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What does a dozen eggs REALLY cost to produce?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by BacktoBasicsGal, Oct 5, 2015.

  1. BacktoBasicsGal

    BacktoBasicsGal Out Of The Brooder

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    Hello All,

    Please let me start by saying I do not sell eggs. The main reason I have more "girls" than I need for my household is 1.) I have not culled my first set of hens. Secondly, I wanted to be able to give eggs to my brothers and sisters families. That being said, I am asked at least once a week to sell someone a dozen eggs. I am hesitant to sell anyone eggs because of numerous reasons but the biggest reason is liability. I just do not want to expose us to that potential - it simply is not worth it.


    Well we had someone, not a family member, begging for us to sell them some farm-fresh eggs. They said they had never had farm eggs from chickens raised on pasture and after months of them continually pestering us, sold them a dozen eggs at a cost of $4.00 for the dozen. Definitely against my better judgement.

    In order to have a gauge for egg prices, I looked at the natural food store down the street that sells "free-range" eggs for $4.99/dozen. I thought $4.00 was a fair price.

    This person, after months of pestering us to try the eggs, had one dozen delivered them to them which was about 4 miles from our farm. Granted, we had to go somewhat close to their location anyway but they were still delivered to them. I knew in advance the parents weren't home but the eggs were left with one of the kids to put in the refrigerator. They knew in advance I was selling them for $4.00/dozen - and had been hesitant to even sell them in the first place.

    Long story short, they said they would try them first to see if they were worth it....Talk about sending me off on a rocket!

    I was and am still simply stupefied by their actions/response. This just reinforced why I never wanted to sell any eggs.This "incident" forced me to sit down and figure out what it actually costs to produce and sell a dozen eggs. I figured out that without making a wage on care or cleaning, a dozen eggs cost me at least $5.40/dozen. I wrote a lengthy post on my blog with how I arrived at that calculation.

    While I did not write this portion of the "story" on my blog, I did write out what it costs me to produce and sell a dozen eggs. It may be of interest to some of you. Here is a link to my blog and the "rest of the story" Click Here
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Dark Sider Premium Member

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    One of these days I'm going to calculate what a dozen eggs costs me, and it's going to be tricky, because in reality it's not just feed costs to consider, it's also cleaning supplies, the original cost of the birds, the cost of building the coop, the cost of feed to raise them to laying age, electricity to run the heat lamp in the brooder, cost of feeders and waterers, and the cost of electricity to keep their water unfrozen in the winter, etc etc. Not to mention all the time devoted to their care. When you really sit down and think about it, our eggs probably cost a lot more to produce than we consider when we sell. If anyone ever complains about my price of $3 a dozen (and so for no one has, and in fact they all think it's a steal), I'm going to let them know about all these costs and then see what they have to say.

    I'm quite tempted to hatch a batch of 12 chicks and calculate everything it costs me to raise them and get them to laying their first dozen, just so if someone complains I can tell them exactly how much that dozen cost me to make. I wouldn't be surprised if it turned out to be at least $50 - and that's only because I already have the incubator, coop, feeders, waterers, and heat lamp. If I had to buy all that too it would be crazy how much that first dozen would cost. People just don't understand. They thing that we're getting 'free' eggs from our chickens. They have no idea.
     
  3. BacktoBasicsGal

    BacktoBasicsGal Out Of The Brooder

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    I actually pro-rated the cost of my coop, the fencing, electricity, feed, property taxes, insurance, etc but did not include the waterers, feeders, the alfalfa racks, the solar lights, cleaning solutions, etc. (I put how I figured the costs on my blog, it's a lengthy post.) I just wanted something I could hand them when I go to pick up my $4.00 which I am going to collect! I am amazed at how some folks think or should I say, don't think! Once you figure out what the costs actually are, it may really surprise you!
     
  4. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nice breakdown, however how do you spend .50 a day on bedding? That is really outrageous! Using Koop Klean which is really expensive mine would be about .27/day & if I used pine shavings it would be less than .10. The electricity cost seems high also.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Selling to people who don't understand my outlook and goals(and they are many) is just avoided.
    They don't get it, so they don't buy, no problem....not worth my mental energy.


    Being a hobbyist/'making my own food' chicken keeper rather than a commercial/'selling to the general public' egg producer,
    I record and calculate my cost of feed against the sales of eggs continuously and almost always come out ahead, even with the eggs I eat.

    Any 'profit' probably covers all the bedding I very efficiently use, tho I haven't calculated it exactly.
    But being a 'hobbyist' I did not calculate the cost of building the facility, purchasing equipment, raising chicks to POL or my time.
    Getting set up was the journey, and I can't put a monetary value on that joy.

    Keeping them without more costs is covered by egg sales to a few people who are aware and appreciate how I do what I do.
    My population of birds is just right for my facility, for the few appreciative customers and my own consumption of eggs and meat from extra males and old hens.

    @BacktoBasicsGal re: your situation.
    This person is an idiot, they need to pay you the agreed on price and then it's up to them to buy again or not...if you agree to sell to them again.
    Or it might just be best to donate the $5 to the Fates and never discuss it again and never sell to them again...
    ......this is why one reason I don't sell to the general public, just some friends and acquaintances, keeping it small and real.
    .
     
  6. BacktoBasicsGal

    BacktoBasicsGal Out Of The Brooder

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    I too was surprised at what a dozen eggs truly costs when you break things down. Another thing that needs to be considered with my costs is our homestead is not in farm country or a rural area. We are in a suburban area in SE Michigan that happens to have a few smaller parcels zoned for agriculture that big developments haven't swallowed up yet - land costs and taxes are high here. A lot of "farmland" by us have McMansions on them and no animals - its been sad to see all the farms disappearing. Anyway, in order for me to go to a "grain mill" or a true "farm store", I'd have to drive an hour minimum one way. The closest thing we have to a "farm store" that is close is Tractor Supply and they are at least a 25 minute drive away. There are a lot of factors that would make each persons costs to produce a dozen eggs different. I thought it was interesting as well.

    Here is how I arrived at the costs:

    I buy and use 2 bales of pine flakes from tractor supply and a bale of straw per month which I pay $5.49/bale pine chips x 2 = $10.98 plus 6% tax $.66 = $11.64 A bale of straw at the closest feed store is $4.00/bale plus tax of $.06 = $4.24/bale $11.64 +$4.24 = $15.88/month (I only used $15 on my figures so the cost would be higher!)

    (I had never heard of Koop Klean so I looked them up. The closest distributor to me is 36 miles away. Driving there would cost me, at an average of 16 miles per gallon, 2.25 gallons of gas at the going rate of gas, at $2.25/gallon a little over $5.00 in gas one way. I have to figure my time to drive there and back so once that is factored, it would not be a savings for me anyway.
    (I will now look for that product! Thank you :) - I would love to reduce my costs!)

    Our monthly electricity bill for lights, well pump, etcetera I took an average for our last 12 months for the bill and took 10% of the average and took 1/2 of that for my 6 month figure. We had to have lights for evenings and those are on year round. We have to run a water heater in the winter for the water so I thought 10% was a fair number. Even at half that cost of $.26/day to $.13 per day, a dozen eggs would cost over $5 to produce. ($5.39 - .13 = $5.26/dozen)

    I also have 3 solar panel lights I use in the coop which I did not breakdown on cost of purchase for and I did not include what I spent on the waterers, buckets, my egg basket, my emergency medical kit I keep in the coop or the feeders. Once I knew for a fact that the costs were higher than I had charged, it just solidified what I had thought - If you can get a farm fresh dozen eggs for less than $5, you are getting a great deal! Most of us only sell our excess eggs anyway but still, the way the person was after continually asking, and then whining about the $4.00, really struck me especially since I had spent my sunday afternoon cleaning the chicken coop out!

    Once you really sit down and figure costs on items, it really is an eye-opener! I hope this helps explain my costs and how I arrived at them.
     
  7. BacktoBasicsGal

    BacktoBasicsGal Out Of The Brooder

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    Oops
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2015
  8. BacktoBasicsGal

    BacktoBasicsGal Out Of The Brooder

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    I am certain my post gave folks the impression of how truly honked off this person made me. They will never have the opportunity to crack open and enjoy one of my girls golden treasures again. I, like so many here, have my girls not only as a source for fresh eggs, but because I love having chickens. They are curious, entertaining, funny little creatures that I love sharing my space with. It was never my intention to sell eggs to the public. I have a large enough family I can supply my extra eggs to.

    I would never ask someone to buy something and then after receiving it say what they said; especially after continually pestering me to sell them a dozen when I had already explained I do not sell eggs. (There are a few other words for this person I will refrain from using here that came to mind!)

    I do supply eggs to an elderly widow who is ecstatic to get a dozen and another lady that I know who is having difficulties in her life, I give them both a dozen eggs about every 10 days or so but I don't charge them anything. I just know they both love the eggs and appreciate them. That's enough for me. :)
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I knew your thread start was basically a much needed vent, I hope you feel better, but you're mostly singing to the choir on costs(tho many do not pay attention to it).

    Some of your costs are slightly exaggerated(property taxes are paid anyway) and some could be reduced (bedding costs primarily).
    I use sand and PDZ on roost boards to manage night poops(maybe 30 minutes a week of time) and use maybe 2 bales of shavings a year in a 6 x 16 coop.
    Travel for supplies could be consolidated to monthly with good storage and planning.
    My 50W water heater costs less than $3 a month for 3 months (I measured it with a Kill-A Wat),
    supplemental winter lighting is probably about the same tho I haven't measured it.
     
  10. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

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    Calculating feed, bedding, nesting material and winter run cover, and electric to heat winter water for one year and dividing by number of eggs in a year I get $3/dozen. By using a years figure it's more accurate to actual costs as a chicken has periods of time without lay so with my breed I assume 200 eggs annual for each bird. Eggs sold from the home from a pastured flock I do believe $4 is a very fair price. Obviously production birds would greatly reduce the costs and not raising cockerels reduce more.

    I certainly don't change bedding each week rather let it do it's job. Every two weeks I'll scoop out top layer of bedding under roosts then rake around mixing the entire floor before adding a bit more. Managing differently will make pine shavings last a long time.
     

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