Monday, May 14, 2012


Chickenomics (chi-kin-om-iks) noun: def: the branch of study concerned with the consumption production and transfer of chickens and their financial viability.

We are well into three plus years of chicken ownership and have learned a few things along the way.  I have shared our lessons learned about winter chicken farming and fall brooding
So now I share with you what I have learned about Chickenomics...

For our family of four usually eats a few eggs for breakfast each week and uses eggs for baking a few times each week or about a dozen eggs a week...which means we need about four chickens for our personal use since a chicken lays about one egg every other day (more or less depending on breed, lighting conditions, food intake and age.)

The one in the front was just layed...that's the bloom still wet on it.

We have a dozen chickens which provides us with usually seven eggs a day (or 49 eggs a week...or four dozen more or less.)

So we have three dozen left after our personal consumption.

What do we do with the extra...

We let others "share" the wealth.
Sometimes we gift eggs to our neighbors as well (a few eggs really warm some hearts to chickens.)

We have several people locally who "board" their chickens with us and in exchange "buy" us feed for their chickens and ours.  In other words...the chickens lay eggs which we sell to locals in exchange for money.  We then put the money in a jar and when they need feed, straw, a new waterer...etc...the money comes out of their jar.  We get our eggs for free in exchange for taking care of the chickens.  In the summer when they are laying well, we sock away money for when they don't lay well and have expenses without income.

For example...people give us $3.00/dozen to board their chickens.
If 3 people a week board with us the chickens have $9.00 in their kitty a week.
Since they lay well for about 36 weeks a year it gives us $324/year.
During the other 16 weeks, we do not sell eggs, we use what little we get.
Grand total of income $324 more or less.
Feed costs $16/month or $192/year.
This means that the chickens bring in a wopping $132/year.

There are other expenses to the chickens including adding to the flock, straw, and the time/labor costs.
When we go on vacation, we barter eggs for chicken sitting so there isn't an expenditure there.

There are other benefits to the chickens in the form of brown gold...fertalizer...composted, I get enough chicken guano and spoiled straw, leaves, and other unsavory items to take care of all of my gardens.

So you see...taking care of chickens may not be the most financially profitable endevors one may have, but to boil this down...

Fertalizer (guano)
Compost (deep littler)
Waste desposal (food scraps)

Time and labor (1 hour or so a week plus a deep cleaning 2x/yr)
Out building up keep (a bit here and there, but we keep it simple)
Straw (which costs about $6/year which is then composted so it becomes "income")
Flock replenishment (new chicks/ or get pullets...we get a few new ones each year)

Linked to The Morris Tribe and The Monday Barn Hop and Simple Lives Thursday


  1. Hi, I'm Anne, and I just came over from the barn hop. Good idea for a post. I've wondered the same thing myself. I don't take in "boarders" myself, just keep our own flock of 13 hens and a roo. That gives us enough eggs for our family of 8. In the high-production months, we sometimes get more than we can eat, but we give some away then. I figured they cost us about $1/day. If I did like you and found a way to make money from them, we'd be doing alright.

    1. If we had a family of 8 I think we'd be selling a lot less! We'd love to have a rooster, but can't due to noise ordinances.

  2. Good chicken-accounting! I've only gone so far as to keep records for number of eggs laid for a year, then just this year started counting eggs AND feed costs. I have a feeling that the numbers won't be much in the black though, but it's still worth it. Eggs for eating, eggs for incubating, the occasional rooster dinner and THE best form of free entertainment! Oh yeah, and all that fertilizer!

    1. Last year we counted eggs and feed costs, and may get back into that again. I definitely agree that the eggs are worth it no matter can't get orange yolks and taste like that anywhere else.

  3. We get about 18 eggs a day and give the majority away but it's still worth it. There's nothing like being able to feed your family foods that you know are 100% safe and pure and from an animal that is happy and well taken care of. And yes, the eventual compost for the gardens is a great benefit too! :)

    1. There are so many benefits of homegrown no matter what it is. I love knowing when my kids go eat out of the garden, it is completely safe for them.

  4. Interesting accounting, however I noticed that you only counted the eggs you sell as income and not the eggs you consume. So, I think your chickens are a bit more profitable than you think. Also, you can decrease feed costs a bit by either free-ranging your chickens or feeding them scraps from the kitchen and garden. Our girls are allowed as much feed as they want, but when I'm able to give them the leaves from the finished broccoli plants or a pile of watermelon rinds, their consumption of commercial feed goes way down but egg production stays up. Love your blog, by the way!

    1. If you figured in the eggs we consume it would be about 52 dozen (x$3 for $156) We unfortunately can't free range since we live in a neighborhood where the neighbors wouldn't particularly care for chickens in their yards (when they get loose that's where they tend to go.) We do give them all of our scraps and garden stuff, grass when we mow, and during the summer they go through about 25lb/mo of feed, and in the winter when we only have kitchen scraps (and occasional restaurant scraps if they save them for us)they tend to go through a lot more..about 75lb/mo so average 50lb/mo or one sack ($16) So I do agree with you that we could factor the ones we consume in, but at the same time, I wanted to see if they paid their own way.

  5. Ours are free range so we buy little to no feed for them, so no cost there. I think that one very important aspect for me and my family is knowing what goes into the eggs that we eat and knowing how the chickens were treated that laid those eggs. Having 3 small children I also really enjoy having chickens around for pets and it teaches a tiny bit of responsibility to the older two kiddos as they have to take care of any needs the chickens may have as well as assist in collecting eggs. Around here Organic eggs go for up to $4 a dozen, with Free Range being even more difficult to find. Add the cost of driving to the farmers market ( both gas and time) and including the enjoyment as pets and for us it's an easy decision.

  6. We have gotten 10 chicks this spring, and are really looking forward to the fresh eggs! My family eats TONS of eggs. We get them delivered from our CSA farm, and probably go through 3-4 dozen/week. I am hoping that the 10 we have will give us enough eggs for our own use as well as selling some to my mom and a neighbor. We shall see! I think we are going to need some type of heat lamp in January/February, we live in Maine - aka seriously cold in the middle of winter :-)

  7. This post was interesting and I love the title Chickenomics. It would make a great title for an article or book. It puts it all in perspective.

  8. I never can tell if we break even or not on our chicks. My dad asks all the time. I should send him here. I'm just stopping by to invite you to our new DIYlinky over at tomorrow morning. Come? I'm SO nervous that nobody will come to my party!


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