Costs of raising your own farm fresh eggs, laying out the numbers

A carton of eggs now costs more than a pound of hamburger. High inflation has led more people to start raising their own chickens. So we took a crack at it, too.

FOX 26 photojournalist Chandler Watson spent five weeks raising two hens, whom he named Barbara and Carol, from Rent-the-Chicken.

"We've got water, we've got food. It's a party. It's a mealworm party," said Watson, holding out a handful of dried mealworms to feed Barb.

START OF CHICKEN COOP: High egg prices leading people to rent chickens, FOX 26 photographer starts chicken coop

"Barb is sweet always ready for snacks," he said.

A far cluck from our first day trying to corral Carol after Barb had gone into the coop.  

"Carol was not happy, and she was like I’ve got to find this girl. She took us clear across the yard," said Watson.

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Together, Barb and Carol laid about a dozen eggs a week.

We asked some folks to give them a taste test and FOX 26 Reporter Matthew Seedorff made avocado toast.

"That's the good stuff right there. Thank you, Barbara, thank you, Carol, thank you FOX 26. This is a good breakfast," said Seedorff.

Dylan Sargent soft-boiled his eggs.

"That is definitely a really high-quality egg. The yolk is nice and creamy like you hope. Vibrant color," said Sargent.

At today's boiling prices, buying four dozen eggs a month could set you back around $20.

Rent-the-Chicken costs $665 for six months, or about $110 a month. But they provide two hens, a coop, feed, bowls, a guidebook, delivery, and support.

RENT-THE-CHICKEN: High egg prices leading people to rent chickens

"It’s chickens without the commitment. It’s an opportunity to decide if chicken ownership is the thing for you," said Homestead Dez with Rent-the-Chicken.

To buy your own, chicks are about $3. Hens ready to lay eggs are $20 to $30. Add another $20 to $30 for feed every three months. Building a coop starts at a few hundred dollars and don't forget their bag of favorite snacks, fly larvae or mealworms, for $5 to $12.

While the start-up costs are higher, for many the joy of raising their own chickens is priceless.

"We’ve bonded in that right.  So I will miss them, yes, but I’ll be more disappointed than anything that they’re leaving," said Watson.  

That's why Rent-the-Chicken says 90% of renters decide to adopt their chickens.