29. Make a Budget For Overall Cost and Savings
Building a chicken coop is a big up-front cost, and the free organic eggs you get in exchange will take a very long time for it to pay off financially. Before you get started, figure out how much it will cost. Most pre-built chicken coops cost between $200 to $300 each. Some people save a lot of money by building their own coop from scratch for under $100. You will also need to pay for the chickens themselves, feeders, waterers, heaters, food, and a fence to enclose their area. This is just the beginning, and the accessories you buy keep going. All-in, you should expect to spend at least $400, if not more.
Before you take the leap, figure out how much your family currently spends on eggs. One dozen organic eggs cost $3 to $4 at the store. So you will need your chickens to lay 1,200 eggs before you break even, assuming you spent $400. This sounds like a lot, but if you buy multiple laying hens, you can easily get that many eggs in one year. My family eats two dozen organic eggs per week, which costs $8. Over 52 weeks in a year, that’s $416. So, assuming my chickens will lay enough eggs to prevent me from buying them at the grocery store, I’ll break even within one year, and have totally free eggs for the rest of that chicken’s life. And, of course, once you have the coop in place, it’s just a matter of raising new baby chicks, and continuing the cycle.