Chickens are chic, and businesses are lining up to pamper your prized poultry

To capitalize on the lucrative chicken farming trend in cities, businesses are offering premium chicken amenities.


July 20, 2018

“Heritage” home-raised chickens have become a hot commodity in high-earning communities from Silicon Valley to Manhattan. 

And, where there’s a niche, there are people getting rich: Businesses now offer premium avian amenities to bougie urban chicken farmers.

Not your Grandma Ethel’s chickens

While regular chickens cost about $15, heritage breeders charge $350 or more for lap chickens (‘better to cuddle’) that produce desirable eggs (‘prettier colors’). Popular breeds include the Dorking (a British breed that traces its ancestry to the Roman empire) and the Rhode Island Red. 

Since 93% of America’s most populous cities allow backyard birds, chickens are becoming particularly popular in cities filled with high earners. According to the USDA, 1 in 100 households in Denver, LA, Miami, and New York raise live chickens. 

High class tastes like chicken

In wealthy communities, farm-to-table dining often symbolizes good taste and wealth. So for wealthy chicken farmers, chickens don’t just provide eggs — they provide bragging rights.

Tech executives who used to whip out vintage bottles of wine to impress each other at dinner parties now bring six packs — of eggs. Families in Silicon Valley enjoy multi-colored eggs from heritage breeds because they show “these eggs did not come from Whole Foods.”

Breeders aren’t the only ones cashing in on the chicken coop craze

To help these urban farmers raise their pampered poultry, chicken care cottage industries are cropping up. 

Specialized contractors earn $20k building coops with solar panels, reclaimed wood, automated doors, and video security systems. Owners pay private chefs and specialized vets big bucks to keep hens healthy.

‘Chicken whisperers’ consult on how to make birds more comfortable for $225/hr. A startup called Qoopy offers “luxury daycare for chickens” to customers in Brooklyn, San Francisco, and Portland. 

“We’re typical Bay Area people,” one chicken mom in Silicon Valley told The Washington Post. “We’ll spend anything if it’s labeled ‘heirloom’ or ‘heritage.’”

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