard chickens and nearly half of participants either know someone who owns backyard chickens or owns their own backyard chickens.
Of those who answered that they are likely to raise their own backyard chickens within the next five years, participants reported that the quality of home-grown eggs is the main reason why they would consider starting their own backyard flock.
“There are a lot of new families coming to the backyard chicken movement and they’re finding the top benefit is fresh eggs right from their own backyard,” said Tractor Supply Co. spokesperson Brandon Puttbrese. “There are a lot of other benefits as well that families seem to enjoy, anything from recycling food waste to using chicken droppings in fertilizer to providing a learning experience for the whole family.”
The Turlock Municipal Code states residents can own up to six domesticated fowl, but no rosters are allowed within the city limits. There are restrictions in regards to where a coop can and cannot be placed on a property and any fowl caught outside the property can be impounded.
The survey results coincide with Tractor Supply Company’s “Chick Days,” a nationwide event that celebrates spring with the presence of live baby chickens and ducklings in a number of Tractor Supply Co. stores.
During “Chick Days,” customers can find out more about chick ownership with the store’s provision of knowledge, advice, and tools necessary to raise their own flock properly in any community.
A representative from Turlock’s Tractor Supply Co. reported that their location will feature its own chicks and ducklings as part of the event through Easter and various chicken products will also be on sale.