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"Commercial" urban egg farms?

Discussion in 'Local Chicken Laws & Ordinances (and how to change' started by jonnogogo, Oct 21, 2013.

  1. jonnogogo

    jonnogogo New Egg

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    Oct 21, 2013
    Hi all,

    My first post here, but I used the forums a lot when I was taking care of 16 beautiful hens in Berkeley, California!

    I'm writing a paper about henhouses in a zoning ordinance. I know that I want to encourage people to build henhouses in their yards as an "accessory" to their homes, but I'm trying to figure out if it would also make sense to allow henhouses/coops in commercial or industrial areas, as the "primary" use of a lot -- with regulations that would ensure humane living conditions for the hens.

    Has anyone heard of an urban commercial (for-profit or social enterprise) egg farm? I know that a number of businesses around the country are trying to make profitable urban farms on rooftops or in greenhouses, but I can't find any commercial chicken-raising operations.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    How large a facility are you looking for?
     
  3. jonnogogo

    jonnogogo New Egg

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    I don't have a specific size in mind -- the real point is that the egg farm is the primary use of the lot, maybe a small lot around 1,000 square feet.

    Ideally, something that could potentially be commercially viable, if only at prices that are much higher than even what you pay at a farmers market, or even if the land was being used rent-free.

    If anything might possibly fit those criteria I'd love to hear about it!
     
  4. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    That is a really tiny lot! I cannot imagine that you would be able to raise enough birds there in anything except battery cages and be able to break even on costs, much less make a profit, and I see no reason why people would pay extra for the eggs just because it is small scale versus large scale if the methods of rearing the birds are the same. People pay extra when they perceive an advantage in the increased cost: a better quality product. I don;t think there is enough room for better raising conditions.
     
    1 person likes this.
  5. jonnogogo

    jonnogogo New Egg

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    Thank you, Sonoran. Is there a larger lot size that you do believe would work in an urban area?

    The larger premium would be for the hyper-localism of it. A family might pay $10+ for a dozen "same-day" eggs if the money went to support something they really believed in -- humanely raised chickens in their own neighborhood, perhaps connected to a nonprofit that taught children about food justice, etc.

    Certainly 20 years ago it would've been shocking to propose that millions of Americans would pay $5+ for a dozen eggs from a farmers market, or that they would seek out vegetables grown on a local rooftop or meats cured at a local butcher made from locally-sourced pastured beef.
     
  6. wingless

    wingless Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I know someone who has an acre lot in a residential area, and I think has a hundred or more chickens. She sells her eggs, and I think once said that one thing that makes it easy for her to do that is that so many people live near her.

    PM if you'd like more info.
     
  7. The Yakima Kid

    The Yakima Kid Cirque des Poulets

    Considering that the maximum number of chickens recommended for an acre of pasture over times is about 100 - and that with the night manure being disposed of elsewhere - I think it would be difficult.

    Many more chickens than that and even growing heavy nitrogen using plants can't keep the soil healthy. People don't realize how much damage vigorous foraging can do to an area. One traditional way was to divide the acre into two portions and replant the area not in use with good forage, alternating every six months to a year depending on the climate. Thousand-headed kale used to be grown because the chickens could strip the lower leaves and the tops would provide shade.
     
  8. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    That is such a tiny foot print that even if you used caged layers you could still not break even or turn a profit if you stacked battery cage after battery one on top of each other like the bean stalk in the fairy tail.

    Even trying to do something like this is one of the worst examples of "Rent Seeking Behavior" that I have ever seen. Another term for "Rent Seeking Behavior" is "Captured Agency" and it makes British Petroleum and all the other oil, drug, arms, etc. companies look like rank armatures by comparison.




    http://www.auburn.edu/~johnspm/gloss/rent-seeking_behavior

    The words appearing below in bold print were highlighted by the author of this post.

    Rent-seeking behavior:
    The expenditure of resources in order to bring about an uncompensated transfer of goods or services from another person or persons to one's self as the result of a “favorable” decision on some public policy. The term seems to have been coined (or at least popularized in contemporary political economy) by the economist Gordon Tullock. Examples of rent-seeking behavior would include all of the various ways by which individuals or
    groups lobby government for taxing, spending and regulatory policies that confer financial benefits or other special advantages upon them at the expense of the taxpayers or of consumers or of other groups or individuals with which the beneficiaries may be in economic competition.

    Captured agency:
    A government agency, especially a regulatory agency, that is largely under the influence of the economic
    interest group(s) most directly and massively affected by its decisions and policies -- typically business firms (and sometimes professional associations, labor unions, or other special interest groups) from the industry or economic sector being regulated. A captured agency shapes its regulations and policies primarily to benefit these favored client groups at the expense of less organized and often less influential groups (such as consumers) rather than designs them in accordance with some broader or more inclusive conception of the public interest.


    You can see were this is going when the idea of rent free land is floated.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  9. chickengeorgeto

    chickengeorgeto Overrun With Chickens

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    And the number of square feet in an acre of land is over 43 times the 1,000 square feet first mentioned, meaning that 1,000 square feet of urban land will support overtime a little less than 2.5 hens, that is if they are confined in the fashion that the beginning author seemingly advocates.
     
  10. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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