Monday, October 31, 2011

Opening: New members for Essex County's Chicken Collective

With the year drawing to an end, we are beginning to make plans for our collective for 2012.  As we have recently expanded, we have a small number of openings for new members.  This is an extremely family-friendly project to be involved in, and our experience has been that all children are thrilled to participate.

The purpose of our collective is to provide families with fresh eggs from free range chickens for their own consumption or to give away.  We are learning first hand about food security in our community along the way, and meeting with other like-minded families.  Another benefit of membership is gaining knowledge of chicken keeping in an environment where costs are controlled and the risks are shared.

The collective is in the county and participation involves some driving.  We recognize that this precludes membership by families without motor vehicles.  While we love the location, we would all much rather be able to own chickens in our backyards, or at a collective that is closer to home.  This is why we are continuing to work towards overturning the various by-laws in Essex County that prohibit backyard chickens.

The cost is $30 to join the collective and to cover capital costs.  The feed cost is based on the number of eggs collected by each member, and it works out to about $1.50/dozen.  We pay $20 upfront for feed costs and work down this balance by collecting eggs.  The hens' average production is around 22 eggs a day, but this varies depending on the time of year.

Members put their name down on an online roster on days they want to do chicken duty at the farm, which can be done at any time of the day.  Chicken duty involves feeding the hens and putting in a fair share of chicken poop clean-up (anybody with parenting experience will find this very doable).

Members are free to decide how often they want to do chicken duty and these are the days on which they can take home all the eggs that have been laid.  However, they may also visit at any other time.

If you are interested in learning more about joining our collective, or would like to schedule a no-obligation visit, please send an email to cheerphil at gmail dot com or leave a comment below.


  1. Hi.. I am moving to the county with land... would you have any info on raising my own chickens? is it time consuming?

  2. Hi Warren,
    The way we're doing it, the responsibilities are shared between all the members, so we're not finding it terribly time consuming. A collective like ours is probably ideal for people who are completely unfamiliar with chicken keeping. I would suggest that you do some reading - there are loads of resources both online and in print - before you jump in with both feet.

    While most of us have found that it's even more rewarding than we ever expected, on many levels, I do read about people from time to time, who realized it's not for them.


Please keep the Windsor urban chicken discussion going! We love to 'read your constructive comments.