More hens. More money?

Look who’s arrived at the wood! 6 new hens!

Last September I bought 6 point of lay hens in an effort to be a bit more self-sufficient and also because I absolutely love keeping chickens.

I worked out the cost of keeping the hens and the income I could generate from the surplus eggs to prove they are worth keeping.

All six hens were laying by November (it can take a while for young ladies to start laying and the winter weather can slow them down) and we were overflowing with eggs throughout December. We ate boiled eggs for breakfast, scrambled eggs for lunch, huge Victoria sponges and bread and butter puddings to the point we were almost egged-out!

Quite handily (and planned), I work in a city-based office with over 100 employees and they were the target for new eggy business. At the start of the New Year, a group email to everyone in the building was extremely well received and within the same day all unlaid eggs were accounted for, for a full two weeks! I was so eggcited (I’m so funny) about bringing in boxes full of eggs and delivering them to my customers’ desks. It did mean that our household were on an egg-eating ban for around a month as I put the customers first during the initial rush.

The initial influx of orders tailed off and now I have 4 steady customers who I supply to. These customers take a total of 24 eggs per week, generating a net profit of £4 per week.

Considering the chickens eat about £10 worth of food a month, the £16 made from selling eggs is working out nicely. I’m not actually making a profit yet as the initial cost of purchasing the hens (£60) hasn’t been covered but over time I will get there.

For the last couple of weeks, I have only been getting 5 eggs per day, meaning one hen isn’t laying. It’s quite normal for hens to stop laying in winter so I’m not worried. However, it does impact how many eggs we have to sell, and how may we have to eat ourselves.

So, I made a slight drastic decision to ‘invest’ back into the business and increase my flock by 100%!

This is what the balance sheet looks like to date:

Costs to date:
Chickens £96
Food £80 (enough left for another month)

Income to date:
Sales £44


Now, I have one little, tiny-weeny issue; I am starting a new job in a month’s time and therefore will lose my current customer base. By this time the new hens should have started to lay so there is a possibility we will, once again, be overrun with eggs. However, I am crossing my fingers that there will be lots of potential customers at my new office! I also plan to start selling eggs by the roadside, with an honesty box, but fear the lack of passers-by due to it been a back road will mean I don’t sell many.

Either way, even if they don’t balance on the books, I still love keeping hens and it will always be worth my time and effort 🙂

By Jenni Tulip

I'm a bright-haired, hill walking, magpie whispering, skull collecting, tree hugging, money saving, bird watching, happy campervanning, ferret fanatic, woodland dweller sharing my stories and passion for the outdoors to inspire you to immerse yourself in nature.

  • Get a couple of dogs. My dogs eat the eggs I don't gather up. Sadly, as a result they have become slightly obese. When I took them to get their rabies shot the vet got on my case about their weight. When my daughter visited a few weeks ago she said "dad, the dogs are going to have heart attacks."

    I haven't been going for walks in the woods with them as much, but I hope when the weather is better we can all exercise that way.

    I have 56 chickens by last count, not including the three "silkies" my daughter brought down here that are her pets.

    Did I tell you all this before? Maybe I did. At my age, it's hard to remember!