Last year was our first time ever owning chickens. I wondered if it would be more cost effective owning our own chickens or simply buying eggs from the store. I kept a spreadsheet of every expense we had related to the chickens, which was mostly food, and I counted every egg that was laid for the year.
Well friends, after reviewing my spreadsheet it looks like our first year raising chickens was not a money saving venture. Here was the breakdown:
- Chicken Feed: $112.97 This was for (50 lb??) bags of corn and laying mash from Tractor Supply store.
- Chicken Feeders ($3.79 each) and Waterers ($2.99 each): $20.34 We shouldn’t have wasted our money. We could have made our own.
- EGGS Collected 2009: 203
That means that it cost us approx. $0.65 per egg!
Yikes!! We could have bought organic free range eggs from the store for cheaper than that!
However, there are several factors I have to consider…
First of all, when we got the chickens they were all still very young, and were not laying yet. It was actually a few months before they began to lay.
We lost about 10 hens over the summer, so that reduced our production.
It was a while before I free ranged them. Once we started free ranging the cost of feed was dramatically reduced.
And all too quickly winter came and the hens pretty much stopped laying all together. We bought more laying mash, hoping to inspire them, but it didn’t do any good over the winter. It just ended up costing us more.
So…. not such a great first year. But, lots of learning, which is invaluable, right?
This year we will try to do much better. I wish we had room to grow our own food for the animals, but we’ll probably be stuck buying some feed for a while.
At least this year all of the hens are old enough to be laying, so we won’t be spending so much on food for non-layers. Hopefully in Spring production will pick up again. Through the winter we’ve averaged about 1-3 eggs/wk. Not so great. We only have six hens now, too.
Hopefully, now that the hens are a little older they will start sitting on their eggs this year. We’d love to have some chicks, and increase our flock size.
Now that we are free ranging most days, I’m gonna try cutting out the laying mash again. That stuff is expensive! Maybe we can get cracked corn from the mill for cheaper? I’ll have to check into that.
And I think we are set as far as chicken equipment goes. We may get an incubator if the hens don’t sit well (or “go broody”). Hopefully we’ll at least have a couple of good mama hens.
So, that’s my financial strategy this year. I’ll keep a spreadsheet for 2010 and see if we can do any better. Surely we will!