The $729.94 Thrifty Egg Up On ebay Auction


In the Brooder
10 Years
Sep 24, 2009
Southern NH
I am an author of a weekly newspaper column and blog on thrifty living who didn't quite know what I was getting into when I decided on a whim to become a backyard chicken farmer.

After 89 days and hundreds spent on the birds, although I have some great chicken stories, I had little to show for my effort.

Until on day 90, the first egg finally showed.

I offer up my first chicken egg on ebay for $727.94, the amount of money I have spent to date on the upkeep of this “thrifty food source” and the true cost of this solitary egg.

Although the chickens have ultimately been worth it in terms of entertainment and education, they would be more worth it, if someone would buy the egg.

The ebay link and listing text follows:

It all started innocently enough. As a writer of a weekly newspaper column and blog on thrifty living, I decided to get some chickens to raise for eggs. How much more thrifty could I be right?

I figured why not? Backyard chicken farming seems to be all the rage. Our grandmothers did it. Even our mothers have stories of cleaning out chicken coops. How hard could it be?

A reader contacted me and offered me 8 chicks that had been hatched by a homeschooled family. Offer accepted, piece of cake, we were going to be having lots of eggs instead of meat in our daily diet.

Not only that, I figured my 6 kids might actually learn a thing or two about raising your own food and being respectful of the work that goes into getting food onto the table.

We started with 8 chickens (3 of which had to be returned because they turned out to be roosters)

Then we added 6 more exotic chickens because they were so neat looking.

Then I went to a chicken swap and got a Seabright hen who was supposed to be one year old but who has refused to lay eggs.

We recently went to a chicken swap and paid good money for two more grown hens in an effort to get at least one egg. (hey I’m not above cheating – I mean, seriously, all I want is one egg).

Nothing. Not even from the two year old hen whom we were assured was an “egg-laying machine.”

Along the way, among the many things we have paid for are:
• A hen house painted to look like something from a child’s play farm with enclosed pen (strong enough to withstand a hurricane and more importantly the fisher cats in our neighborhood)
• 4 bags of feed (chicken feed is a bit of a misnomer – it’s not as cheap as one might think)
• 2 water feeders, 2 food (feeders we quickly learned that chickens don’t have the best table manners when it comes to bowls)
• 1 towel that had to be thrown away after my son nursed a sick chicken back to health in it (even sick chickens continue to incessantly poop)
• A total of 9 purchased chickens (one top of the 5 free ones)

After 89 days, we still had no eggs, not one single one.

Our profit on these hens currently stands at -$729.94

Well today we got our first egg.

Here it is. Behold, I offer unto you, the $729.94 egg.

Has it been worth it?

Well if you count the stories like little Simon being brought back from the dead by my son, Morgan the chicken-chicken who likes to be held in your arms and pet like a cat, or Zelda, the chicken who didn’t like to be caged and who sent me on a 20 minute frolic through the woods hobbling on a recently operated knee before I could catch her using a hastily constructed twig net a la Bear Grylls, then yes, I suppose it is worth it. We will certainly never be at a loss for stories at the Thanksgiving table.

But it would be even more worth it if someone just bought this darn egg.


10 Years
Aug 23, 2009
Western North Carolina
Having set up my own chickens, I can't afford it, but I am watching your auction none-the-less. Much luck.

We went with a cheaper coop and used existing buildings on the property, but I can swap you stories of having spent on 3 incubators and lots of egg shipping for 12 chicks...


Brooder Boss
10 Years
Mar 3, 2009
It is a very pretty though....


10 Years
May 11, 2009
i specifically refused to keep track of how much my chickens cost, Becuase i didnt want dh to use it against me later. lol. however it has been ... 4 1/2mos abouts and i have 1 dz eggs from my girls. i spread out my purchases Alot.... and didnt tell im how much the incubator cost, ... or the eggs i hatched... or the fencing materials. ... but i got all but one peice of osb for Free yay!.

good luck!!!!!


11 Years
Aug 21, 2008
Land of OZ
from KS.
That is a good one.

Sorry, I wont be bidding. But I feel for ya! Enjoy the egg!!
Just don't forget that the chickens are 'usually' good stress relievers saving $$$$$$ that is not spent going to a shrink.


10 Years
Aug 2, 2009
Metro Atlanta
Should have done a cost analysis and interview on BYC before the investment. I think the overwhelming consensus would be that it takes a VERY long time to re-COOP your money, if that's your goal. Chicken ranching on a small scale is not thrifty. It has its own rewards, but none you can spend!

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