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Backyard chickens solve the egg shortage, but is it worth it?

Backyard chickens solve the egg shortage, but is it worth it?
Backyard chickens solve the egg shortage, but is it worth it? 02:14

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - With the price of eggs more than double over the last year and some reported shortages, some consumers are looking at raising chickens in their backyards.

As KDKA money editor Jon Delano reports, that may be fun for some, but not always the best economic decision.

Jody Choder never has an egg shortage at her home in Highland Park.

She has 15 chickens in her backyard.

"They're a lot of fun to have. You've got eggs every day," says Choder. "But I don't think they're really cost benefited if you think you're going to save money by having chickens and not paying for eggs. They require a lot of attention."

With avian flu wiping out 57 million hens so far, owning chickens does guarantee your own egg supply and some say the quality is much better than what you get on store shelves.

"Even if you buy the premium eggs at the store, the fresh eggs direct from your backyard will be superior every time," says Jenn Tompkins of Armstrong County, co-founder of Rent the Chicken.

Rent the Chicken allows homeowners to try out raising chickens with minimal hassle. She says rising egg prices have boosted interest.

"More interest than ever," says Tompkins. "We bring a chicken coop to someone's backyard for a rental from spring until fall with two chickens that lay about a dozen eggs a week or four chickens that lay about two dozen eggs a week."

The rental price for the whole season can be as low as $500, so you do the math on how much you spend on eggs.

But Tove Danovich, who wrote the soon-to-be-published book "Under the Henfluence," says chickens also make great pets.

"I think they are really a delight in addition to the fact, of course, unlike our darling dogs and cats, they actually lay breakfast for us," says Danovich.

So are chickens for you?  

On the one hand: fun for the kids and a ready supply of higher quality eggs.  On the other hand: a bit of work and egg prices, economists say, won't stay this high forever and are beginning to come down.  

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