The Real Cost of Eggs
May 21, 2011 5:48 pm
Updated: Jun. 1, 2011 12:26 pm
I love farm fresh eggs. Free-range, happy hens that eat grass and bugs and grain make the tastiest, richest eggs. At the farmers market near me, a dozen eggs cost 5.00. Many people either don't know, or forget that our government subsidizes farms to the
point that the cost of our farmed goods is artificially low, as evidenced by the supermarket dozen eggs for 1.50. So I wanted to find out, how much it would cost to produce a dozen eggs the good old fashioned way.
There are a couple things to consider here. Chickens don't reach laying maturity until 18-20 weeks. Additionally, a chickens diet needs to consist of protien as well as grass and grain. Chickens are omnivores and need protien in order to produce regularly and
maintain their health. Egg laying takes a lot for a chicken. One article I read compared a chicken laying an egg every 25-26 hours to a woman having a baby once a week. It's very important that they have a full spectrum of nutrients and fuel. Keeping your
chickens outside, on the ground will enable them to peck at insects and grasses to suppliment their diets. In this cost breakdown, I did not include cost for pen setup or regular maintenance. That considered, the final cost per dozen is probably lower than
Cost of chicks - 4.00 ea for 6 chicks = 24.00
Cost of organic feed - 25.95 for 25 lb bag
Time till laying age - 20 weeks
Egg production - 5 eggs per week
Total laying time - 2-3 yrs
50g of feed per day/chicken - 6 hens*50g*7 days*4.66 wks=9786g/month
25lb*454g=11350g/bag --> 25.95/11350=.0023 cost/g
.0023*9786g=$22.51/month feed cost
22.51*36 mo=810.36 cost in feed over the duration of the laying time
52wks/yr - 20wks development = 32wks + 52 + 52 = 136 total egg laying weeks
136wks * 5 eggs/wk = 680 * 6 chickens = 4080 eggs over the laying life
4080 / 12 = 340 doz eggs
810.36 / 340 = 2.38 dozen
At 2.38 per dozen base cost, I can certainly justify paying my local chicken keeper 5.00 for a dozen eggs. I have long had a heart for these poor defensless birds. The treatment of egg laying hens in the large, institutional egg farms is atrocious and heartbreaking.
The only way to put an end to the mistreatment of chickens is to not buy the cheap, mass produced product.
Change begins with the consumer!
Barred Rock Hens love to get outside and eat grass!