Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Are Fresh Eggs Worth It?

We started keeping chickens quite a while ago and love our organic free-range eggs. However, as the price of chicken feed creeps up and up along with everything else, I really wonder if it wouldn't be more economical to just buy local organic eggs at the health food store. Our Costco also carries organic eggs for a fairly good price (although they are definitely not local). 

In an effort to avoid GMO corn and soy in any form, we have recently switched over to an organic feed, which is, of course, more expensive. In anticipation of this switch, I began free-ranging our birds so they could find a large portion of their diet on their own and be healthier for it into the bargain. The idea was to use less commercial feed and let them forage for the rest. They also receive a good amount of kitchen scraps almost daily. 

Even so, organic chicken feed does make a significant dent in the budget. We seem to go through about a bag of feed a week at about $22 a bag. We have a large family and so, keep a largish flock (seems like about 20 or so). This keeps us in eggs most of the time, with a few to share and/or barter with friends and neighbors now and then. 

Any experienced chicken keepers our there with wisdom to share? Is there a way to use even less commercial feed and make this enterprise more lucrative? I plan to research vermiculture and am open to growing some extra produce for the "girls" as a couple of alternatives to just buying bags of feed all the time. How do you stay in the green with your chickens?

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