Download our free Egg Cost Calculator (Microsoft Excel format) to help you determine the cost you invest in raising your own chickens. The Serenity Sprouts calculator will allow you to enter exact or projected costs based on your choice of hatching your own eggs, purchasing chicks to raise, beginning with pullets, or starting out with hens that are already laying but may decline production soon.
Often family chicken keepers under estimate the value of their amazing eggs! Selling lower than your costs and giving eggs away is an act of kindness for those that can afford to fund a community outreach program. It is important to highlight what makes your eggs worth more than the store? What is better about your eggs than your neighbors? If the factory farms need to set their 'premium eggs' for $5.99 - $7.99, certainly individually loved hen eggs are worth more. Compare yourself to your competition. If not feeding the same nasty pellet feed, your living conditions are better, eggs are sold fresher locally, and you avoid selling eggs from hens ever came in contact with an illness requiring antibiotics to recover, then your eggs bring a higher value.
Determine market value
I passed the egg aisle at the grocery store in February of 2020. Here is what I saw. Families avoid the cheap eggs, they sell out of the $5.99 dozens that notate their commercial hens are happy, and the $7.99 dozen commercial pasture eggs sell, but not as quickly as $6/dozen commercial eggs the grocery store sells out of.
Determine best price for your eggs
Your labor compensation and cost per egg would be your minimum sell price. Anything above would be profit. Spouting is the only way I have found that I can feed organic for less and be proud to know every ingredient that our flocks are eating. Even organic
pellets have ingredients I would rather not have my chickens ingest. When families see the quality food and life our flocks get. The value exceeds the price we are asking for a dozen eggs.
Give yourself credit for the loving work you do. Even if not feeding the highest quality, your eggs should be more humane and
fresher than the supermarket. It is important to believe in the value of what you are offering. If you think your eggs are not worth the same as factory farm eggs, then sell for less. If you believe in the value you are offering to your customers exceeds what they can find elsewhere, price according!
Estimate Life time cost
There are several variations depending on your plans for your chickens. At what age will you obtain your hens? Will you choose to raise from babies or pay more to get pullets? Will you buy hens that are laying now but will decline production quickly?
_________ Calculate total years you plan to keep them.
$________ Annual cost of original purchasing chick/chickens including any that you may have lost to predators or other reasons
$________ Annual electricity costs (incubator, brooder heat, heated waterers, ect.) We offer a professional brooder which saves on electricity, bedding, and significantly reduces feed waste.
$________ Annual Feed cost. This is the point in which you decide what type of value you are going to offer your customers. Are you going to feed commercial pellets and compete with grocery store pricing to sell the cheapest eggs? Will you invest in organic pellets and compete with grocery store higher priced eggs? Will you invest your time in sprouting Serenity Sprouts feed to save money and have an edge in the market place?
$________ Egg carton or other packaging cost
$________ Nest box bedding, herbs, and other care costs
$________ Total annual cost
$------------- Annual cost x total years you plan to keep them
$________ Lifetime cost of coop, run, equipment, and other one-time costs. This is another area to determine what value you are going to provide to your customers. Will you buy the cheapest you can to keep them alive or is their environment a place where you would be proud to let visitors see your happy hens?
$________ Total Cost of goods (add lifetime cost to annual cost x total years)
Determine labor value
_________ Hours each month spent cleaning coops, providing feed/water, egg collection, marketing or selling the eggs, general chicken care.
_________ Multiply by 12 (months per year)
_________ Multiply by years you will have the hens
$________ How much are you worth an hour? Minimum wage for 2020 in Colorado is $11.10 and is expected to raise significantly in the coming years. Are you worth less than minimum wage? Are you worth minimum wage? Worth more than minimum wage?
$________ Total labor costs. Multiply total labor hours by value per hour.
Determine expected lifetime egg production
The first 5-7 months of life is pure investment as they are too young to lay eggs. If keeping as pets once egg laying declines consider food cost to egg production ratio usually flattens at 2.5- 3 years for production breeds and 3-4 years for normal breeds.
_________ Calculate how many eggs you can expect during their productive timeline you have them for. Each breed varies, so research the annual eggs expectations, point of lay, and when production declines and how rapidly it declines.
$________ Total cost. Add the cost of goods and the cost of labor.
$________ Cost per egg . Divide total cost by number of lifetime eggs expected.
$________ Cost per dozen eggs. Multiply by 12.
Take your costs, market value, and profit need into account in determining your sell price.
It is easier for customers to accept a discount on higher priced eggs than it is to try to increase egg prices once they are used to purchasing for less. Market demand for your specific eggs will vary. If your eggs are aging more than 5 days before selling, either your price is too high or you are not marketing the value of your eggs properly. If you are running out of eggs, you are under valuing the price your eggs are worth, or you do not have adequate hens to supply the demand.
I am already selling eggs below market value, how do I increase price without losing customers?
At the time of this writing, our eggs are $7/dozen (frequently sell out) our girls are fed serenity sprout's organic sprouting mix, free range, and when below freezing feed serenity sprouts roll-milled chicken cereal that has tons of herbs added to compensate for not being able to forage when the ground is snow covered. Depending on what you feed them, you might be
underselling and spending more money than what you bring in.
It is a challenge in raising your prices once you establish customers that are used to getting your premium eggs for less than the cost to make them. It helps if you are doing something new to add perceived value to your eggs, or educate your consumers on the differences between your eggs and your competitors. Make sure you understand what is behind the grocery store marketing. Consumers just want to buy the right eggs,
however, commercial marketing makes it confusing on what egg are the right eggs. The more you can help remove the confusion and educate them on the differences, the more loyal they will be even when adjusting price.
It is thoughtful to give customers a month heads up. I allow them to pre-order for as many future dozens they want our current price before increasing. This would allow you to purchase feed in bulk as some families might be happy to pay up to 6 months in advance.
Alternatively, you can let them know that to be sustainable your prices are increasing and let your loyal customers get a 50 cent discount above your new selling price.