When you keep chickens, you have to take care of them. You have to water them, clean out their coop, feed them and collect their eggs. You can also ooohhh and aaahhh over the chick cuteness, pick them up, pet them, give them treats and laugh at their antics, but those are happy options and not necessities.
We jumped into keeping chickens about a year and a half ago without knowing (fully) what we were jumping into. We’ve stumbled a bit along the way, but mostly it’s been a fantastic experience. I can’t imagine that we’ll ever not keep chickens, regardless of where our lives take us.
Occasionally I wonder though, if our chickens are actually paying for themselves on a day to day basis. Now, of course, I’m not counting the approximate $400 dollars spent on coop #1 and the eventual Mansion or the fencing (mostly recycled) in this question. We accepted those costs as a given part of the set up. I’m talking about their feed. Water is close to free, but that organic layer and scratch is expensive! Is it worth it??? Well, what they put in their mouths goes into their eggs which then goes into our mouths, so I’m hoping it is.
At the end of last week we purchased 90 pounds of Scratch and 90 pounds of Layer at a total cost (with tax) of $125.92
If we figure that a dozen organic eggs go for about $3.99 at your typical grocery store and a dozen local organic eggs go for about $5.00 at the Farmer’s Market we’re going to split the difference and put our humble eggs at $4.50 per dozen for this experiment.
At that rate we’re looking at 28 dozen eggs to break even. That’s 336 eggs. From 7 layers. That’s a lot of eggs! Poor chickens! If we get 2 dozen a week, we’ll be looking at 14 weeks to break even.
In the interest of full disclosure, there was a little bit of feed left in the bottom of the bin when we filled ’em back up, so we’ve waited to start counting until today (Sunday, August 14th). The hope is to have collected 336 eggs by Saturday, November 19th.
I really, really hope this works! I mean, the chickens are cute and fun and all, but the whole point of this was yummy sustainability!
Tell me…Have you done the math? Do your chickens pay for themselves?