The true cost of backyard eggs!


12 Years
Jan 14, 2008
If you want your eggs to be fresher & better raise them yourself & don't think about the cost. If you want your eggs to be cheap get them at a big box store.


10 Years
Mar 25, 2009
I'm running a spreadsheet for mine.

I got my chicks June 2. Everything for them had to be built or bought from scratch and I was able to scavenge very little.

My first hen started laying Nov 1; since then 3 others have started, but two are very inconsistent. I have a total of 6.

I track total costs and feed-only costs. My total costs are currently $14.89 per egg; my feed-only cost is $1.59 per egg.

If my hens average 4 eggs per week per hen, I'll break even in feed costs (assuming "even" is $3.00/doz organic eggs) in about 8 months (that's a bit fudged, since they're not all laying yet, so it's going to be a while before I start to hit that average, so let's say 12 months).

Breaking even overall will take much longer. I'll be converging in about 5 years. Both of these numbers are figured projecting costs, though I didn't try to figure in inflation, so they'll be off a bit... but then, my ladies aren't in contract anyway, so the egg numbers are off a bit anyway

Of course, neither of these take into account bug patrol or fertilizing done by the hens, or the fact that I've been using them to take the sod off.
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10 Years
Aug 17, 2009
Monroe, North Carolina
cindyloohoo got it right -- "storebought mutant eggs."

I read a piece by Harvey Ussery in Backyard Poultry in which he mentioned that we pay for those storebought eggs AND meat in more than just money and lack of nutrition. We pay in pollution from stockyards and factory farms, and in the hormones and antibiotics that go into the animals before they get to be dead and packed and shipped to the stores.

And there's more. I've lived in a poultry producing county for many years. I've seen the brutality at the slaughter houses, directed not JUST at the animals, but at the hapless employees who have to work there for a living.

I've also seen farmers sink their savings into contract poultry houses only to be dropped by the company because it couldn't/didn't want to "buy" the livestock. The farmers were left with a lot of useless equipment and houses and a huge mortgage, and the company walked away scot free.

I'll keep my "expensive" back yard eggs, thank you. They look cheaper by the minute.


10 Years
Nov 15, 2009
San Diego, California
Well....My coop cost over $1000.00, and thats without labor cost since my dad & brothers built it for me. I don't really count it in the daily cost of eggs. As far as I'm concerned, thats just part of the start up and it wouldn't be fair or feasable to expect my hens to make up that cost. However, the coop is built to last, so over time the low upkeep that I have to do with it is a major plus. We have predators like you wouldn't believe (San Diego is a bi-diversity hotspot in the USA). I mean, its built like a high security prison. lol It also matches the house, and I am including every expense for building from lumber, to wire, to screen, etc. I probably spent 2 times the lumber that anyone else might on a house this size because the wire is actually sandwiched between the frame and a second top board. Makes it really hard for critters to pull it off the frame.

But, even without that cost, eggs are getting expensive to produce. Feed is more expensive than ever. I think my eggs run me somewhere around $5 per dozen. However, I am counting all of my feed expense for birds in that case, meaning the feed for turkeys, geese, and about 10 or more non-laying (retired) hens, and about 15 bantams.


11 Years
Aug 4, 2008
Bay Area, CA
My fiance says that figuring in feed and incidentals, the real cost is probably around $7 a dozen for ours. We don't figure in the coop materials, which were mostly "found materials" anyway. The major expense was the chicken wire. We've made our feeders, picked up nest boxes from a neighbor who was no longer using them, got waterers from Freecycle, gotten scrap lumber from a construction site, straw bales that were used as halloween decorations.

Most of our expense is feed. But we also supplement with things like overly-old bread, greens from the garden (a lot of which are volunteers from stuff that went to seed, or radish tops, or related), things that are not edible by the human contingent, like crab innards, etc. The grain moths got to some cereal, a couple days ago, so instead of going into the trash, it went to the chooks. Mmm, yummy moth larvae...supplemented with Honey Bunches of Oats...


11 Years
Aug 26, 2008
mtns of ,NC.
For me the largest cost is the coop and run.
The feed seems to be reasonable and the other incidentals that I have used. Getting started is expensive but then the cost levels off to where the eggs will sort of even out. I never dreammed two years ago I would put so much time , money, and sweat into the coop and run. A labor of love that is a bit crude but warm , safe and dry for my ladies and roo. Gloria Jean
Ps I will never be completely finished with the run or coop. Its all these BYC enablers around. LOL:
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10 Years
Dec 4, 2009
So far $30 for my over priced mutts, $14 for chicken feed,$2 for chicken scratch,.89 for flax seed,$4 for culled lumber for make shift coop, 3.99 for heat bulb. No eggs yet so they are costly;)


Quiet as a Church Mouse
10 Years
Dec 19, 2009
Southwest TN
Oh, it seems I forgot a few things as well on the profit side...exercise, which is healthy, which I get every day tending to my babies needs...COULD cost several hundred to belong to a gym instead, insect control was costing $80 a year for the yard and $200 a year for 2 large dogs that I no longer have to treat as often but do still treat at estimated tune of $50 a year so saves about $150-$230 a year between the yard and dogs. Also, fertilize for my garden, used to spend roughly $100 a year for ammending/fertilizing my poor soil, now spread the free poo!! They have more benefits if you really stop and think. I guess money wise, that about makes me pretty even now. My goats save me from paying $50 a week in the summer for lawn care, so they pay for themselves too, just not so much in the COOL!! Not doing so bad actually, and I have at least $200 worth of meat in the back yard if push comes to shove...that's decent insurance

Happy Chooks

Free Ranging
Premium Feather Member
10 Years
Jul 9, 2009
Northern CA
My Coop
Everything that is better for you costs more. I could eat cheaper fruit/veggies at the store, but I grow it myself instead and it tastes a whole lot better. It's the same for eggs.

The garden and orchard needed a fence to keep the deer out. The chickens needed a coop. Yes, they are expensive, but well worth it. And chicken TV is the BEST!

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