Recent findings by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) in collaboration with the United States Department of Agriculture indicate that poultry farmers produce 8.54 billion broilers and 99.8 billion eggs a year.
That is not to mention that there are nearly 240 million turkeys in the United States. Now, if you factor in other countries, you will agree that chicken rearing is not only becoming a popular economic activity around the world but also something millions consider as a pastime.
But here is the big question: What is the cost of a dozen eggs? The truth is that while most poultry farmers sell twelve eggs at $4, with retailers pushing the price a little high to $4.99, deciding at this point would be inconclusive.
Therefore, it is important to break it down, first of all, by looking at the cost of production. Remember, several factors play significance in helping poultry farmers come up with a befitting price per egg-something they believe would eventually cover the cost of production.
How Much is a Dozen Eggs-Breaking it Down
If it is your first time rearing chicken, coming up with the right cost of production means you will have to consult experienced farmers or an expert. In this post, we do the math for you. Remember, producers often sell their products in the hope that it would help them recover overhead costs and also make a profit.
If your first sale ends up being a huge loss, then your farm would be on the precipice. But before that happens-and, we hope it won’t. Let’s walk you through a breakdown of the whole undertaking. Take a look.
You need chicks to get started with poultry farming, and in this case, layers because your ultimate aim is to determine the average cost of a dozen eggs. Now, let’s go for a minimum of 5 chicks which should cost you about $18.
Remember, these are day-old chicks, which brings to the fore another necessity-a brooder.
A Brooder, Heating lamp, and Bulbs
Brooding, many poultry farmers would agree, is a quite challenging phase in your journey to producing a dozen eggs. You need the best brooder for the money, which you can buy from an online store or a nearby farm. However, if you are a DIY-er, making one shouldn’t be costly compared to placing a purchase order.
With a brooder come other necessities such as heating lamp/bulb, feeder, and water containers. Also, you will need a bedding material, preferably wood chips. Well, depending on where you buy a brooder, the cost often varies, but let’s takes an average, which is $30+. A good heating lamp should cost you around $12+.
We would recommend OMAKEY 2 Pack 100W Ceramic Heat Lamp with 1-pcs and Digital Thermometer, Fengrun Infrared Bulb Red Hard Explosion-Proof Glass Heating Lamp for Chicken or any other you find affordable.
Moreover, when it comes to putting money on a good bulb, you shouldn’t spend a lot. After trying out several options in the market, the best one averages $10+, which is good for the money. You might want to save on the cost of production, especially when it comes to finding a water trough. Thus, relatively curved and shallow dishes would do for a start.
Your chicks need comfortable and warm bedding materials. And because wood chips are often the most popular choice for poultry farmers, it shouldn’t cost you a lot of money, especially because you are only starting with 5 chicks.
Most wood chips costs around $3 per bag which is quite affordable. Don’t also forget that you need to spread the chips sparingly so being economic at is going to save you on the cost of production. Also, because it is important that you change wood chips every week and that brooding takes up to 6 weeks, 12 bags would do for a start at $36.
Thus far and taking into account all the above, here is a summary of the initial set up cost of producing a dozen eggs:
|2||12 bags of Wood Chips||36|
|Total initial set-up cost||$106|
Remember, we haven’t looked at how much feed will cost you, which by any standards, will help you answer a question of how much is a dozen eggs as soon as your hens start laying eggs. However, let’s save that for now. Also, take note that you should feed your chicks for up to 8 weeks.
Moreover, any organic food you buy from the stores or directly from a manufacturer should have a certification mark of quality.
We advise that when choosing one for the money, ensure it has the potential of promoting good health in chicks. It should also contain the right formulations such as whole grains and proteins.
Buying A Starter Feed
Price per 50-pound bag of starter feed for chicks varies from one store to another. And while you can always negotiate for a discount even if you choose to buy it online, it equally has a direct impact on the price you will peg on a dozen eggs.
For beginners, we have a few recommendations for you such as:
- Coyote Creek Certified Organic Feed-Chick starter-20 lbs.
- Modesto Milling Organic Non-GMO Grower and chick starter crumbles.
- All Natural Chick-Starter Freshly Milled: Old Fashioned Mash, Non-GMO, and Non-medicated.
- Nutrena Nature Wise Chick Starter Gower-40lb
Now, basing your selection not only on the above recommendations but also a need to save on production cost, let’s go for the average which is $19 for a 50-pound bag of feed. But that’s not all. Each chick needs about 10 pounds every week.
Thus, for 8 weeks, 80 pounds of feed for every one of your five birds would be necessary. For the whole duration, and considering you have 5 birds, a total of 400 pounds will see you through a brooding period.
When it comes to cost, multiply 19 dollars by 5 bags and you get $95. Now, bearing in mind that these costs are independent of our initiation set-up cost of $106, you will need an additional $95.
Thusly, 106+95= 201 dollars is your total cost of production up to this point. However, you are not there yet because your chicks are only 6 six weeks old and are yet to reach their egg-laying age. It means you need more money.
What Next After Six Weeks?
Experienced poultry farmers will tell you that at 6 weeks, most chicks have wings and will be trying to escape from the brooder. Thus, it is that time you moved them into a coop. But here comes another question: What is the best starter coop, and how much will it cost? Also, how much will a feeder and watering container cost?
Well, we did some homework on this and found out the following:
- An average price for a good coop goes for $325 (Pets imperial 63-inch wooden backyard Chicken Coop with Garden Box, Nesting Box, and Run Area).
- A combined cost of waterer (2 Gallon Chicken Waterer-Horizontal Nipple Set-up) and feeder (Harris Farms Hanging Poultry Feeder) averages $55.
Thus far, our new cost of producing a dozen eggs is $325+$55+$201= $581.
Cost of Feed
As soon as you transfer your six-week-old baby hens into the coop, you should understand that feeding cost will rise. It is also noteworthy that most hens lay a lot of eggs in their first year, but which decreases by 20 percent as they approach the second and third years.
Some farmers advise that you retire them in the third year. However, it isn’t a rule of them because with proper feeding, hens can lay eggs throughout their lives. Some studies indicate that most layers produce an average of 265 eggs per year.
However, let’s cut a long story short and straightway calculate the cost of feeds for egg-laying hens (usually at 18 weeks).
A few factors to note here when doing the math are as follows:
- Each layer would need around 1.5 pounds of laying pellets every week.
- It means that our five hens need 7.5 lbs. every week.
- A bag of feed weighing 50 pounds would, therefore, last 11 weeks.
- For a year, you will need 236 pounds laying pellets (averagely 5 bags) for 5 hens.
- Cost of a 50 lb. bag of feed averages $13.5, hence total cost per year is $67.5. In three years, a chicken farmer will spend about $ 202.5 feeding 5 egg-laying hens.
Now, add $202. 5 to $581 you get $783.5.
Let’s also factor in the cost of labor and assume you will spend an hour every day for a year taking care of your hens. Thusly, multiplying minimum wage bill by 365 hours, you get 365 x 7.25= $2646. 25. Consequently, the total cost of production is 2646.25 + 783=$ 3429.75. Next, let’s find out how much do eggs cost.
How Much Do A Dozen Eggs Cost?
Now, going back to a study that indicates that hens lay about 265 eggs per year, it means from five hens, you will have 1325 eggs. From the foregoing, it means, the cost of producing one egg is 3429.75÷1325= $2.5. For a dozen eggs, the production cost is $30, which is a lot and may leave a dent in your pocket.
However, assuming we subtract labor cost ($2646. 25) if you don’t want to take an hourly wage, our new cost of producing one egg is; 783÷1325=$0.6. For a dozen eggs, it is $7.08. Note the difference when you factor in labor costs and also when you remove it from the equation.
Also, with three years based on our calculation, your cost would have reduced by half to about $4.04 based on our calculations. It because initial set up cost will remain the same.
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