"Never let a crisis goes to waste" is an adage that, unfortunately, many people put to work in tough times. My wife was telling me last night there's someone locally selling "started" laying hens for $125 a piece!?! That's absolutely insane!
Assume a dozen eggs is $5.
If you're lucky, the hen lays 500 eggs in her lifetime.
$5/12 = $.42/egg
That's $210 in eggs, not counting your expenses. It's not a stretch to say it costs $20/year to raise a chicken. So knock $60 in overhead off that and you're monetary ROI is enough for a meal at Wendy's.
Conversely, I just bought 20 chicks for $100. Let's assume 12 live out their 500 egg lives. That's 6,000 eggs, or $2,460 in eggs. It'll cost $750 to raise them, netting enough to justify a nice coop and fencing.
Owning chickens is about more than the return on your $, but it doesn't need to be a terrible $ decision!