Welcome to Cranky Puppy Farm!

This blog belongs to two Gen X-er's smackdab in downtown Kansas City where we've been renovating and decorating two old Victorians built in the 1890's. Our life is filled with 3 demanding Pomeranians (1 of them cranky, of course), honking cars, noisy neighbors and the hustle and bustle of city life but we dream of the day when we can move to our 40-acre farm and hear nothing but the wind and the cows next door. Until then, we're chronicling our triumphs and mishaps here as we try to garden and preserve on 2 city lots, raise chickens, and learn all those things we should have learned from our grandparents. Welcome to our world - we hope you'll stay awhile!

The Business Side of Chickens

Friday, August 31, 2012

No, I'm not posting a bunch of pictures of fluffy, feathered behinds.  Okay, maybe just one.

What I want to talk about is whether or not it's worth it to keep chickens.  And I have a cool tool to share with you that will help you figure that out for yourself. 

So it goes without saying that the number one advantage to having your own flock is that you get fresh eggs from happy chickens that are much tastier than store-bought, and much better for you (and the chickens) also.  The poor birds aren't stuffed into tiny little cages for their entire lives like the commercial farm chickens.  Poor things.  And you know what they've eaten, so you know whether or not you're getting quality eggs.  ("Garbage in, garbage out"!  My fellow computer science nerds will recognize that one.)

But, like becoming any pet owner, someone considering taking the leap into chicken-keeping should spend some time thinking about the expenses related to becoming a flock owner:  you have to provide housing, food, water, protection, sometimes vet bills, and treats. And, if you're raising them from chicks (or hatching eggs), you'll need a special heat light, a place to keep them that's protected, chick food, etc. 

I don't think I've ever admitted it here, but my 8' x 10' chicken coop cost over $800 to build.

With temps forecast to hit 98 today, this snowy pic looks refreshing!
J. and I custom built this and went way overboard but there was a reason for it:  we were new to owning chickens and, if it didn't pan out, we could easily turn it into a garden shed. You definitely don't have to go nuts like we did: some people repurpose their children's playhouses, or you can build a more modest coop or chicken tractor.  J. and I are 40-something techies with tools and no kids, so we always over-do everything.  Plus we needed a hobby to keep us off the streets (just kidding).

I just ran across this really cool online tool that can help you think about the costs of keeping chickens and, for you business majors and MBA types, whether or not you're getting a positive return on investment (ROI).  Go check out the Poultry Calculator!

 Change the costs to dollars, choose bantams or large chickens, and then plug in your numbers for each category.  Then hit "calculate" and out pops the information on your ROI. 
According to the calculator, we're making a profit of just over $40 per year.  That's due to the fact that I sell our excess eggs to family and friends for $2.00 a dozen.  Fresh, organic eggs are going for $4.00 a dozen at the local farmer's market and I could charge more, but becoming the egg moguls of Kansas City wasn't our reason for getting chickens.  Our chickens are pets and it's kind of the "gravy on top" that we're able to share these great eggs with close friends.  I always say they're "pets with benefits" but then I get some strange looks from people. 
Well, I need to get going because J. and I are tearing off the top part of a 2-story deck and rebuilding it today.  We're inching ever closer to getting his old house ready to go on the market.

I'm sharing this as part of this week's Home and Garden Thursday, Farm Fresh Friday, LHITS DIY Linky, Barn Hop, and Eat.Make.Grow hops.



  1. That poultry calculator is great! I estimated sales on the low end, and still came out ahead. I thought the gals were barely covering feed, but they make a little profit too. Yay for chickens! Now, if I could only find a way to make all these horses profitable.......

  2. I would do this but might get too depressed (laugh).... and now I really don't feel bad because YOU HAVE A HEN PALACE TOO!!!!

    1. LOL! And now I don't feel as bad either since I know you do, too!

  3. I stopped trying to figure out if it is worth it to keep my chickens, sigh. I'm pretty sure it isn't. But my son won't eat anything but our homegrown eggs, and we also eat our chickens when they are done laying. I completely understand keeping them as pets, but I decided before I started that I wouldn't keep chickens into retirement. Just too costly when you have 30 laying hens.

    It's great that you are actually saving money!

    1. You hit on something that eventually we'll have to deal with, Lisa Lynn. When the hens stop laying....are they pets or do we eat them? I'm not sure I can bring myself to kill something that I've raised from a baby. J. says he can do it but I suspect I would still cry like a big ol' baby. Except maybe not if we ate Cruella since she's a mean girl.

      Hope you're having a great Labor Day weekend!

  4. I am glad you found this. It is really useful. I have always wanted chickens and my father-in-law has a few - this might help determine whether they should continue keeping chickens. I do love your chicken coop - it is gorgeous! I appreciate you sharing with Home and Garden Thursday,


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