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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Backyard Chickens - Return on Investment

written by Gavin from The Greening of Gavin

This article is a re-post from my personal blog.


Not many backyard chicken urban farmers think about the return on investment of their flock very much, as chickens are more of a passion than a business, and as I have mentioned in previous posts about chickens, not only are they great pets, are willing workers in the garden, they also lay the best eggs ever.

Not only do these eggs taste much better, they are nutritionally better as well! Mother Earth News mentions that eggs from chickens that are allowed to roam on grass (instead of being confined to cages as is the case for the majority of commercially produced eggs) have;
  •  1⁄3 less cholesterol
  • 1⁄4 less saturated fat
  • 2⁄3 more vitamin A
  • 2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
  • 3 times more vitamin E
  • 7 times more beta carotene
(reference; http://www.motherearthnews.com/eggs.aspx)

I know that in economic terms this is an intangible benefit, so how does one calculate the Return On Investment for your backyard chickens?

Well do I have the tool for you!  I found a fantastic calculator on-line that you can figure out the financial benefits of your chickens.  Here is the link to it.   http://www.ruleworks.co.uk/cgi-bin/PoultryROI.exe?Guide=Poultry&t=Poultry%20ROI%20Calculator

Here is how mine worked out.

"Poultry ROI Calculator

Your Poultry cost per year is $ 27.20
Housing cost per year is $ 52.00
Feed quantity required per year is 321 Kg for 8 Large Fowl
Cost of all feed products per year is $ 354.05
Consumables / other cost per year is $ 202.00
Total Cost per year is $ 635.25
Your eggs sold value per year is $ 87.75
Hatching eggs sold value per year is $ 0.00
The remaining eggs valued at shop prices $ 351.00 for your own use.
Total Return value per year is $ 822.75

Your Total Profit is $ 187.50 per year.

Well done. Of course this profit calculation does not include your labour costs"
Now even though it says I make a profit because they are great value for money, I personally wouldn't care if I made a loss.  They are just like any other household pet as far as I am concerned (unless of course you breed your chooks for meat).  No-one questions the ROI of a dog or a cat, and they certainly don't lay eggs for your breakfast!

So for those interested, I would love to see how your ROI comes out.  Don't forget to select the right currency for the calculator.  It doesn't affect the calculations as it just changes the currency symbol on the calculator.  It just looks better, that's all.

Anyway, happy ROI calculating.  It is simple and easy to do if you know most of your costs on a monthly basis.

Give it a go and let me know how you went.

9 comments:

Karen said...

We loved our backyard chickens, but had too many problems with our dog and after two years and too many bird rescues (!) we gave them away to a great home.
Luckily, my husband buys free-range, local eggs from a guy at work - he sells pullet eggs for $1 a dozen and regular eggs for $2 a dozen.
Can't beat that - and I don't have to change the water in the winter, muck out the coop, etc.
I do miss my girls, though...

ms lottie said...

Oi! Where's the poo in this calculation? Can you figure out the value of their poop? Imagine if you had to buy in all that nitrogen for your garden?! People spend a whole heap on bagged compost and fertilizers for their gardens and you have little feathered friends making it for you for free!!

Gavin Webber said...

@ Karen, such a shame. I would miss my chooks as well if I had to let them go. I trained our dogs not to worry about the hens, and they roam together freely. If anything the chickens hassle the dog more than the other way around.

@ ms Lottie. There is a field for chicken manure right at the bottom of the form. I whole heartedly agree that the manure is worth so much to the garden.

Gav

Stoney Acres said...

So just our of curiosity I did the ROI calculator. As expected we also had a net profit, small but we are not loosing money.

There are four main advantages I see to having chickens that cannot be given a money value but tip the scale a long way.
1. The eggs are far superior to any you could by in a store.
2. They have given us a chance to teach our children with added responsibility.
3. They really add a lot of benefit to our garden with pest control and manure.
4. It makes me feel better that our eggs are produced by happy health hens that are not packed into some dark cage all their life.

edifice rex said...

Okay, I'm not trying to be difficult but these figures don't make sense to me. I don't understand how you got $822.75 return value from $87.75 sold eggs and $351.00 eggs kept for yourself. Am I missing something?? :)

Gavin Webber said...

@ Stoney Acres. Good list, and I agree

@ edifice rex. The value of manure did not appear in the figures, when it should have as well as pest control services I think. Have a go at the calculator for yourself with some hypothetical figures. I believe it works it out correctly.

Gav

edifice rex said...

Oh, okay; well that makes sense now! I didn't realize you had put in figures for manure and such. thanks!

Little Homestead in the Village said...

Thank you for sharing this. I started my flock last April. My husband built a beautiful (too expensive) coop, so we've made a joke that we have $5 eggs. The calculator put us at about -$9 far better than I hoped. Once we expand the flock and sell some eggs. It will get our bottom line into the green.

Piedmont Home Vegetable Garden said...

Very cool! I'm starting to analyze my ROI for my veggie garden and chickens on my blog, too.

It is nice to know that you come out ahead with the chickens, though I totally agree with you--I'd have them anyway. The fresh eggs and quirky behavior is completely worth it.