Cost Breakdown of Ownership

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by blinkyfish, Sep 20, 2013.

  1. blinkyfish

    blinkyfish Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm a bit of a nerd, but I charted the average cost of chicken ownership as measured in dollars per dozen eggs over a two year period. I started my flock in March of 2011 and started getting eggs from the 6 birds in September 2011. I spent about $400 on the coop and covered run, but for the sake of comparison I charted one line that includes that cost and one line that doesn't. Obviously, as you get more eggs from your hens the average cost per dozen goes down. I still think it's interesting to look at. After two years my eggs have cost me about $3.50 a dozen if you exclude the coop, and about $6.50 a dozen if you include that cost. I also charted the volume of eggs per month on a secondary vertical axis (on the right) because I thought it was interesting.

    Things to note about my figures...I don't light my coop and I rely too much on feed instead of scraps. I'm trying to get better about that, but we spend about $20 a month between feed and bedding. I hope that this chart helps explain the economics behind small flock ownership. If you have any questions, let me know.

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    Last edited: Sep 20, 2013
  2. write2caroline

    write2caroline Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I love your assesment and accounting. We sell our eggs and built our coops from free pallets. The eggs I sell cover the cost of the feed and nesting materials.

    My main cost is the cost of the birds.

    Thanks for posting this - I think I need to charge more for my eggs
    Caroline
     
  3. blinkyfish

    blinkyfish Out Of The Brooder

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    If you're trying to sell your eggs for a profit you'll want to think less of what your current average $/dozen is and more of what your future (stabilized) average $/dozen will be. I don't think I'm there yet, but by next year it'll taper off. The blue line will eventually approximate the red line if I do this for long enough.
     
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I'm a nerd too and I love this....I plan on keeping similar records in a spreadsheet.
    How did you capture your data?
     
  5. slatts

    slatts Out Of The Brooder

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    I'm a nerd too but I think I'm better off not knowing!
     
  6. Bullitt

    Bullitt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It is interesting to see someone keep track of costs like in the original post. I was thinking when I was reading the original post that there are many variables to raising chickens.

    As you point out, if you build a coop out of free, or mostly free, materials, and you sell some eggs to pay for feed and bedding, the cost is $0 to have chickens. Plus, you get to eat some of the eggs yourself.

    And you can buy chicks for less than $3 each. Selling off say 3-year-old hens can pay for chicks and the feed to get the pullets to laying age. So, you really only pay the first time you buy chicks. And if you have a broody hen and a rooster, it is even cheaper to get more chickens.

    These calculations do not include garden cuttings and table scraps or allowing chickens to free range.

    Chickens are about the easiest animals to keep, and they will pay for themselves.
     
  7. newbie32

    newbie32 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So since most people around here have their own chickens so I cant sell the eggs. I give feed plus treats. When will my cost equal out if I spent $175 on run and have 4 hens to 6hens? I plan to breed and keep for dual purposes
     
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    You'd need to keep your own records and evaluate...we don't know what your local expenses are... feed cost, what eggs cost, meat costs...and can't see into the future.

    There are variables that you won't know until they happen...so start keeping exacting records now and in a year you'll have your answer.
     
  9. blinkyfish

    blinkyfish Out Of The Brooder

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    I appreciate the responses to this. For the sake of honesty, I did not keep exacting records of the costs shown above, but I believe that my figures are reasonable based on the records I did keep. Personally, I consider the coop that I built a part of my landscaping. I made it prettier than it needed to be. Also, if you plan on selling eggs and reducing your costs by that amount, I think that it would make sense to reduce both your costs by the dollars received, and the amount of eggs you sold from the volume. The reason for that is this chart's purpose is to show the cost per dozen of eggs to you. I'm sure there's a better way to explain that...

    What was comforting to me after going through this analysis was that my average cost/dozen was a reasonable number after two years of laying. I could easily discount part of the cost of the coop due to aesthetic appeal, and I could also discount a portion of the feed costs. My reason for that is the chickens are considered about half pet, half livestock in my house. We easily spend about $20 a month maintaining our two dumb cats, and I don't get any eggs out of them. If I'm spending $20 maintaining the chickens I'm not in too bad of shape. The average cost per dozen is in the neighborhood of what I could buy at the store (the expensive stuff), and I know exactly where my food is coming from. There's a lot of comfort in that.

    If anyone is interested in using my spreadsheet I can send you an attachment. It's pretty straightforward, I just had to manipulate the chart to make it pretty and presentable.
     
  10. newbie32

    newbie32 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes please send me a copy!
     

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