Saturday, August 27, 2011

Urban Chickens and Conspicuous Consumption

The most often-asked question I hear from reporters or other curious folks is "how expensive is it to raise urban chickens?" My answer is always the same: it all depends on how much you want to spend on your coop.

The hens themselves are cheap, their food is cheap, straw/woodchips/water is cheap. The coop is ususally, decidedly not cheap.

And why is that? As long as our chickens have a dry, draft-free, safe place to sleep and a box to lay their eggs in (more for our convenience than theirs), they're fine.

We humans are the ones who insist on aesthetics. And the cost curve for aesthetics is steep as soon as you move away from the "homely, but it'll do" point and toward the "I'd be proud to show this off on a coop tour" end of the spectrum. So why bother?

The clue to this answer comes courtesy a blog post by Seth Godin (author of Linchpin

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