A July 7th NBC article discussed the down side to backyard chickens. The quote that stood out to us was, “some hipster farmers discover that hens lay eggs for two years, but can live for a good decade longer, and that actually raising the birds can be noisy, messy, labor-intensive and expensive. ” You can hear our response here.
From July 2012 through June 213 we collected 119 dozen eggs. The flock at the store varied from six to 11 and during part of that time frame, not all chickens were to laying age. The flock ate $315 in feed, $43 in scratch, $15 in calcium, and used $24 in bedding.
This means that a dozen high quality eggs cost $3.34.
We have not done the math to factor in coop, feeder and start up costs. Yet it is clear that keeping backyard chickens can be affordable. Of course if you keep backyard hens, you know there are non egg related benefits. Our chickens provide us with plenty of high quality fertilizer and they are often worth keeping just for the entertainment value.
Need another reason to keep backyard hens? For every dozen eggs they produce, you are not supporting an industry that is not always kind to chickens.
The store is down to six hens since April and we are planning on keeping that number. Then next March, we will have another full year of data. By then we will also have figured out amortization and can factor in the costs of feeders and the coop.