The cost of growing corn free, soy free, free range eggs

by brenda on March 8, 2012

These are our beautiful, farm fresh eggs! We currently have 10 dozen eggs ready to sell. We didn’t sell any through the winter, and I wanted to make sure that we were actually making a profit on eggs, so I did some calculating today. Interestingly, I also read this post today, about how small, local farms are making a huge profit margin on their products (and how that’s unfair to the consumers).

I don’t want to over-charge our customers. They’re all working hard to make a living. I want our living to be an honest one. Farming isn’t cheap, though. We’ve been here nearly 2 years, and we have learned a lot, made mistakes, and spent more money than we needed to on things (example: word to the wise: never buy “1 year old” chickens on Craigslist. People lie.). But we’re serious about real food. We’re serious about growing it for our own family, and about growing it for other people. We’re serious about, someday, somehow, getting The Farmer home on the farm. And we’re serious about actually paying ourselves a wage for the work we do on this farm. We can’t sit back, feed our friends, and take a loss. We have to be realistic about this farming thing if we’re going to make a living at it. So, I pulled out my calculator…

Last year we charged $4 per dozen for our eggs. We had no clue if we were actually making any money. We were new to this gig, and didn’t even really know how much our chickens were eating. This year, we will be charging $6.50 per dozen. Another local farm that uses the same feed as us charges $7 per dozen, which sounded amazingly high to me, until I did the math. Someday soon, we may be charging $7 per dozen as well.

Here’s the math:

  • Over the last 53 days, our chickens have produced approximately 1,479 eggs.
  • In that same amount of time, they have eaten about 1/2 ton of feed. We buy from Magill Ranch, and we get really good quality corn free, soy free, non-GMO, organic feed. The total cost of feed for the last 53 days has been $420.
  • We estimate that we spend about 20-30 minutes per day taking care of the chickens (feeding them washing the eggs, etc.).
  • We buy about 100 new chicks every year, and raise them up until they are layers. It costs $188 (from Far West Hatchery) to buy 100 layers. It costs almost $600 to feed those baby chicks before they ever produce an egg for us.
  • I am guesstimating that we spend about $150 per year on other supplies (brooder fixing/re-building, waterers, feeders, any supplements we may need (we feed them apple cider vinegar and yogurt to prevent disease), etc.).

So our costs are something like this:

  1. $3.50 per dozen, feed
  2. $.26 per dozen towards new birds every year
  3. $.83 per dozen towards feeding baby birds that don’t produce eggs
  4. $.21 per dozen towards other supplies

The total so far, without labor is $4.80 per dozen (.80 per dozen more than we were charging last year!).

So now let’s look at labor. It really comes down to how much we want to make per hour. Like I said, we want to make an honest living at this. We don’t want to charge our customers crazy amounts, but we have to be realistic.

  • If we wanted to make $10 per hour, that would be $1.48 more per dozen
  • If we wanted to make $20 per hour, that would be $2.94 more per dozen
  • If we wanted to make $30 per hour, that would be $4.41 more per dozen
  • And so on…

At $6.50 per dozen, we are making a wage of $11.33 per hour. Not a lot, really. If we were full time egg farmers and using this method, we would only make about $23,500 per year.

There are a couple of things that probably impact our cost.

  • We did buy some of those “1 year old chickens” on Craigslist that will be slaughtered this year. They are eating up feed and probably aren’t producing any eggs. We are currently getting approximately 48 eggs per day and we have somewhere around 100 chickens. Most of our chickens are truly 1-2 years old (we raised them as chicks), but we do have some hens (that I’m sure are old geezers)
  • We have Araucanas, which produce beautiful green eggs, but they are not very good layers, compared to other breeds.
  • Since our chickens are free rangers, we occasionally find stashes of eggs that may or may not go towards our total count of eggs. During the winter months, they’re usually fine. During the summer months, a stash of eggs is probably rotten and needs to be thrown out (literally–I throw them out into the trees…It’s fun!).
  • We are raising roosters. They don’t give us eggs, but they do fertilize our eggs and make them more nutrient dense. They also make sure that all of the hens get into the barn at night before we close the door.
  • It may be cheaper to let some chickens brood & raise their own chicks. We had one chicken do this last year, and she had several baby chicks (I think 13 or 14). They were so cute & followed their Mama around. After predators and hard weather, we ended up with oneร‚ย baby chicken, and it was a rooster! (And he decided to live in the tree near our bedroom and practice crowing at 4 and 5 am. Lovely!).

We could spend less, for sure, if we bought regular feed from our local feed store. It costs $19.80 for 80# of pellets. Over the last 53 days, it would have cost us $247.50 for this kind of feed (a $172.50 difference). That totals a $1.40 per dozen difference, which is significant. But still, our cost, at $11.33 per hour, would be $5.10 per dozen. And who wants to pay $5.10 per dozen for eggs that are barely any different from grocery store eggs? (Granted, they’re not cooped up in a big building with no windows, but the feed is the same).

With the feed we buy, we know for sure a couple of things:

The other benefits of our eggs:

  • Our chickens free range. You won’t find fenced in chickens on bare ground at our farm. I don’t believe that an un-moveable chicken house with fencing right around it is a good solution for chickens. Eventually, they will eat down the grass and they will be living on bare ground. The result is more expensive eggs (they eat less grass & more feed) and less healthy eggs.
  • Our chickens eat bugs.
  • Our chickens lay colorful eggs (that’s worth the price, right?). ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Our chickens have fun names, like Fabio and Jackie O. ๐Ÿ™‚

Do you buy farm fresh eggs? Are you paying your farmer what they’re worth? ๐Ÿ™‚ Do you grow farm fresh eggs? Have you calculated your cost of raising them?

{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

Nichole Sawatzky March 8, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Awesome. thanks for being so transparant with your numbers and information Brenda. Soy and corn free are extremely hard to come by and a BIG.BIG.gigantic.I.cant.even.tell.you.how.big need for severe allergy babies on GAPS. Cant wait to shoot this information out to any who might be a raising a GAPSkid and in your area!

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Rusmen March 8, 2012 at 4:42 pm

I love your blog! I am a 6th generation farmer and always cringe when I read how “much money” we are supposedly making. lol I think they really don’t understand agriculture at all when they sit down to write this stuff, and I am sure they have never farmed themselves. Anyway, keep up the great work of inspiring others and putting a positive face on farming. Mendy

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Sarah Costa March 8, 2012 at 8:45 pm

i will need to read the article you linked to, but i would be very surprised to hear that many farmers are making a huge profit margin… as you made clear through this post, it costs a lot to raise high quality food items.

wondering… my husband and i have 5 week old chicks (for eggs… eventually). we are just getting into this and have no chicken (or farming!) experience. we have a small flock (three for now, but we want to get a few more) so disease might not be as big of a danger for us, but i am interested to hear more about feeding the chickens yogurt and ACV.

how much and how often? would kefir work as well as yogurt? do you mix the ACV in with their water?

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Becca March 8, 2012 at 9:06 pm

I understand about not wanting the soy in the feed, but I hadn’t heard about the corn. Would you explain?

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GWEN April 18, 2020 at 9:27 am

“Corn is one of the most commonly genetically engineered foods, with about 90% of it being GMO. Due to cross-pollination by wind, birds, and bees, that remaining 10% is not guaranteed to be GMO-free.”

https://www.amymyersmd.com/2014/03/corn-next-gluten/

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Joanne Rigutto March 8, 2012 at 9:52 pm

Oh man, I am so there with you on the numbers. I used to sell free range eggs and I switched my farm over to meat bird production only because the feed costs have gotten so high. I could get a good price break if I bought my feed by the loose ton, but I don’t want that many birds year round.

I’m raising Cornish X on a whole grain diet now that I mill myself when they’re young, although I do start them on a non medicated commercial crumble.

Are you buying from the Far West Hatchery near Canby? That’s where I get my birds. Great people to work with and great birds too.

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Kathleen K March 9, 2012 at 6:35 am

Thank you for sharing your numbers with us. We recently had a discussion with a person who was shocked a free range chicken farmer-hobbiest was charging $3.50 a dozen. I’d gladly pay that…if it is GMO free feed. We are thinking of raising chickens for ourselves (meat and/or eggs) and being accountants, we need to see the dollars!

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Lizabearpdx March 9, 2012 at 10:56 am

Thanks you for this article. When I had a farm I raised my own chickens for eggs and for meat, they were pasture raised, the eggs and the meat from those chickens is so much tastier than factory farmed chickens and eggs I am amazed. People did not want to pay what it cost me to raise them so I just raised enough for family and a few friends. I miss my little farm, I hope to have another one day. I will raise chickens again.

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ourfamilyishis March 9, 2012 at 2:12 pm

Never thought about breaking it down where we purchase eggs. Right now we get free eggs that are raised this way due to a friend having WAY more eggs than he ever thought his hens would lay for their own personal consumption. He gives them to us. We have tried hard to pay him, even just $2.00/dozen to help cover basic costs, but he said they would just lay and waste if we don’t take them. OK, I won’t argue.

When we purchase eggs from our egg guy (who’s also our chicken and beef guy) we pay $3.50/dozen. I have seen his operation, he has a similar raising technique but repopulates almost all his own layers so that’s a bit less expense. I haven’t thought about his cost breakdown after looking around his farm, realizing how WELL he and his family are doing with this being their only job they have. I figure that speaks for itself since they have been here for a very long time we have watched their operation grow and know where their money is coming from. Hehee. I hope that’s enough research to know I am paying him a fair price. =)

And eventually we will be buying our own layers and fryers. This will most likely happen next year. We only want, at this time, to produce for our own consumption, so we won’t have a big operation.

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brenda March 14, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Thanks for the comment! What farm do you get your chicken, beef & eggs from? As a small farmer, I’m super interested in studying these small farms that are doing WELL! I want to see how they do it & what we can improve! ๐Ÿ™‚
You’re getting an awesome deal on eggs! Consume a lot at that price, they’re super good for you! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Sjardon March 10, 2012 at 9:59 pm

As a consumer only, I would pay nearly any amount for a clean, true source of nutrition. Especially eggs, which I consider a large part of my nutrition. Thanks for all you do.

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brenda March 14, 2012 at 9:02 pm

Sjardon, as a farmer, I’m so glad for customers like you, who recognize the importance of good food!!

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Vita March 15, 2012 at 7:05 am

What is in the feed you give your chickens? I have developed allergies from my eggs….we feed the girls organic non GMO feed but it corn and soy. What can I feed them?

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ronnie January 29, 2014 at 5:50 pm

Learn about permaculture. Start “growing” worms. Make a worm box. Learn how to take dead baby chicks and put them in a “tee-pee” with straw & let them “grow” maggots for your hens to eat. You’ll save so much more money, and birds are supposed to eat meat!

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Susan March 17, 2012 at 6:11 pm

I absolutely loved your article! One day soon I hope to have a dozen chickens and a couple mini-nubians. Farm fresh veggies and fruits and pastured raised eggs, raw milk and meats are so much tastier than the other kind. Thank you so much for breaking the cost down.

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Maria March 17, 2012 at 8:19 pm

Wow! Very informative, thank you a lots of luck with this project, I am so jealous ๐Ÿ™‚

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Jason March 17, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Thanks for posting this, Brenda. As a fellow chicken farmer, this is great on several levels: 1) that you actually calculate your cost structure accurately and 2) that you proactively share this with your customers.

Most people are so conditioned to artificially cheap, government subsidized, industrial factory farmed eggs with virtually no nutrition, that they are shocked at what real healthy eggs (or any other healthy food) actually cost. It’s great that you’re open and honest about their cost structure – it should strengthen their relationship with their customers who value real food and want to support the local sustainable farming revolution.

I shared this with the community on my alternative food site, http://www.truefoodsolutions.com, and I would love it if you would share some guest posts and/or let me syndicate some of your posts there. We need some motivated farmers like you to share what they’re doing and learning, so we can build each other up and encourage more people to start farming.

Stay strong, persevere, and keep those eggs coming!

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Islander March 18, 2012 at 5:57 am

Whoa. I don’t know where to start.
Get rid of the roosters. That business about fertile eggs is a myth. Keep one rooster if you must, he’ll cover your flock and it’s fun to hear him crow.
Stop washing the eggs. Brush them off. Washing removes the outer film, they don’t keep as well.
Forget the auracanas if you’re in this for the money and not just a backyard gardener. Pretty รขโ€ฐย  profit.
Commercial (color-coded) layers will give you 3 eggs in 2 days but you have to raise them from day-old chicks and slaughter them when they molt, since after that they are spent hens. Been there…not willing to kill and clean that many old stewing hens.
Buying 100 chicks annually? Why? I don’t get this part. They have only 100 hens now, and they say some are old. What they need is one of the “heritage” breeds like White Leghorns or Rhode Island Reds. They produce better than the Auracanas, and after molting they produce well again. If you want to increase the flock, let some get broody and raise a clutch of chix.
Sure they’re free-range, but keep them penned until about mid-morning. By then they’re mostly done laying and you are less likely to have a hen that “lays away.”
Finally…expecting to make $23k a year from a small flock of hens is ludicrous. Diversify!

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Debra March 18, 2012 at 7:41 am

I agree 100% with all of your comments!!

Also add the time spent per day with the chickens, not sure where you have to be with them 30 minutes a day. I have 80 chicks that I am raising right now and have raised many chickens in the past, making sure they have water and feed is the only ‘work’ you have to do and it takes me about 5-10 minutes and then shutting them up at night takes about 20 seconds.

Another cost saver would be to let them eat more of the free range free to them and you food and veggy based scraps from your home and garden. In the summer time my chickens get very very little store bought food, they get grass clippings, garden (we have a HUGE garden) scraps/waste/leftovers and all year round they get veggie scraps from our home. They are not lacking in health or anything and we are getting wonderful healthy dark yellow yoked eggs each day.

In closing, don’t put all your eggs in one basket (pun intended lol) diversify diversify diversify!! If you expect to make all of your yearly income on one farm investment you will be financially ruined if a hungry fox, disease or something to that nature wipes you out over night (litterly) as I have been a personal witness to before. Personally, I would rather make a little money over a lot of ‘things’ instead of alot of money on a single investment.

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Brenda March 18, 2012 at 8:15 am

Islander,
Thanks for the comments & opinions. We only have a few roosters, so we’re not feeding a lot.
We live in Oregon, where it rains a lot, so brushing off our eggs is not enough–they get really yucky.
We’re not going to raise auracanas again. Lesson learned!
We are buying leghorns and black sexlinks this year, so we’re getting good layers.
We do keep them penned until mid morning, most days. They still lay eggs all over our barn, etc.
I’m not sure why you thought we were trying to make $23k off of eggs? We do diversify! ๐Ÿ™‚ We also raise pork, honey, turkeys, geese, and broilers. We are hoping to expand to cattle and raw milk within the next year or so.
As far as buying 100 chicks per year, we are buying more, in hopes of having around 150 to 200 at a time on our farm. We are butchering chickens every 2 years. And we learned our lesson about buying birds off of craigslist, etc., we’re raising them as chicks these days.

Debra,
That time includes washing the eggs & going out to feed the birds (we have birds in different locations on our farm, so walking time to get to the groups of hens. It is probably less than 30 min per day, but washing the eggs does take a while (again, we live in Oregon–our eggs get yucky).
We give them all of the scraps from our home and garden when we don’t have pigs. We only have pigs 6 months out of the year.
We’re not putting all of our eggs in one basket. ๐Ÿ™‚ We are diversifying!

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Roz March 18, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Hey there! Roz from http://www.RealFoodFamily.com. Thanks for the post! It is so helpful to get a glimpse of what others are doing. We have chickens for our own family homestead for now, so we aren’t so worried about profits, except the savings on grocery bills and MUCH healthier options. I read the comment below from Islander and I appreciate their advice, but I also think it’s important to focus on the things that work for you and your specific lifestyle, location, and desires when homesteading. Even though it’s a business for you, it has to be fun. It has to be worth giving up another career to fulfill a new dream. For instance, I have blue-laced red wyandottes in my flock and I simply LOVE them. One of the prettiest ones got broody and that chicken just can’t do anything wrong in my eyes. I’m letting her lay the eggs right now and will hopefully have some surprise chicks in a few weeks. I’m learning that the fun part of homesteading is letting it become a part of your life, instead your life becoming a slave to the farm. Otherwise you’ll become one of those weird and defensive farm people- haha! It’s always a turn off to me to visit people’s farms and they just lecture me on how to do things right. And everyone believes they are doing things the best way. They are usually full of wonderful advice! But, the wonder of homesteading is connecting with God’s creation and our instinctual (and I believe God given ability) to care for animals. Education is essential to avoid total failure and loss, but the learning process is the best part of that education.

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Carmel Garcia September 20, 2013 at 11:27 am

wonderful. I agree.

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Artkwerks March 19, 2012 at 10:51 am

Having experienced farming personally (as a choice) for over 20 years, I very much understand your experience. We started with beef, hogs and sheep with appropriate rotated crops. I was our “home vet” and worked with accounts and livestock primarily.
What you have done by laying it out for the consumer to see, is phenomenal. It is difficult for them to always realize just how complex it is for farmers to actually make a living, especially when you are trying to provide the very best healthy product you can deliver. Kudos to your family for doing this!
And fabulous that “Islander” gave you such wonderfully practical tips! Community at its best! Best luck!

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Zbean26 March 20, 2012 at 7:20 am

We raise chickens for eggs for ourselves and sell the extras. We switched to organic feed two months ago and egg production skyrocketed within two days (another proof to the integrity of organics). The problem is, we have to choose between feed that has soy in it or one that has GMOs. We chose soy, I hope it is the right decision. We are charging 4/dz and people have trouble with that. Cheap food is more important then health (while they wear their $200 jeans and drive huge SUVs that never see a speck of dirt). I am just happy that we have access to quality food.

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CMH March 20, 2012 at 8:49 am

Good post! Thanks! We’ve never broken down the cost of our eggs . I was definitely selling them to cheaply when we did have eggs to sell. We use Magill feed for ours too and bc we are only on an acre, though our ckns do have free access to the whole acre, there is not a lot of fresh grass. We decided recently to sprout organic “chicken wheat” and supplement their diet with that as its much cheaper (12$ per 50lbs) . We are hoping it may offset the price of the feed just a bit. Changing feed is not an option for us unless I can find a source for organic grains and make our own. So far though I haven’t been able to make making our own feed pencil out though.

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CMH March 20, 2012 at 8:54 am

And a half an hour a day is very reasonable, we spend that with out small flock of 30. I wish I knew how people were able to spend so much less.

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Debra March 20, 2012 at 6:58 pm

I spend less then 30minutes a day and have 80 chicks right now, had 100 chickens last year. I do not understand how you spend so much time with the chickens, even with washing eggs as mentioned before. I do not pamper each of my chick(ens) or pay personal attention to them, not sure yall do. I go out twice a day to my chickens, in the morning I check the water and feed levels. If water is needed I give them 5 gallons at a time with added minerals and vitamins. The feed is in two different feeders that they have free range too. Depending on how old the chick/chickens are depends on where they spend their day. Newborn till about 2 months old they are in an enclosed area without access to outside, they have heat lamps and full feed. At about 2 months they are moved to the ‘real’ chicken coop where they will call it home for the rest of their lives. After 10-14 days I allow them to go into the enclosed outside area with access to the ‘home’ also all day. During their time in the chicken home and the outside yard area they are allowed access to unlimited food and water. Once the chicks have been in the yard area for a min of 2 weeks they are allowed to go outside (free range) to any place they want in the acreage we have. If you are wondering why I have such a timeline it is because research has shown that with chickens it takes 10 days (min) of staying in a new place for them to return to it as if it were their home.

I will feed my chickens through out the day during the summer time often and it is raw veggie scraps or plants from the massive garden we have. Even with that counted it…..whatever it takes to walk into the coop and pitch the scraps into the yard……I do not spend the 30 minutes between that and collecting the eggs. As far as collecting the eggs other then a water bath of the ones that REALLY need it I do not wash my eggs unless I am using them to cook or selling them.

Maybe I look at the whole chicken timing different then others, nothing wrong with that. I look at it as that they are animals, to make me money/eggs/meat, I don’t need to get attatched to them. Some may look at them as pets and want to pamper them, nothing wrong with that either. We all just have different ways of looking at things.

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Margaret April 4, 2013 at 10:43 am

We’re can I buy the eggs . Can I buy directly from the farm.

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Somethings Cookin April 4, 2013 at 8:12 pm

If I’m doing the math correctly, you’re paying about .42 cents per pound for feed, is that right? That’s about what we pay to mix our own organic, corn and soy free feed. The last time I did calculations, our feed cost was only .87 cents per dozen. I either figured wrong or you’ve got way too many non laying birds? I’m trying to type this w/o sounding like a know it all (hardly me-we just do this for our own eggs and hopefully enough extra to sell and cover all the feed costs). I figured we could sell them for $3/dozen, which is about $1 under what others sell for, and ours are better quality than some because of the feed and the 2 acres they get to roam. Even at .42 cents I’m trying to find ways to lower that cost-like growing a garden just for the birds.
I am glad you shared this though, because too many people have no idea that it costs more to raise the food they buy at the grocery store than what they pay for it. Therefore they are unaware of how much of our tax dollars are propping up an unsustainable industry. People complain about the cost of food, when the amount spent as a % of total budget is the lowest it’s ever been in history. As low as 9% right now, where it’s been as high as 42%!

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Brenda April 4, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Thanks for the comment, @facebook-100002947086857:disqus! Yes, I think our feed is up to around .50/lb now, after I wrote this post! ๐Ÿ™‚ One of our problems is that we have free rangers, and a variety of breeds (including Americanas, who don’t lay their eggs in the nesting boxes very often). We are setting up a “free range” in a fence (poultry netting) idea with a mobile coop this summer, instead. I think we will be able to find their eggs easier. When I was calculating the cost, I averaged out how many eggs they produce through the year. I think during a productive season (like now), we could certainly charge less for eggs. But if we average out the expense for the year, we have to charge more. Does that make sense? Would $3 per dozen give you any profit for your labor? We are trying to run our farm as a profitable business. I know eggs are never a big money maker, but we’re trying to figure out how to make selling eggs a sustainable thing for our family! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you for your comment! I appreciate your caution to not sound like a know-it-all (why do so many farmers get that way? Goodness! ;)). And I totally agree, people have no clue how much of their food is government subsidized.

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Lisa April 5, 2013 at 5:41 am

Here are a couple of things we do to help with egg gathering and cleanliness. Our chickens are totally free range, no fence, so we have the same situation. We do have a coup with plenty of clean boxes and always make sure they have plenty of litter. That helps tremendously in keeping them clean. We also keep two fake eggs in each box. It encourages them to lay there. Make sure you take a marker and put an X or something on them. I bought fake eggs from McMurrays and I CANNOT tell the difference between them. They are pretty realistic. They would make a great April fools joke. Anyway, we do find eggs outside of the coup but not often. You could always feed the eggs that you find elsewhere to the chickens but you have to disguise them or they will learn to break them themselves. Fake eggs also help to guard against them breaking them. I give those “rotten” eggs to my dogs. Good luck with the farm!

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Lisa April 5, 2013 at 5:43 am

Oh I have heard that golf balls work for the fake eggs too.

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Susan E April 18, 2013 at 7:46 pm

I’m not a chicken farmer, so I am so glad to learn how it works. I currently pay $7/doz for soy free eggs. Other farmers in our area of Southern CA charge $5 – $6/doz for eggs from organic corn/soy feed, so Iflet the price was fair.

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Gretchen May 7, 2013 at 2:07 pm

I don’t think regular people can pay that much for eggs. We pay $4 for farm fresh eggs. But we are in the midwest maybe the east and west coast people are willing to pay higher prices.

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nini2033a June 21, 2013 at 9:47 pm

I am on the west coast. I am north of Seattle. I would not pay that much for eggs, and yes, I raise my own. Actually, we have 24 pullets. My son will be selling our extra eggs for $3 a dozen(Our family uses 12-18 eggs a week) . From that, $1 will go back into feed, $1 he will be able to spend and $1 will go into his college fund. My son is also hoping to sell chicks maybe, and will be raising his own meal worms with extras to sell to other chicken/reptile owners in the area. Hopefully it will teach him some about work and savings. He is only 10.
We have an un-movable coop, but we have movable electric fence to let them free range a bit. Unfortunately we also have coyotes, eagles, hawks, and wild cats, racoons & foxes in the area, so entirely free-ranging is not an option.

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Carmel Garcia September 20, 2013 at 11:27 am

nope, they can’t.

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Elizabeth Holcomb July 17, 2013 at 12:40 am

This is so helpful. I don’t have chickens. Yet. There is only my husband and myself left at home. We have 5 acres and could probably raise a nice flock of birds. I’ve been buying “organic” eggs at the local health food store. They have eggs from several farms in CA, where I live. A few months ago, they started selling “Local” eggs. They are at least $2/doz MORE than the other eggs and I can’t help but wonder why? They are marked “free range”. Why do local eggs cost more than the ones that have been shipped here from Humboldt or elsewhere that are “organic”? I don’t have any way to tell from the cartons if they’re gmo-free, soy-free, or what! So, I’m confused. I want to support the local farmers but don’t know why I’m paying so much more!

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Robin June 10, 2014 at 9:49 am

Elizabeth, more than likely the Humboldt ones are from the “farms”. This labeling may help:

http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/04/03/understanding-egg-labels?cmpid=foodinc-fb

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Carmel Garcia September 20, 2013 at 11:17 am

Yes, and it’s nothing like you claim. You are getting ripped off and in turn you are ripping ppl off. $7 a dz. preposterous, no one can afford it. ppl will continue with store bought eggs due to the greediness of the up and coming farmer. Farming is about getting in tune with nature, soil, water and plant life, and sharing the spoils to keep ppl from starving. You want ppl to help support your greedy, selfish lifestyle. I couldn’t stop reading, the arrogance of your blog is outrageous. Like we are supposed to agree to paying you for all the mistakes you are making. I have 3 free range chickens and one rooster that produce 3 to 4 dz in a mnth. I sell 2 @ $2.00 ea. I spend maybe $3.00 in feed in a month, the rest is bugs, grasses and the compost heap. My eggs are very colorful. The girls love the compost heap, especially when I cover it with leaves, it gives them something to do. Natural herbs and remedies grown in the garden for human consumption can also be used for your chickens, keeping your costs down. As for throwing eggs and not finding them, what a waste. And you want us to pay for this. I don’t think so. Go find another hobby. You obviously don’t know what you are doing and you’re making the homegrown farmer look bad.

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Jennifer Hurley Klever July 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm

Wow Carmel,
I’m speechless. if your the homegrown farmer I feel sorry for you

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bustedgiveadamn September 20, 2013 at 1:28 pm

So the only thing I don’t get is why you are buying chicks. Yes you lost almost all when you let the hen raise them but what about getting an incubator and hatching them yourself. Then you throw them in the brooder which is what you would do if you bought chicks anyway. It’s not a great deal saved (you stated $180) but every bit counts.

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Laura Rich September 20, 2013 at 5:12 pm

This post is spot-on. We’ve definitely been deceived by the USDA as to how much quality food really costs to grow. I buy at least 4 $7/dozen organic free range eggs a week from chickens fed a non-gmo diet for the same reasons listed above and it’s a deal – still the cheapest form of good protein we can buy as a family of four. If we run out, I buy yard eggs from my neighbor who does use cheap gmo feed and I’ll tell you right now, there is a taste difference. If I were near you, I’d buy your eggs!

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Algae March 24, 2014 at 7:59 pm

I am curious why you don’t sprout your grains for the chickens. that can lower your cost by about 15 to 25 percent and increase the quality of the feed by allowing access to better amino acid profile for your chickens.
Also growing algae for the chickens, would go a long way in improving the quality of your eggs as well as lowering your cost basis. As well as if you start feeding your chickens fresh spirulina on a daily basis, it would make your yellow yolk pale in comparison to the Algae fed chickens.
The Spirulina also seem to inhibit many of the parasites that can cause trouble with chickens, cows and humans.
The fresh Algae that you grow you can sell as an additional item that people can buy to add to their soups, pasta, or fruit shaky.
You do know that the chickens laying brown eggs consume, 10 percent more feed on a daily basis.
That’s also another way to lower costs.

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Jerica June 10, 2014 at 2:35 pm

You forgot the cost of land tax, mortgage, fencing, infrastructure (because your coop won’t last forever), and egg cartons, as well as factoring in mortality in the brooder, electricity in the brooder, mortality of a mature hen (which costs a lot more than a 2-day old chick!), water (even if it’s from a well, it costs money to pump it out of the ground. What about when your well-pump needs to be replaced? The chicken operation ought to contribute to the cost of that!). As your flock grows, you may find that predation becomes more serious and you may need to invest in a livestock guardian. It costs $300 for a good dog, plus feed and care. There are so many costs that people forget about. It’s not just the feed, and it’s not even just the labor. I’m glad you ran the numbers. You may even want to run them again. ๐Ÿ™‚

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kathleen October 3, 2014 at 4:46 am

I am confused who wrote what at this point, but it’s important for me to thank you for the financial aspect of this diy egg business. I want to do get chickens and be able to control that part of my life too. +++++ But most importantly I wanted to say thank you for this real life math problem for my kids I teach. I will show this to them so they can relate math to life! Thank you!

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Katy Benson July 27, 2015 at 12:05 pm

Do you guys have any imput on how long it would take an egg to be “corn free” after switching to a corn free feed? I know they egg itself takes 25ish hours to develop, would one egg cycle clear the corn out? I have a family member with allergies so we are switching to corn free feed to get them back on eggs.

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Lora-May Foreman April 29, 2018 at 2:52 pm

Could you tell me if you sell eggs that are pasture raised, no soy, no corn in the feed, no anti-biotic/hormone free?

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brenda May 10, 2018 at 7:09 pm

Hi Lora-May, I am sorry, I don’t sell eggs any longer. I hope you can find a good farmer near you! I recommend 2 great sources to find farm-fresh, pasture-raised, soy-free, corn-free farms: Eat Wild (http://www.eatwild.com/) and Weston Price (https://www.westonaprice.org/). Good luck! ๐Ÿ™‚

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