Pandemic Spurs Interest in Backyard Coops

June 22, 2020

Google searches for backyard coops to raise chickens reportedly have been on the rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Homeowners are exploring ways to have access to fresh eggs in a time when visiting the grocery store has become more stressful and food shortages grow.

“Interest in some of my chicken articles has gone up over 500% since the end of February,” livestock expert Shelby DeVore, founder of Farminence, told realtor.com®. “I’ve also had a huge response from people reaching out and looking for advice.” Chickens are affordable and relatively low-maintenance, and don’t require a lot of space, DeVoer says. “It’s a great way to become a little more self-sufficient without committing to an all-out homestead or completely self-sufficient lifestyle.”

But not all cities or homeowners associations permit residents to have a chicken coop in their backyard. Always check with landlords, neighbors, or local laws first, experts note. “Some cities have a bird-per-resident limit,” says Adam Mcaree, who raises chickens in Portland, Ore. “Some deny the right to have a rooster. Some laws may require the coop to be a certain size and/or distance from the house or property boundaries.”

But besides the fresh eggs, experts also point to other little-known benefits of housing chickens: They can serve as pest control, and their manure can be great fertilizer for gardens. Don’t stress if the chickens don’t lay eggs immediately. They may require several weeks before they start. Also, while chickens are known to be fairly low-maintenance compared to some other household pets, they still require regular upkeep.