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Crack rising egg prices and save £300 a year by keeping chickens

Households fighting rising payments can embrace the spirit of post-war austerity Britain by retaining chickens

Households fighting rising payments can embrace the spirit of post-war austerity Britain by retaining chickens. 

Free vary egg costs are rocketing because of the rising price of grain and a latest outbreak of hen flu. Buyers face paying £2 for half a dozen eggs though some farmers are threatening to close down manufacturing altogether as a result of they can not make a revenue. 

But through the use of as little as 3 sq ft of your again backyard, you would possibly take pleasure in 250 free eggs a yr from a single hen – the equal of an annual saving on grocery payments of about £80. 


As somebody who retains hens at my residence close to Bishop’s Stortford, Hertfordshire, I take pleasure in contemporary eggs almost each day. 

In consequence, I save money and time on going to the retailers. My brood contains three Cream Legbar cross-breeds and a few Silkie hens. 

Financial coop: Toby Walne tends to his hens at his home near Bishop’s Stortford

Monetary coop: Toby Walne tends to his hens at his residence close to Bishop’s Stortford

They lay on common 4 eggs a day at the moment of the yr, however for so long as 4 months over winter, they cease laying. 

My whole egg financial savings works out at £300 a yr. However I derive a lot pleasure from them, too. 

An early morning go to to the hen home within the backyard to feed them is the right antidote to the stresses of contemporary life. 

And up to now, the foxes have stayed away. 

Throughout the ‘dig for victory’ period of rationing launched within the Second World Conflict – and that lasted till 1954 – it was frequent to maintain hens within the backyard to complement meals. The choice was a ration of 1 contemporary egg every week plus a tin of dry powdered eggs each two months. 

Jane Howorth, founding father of the British Hen Welfare Belief, says: ‘You possibly can acquire egg-laying birds for nothing. We’ve 48 centres throughout the nation the place you may choose up our birds without spending a dime – although we settle for donations.’ She provides: ‘We rehome 60,000 battery hens a yr – birds which may in any other case find yourself in a curry, meat pie or pet food. They will typically proceed laying for one more three or 4 years.’ 

These former battery hens, usually Lohmann Brown hybrids, are often 18 months outdated and may lay eggs each day. Alternatively, you would possibly favor to decide on your personal breed. ‘Level of lay’ hens typically price £15 or extra and web sites reminiscent of supply particulars of about 500 breeders promoting poultry. It additionally has particulars of allotments that may be rented from as little as £12 a yr for these with out sufficient area at residence to maintain hens. 

Since late final yr, the Division for Surroundings, Meals & Rural Affairs, has issued steering that each one hens ought to be stored beneath cowl in pens to cease the unfold of hen flu. This is applicable to hens stored at residence, on an allotment or commercially farmed. Web sites reminiscent of The Carpenter’s Daughter advise find out how to construct coops with enclosed areas utilizing supplies that price round £100. 

Howorth says: ‘If you don’t fancy constructing a coop and enclosure your self, you should buy a fundamental coop from as little as £200. Outfits reminiscent of Omlet supply plastic designer properties from about £400, however if you wish to break the funds, you may think about a £4,000 gypsy caravan from Flyte So Fancy.’ 

These fearful about foxes inflicting carnage ought to think about an electrical fence powered by a 12-volt automobile battery. These price round £120 and preserve hens protected with out harming any predator. 

Though hens have to be fed and properly taken care of – with the coop cleaned and straw changed within the egg-laying space maybe as soon as a fortnight – house owners quickly greater than recoup these prices with the financial savings from producing your personal freshly laid eggs. 

Kaye Robson, proprietor of Robsons Feed Provides in Clavering, Essex, says: ‘A hen consumes lower than £20 of feed a yr. I preserve 25 birds they usually get via an £11 bag of blended corn a month, plus a £12 bag of layers’ pellets.’ 

A sprinkling of grit will make sure the egg shells are robust and each day contemporary water is a should. Poultry house owners often preserve a minimal of three hens as birds like firm. Neighbours are finest stored candy by presenting them with occasional free eggs. It’s essential to ask their permission if you wish to preserve a cockerel.

For bees and pigs, ask the neighbours first 


A hive of bees can produce as much as 60 kilos of honey a yr – a harvest price £300 in the event you promote one pound jars for £5 every. 

However earlier than you begin counting all that cash, you will need to think about the associated fee related to this rewarding interest. A fundamental hive prices round £200 whereas a nuc – a small starter colony with a queen – would possibly set you again an extra £150. A protecting swimsuit with a couple of fundamental instruments, reminiscent of a smoker to calm bees down, provides an extra £150. Contact the British Beekeepers Affiliation for additional particulars, together with programs out there to wannabe beekeepers.


Whether or not a Gloucestershire Outdated Spot, Black Tamworth or a Saddleback, you may select from greater than a dozen British breeds to convey residence the bacon. However pay attention to the mess they make of flower beds. Every pig usually requires 30 sq ft through which to wallow. Fences plus a sty prices at the very least £250. 

Hold at the very least two pigs for firm. Piglets price from £25 and by the point they’re 4 months outdated will be bought to a butcher for £250. They will eat 2kg of feed a day, costing £5 every week. You want understanding neighbours who don’t thoughts farmyard smells. For particulars, contact the British Pig Affiliation.


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