Thursday, April 12, 2012

The cost of keeping chickens

It might seem like a rustic setup that we have with our chicken collective, but behind the scenes, we keep a tight set of records - with a background in cost accounting and financial analysis, I am making good use of my skills.

You might also be interested in some of our top-level stats.

We started our collective in May 2011 with 24 young layers.  We had 36 hens at the end of the year.  There were 11 member families, and between us, we collected 4,591 eggs.  The cost was $1.46/dozen in feed costs, and we also put in an additional $50 per family to cover the capital costs.

This put the total average cost per dozen eggs including the cost of capital a nice round $2.50.

Compare that to $6 a dozen for organic grocery store eggs, which don't even come from chickens that ever go outside.

We started 2012 with 36 hens, though one of them developed a painful leg soon after.  Although it wasn't broken, it wouldn't heal either.  Mrs. Limpy started to dwindle, and died after a couple of weeks.  We'll never know exactly what happened.

The remaining 35 hens have faithfully produced 2,534 eggs for us - as of yesterday afternoon, when I gathered 29.  This works out at an average yield of 27 free range eggs per member family, per week.  It happens to be approximately the same number of eggs you could expect from a backyard coop with 4 layers.

The costs are also pretty similar to last year.  Each returning member family put in $20 for capital improvements for the year.  The premium layer feed we give our birds put us back an average of $1.51 per dozen eggs collected, though it should be somewhat less after factoring in the feed supply that hasn't yet been eaten, a couple of days' worth.

1 comment:

Please keep the Windsor urban chicken discussion going! We love to 'read your constructive comments.