Home Bakers: Eggs And Chickens!?

Business By lrlt2000 Updated 23 Aug 2011 , 10:44pm by Baker_Rose

lrlt2000 Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 3:20pm
post #1 of 38

I rarely have more than one cake in a week, but this week I have two. Even with one, I feel like I go through eggs like toilet paper icon_redface.gif Between the cake mixes and the IMBC, it's at least that big tray of 36 eggs!

I have thought about getting chickens--they're so cheap to buy and to feed, and they lay on average one per day per hen.

Has anyone gotten chickens at least in part for supplying their cake business!??

37 replies
lrlt2000 Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 3:21pm
post #2 of 38

Oh, ETA: I would need two trays of eggs for two moderately sized cakes!!! Granted, I may have a few eggs left over, but I'd still need to buy two.

costumeczar Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 5:59pm
post #3 of 38

I'd just go to Sam's Club and get cheaper eggs. I go through between 6 to 12 dozen eggs a week with the number of cakes that I do and I have NEVER thought to get chickens. That seems like a lot of work and extra dirt to deal with.

jason_kraft Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 6:02pm
post #4 of 38

Calculate the total monthly cost of upkeep (don't forget the cost of your time) for the number of chickens required for X eggs per month. If that number is lower than the cost of buying X eggs per month at the store, get the chickens. If not, don't.

ajwonka Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 6:04pm
post #5 of 38

A friend who lives outside city limits got chickens thinking it'd be cheaper than buying eggs. She was wrong!

MimiFix Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 7:11pm
post #6 of 38

But think about the mileage someone can get from advertising cakes made with their own fresh eggs. And they're free-range chickens (free-range, right?) People love those trendy phrases.

lilmissbakesalot Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 7:28pm
post #7 of 38

People aren't going to pay enough extra to cover the cost. You have the house and yard... the food and watering supplies... I don't know where you are, but here you have to have extra supplies to over winter them... the vet bills and annual wormings and vaccines. It's not as easy to care for them (the right way) than you'd think. They don't lay right away either... so you have to bring them up and they will produce nothing until they are old enough. The average chicken lays up to 5 eggs per week, but but usually it is less (especially when it's cold). You'd need a lot of chickens to keep up. You can get a 15 dozen box of eggs at Sam's for $20 or so... WAY cheaper than raising your own. It's another full time job to add to your list of things to do.

Take it from someone who has owned chickens... it's not cheaper by any means. I loved owning chickens. It is fun and rewarding, but it's not easy, they stink, and it's not cheap.

coloradoflower Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 7:48pm
post #8 of 38

I have 17 chickens and i have to say it's an investment to say the least, I got the chickens after reading and learning how the chickens who lay the eggs that are sold in stores are treated. My place already had a chicken coop built. But we had to fix it up for the chickens. Unless you find some laying chickens for sale then it would be worth it. If your allowed to have chickens in the first place. You have to be in the right zone. Also if you raise them from a week old you have to keep them inside your house in a brooder until they are i 6 weeks old at least. Depending on what type of chicken depends on the size of the egg. It's a ton work. They don't start laying until 4-5 months. If your still interested in chickens i would really give it some thought and check out Mybackyardchickens.com. I know a lady who has 30 chickens and get like 3-5 dozen eggs a week but again that's the breed of chicken she has some lay more than other breeds.

cai0311 Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 8:56pm
post #9 of 38

I buy my eggs at Walmart in the 5 dozen container. The eggs are either .08 or .13 cents each, I can't remember. Cheap, easy, clean...chickens are none of those things.

coloradoflower Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 9:03pm
post #10 of 38

Yes of course it's cheap look at how those chickens are raised.

dchockeyguy Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 9:13pm
post #11 of 38

If you live in a neighborhood, make sure it's allowed. our HOA specifically prohibits chickens.

jason_kraft Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 9:14pm
post #12 of 38
Originally Posted by cai0311

I buy my eggs at Walmart in the 5 dozen container. The eggs are either .08 or .13 cents each, I can't remember. Cheap, easy, clean...chickens are none of those things.

Considering the cost of raising chickens, just imagine what kind of conditions Walmart's supplier must impose on the chickens in order to sell eggs for less than 8 cents each and still make a profit.

Adevag Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 9:35pm
post #13 of 38

Is the only reason you are considering raising your own chickens to save money? Then you need to calculate all costs and time involved (like jason kraft suggested).
What kind of eggs do you buy now? The "walmart eggs" (mentioned in a previous post) or eggs from chickens treated better? What is your standard? You could definitely attract customers who want better quality products (like organic, pasture raised etc) buy raising your own chickens that way.
But you can also buy those kinds of eggs from farms and still keep the same standard.

I belong to a coop where I buy my eggs from a farm who has pasture raised chickens and eggs. I know nothing about farming, but they say their chickens go through their molt during the dark months of the year and produce less eggs.

cureVHAandCF Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 9:51pm
post #14 of 38

I have chickens! icon_smile.gif Although i didn't get them for my cake business and to save money on eggs. First of all if you get chickens you have to be willing to take care of them, and that takes time. Make sure they have a secure area from predators. Taking care of them is farely easy, but you do get dirty. Fill up water, feed, collect eggs every day. And clean up the coop and pen at least once a week. Also you do get on average one egg per hen a day. Sometimes you might get more, or less. They tend to lay less when it is cold(winter). Also, as they get older they lay less. They lay a lot in their first year. BUT, the eggs are delicious!!! icon_biggrin.gif once you have farm fresh eggs you can never go back to the old eggs you buy.

Edit: I'm a little surprised to see many people think it's a lot of work to raise them. When they are young it is definately harder, since the risk of loosing them is higher. And my chickens where about 5 1/2 months old when they started laying their eggs.

southerncross Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 10:02pm
post #15 of 38

I'm a home baker with a legal commercial kitchen (I converted the old summer kitchen to a separate kitchen dedicated to baked goods). i have the joy of living on a small croft with my own free range chickens, cow for my own cream and milk and fruit and nut trees as well as a garden that supplies fresh ingredients for my fillings. I like the idea of having only organic products in my cakes.... but seriously, I'm a bit like Marie Antoinette playing at country farm girl.

Not everyone has this privilege and it certainly isn't the cheapest route considering the initial investment. Consider that your average chicken (I have Buff Orpingtons...the quintessential farm yard chicken) lays about one egg a day and less during the winter months so you're looking at 36 chickens at least.

You'll need between 5 to 10 square feet per chicken (and you don't need a rooster to get eggs...unless you want fertile eggs and chicks) so you're talking a bit of dedicated space. Bottom line, unless chickens are already a part of your greater lifestyle then it's not really economical or practical to raise your own for baking needs.

Ginnycakes Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 10:03pm
post #16 of 38

lilmissbakesalot and cureVHAandCF are both right -- dirty, expensive, delicious, require daily care even if you have the flu or want to spend a week in Florida.
DH and I kept chickens for many years and gave it up because we're nearing retirement and there are other things to life than worrying about chickens.
Keep in mind that you will continue getting eggs even when you don't want any more eggs for a week or three. A neighbor gives us eggs in return for egg cartons -- he liked the idea of chickens and got too many. And he can't make himself kill 'em.
You can buy free-range farm eggs around here for $4 dozen at farmers' markets. I imagine you could strike a deal with someone who has chickens for a better price than that. Look around.
That said, there's just something ... nice ... about having a flock of barred Rocks pecking around your front lawn, clucking and scolding to themselves. ...

dawncr Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 10:41pm
post #17 of 38

Heavy cream is what's expensive for me. I think I'll get me a dairy cow....


southerncross Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 11:19pm
post #18 of 38
Originally Posted by dawncr

Heavy cream is what's expensive for me. I think I'll get me a dairy cow....


Oh no...you do not want a dairy cow. Chickens are a breeze compared to Bessie...trust me.

lilmissbakesalot Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 11:24pm
post #19 of 38

It's not difficult to care for chickens... that's not what I meant. It's fairly easy once they are established. What I meant was that it is constant work. You can't not care for them because you are sick or don't feel like it, and forget about leaving them if you want to vacation. Not many neighbors are going to want to come over and muck the chicken coop for you while you are gone. In the winter it's harder since you have to make sure the water isn't frozen, which means running electricity out to the coop and/or composting in the coop.

I love chickens... they are silly little creatures and are fun to watch. They love to eat bugs and they will fight over little toads and frogs that cross their paths. I wish I could have chickens here... but we aren't zoned for it.

QTCakes1 Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 11:41pm
post #20 of 38

Your own chickens for eggs?! Wow, that is some serious from scratch baking right there! icon_biggrin.gif

cakestyles Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 11:45pm
post #21 of 38

Eggs are your biggest expense...really?

It's butter and sugar for me.

I have a deal with a local farmer in my town...he sells me his fresh eggs for $2 a dozen and he gets 2 free 9" round birthday cakes from me a year.

I wish he'd buy some cows and plant some sugarcane....lol

dawncr Posted 22 Aug 2011 , 11:47pm
post #22 of 38
Originally Posted by southerncross

Originally Posted by dawncr

Heavy cream is what's expensive for me. I think I'll get me a dairy cow....


Oh no...you do not want a dairy cow. Chickens are a breeze compared to Bessie...trust me.

Oh, I know, I grew up on a farm. I was trying to be tongue-in-cheek, and poking a bit of fun at persons who have never worked with livestock at all. The idea that one should get chickens because eggs are expensive is the kind of naivetee that makes farmers laugh. Now, if the OP has some background in farming or agriculture, then it's a viable suggestion.

Kudos to those of you who put in the commitment and work to produce healthy food in humane ways. Unless one is dedicated to those values, the cost of small-scale livestock far outweigh any savings.


costumeczar Posted 23 Aug 2011 , 12:44am
post #23 of 38

My husband told me to write "Eggman! Eggman! Can we have eggs every day?"

coloradoflower Posted 23 Aug 2011 , 1:19am
post #24 of 38

If u want your milk you can always get a dairy goat. Which I have also, she is milked 2x a day and she gives us about a gallon a day. I have used it in my baked goods and never had a problem with it.
We make cheese, heavy cream and butter from her milk. I don't taste a difference between cow or goat milk. But its tons more work than the chickens lol. But I love knowing my kids are not drinking chemicals along with the store bought milk. She is not as big as a cow and in fact they have mini goats that can also provide you with your milk.

7yyrt Posted 23 Aug 2011 , 1:33am
post #25 of 38

I have 9 hens, they are little trouble at all.
Clean the waterers every day, muck out the coop once a week, collect the eggs a few times a day, scatter the feed morning and night.
It costs 19 cents a dozen eggs in feed, a slight bit of electricity for the heat lamp in the winter. The coop was built from recycled wood, they are free- range.
But, as pointed out above - forget about vacations unless you have kids taking care of them while you are gone.

lrlt2000 Posted 23 Aug 2011 , 2:26am
post #26 of 38

I'm LOL at how this post took off! Thank you everyone for your input.

First, I've entertained and been researching getting chickens prior to the thought about the eggs also supplying my baking! I was just curious to see if anyone did.

Also, I didn't mean to suggest eggs are my biggest expense icon_smile.gif

And jason_kraft: I love how you always have a financial/accounting analysis ready to share icon_smile.gif

I think I'll try Costco icon_wink.gif

lrlt2000 Posted 23 Aug 2011 , 2:28am
post #27 of 38

Oh, and coloradoflower: I've always wondered this. . . do goats/cows need to have birthed in order to produce milk!? I hope to someday retire to a farm and have a cow or two for fresh milk, but didn't want the hassle of calves/calving icon_smile.gif

coloradoflower Posted 23 Aug 2011 , 3:15am
post #28 of 38

lrlt2000 actually they do, but you can always sell the babies once they are 8 weeks old. Until you sell them if you want milk for yourself your gonna have to bottle feed the babies.

southerncross Posted 23 Aug 2011 , 11:08am
post #29 of 38

lrlt2000, if you retire to an area that allows goats (ie rural) there will be animal auctions nearby that usually sell milk cows and goats as farmers increase and decrease their herds. That's how I got my milk cow and goats. I use them for cheese making as well as for table milk and butter. I realize this is getting a bit off baking but I think we're going to be seeing more people "growing their own" as the economy tanks for a while.

On the baking side, I think people are becoming more concerned about what goes into their food and the slow food movement. I find that people appreciate that only fresh ingredients from the source go into my baked goods, jams and cheeses.

sweetideas Posted 23 Aug 2011 , 12:10pm
post #30 of 38

It's not money that makes me want to have chickens and a cow....it's the inhumane way they treat them and all the antibiotics and chemicals they use. I buy organic and eggs here are over $5.00/dz and 1/2 gallon of milk is between 4-5.00. Organic yogurt is insane, six little cups about $5.00. Butter isn't too bad, not much more than regular butter. I keep taking paycuts because of the economy and it really hurts...I started giving only my kids the organic and using regular milk for hubby and I. I wish I lived closer to where I could buy eggs milk and cheese from a reliable farm that I knew was more humane. I couldn't own a cow, but a community cow would be nice. icon_smile.gif

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