Can You Save Money on Eggs By Raising Backyard Hens?
Welcome back to my channel, Amelia’s Frugal Life. Are backyard hens worth it? Egg prices are sky-high — the highest they’ve ever been. This is because of the bird flu. Because of this, a lot of the farms that sell eggs are struggling to meet demand.
If you want to own backyard hens for the sole purpose of having the eggs and you want to save money, in short, you will never save money by having your own backyard chickens just for the eggs.
They cost way more than what you would save if you bought them, even with the price of eggs going up. However, if you look at chickens from a more holistic point of view, there’s some wiggle room there.
Paying for the setup
This is our chicken setup. We currently have three backyard chickens. Back in April, we adopted these three chickens from a woman who was going to university and couldn’t care for them.
We got the coop and the first run with that.
We got the three chickens, the coop, the one run, the chicken wire, and the bits and grits, food and leftover bedding, and cleaning products for £150 (around $180), which was very, very cheap.
Just to buy a chicken coop without a run costs around £200 (around $250), and then to buy the first run would be another £200-300 (around $250 to $375).
We also have an automatic door on our coop, which would have been a few hundred pounds. If you get chickens, I highly recommend an automatic door. It is life-changing.
We bought the second run once we had the chickens a few months ago for another £100 on sale. Then, to rescue or buy the chickens, including any of the maintenance costs that come with chickens, would have cost probably £500 (about $600).
We managed to get the chickens and the setup for about £350 (around $425), because we got it all secondhand.
At the moment in the UK, it is illegal to have fully free-range chickens. You need to have your chickens undercover, so you can’t just have a little coop and let your chickens roam.
That’s just the setup alone. Then, you’ve got the maintenance costs of keeping your backyard hens. For our three chickens, we spend anywhere between £10-20 a month on food (around $15-25).
The cost depends on whether you are feeding your chickens feed or giving them scraps from your house. If you live in the UK, you aren’t legally allowed to feed your chickens scraps if you have meat in your house.
Because we have a mostly plant-based, vegetarian household, we can. You can also lower the food bill by letting them roam, dig, and scratch around. If they are free-range, they’re going to eat a lot of bugs and greenery.
Give and take
One thing I love about backyard hens is the give-and-take relationship I have with them. I wanted chickens because I wanted pet chickens, not because I wanted eggs.
When we got chickens, we weren’t even planning on eating the eggs, but I saw this amazing give-and-take relationship. We look after them. We feed them. We care for them. And, they give us eggs.
We also feed them back some of the eggs as well. If you don’t know what an egg is, that seems carnivorous. But, if you don’t have a rooster, an egg is just like a hen’s period.
Back hundreds of years ago, women used to eat their placentas to regain strength from childbirth. Our backyard hens lay roughly three eggs a day. We keep two and feed one back to them. That helps give them all the protein and nutrients that they need to keep laying eggs.
This tub of bedding that we use with our backyard hens costs about £20 (around $25). In the summer, this will last months because we only use it in the bedding boxes. We don’t put it at the bottom of the coop, because we have vinyl flooring that we clean.
But, in the winter, it’s very cold in the UK, so we put bedding on the bottom of the coop to insulate it, so we go through it a lot quicker. In general, bedding does last us a long time. On a month-to-month basis, it costs between £10-40 (around $10 to $50).
When are chickens worth it?
If you get chickens just for eggs and not as pets, you will not save money. Chickens need a setup, food, and bedding to maintain the energy to lay eggs.
For us, chickens are part of a holistic lifestyle. When we clean our chicken coop all of that bedding goes into the compost bin, and makes really nutrient-dense compost which we are then able to use to fill up our raised beds and grow food. It’s this beautiful cycle.
Before we had chickens, we were struggling to maintain our needs, but since getting chickens our three compost bins fill up so well, and we save hundreds of pounds on compost.
Chickens are a pet, just like dogs or cats. They have different personalities and need love and attention; they are not just egg-making machines. You should get chickens because you want them as a pet or as part of a holistic lifestyle.
Our dream is to have a few acres of land and way more chickens. If you have more chickens, it can potentially work out cheaper, because you have more eggs.
I know people who got a secondhand shed from Facebook Marketplace and turned it into a cook. If you can turn a free shed into a coop, and let your chickens roam, I can see how it becomes affordable.
If you have a lot of eggs, you can sell some and make money back. People will pay more for organic, free-range, backyard hens.
I would really encourage people to get backyard hens if they’re thinking about it and like animals. They are really lovely pets.
What are some ways you save money on your backyard hens? What does your setup look like? Leave a comment and let us know.