DIY chicken farming kits, only $785

Real live Brooklyn chickens. Photo via Flickr's Kristen Bonardi Rapp.

Did you ever want to raise chickens in Brooklyn? Me neither, but the way people talk about it, a backyard coop must be some kind of homesteading fantasy like buying a country house or growing rooftop spuds. Now there’s “Victory Chicken,”  an e-commerce site that bills itself as  New York’s affordable answer to raising backyard birds. A Victory Chicken starter kit with three hens, a coop, two months’ worth of food, wood shavings and so on is $785. Assuming you even have a backyard, is that genuinely affordable? It certainly is if you move in too, but let’s figure out how long in chicken years would take you to recoup (recoop?) your investment.

Assuming that a carton of organic eggs is roughly $4, the hens would need to produce roughly 200 cartons, or 2,400 eggs total to earn their keep. Three hens, 800 eggs a piece. Estimates on average daily egg output vary, but five eggs a week, or 250 a year, is an oft-cited number. You’d need more than three years to reap the magical 800 eggs needed to pay off your initial outlay, not counting maintenance, opportunity costs and so on.

If you’re actually thinking of raising chickens, though, you’re not doing it just for the savings, and even a chicken non-believer could be swayed by the romantic, patriotic ethos Victory Chicken (we do love saying those words) wraps around poultry farming:

Victory Chicken exists to bring the chicken back into everyday American life, where it belongs. Since the dawn of our nation we have kept chickens for eggs, food and companionship. It is only in recent history that we Americans have allowed ourselves to become separated from these majestic birds, relegating them to massive factory farms far from our thoughts and lives. This has not been good for them or for us. It’s time to reunite.

Amen, brothers in backyard bird raising! Victory Chicken aims to establish more than 1,000 coops in NYC over the next four years. Find out more at the VC web site, at a chicken raising meetup, or read our post on Brooklyn’s own”poulet palace.”