One might well be tempted to ask this question at 6:00am on a cold, rainy day when the chickens need feeding and letting out of the coop, but generally I do not really think about it. In terms of feed costs, the eggs, which are of really superb quality, are certainly cheaper than supermarket offerings. However, the typical backyard keeper does not enjoy the economies of scale of the commercial producer, and when one factors in the relatively large capital outlay, for enclosures, electric fencing, the coop, feeders and drinkers, and so on, as well as the additional products needed for keeping everything, including the chickens, clean and healthy and free from red mite, it becomes a rather marginal proposition.
I would, though, be loath to part with our girls. Not only do they provide plenty of fresh eggs – more than we can use – they are so entertaining and really not too much bother to keep. It is good to know that our eggs come from happy, healthy hens. Today, though, I do not need any convincing – when we came in from harvesting our chillies we found that our neighbours had popped by and left us a wonderful chocolate cake. A couple of days before, we gave them a dozen fresh eggs and this came as a thankyou. Somehow I think we had the best of that deal – there will always be plenty of eggs available for our cake making friends.