Hippychick's Gardens

  (bastrop, Texas)
living a smalltown texas homestead inspired life

you want how much for those eggs?

ever wonder about the cost of locally raised organic fed eggs? you should

there are folk that stop by the hippychick universe regularly thinking that my home raised eggs might sell for super cheap - one person offered me a $1.oo a dozen - then politely walked away when they heard me say that my organic fed eggs run not for $1.oo per dozen but for $4.oo per dozen. he then countered with a $1.5o offer. folks the days of a dozen organic fed eggs for $1.5o are over - not with feed prices as they are - feed prices are high and going up up up

just a year ago i was paying $17.5o for a 5olb bag of organic layer feed - it was great - it was more expensive than commercial feed but i expected it to be. now i pay $3o.oo for the very same bag of feed. no kidding. and here is the hard truth - feed folk expect the prices of organically grown grain to climb which means - yup you've got it figured out - the cost to raise organic fed egg laying creatures climbs.

you have to take into consideration the farmers who get paid to raise gmo corn for ethanol and such rather than wholesome organic crops on their precious land - the land they farm, the land that had the possibility of transitioning to organically farmed land - that is now out of bounds for organically raised goods. genetically modified crops and the large uber corporations that claim copyright ownership have pulled that land out of the natural and/or organic mix.

granted many farmers - bless them - are just trying to survive and make hard choices daily - but this particular action - growing genetically modified crops - bears a serious and long lasting consequence.

one must also consider the fact that grain is a traded commodity and the government has been playing heavy when it comes to grain prices for years. thus my sadness when i hear that yet another monsanto player has entered the national agriculture governing board - but then that's a whole other rant.

even with more farmers raising gmo crops - commercial non-organic feed has gone up in price. a year ago you could get a bag of the gmo stuff for $12.25 and now you are looking in the range of $17.oo.

so why don't i just switch to commercial non-organic feed?
frankly i feel shamed for even posing the question
but you need to know that
gmo is the voldermort death eater of the organic universe
- at lease in my mind
it is -

let's get big business in the business of raising healthy bees along with other beneficial pollinators and open pollinated crops rather than changing nature as nature never intended!

ohh i am getting a bit hot here - back to the topic
well this is the topic so i guess it's best for you to know this kind of thing get's me where it counts

i will not go the route of genetically modified corn, soy, potatoes, whatever in this lifetime. no way! i do what i do because i want to control what is in my food - i am not interested in messing with the genetics of the creatures, plants and/or of my own self - where is the sense in that? darwin, where are you now? boy i would love to know your thoughts on this topic. and where are the studies of resulted fact and bodily residues relative to that of gmo crops in our diet and in our environment? you don't hear about them do you?

funny this huge burst of autism in young children - you ought to wonder

feed options do exist -
i could consider purchasing organic feed in bulk and i have but the fact about feed for creatures is fresher is better. imagine that - fresh food for creatures just as you and i enjoy fresh food on our own plates. another fact about organic (non-chemical treated) feed is that grain buggies like it too and they thrive best in the hot months so unless you have a big controlled climate storage space, it is best to purchase what you need when you need it - the small batch method - and most small or really small farmers like myself do just that. this in turn means no option for bulk discount.

it's not just tough on the small farmers, it's tough on the feed stores. they do not charge much above cost or at least the great folk at buck moore feed and supply where i get my goods do not. so the truth is that i have chosen to stick to my moral food safety guns and do things right. after all, if i feed the girls right then i in turn feed myself and those who buy the super-d-lovely eggs right. i look it at as preventative health care which can save a person big big bucks. we all know that.

i feed organic now and i will feed organic in the future come what may. so back to the cost of eggs. it's true, the more chickens you have laying, the better the ratio of cost to feed to egg - that's simple. but just how does it work for the wee farmers like myself. let's take a look.

current hippychickenchica facts
this will adjust as more girls begin to lay

  • flock size 16 girlygirls
  • at present 7 laying {we have a new girl's first egg just today!}
  • 7 additional girls are due to begin laying any day now
  • my 2 younger girls have at least 7 weeks before laying their first egg
  • new layers may lay smaller pullet sized eggs for 6 weeks or more and may not lay everyday
  • average number of eggs collected daily 5 to 6
  • perfect world 49 eggs collected per week - not going to happen
  • reality 35 to 45 eggs collected per week
the math
  • cost of one 5olb bag of organic chicken layer feed $3o
  • one bag of feed lasting approx 2.5 weeks = $12 per week
  • avg 6 eggs laid per spring/summer day (less in winter) = 42 eggs per week all things going well
  • 42 eggs laid/12 eggs per dozen = 3.5 dozen eggs per week
  • $12 feed per week / 3.5 dozen eggs =$3.43 feed fed per dozen per week
current minimum charge for a dozen of hippychick's super-d-lovely organic eggs

keep in mind the $3.43 does not account for the cost of
  • bedding
  • grit & oyster shell
  • housing, feeders, chickeny health supplies
  • my efforts to care for the ladies
  • girls in moult - not laying - sweetpea girls have still got to eat
i have been charging $4.oo per dozen of large sized eggs - less for the pullet sized but let's look at the following as if all eggs are large sized - thinking positive - as we all should
  • $4.oo charged - $3.43 cost = $o.57 above feed cost
  • .57 upkeep charge x 3.5 dozen per week = $1.99
  • i make a whopping $1.99 per week - not enough to cover upkeep costs
- moral of this math story -
you gotta love your girls for who they are
not for the cash they do or do not bring in

for me, breaking even is the goal - profit - not so much - i would have to charge a whole lot more and frankly, i would rather not do so. i am curious if there are other chicken farmers out there with their math scores - how does it all work out for you? i can tell you that most of us wee farming folk do it for the love of it and for the love of our girls.
so it goes..

- when you are able -
support your local small farmers
most are doing their darndest to charge a fair price

- -

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We've talked with farmers all over and we all have similar stories to the one you have. Mine was a man who drove up as we were packing up for the day. He was in a brand new Cadillac, had all this gold on around his neck and wrists, diamond pinky ring etc. I was selling organic tomatoes 2 for $1. I had a bag of six tomatoes left and I told the man the price was 2 bucks. He looked at them and said how bout 1.50. I took the bag back and told him to have a good day. These same people, that try to get reduced prices, are the same ones that will go out and spend much more for perfume and cologne or a lavish dinner and not think twice about it.

We sell our eggs for 4.00, organic feed is 25.00/50lbs. egg cartoons, water, our time etc. Mother Earth news did a good article on the benefits of free range eggs. Good luck and keep up the fight.

Posted by Brian on August 02, 2009 at 08:41 PM CDT #

hello brian

- we are all doing what we can - i do not begrudge the folk looking for a bargain, i just hold firm. it is not something that i had a great talent for starting out - i have always tried to flex as much as i am able. for now $4.oo is as flexed as it gets.

- interesting i had not listed egg cartons and the stickers i have made for each carton and/or my hippychick's garden signs that should be arriving sometime soon.

- good go for the reminder!

Posted by michelle on August 02, 2009 at 09:02 PM CDT #

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