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The Economics of Raising Chickens For Eggs - Are We Really Saving MONEY?

So are chickens really worth the expense? What’s the ROI (return on investment) for backyard farmers? Well, I think the answers to those questions will be different for just about every farmer we know, but the following will be our perspective. To simplify this whole thing we are going to use 1 chicken’s cost over a two-year window. 

So 1 chick costs us about $3.50 (seems cheap, right?) 

That chick won’t lay eggs for the first 6 months so we can’t count those weeks, plus egg production drops about 20% yearly, and we need to account for that as well. Over the course of 2 years, our chicken should lay about 4 eggs per week or 270 eggs total. (4 X 52 X 2 = 270)

So if we have 270 eggs, that means we have about 22.5 dozen eggs. Currently, at Whole Foods, a dozen eggs are about $3.50. So 22.5 X $3.50 = $78.75. That’s what we consider Profit! 

But don’t get too excited just yet. There’s more to consider. 

We still haven’t calculated feed. Shoot! I thought I was on my way to becoming a millionaire. 

So how much is feed for 1 chicken? Well, our chicken eats about ¼ pound of feed daily. So let's do some math. .25 lbs of feed over the course of two years (730 X .25) equals about 182.5 lbs of feed. 

How much is the feed? Well, we buy ours in 50 lb bags, so 182.5 lbs divided by 50 lbs equals 3.65 bags of feed, for our chicken. Our non-GMO feed costs us about $15 a bag, so let's do that math. $15 X 3.65 equals $54.75. Not bad at all. I think we are still making money!! 

So far we are profitable but we haven’t considered the cost of the coop, safety, feeding supplies, medicine, and god forbid predator loss. Those are all clearly costs, but we also need to consider the profits like chicken poo-manu (manure), pest reduction, not having to till the garden and the amount of love the fills our chicken loving hearts! I’m going to go ahead and say for this one chicken we break even on all of the above. But, and that’s a big BUT, since our chicken’s egg production is reduced by about 20% every year, but their feed consumption stays about the same and the feed costs likely will increase, our chicken does start to cost us money after about year 4. 

So based on this example, if you keep your chicken for less than 5 years, you will be profitable. Not a millionaire, but excellently profitable. :-) If you keep her for more than 5 years you will undoubtedly be in the red! But when you consider the quality of the eggs you are getting from your own hens and the love they bring into your homes, you are super profitable!

How does your chicken math work? Profitable or no? Let team FLYGRUBS know in the comments.

All the best,

Emily

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