The economics of chickens


Our buff orpington

I recently sat down with a pencil and a piece of paper to determine how much our home-grown chicken eggs are costing us up here in Alaska. Obviously, we are not keeping laying hens for economic reasons, but for other reasons including compost, amusement, and knowing where our food comes from. With all this in mind however, I thought I’d go into detail about the economic breakdown of our chicken operation:

Monthly Costs:

Item Expense TOTAL
250W heat lamp 24/hrs a day at .10 a Kwh $18
100W light 14/hrs a day at .10 a Kwh $4.20
Feed 1 50lb bag of 20% layer crumbles $22
Bedding (straw) 1/2 bale per month $10


Monthly Value of Eggs

Eggs for 6 young chickens per month: 5/day x 30 = 150 eggs

Price for a dozen eggs: $2/dozen

Total value of eggs: $25 dollars

With all that said, in winter we’re paying an extra $30/month for eggs. In the summer, with the light and heat lamp off, we’re paying an extra $7 dollars a month for eggs. If we sold a dozen eggs a week for $4/dozen, we’re still looking at paying another $14 dollars a month for eggs. Drawn out over a year, factoring not using a heat lamp or 100w bulb for six months of the year, we are paying approx. $200 extra a year for our eggs. If we sold a dozen eggs a week, we’d still be paying $120 extra a year.

Again, keeping chickens is about more than mere economics. We get great compost, infinite amusement, a good way to get rid of kitchen scraps, and delicious eggs. More importantly, we feel a greater connection to our food and to the earth. However, for the potential Alaskan chicken-keeper, these economic considerations might be good information to have.




  1. Nikalee on December 25, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Are you comparing the cost of your eggs to average store bought eggs ot to more comparable organic or cage free eggs?

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