The Business of Chickens

I don’t spend much time thinking about the business of chickens.  The girls (and boys) have become part of my daily life, a morning and evening chore that provides a bit of entertainment and more than a little sense of satisfaction.  So, when the ladies in the business office at work suggested that I should, perhaps, be paying a bit more attention to the business of chickens, or – more accurately – the very, very small business that we run out of our chicken coop, it took me a moment to realize that, perhaps, it really is worth my time to consider what’s going into our operation.

As such, I’m going to spend the next year chronicling what is going in and out of the coop, in terms of both feed & egg productivity.  In addition to this, I hope to chronicle, accurately, the costs associated with having chickens, not as a means to dissuade others from their own poultry pursuits, but to provide a framework of understanding for those considering such options.

The way I am imagining this working, from here on out, is a monthly cost analysis, kept here (for purposes of both transparency and ease.  I’ll begin with our first month, and try to update during the first week of each month or after any particularly large poultry project.

January 1, 2012 – February 6, 2012

Chicken Feed -$15.19/bag x 3 bags = $45.57
Pine Shavings – $5.49/bale x 6 bales = $32.94 (We could get these a bit cheaper, but this particular brand is local, and I’m happy to make up in cost what isn’t getting pumped into our air in the form of fossil fuels).
Total Costs: $78.51

Eggs – $3.00/dozen x 10 = $30.00
Whole Chicken – $12.00
Total Earnings – $42.00

One thing that I want to note, however, is that I purchased food today (with almost a week’s feed left in the hopper).  Feed & shavings last approximately 3 full weeks, and in that time, we usually sell between 9 and 12 dozen eggs, depending on productivity.  As such, I hope to see these numbers begin balancing out a bit more, as our egg productivity dropped dramatically in January after a week and a half of sub-zero temperatures.

Do you raise chickens and sell eggs?  How do you keep track of productivity and costs?


One thought on “The Business of Chickens

  1. I’ve been keeping receipts for the straw, shavings and feed stuff. It’s a bit more than yours is (but straw is the same price as your shavings -and I get equal amounts of both). My feed is WAY more. My 7 hens don’t lay every day, some not laying at all, and some hens are eating the eggs before I get to them, so I’m losing money though I haven’t added it all up yet. Organic eggs at Walmart cost $4 a dozen- so I’d like to sell at least a dozen a week to cover the layer mash feed. For the corn scratch feed I would need to sell another dozen eggs a week to cover. The oyster shell stuff is also adds onto that list, though I also fee them crushed, baked eggshell for calcium. We don’t have a safe area for them to free-range in, but I’ll be trying some different methods of growing supplemental feeds. And, there is also the option to start raising them for meat. I am not sure if we’ll go vegetarian or decide to raise and process extra birds at this point. Without a chicken-plucker I’m not all that keen on processing them!
    Looking forward to reading more of your ideas!

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