companions and providing them
with lifelong care,” she said.
Backyard eggs tend to have
more micronutrients, higher
protein and richer yolks, and
they tend to be better tasting and
mean healthier, fuller lives for the
chickens themselves, Jones-Napier said.
“It is a different taste entirely
because they are actually eating
grass and bugs, getting exercise
and participating in natural be-
haviors … where if they are com-
ing from one of the massive egg
farms … all they do is lay eggs
until they die,” she said.
“So, a lot of what you’re seeing is that beautiful, good, rich
diet coming through the production of the eggs,” Jones-Napier
The humanely raised chick-
ens from Dare 2 Dream run $7
for chicks; coop-ready hens range
from $15 to $35, depending on
age, and rarer breeds go for more.
“It’s not that hard to raise chickens, really,” Jones-Napier said, re;ecting on her grandmother, who
once provided eggs for a Texas
community of 1,000 people.
As chickens continue to gain pop-
ularity as avant-garde pets and
not just what’s for dinner, the in-
novations to chicken coops—the
biggest cash outlay for backyard
keepers—will keep pace.
A predator-proof coop is
essential in backyard chicken-keeping, especially in urban
settings, where there’s no shortage of predators, including cats,
stray dogs, raccoons, opossums,
skunks, hawks, ravens, foxes and
coyotes, among others.
Jones-Napier suggests $300 to
$400 for a decent, no-frills starter
coop, while ;aff uses a figure of
$250 for the same.
Dare 2 Dream also makes
custom coops for those who
want them, and these can be
intricate in design and function
and cost as much as the average
sales price people could expect
to pay for a new home in 1970
“The most elaborate coop we
have built cost around $26,000,”
In addition to custom
coops, Dare 2 Dream sells
handcrafted coops on its website, ranging from $500 to
$1,695 and more, depending
on the model, upgrades (run
or no run, standing height or
not), and whether delivery and
assembly are included.
While spending thousands
of dollars for a custom coop
might sound like frivolous
spending to some, Raff sees it
“Lots of our coop customers started with lower-quality coops for pricing reasons
to begin with but have found
that a quality coop is worth
its weight in gold for protection from predators, ease
in cleaning and durability,”
She added that “well-built
and handcrafted chicken coops
can increase property value as
a durable and purposeful out-
building like any other proper-
ty improvement can.”
Front Yard Coops are
wheeled for mobility and
come with solar panels used
to power a predator-proof
electric fence at night.
In addition to providing
their owners with breakfast,
chickens “have a range of personalities from independent to
cuddly,” Raff said.
“There’s an added benefit
that people can’t grasp until
they’ve kept chickens: they’re
like pets, and they become part
of the family with names and
personalities all their own,”
“Because they’re so enjoyable, people continue to keep
them … and they continue to
urge their friends to do the
same,” she added.
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