So the press has been on fire this week with stories about Britons keeping more than 700,000 hens in their backyards, the highest levels of poultry ownership since WWII.
The figures come from the Hen Welfare Trust and the coverage has predominately been positive but I noticed a Daily Mail piece today which questioned the logic of raising backyard birds.
The author was basically just complaining that they are an annoyance in her lifestyle but she does make a good point on the sometimes high cost involved in setting up, so I wondered how much does it actually cost, per egg, to have you own small backyard flock.
Figures: (All figures are multiplied over five years)
Three hens at £10 each = £30
Feed per 20kg bag (3x per hen, per year) = £9.00
Grit/oyster shell bag (1x per year) = £5
Red mite treatment(bird) (1x per year) = £10.50
Red mite treatment(coop) (1xper year) = £12.95
Coop = £400
Vet = £30(per hour) (1 visit of 1hr per year) + £50 vaccinations.
So with a few calculations I get a total cost of £1083.45 for initial outlay for coop and birds, feed, vet visits, vaccinations, grit and pest treatments for five years. And this is a conservative estimate.
So this figure average across a predicted return of 2400 eggs would equate a cost of .45p per egg.
Considering eggs cost about £1.20 for a dozen the total cost doesn’t really work out BUT plenty of other people have done the maths and come up with different figures.
www.PoultryAllotment.co.uk broke the costs down and came up with 13.5p per egg over a year. But this figure is lower because they averaged the cost of housing over 10 years not their production cycle of three years.
Another blogger www.hazeltreefarm.com in New Zealand worked out the cost based on 13 hens and ended up with a yearly cost of 19 New Zealand cents per egg or 10p. In their blog they admit they don’t include housing costs because they are variable, on their farm the coop was already there.
But I encourage you to do the maths for yourself, see what you get and most importantly tell the FF about it!