If you’re thinking about keeping chickens, you’ve probably read a whole host of different benefits that come with them. They are friendly companions to have in your garden, a rewarding hobby to learn about, and of course they produce delicious and nutritious eggs.
But can you make any money from keeping chickens for eggs? Obviously large egg companies with thousands of hens in their flock make profits, but is backyard chicken farming with just a handful of birds profitable?
In this blog we’ll answer the question of whether it is economical to keep chickens for the purpose of supplying your household with eggs.
Costs of Keeping Chickens for Eggs
Like any other animal, keeping chickens will cost money. From buying your birds to paying their vet bills, there is always a cost to owning chickens which can be broken down into 3 separate categories:
Buying Your Chickens
Let’s start with the most important thing in the whole process; the chickens. When buying your chickens it’s important to consider which breed is right for you and which will be the best layers. Some breeds such as the Light Sussex will supply a high amount of eggs if the conditions are right, whilst other breeds may be better suited as a table bird. A good laying breed could expect to produce just under one egg every day.
As well as breed, other options are available when buying chickens that will determine their price. For example, you might wish to rehome some ex-battery hens which can be purchased for a relatively low fee, but will only have a select amount of time left in their laying cycles.
You may want to opt for a younger chicken to get more eggs out of their lifespan. Chicks can be bought for as little as £5 in the UK (depending on the breed) but need more care and attention as they develop. Alternatively, you could look at buying pullets – a hen that is less than a year old but has started laying – for a hardier option that is easier to look after. Pullets will cost a little more at around £20 each.
Equipment and Accessories
Keeping chickens means that you will have to have the proper tools and equipment to keep them safe and comfortable, the most important of which is their coop. This will be the most expensive item you buy for your chickens but will last for many years if properly cared for. Chicken houses can range in price and start from just £139.99 for the Barn Design Chicken House, which is suitable for 2 – 4 chickens depending on their size.
As well as housing, your chickens will need dispensers for food and water which will increase the overall cost at the start.
Feed and Upkeep
After you’ve started your chicken keeping journey, you will need to buy all the everyday consumables for your brood. These costs are obviously ongoing and include things like feed, cleaning products, bedding and medical supplies. The more hens you have the more you will spend on everyday upkeep, but the greater your daily supply of eggs.
Feed is particularly important as it ranges in value depending on the quality and nutritional value. The quality and quantity of your feed will determine the condition or regularity of your eggs. Organic feeds pose many benefits to both chicken and owner, including richer flavours, health benefits for the bird and increased environmental friendliness. It will however cost considerably more than regular feed.
A bag of 20kg feed can range from £10 – £18 depending on the quality and would expect to last a small flock of chickens for one month. This would amount to about £120 – £215 on food, with extra costs involved for things like medical supplies and bedding. By the time everything is added up you could be looking at an annual bill of between £250 and £450 for your flock.
How Much Can You Make From Your Chicken Eggs?
Egg production is dependent on many different factors so it’s impossible to say for certain how much you can expect to make or save when keeping chickens for eggs. The breed, age and health condition of the bird will change their output, as will the time of year as chickens slow down their egg production over the winter time. A good bird can produce as many as 280 eggs per year, which equates to about 0.75 eggs per day.
The price of a pack of eggs differs from shop to shop but consumers in the UK could expect to pay roughly £1.50 for a pack of 6 free range eggs. If a family was to buy 2 boxes per week at this price it would amount to £78 for a full year.
As we can see, keeping chickens at home for eggs is probably not going to make you any money, but you will get other benefits that make it well worth it. You have the joy of knowing exactly where your eggs come from and the conditions in which your birds live. Your eggs will also be fresher than anything you can buy in a supermarket and you’ll never have further than your garden to walk for them. In terms of other animals, chickens are also some of the cheapest to keep overall, making them a great idea if you want some low cost companion.
START YOU CHICKEN KEEPING JOURNEY WITH US
Cocoon Chicken Coops stock a wide range of high quality chicken housing options for beginners all the way to experienced chicken owners. All of our coops come in a selection of different sizes and design options so you are guaranteed to find something that’s right for you.
Keeping chickens starts with us!