The Real Cost Of Eggs - Aja's Blah-log Blog at - 236747

Aja's Blah-log

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 actuality.

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!
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May 21, 2011 7:05 pm
great budget Aja. My son raised a sold eggs one year. The cost of laying hen chicks in the States is very high compared to Canada, we get chicks for about 1.75/bird. The cost of feed from local farmers is a little cheaper too, but then we add oyster shells for calcium and hard shelled eggs, and a bit of soy or peas for protein. After 15-18 months of laying many chickens cut their laying back to near half. A farmer down the road has 3000 birds and sells eggs commercially, he keeps them for 1 year after they begin to lay. Hope you enjoy your farm fresh eggs. We pay 2.00/doz for farm fresh eggs here, 2.75-3.00/dozen at the farmers market
May 22, 2011 4:40 am
Average cost of farm fresh eggs here, in NH, is $3.00 a dozen...
May 22, 2011 8:25 am
Great blog Aja! I love the "cost analysis." That's the reason I've got chickens. The cost for eggs gets out of hand quickly if you bake alot. About two more months til my lil' gals start laying.
May 23, 2011 12:52 pm
Our grocery store sells eggs for $2.35 a dozen and up, fortunately a farmer on the way home from our cottage sells farm fresh brown eggs for $2.00 a dozen, I always buy whatever he has when we come home, I reuse my egg cartons which he appreciates.
May 24, 2011 6:59 pm
One thing to keep in mind is that if you are buying chicks they are coming from hatcheries. The hatcheries are often not much better than battery operations and of course the baby male chicks are still killed at birth since they do not grow fast enough to be killed as 'meat' and therefore are not 'economic'. Also, as noted, laying an egg every day is very stressful to the hens and so they wear out after about two years at which time they are slaughtered - because - as in the words of the local 'farm fresh egg' operator - it's just too expensive to keep them around if they can't lay eggs. There are lots of great egg replacements around and none of them have the artery clogging and stroke inducing cholesterol found in eggs. For baking you can use applesauce, ground flax (with lots of omega 3's plus fiber and cancer fighting antioxidants), soy yogurt, pureed tofu, or bananas. All of these options make great baked goods and every one who has ever eaten what I baked has remarked on how delicious the cakes, cookies, and 'custard' pies are. I haven't eaten or used an egg in over 8 years and I find it hard to believe I ever ate them or cooked with them. I'm really glad I've found really healthy and tasty alternatives to chicken eggs.
May 24, 2011 7:39 pm
Hi, I appreciate your concern for hens. Avoiding industrially-produced eggs is a good start. But there are profound problems with nearly all commercial egg operations. Virtually all laying hens come from hatcheries that kill the newborn male chicks, by grinding them up alive in a "macerator" or suffocating or gassing them. They do this because the males can't lay eggs and are ot of a breed that has been engineered to grow enough flesh quickly enough to be profitable. This video, starting at about 1:23 has some footage of this process: (The rest of the video is an eye-opener, too.) Modern laying hens' wild cousins, who originate from the jungles of Southeast Asia and the foothills of the Himalayas, lay about 20 eggs a year. Centuries of breeding have ramped up the laying rate to 15 times normal, which causes hardships to the hens (your comparison of a human having a baby once a week is spot-on), may rob them of nutrients, and increases the risk of painful prolapses and ovarian and uterine cancers. At about 2 years old, egg production starts to decline, making the hens unprofitable for most commercial operations - so they're killed. Birds are not covered by the (already weakly enforced) Humane Slaughter Act, and may be fully conscious and aware as they bleed to death and are immersed in scalding tanks to loosen their feathers. I got to know Virgil Butler, who worked various jobs in poultry slaughterhouses for years, and the stories he told me of the suffering of birds will haunt me for life. I've gotten to know hens through my volunteer work at a nearby farm animal sanctuary, where we take in abandoned, neglected, and abused chickens of all sorts. It's wonderful to see the birds dust-bathing in the dirt we provide for them, making lifelong friendships, and foraging in the grass and plants. It's gratifying to see proud roosters - who, despite popular misconceptions, generally cooperate with each other - taking care of their flocks. On rare occasion, we take in a mother hen and her chicks. Hens are such doting mothers, and chicks in hatcheries are denied this - they never know the protective wing of their mothers, or the lively mother-to-chick conversations that begin when the chick is still in the egg. It's easy to not use eggs in baking. Vegan baked goods have won the Food Network's "Cupcake Wars" twice and have won blue ribbons at various state and county fairs. At the dozen vegan bake sales that I've helped organize, most customers - nearly all non-vegetarian - cannot tell the difference, and many rave that it was the best baked good they've ever had. This sheet has a summary of which non-egg binders to use when:

To replace scrambled eggs, I highly recommend learning and perfecting a couple of tofu scramble recipes. I was very wary of tofu scramble when I first tried it a few years ago. I was thinking it would be some poor-man's rendition of scrambled eggs. How wrong I was. It is an amazingly flexible dish, and I look forward to it on weekends, where it is a tradition at our house now, much more than I ever looked forward to scrambled eggs. Granted, there are other dishes that use eggs. But this is a start to transitioning away from eggs, and the cruelty inherent in them. Once we know the REAL cost of eggs, My hope is that we can gradually come to see hens' eggs the way we see sparrows' eggs and cardinals' eggs - as a vehicle for new life, to be nurtured by a protective mother until the glorious day when a little beak breaks through.
May 26, 2011 1:31 pm
People kill over 40 billion chickens annually worldwide. The breakdown - Broilers: 30 billion, Egg-layers: 5 billion, Breeders: Several millions (60 million in the US alone), Male chicks in the egg-laying industry: 5 billion. World Total: Over 40 billion.
May 26, 2011 8:23 pm
It wasn't until very recent that I learned the horrors of the poultry industry. Male chicks are ground alive or suffocated because they are worthless to this industry. Hens are not allowed to act out any of their natural instincts like dust bathing, pecking, or scratching in the dirt. Their beaks are burned. After they spend their short lives producing eggs, they are slaughtered. So sad, because of all this, I gave up eating eggs. I had given up meat several years ago.
May 26, 2011 9:31 pm
Great comments guys! I don't think that it has to be all that bad for chickens. Especially if you get your chicks from a small local farm. But I'm not vegetarian, and I have no problem with using a hen for meat after it's had a reasonably long and happy life. Eggs are delicious in my opinion and far more natural than tofu. I like to eat things in their natural state. Tofu does not resemble what it originated as in the least bit. Additionally, soy products cause the formation of mucloid matter in the respiratory system which is far more viscous than the mucous caused from dairy products and therfore even harder for the body to remove. Because of this, I stear clear of any soy products that are not the actual beans.
Jun. 1, 2011 12:26 pm
"Mucloid matter" is an urban legend that has no basis in physiology.

There's nothing scary about the tofu making process. If coagulation freaks you out, you might as well stop eating cheese, too!
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About Me
Although I do have other hobbies, cooking...and eating are at the forefront of all my time well spent. The artform of flavor and aroma paired with the visual beauty of a dish, delights my soul to the core! Not only do I love to experience food, but I love to feed my friends and loved ones and watch as they experience each flavor and texture sensation. My husband and I love to entertain and to cook together. We also love to eat out on the town and recreate the dishes that we try.
My favorite things to cook
I love to cook rissotto. I love the time consuming but mindless task of adding the broth and stirring. Watching as the husks on the rice slowly turn transparent and the gluten begins to thicken and look creamy. I also love to make home-made pudding. I think I must like stirring...mind-numbing bliss with a delicious reward!
My favorite family cooking traditions
Pie crust the way my mom makes it. It's a science, you know? Half lard, half butter. Keep the fats cool but not too cool as to be too hard to incorporate. Cut in the lard first using butter knives, then cut in the butter leaving large pebbles. Add ice ice ice cold water 1 tablespoon at a time while stirring till dough just holds together then turn out onto the counter and knead 2-3 times. Roll out to 1/8 inch thickness. You can see the butter in the dough as you roll it out...there's your flaky crust. The trick is to not let the dough come to room temperature where the fats in the crust will begin to break down.
My cooking triumphs
Created recipes for a brandied pear gallette and seared scallops in a lobster mushroom cream sauce. These are the only original recipes I have created although I have "copied" several dishes that I've tasted on many different occasions.
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