• Global pet survey from 2019 shows a steady increase in home chicken owners – with a significant boost during lockdown
  • In 2019, there were 1,028,000 chicken owners in the UK, rising to 1,338,000 in 2020
  • If all home-kept chickens lay average amount of eggs, they would produce 10% of the egg consumption in the UK in 2020

14 July 2020, Cambridge:

A Global Pet Survey commissioned in February 2018 through into 2019, has identified a growing trend in chicken ownership in the UK, with up to 200,000 new chicken owners appearing year on year. In 2020, this has been further bolstered by savvy Brits moving to chicken ownership as a sustainable food source as the pandemic took hold, when concerns were raised about potential food shortages.

Chicken owners in the UK keep chickens for a variety of reasons; for their personalities – chickens have great characters and are incredibly fun to interact with, for a sustainable food source – producing up to 200 eggs per hen per year in some breeds, as educational pets for children – the many activities required for chicken keeping offer great educational opportunities for young ones, whilst some keep chickens as an additional income with the eggs being sold at the end of drives and gardens – seeing an upsurge in honesty boxes.

How could chicken keeping affect the egg industry? As part of a wider study, ChickenGuard – developers of the country’s most popular automatic coop doors who commissioned the pet survey – have been doing the maths. With their vast knowledge of chicken keeping the company has access to, they have identified that in 2020 eggs laid by pet chickens could provide up to 10% of the UK consumption. But how?

Here is the math. According to the pet survey, in 2019 the number of pet chicken owners in the UK was 1,028,000, but this has steadily risen by 200,000 year on year. Considering the additional sales increase of chicken products estimated at a conservative 10%, this would mean that 2020 has a total number of 1,330,000 chicken pet owners. Each healthy hen, in its early life, will lay 200 eggs per year, the average number of chickens kept per household is 5 – therefore over 1.3 billion eggs will be laid in homes this year. That is a whopping 10% of the 13 billion eggs currently consumed by Brits each year.[1]

Ben Braithwaite from ChickenGuard who commissioned the survey comments: “We have been closely monitoring the rise in chicken ownership over the last couple of years and the pet survey has really shone some light on the growing trend in countries all over the world. The pandemic has brought more households into the fold as people worried about food supplies and saw chicken ownership as also a source of fresh food. That, alongside the increase in celebrity keepers, has made chickens more popular than the hamster, guinea pig and the previously most popular feathered friend, the budgie.”

ChickenGuard produces automatic doors for chicken coops from its base in Cambridge, distributing to 57 countries worldwide. The company has been a reliable source of factual and anecdotal information for chicken keepers and has championed the integration of chickens into schools, whilst leading the way in product innovation.

Ben continues: “I was gifted a flock of chickens by my mum over a decade ago. I had no idea about hen husbandry and the dangers from predators, so my girls were sadly killed by a rogue fox. I set about creating a way to make the process of chicken keeping easier with new products and technologies, but also using the website as a resource for people – by providing essential tips and guidance for people starting out. The chicken owner community are incredible, their love of the birds is second to no other pet, and the convenience of self-sustaining egg production is an extremely welcomed bonus.”

If you would like to learn about keeping chickens, how to best look after them, protecting them from predators and the benefits of keeping chickens with children – more information can be found in the blog on the website. Simply visit www.chickenguard.co.uk

[1] https://www.egginfo.co.uk/egg-facts-and-figures/industry-information/data