I almost forgot that my chickens were actually going to lay eggs for me.
It’s been a long five months of raising my eight girls without any egg bliss. While I thoroughly enjoy their company and look forward to taking breaks from the computer to just be with them, the fact that they aren’t laying yet makes me anxious.
Actually, to be honest, I’m getting really freaking impatient and I try not to dwell on it but it’s so hard.
I day dream of big, rich, yellow yolks and hearing the egg laying song, and taking my wire basket out to the coop with Andrew and finding warm eggs.
I want that.
And can we be real for a minute? A few days ago, I actually went into the coop, and had a “chat” with my girls. I showed them the “egg” (aka golf ball), put my hand in the nest and patted it, and told them that THIS is where they are supposed to be laying. They squawked and clucked and I pretended that they were listening to me.
This is a sure sign that you are going egg stir crazy.
But then it got me thinking… how much are these future eggs worth?
There’s no doubt that free eggs are the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about raising your own chickens. As a family who goes through A LOT of eggs (sometimes 2 dozen a week), the idea of free eggs sound extremely enticing.
However when you sit down and tally the expenses that you have already invested in the first 5 months of owning chickens and not receiving a single egg, well, you’ll see that you are in the negative and there really is no such thing as a free egg.
Between the non-GMO, soy-free feed ($40) that lasts a month, the discounted wilted lettuce and veggies you find at the market, and buying meal worms and crickets because they have made their run a total desert, you’ll realize that you’ve put in a pretty penny. We could certainly drop this cost dramatically if we let them roam in our backyard, but right now, we don’t have a dividing fence up between our yard and our neighbors, so it’s not a possibility. I’m also working on using a portion of our garden to feed them.
Although you try and forget how much money you put into building your chicken coop, you have to add the grand you spent on the tally sheet. …. Yeah, you can read more about my chicken coop confessions here.
Then, you have to add the hourly wages you’ve spent caring for them, running around to get them their food, and all the miscellaneous.
Which leaves you wondering… how much am I going to have to sell my overflow of eggs to break even? Will I ever break even? Does it even matter?
I think, in the grand scheme of things, the answer is no it doesn’t matter. There is no price you can put on the exposure it’s giving Andrew as a child, something that many kids unfortunately lack these days. There is no price you can put on the freshness of an egg that comes right out of your backyard. And there is definitely no price you can put on the sheer gratitude you feel when you raise and care for an animal that in turn, nourishes your family with nutrient-dense goodness. Plus, it’s like a big middle finger to organizations that are trying to take away food freedom, which I totally dig.
So yes, there is no such thing as a free egg, but the journey of receiving the egg is priceless.
Want to learn more about raising backyard chickens? Check out this fantastic e-guide!
Want to learn how to cut costs on feeding your chickens? I love this post by Kris over at Attainable Sustainable.