Some friends in Portland, OR have four pet chickens that lay about as many fresh eggs as poops in their backyard. I was curious if raising chickens saved them money so I asked them to break it down for me.
On a monthly basis they pay…
Pine shavings for litter: $5
Organic feed: $10
Total cost for four chickens: $15
Monthly egg yield: 78 eggs
Cost of 78 organic eggs in the store at $3/dozen: $19.50
Monthly savings: $4.50
But the monthly cost analysis does not take into account all the expenses so let’s look at the yearly investment.
Buying the birds: approx. $5 per chick x 4 chicks = $20
Cost of chicken coop: $500 (They made a very impressive coop themselves. One could be made for much less.)
Yearly upkeep (12 x monthly cost): $180
Yearly cost of chickens: $700
Yearly egg savings (12 x monthly egg costs): $234
Yearly savings: -$466
By this analysis, our friends are going broke raising chickens. However, there are other factors that have an intangible cost benefit. These are impossible to put a dollar figure on because each person values them differently.
These factors include the time spent tending the chickens, the money saved from eating less meat because you are getting more protein from eggs, the value of a constant source of fertilizer, pride in raising your own chickens, enjoyment gained from having perky pets, and the value of fresh eggs.
There is also the WOW factor when you show guests your chickens, which is generally offset by the poop everywhere factor.
Depending on how you value these factors, raising your own chickens could be just the thing for you. Just don’t hold chickens too close to your face. Peck!
A great resource for anyone interested in pet chickens is MyPetChicken.com.