Subscribe via RSS Feed Connect with me on LinkedIn LASL on Flickr

Eglu: How to Pay Too Much for Home Grown Eggs

[ 41 ] January 8, 2009 |
Share Button

Eglu OmletAdmittedly, The Omlet Eglu is a very cool-looking, functional, ingenious design for an urban chicken coop.

Of course I want one, but that’s besides the point.When you do the math paying for one just doesn’t make any sense… And besides that, is buying more plastic “stuff” really the answer we’re looking for?

The national average for a dozen eggs is $2.17 according to the Washington Post.

A standard Eglu Omlet costs about $500-$600 USD and keeps two chickens. Let’s say each of your girls lay an average of 250 eggs per year. JUST factoring in the cost of the Eglu Omlet backyard chicken coop – and not things like feed and your two healthy pullets – each of those eggs would cost you $1 (assuming you only paid $500 USD for your omlet eglu, but you probably paid even more). And a buck a piece of course is $12 per dozen: 5.5 times the amount you would pay on average if you just bought the eggs.

OK, the Eglu is going to last you more than a year. Let’s say it lasts as long as five years. But if we’re being reasonable here, let’s say you had to buy $10 worth of feed per year per bird, and the two birds cost you $13 each from somewhere like McMurray Hatchery, which all adds after tax somewhere around $50 or more in initial expenses and, assuming you keep both birds alive and producing, another $20 per year for feed. So over a five-year period you spend $650 for 2,500 eggs. (208 dozen).. IF everything goes swimmingly – which, as most chicken-owners will tell you, it won’t.

Congratulations, you just spent five years paying $2.32 a dozen for eggs – .15 cents more than the national average if you had just bought them from the store.

Funny Hen ChickenI know, I know – you’re not just raising chickens to save money. You like to watch them because they’re funny. Me too. You like to have fresh, organic eggs. Me too. But the same is true no matter what your motivation is for raising backyard hens… Save yourself some money by making your own hen house, or buy a wooden one for half the price that will probably last just as long. You can even reuse an old dog-house if you want. Mother Earth News has a good how-to guide for building your own portable hen house and run for under $100 (click here to read it).

If you want to build your own but don’t know where to start, paying $13 for a book with 45 different easy-designs for chicken coops is better than paying $500.

Share Button

Category: Farming & Gardening

About Everett: Everett writes about voluntary simplicity. This blog catalogs his search for "the good life" as he tries to strike a balance between work and play; freedom and responsibility; simplicity and comfort. View author profile.

Comments (41)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Yeah, I saw that a while ago. What a crock! I suppose if the manufacturers can get people to pay good money for that thing, then more power to ‘em. We built our mobile chicken coop and pen mostly from scrap lumber pulled out of dumpsters. We paid for hardware cloth and some wheels, but I’d guess it was easily under $30, and the pen and coop will certainly last 5 years or more. The eglu looks like it’s made out of plastic. And it sits out in the sun all day long. And we all know how easy it is to repair plastic.

  2. Kristi says:

    Just saw the Eglu online yesterday, and was SO stoked!- until I saw the price. I have wanted chickens for a long time- but not that badly! Also- how does a little plastic keep any amount of heat in the winter?

  3. Amy says:

    I am surprised that this article is comparing the cost of home grown eggs to the cost of regular store eggs that come from factory farming. A cost comparison between home grown and organic free range eggs, a product that can be found in most health food stores for a price considerably more than the national average, would be a more appropriate comparison.
    I know that my homegrown eggs cost more per egg than factory farm eggs, but my hens are happy, the yolks are orange, and the flavor is unmatched. Not all eggs are created equal.

  4. Amy,

    The article is making the point that you can build your own chicken coop that is just as good, if not better, than some of the ones being sold. You can build it cheaply and easily with little to no carpentry skills.

    To some, price is not as big of an issue as it is to others. Some want chickens because they like to have them around as pets and for the fresh, organic, free-range or cage-free eggs from their own backyard – not because they hope to save money or be self-sustaining.

  5. [...] saving money is not your primary reason for raising chickens, you might consider something like the Eglu Urban Chicken Coop for the not-so-cheap price of [...]

  6. Maureen says:

    Tip: Buy a yard sale child’s playhouse. Add wire run and next box. Et Voila! You have a cute little porta summer home for your hens. You will need something more substantial for winter.

  7. Chicken Coup says:

    At least it comes in multiple colors. It is pricey and I agree with Amy the cost comparison should be done with organic free range eggs.

    Still though the contraption is convenient and kind of cool.

  8. April says:

    The truly funny thing is – Eglu is selling 50 pound bags of organic feed for $72. SEVENTY TWO DOLLARS PEOPLE!!!! It’s like, what? $25 for 50lbs of organic at the feed store. I get non-medicated run-of-the-mill stuff for $11/50lb bag. $72 is just crazy! (for the record – I would take a free eglu too!)

  9. Becky says:

    I read an article about the eglu in the new yorker (sep 28, 2009), and it was designed for a college thesis project by four industrial-design students in 2004. I’ve looked it up because my husband has been egging me to get chickens – for both chicken and eggs – but I’ve been to my grandma’s farm. They escape her homemade coup/chicken house, and the poop stinks. We also live in the country where we have plenty of coyotes.

    I like the design being easy-clean and compact, and it’s definitely cute, but the price tag is hefty, and I too wondered how, then, one keeps them warm in the winter. I have to say, more power to them if the designers can keep this product going – not bad for a group of college students!

    And if my hubby ever convinces me to try chickens, I’d take one for free also! ;)

  10. Mary Jane says:

    Thanks. I just fell in love. They are so cute and modern looking. I couldn’t wait to tell me husband that I found the perfect coop.
    I appreciate the reality check.

  11. Mountain Mike says:

    Hello,

    Were chuckling at the thought that you really believe it’s about the dollar/egg that drives a decision to buy the Eglu. It’s just a thing to use–that’s it. You really believe living off the grid is based on miserly calculations and the need to be some frugal, skimpy minded individual? Too bad for you. You’ve missed the point and life is simply passing you buy…I bought 2–we sue them. Time to move on to more important things. toodoodleloo.

  12. Mountain Mike – No, I don’t believe living off the grid is “just” about saving money. Did you read to the paragraph that starts with “I know, I know – you’re not just raising chickens to save money…” But neither do I believe it’s about buying some over-priced plastic junk that isn’t half as good as what you could make in an hour using repurposed wood instead of creating more man-made chemical substances that don’t decompose and are going to sit around for a few thousand years so you can have your pretty little Eglu.

    I’m chuckling at the thought that you think buying more “stuff” is the answer to our problems, or that your hens care how cute their home is. I chuckle at the thought that you think your overpriced eggs are worth more, are more nutritious, more humane… than my less expensive eggs because your hens live in an overpriced plastic box instead of a wooden one made from a repurposed dog house.

    Go do your “more important things” and don’t bother coming back. Toodle dee doo jackass.

  13. Jane says:

    I totally agree with you. We want organic, fresh eggs with the experience for our children of knowing where real food comes from.

    A friend was getting rid of a small bike shed that they made, we took it. We added shelves, put in dish bins from the dollar store- filled them with hay.

    So the hay for winter was the most expensive part of our creation.

    We used old chicken wire to coop it in and leftover scrap wood with some old metal posts.

    Our baby birds cost $4. (they’re not laying yet) A neighbor gave us 6 hens because she was moving.

    This morning, my children went out to the hen house brought in 6 eggs and we had a wonderful breakfast. When we eat our eggs, we aren’t hungry until almost dinner.

    Even if saving money isn’t motivation for some, (which I can’t fathom); I question how those trying to be more organic or earth friendly could purchase plastic. It’s an oxymoron.

    Thank you for your article. That pen is cute, but so is my free set up :).

    What I can’t figure out is how to wash the eggs off quickly, wish there was a quick easy way to get rid of poop on them!

  14. Katie says:

    Hi there,

    I admit it, I was suckered and got one. I’ve now moved on to different digs for my chickens, so if you really want an Eglu, let me know (email above) and I’d be happy to sell you mine for cheap! It’s green.

  15. Chris says:

    I’ve seen some of the crap that people ‘try’ to build for their chickens. To say that you need very little carpentry skills is leading people on.

    The eglu unit [sans the run] is a perfectly good structure to use. Build a pen for the chickens to move around and you are good to go.

    If you are handy with tools then building one is pretty straight forward, but what I typically see is these plywood slap together units that become unsanitary and extremely hard to clean after a few months. If you endeavor to build one make sure you paint the interior with multiple coats of semi-gloss or gloss latex paint and for the roosting bars make sure you either paint or wax to ensure easy cleaning.

    I’ll agree that the price is high but if you can afford it then go for it.

  16. Shelley says:

    I had to laugh at the postings between Mountain Mike & Elbert. Made my day. As to the Eglu, I too think it is cute but not very practical and the price is rediculous, although it has dropped from 798.00 to 495.00. But I have to agree with Chris. Alot of the “stuff” I have seen knocked together looks pretty bad. I wish one could buy something already put together at a reasonable price. That said, I guess my knocked together beauty will have to do.

  17. Jodie Hillman says:

    I have an Eglu and love it! Easy to clean, no maintenance problems and perfect for a backyard chicken enthusiast. The demographic the Eglu was designed for was city people with little to no yard space, not country folk looking to save money on eggs.

    I have expanded to a wooden coop in hopes of enlarging my flock but hate it. It’s a pain to clean and I’m constantly dealing with moisture damaging the wood floor (despite water-proofing techniques). My “girls” prefer the Eglu, too.

    If someone wants to have chickens as pets (and they are great pets) with a bonus of eggs, it’s worth it. If you’re looking to save money – build your own . . . just realize there’s a lot more maintenance.

  18. Zerrin says:

    I have an eglu and I love it. I bought it for its design and prefer to pay extra for something that looks stylish than go for a cheap and cheerful. I have to say that I have 3 chickens in it at the moment and its great for cleaning out – and washign down. All its components are made of plastic and can be scrubbed down easily and it is small enough for me (female) to move it around the garden.

    I love the eggs that my girls lay and my friends love them too. Its a great way of thanking friends for their help because the present is unique and lovely.

    happy hen keeping

  19. Laura says:

    Yes, I’ll take that green eglu! really. How much do you want for it?? I’m in San Diego. I am happy to pay you $100 plus shipping. 619 222 5299 drhershey@cox.net

  20. Gigi says:

    Katie,
    Did you sell the Eglu yet? If not, please email me @ jlnantz1@aol.com
    Thanks!

  21. Nikki says:

    Katie – If you haven’t sold the eglu, i’d be very interested. Email with a price because I was seriously considering buying one, but would love to get a used one for less. Thanks! nikkilist@gmail.com

  22. Sassafrasquach says:

    Ha ha! Thanks for the giggles! 8) I’m gonna revamp my daughters playhouse into a coop. I checked this site in the hopes of getting some pointers and insted got a few good chuckles! To each his own! It’s all about fun for me…. I just love my chickens and the gifts they share with me! Peace and thanks

  23. Chris says:

    If anyone else has a used eglu they would like to sell I am definitely interested. You can contact me at i-love-my-honey@sbcglobal.net

  24. Anna says:

    Yeah, Eglus are expensive…but so are any other “pets”. Just look at how much owning a DOG costs:

    * The dog: Free to $3000
    * The license: $50/yr
    * The special dog food: $50-150/mo
    * The toys: $300/yr
    * The vet/vaccination fees: $350/yr
    * The spay/neuter fees: $400
    * The leashes, collars, beds and other accessories: $500-2000

    AND NO EGGS…just barking and s++ alll over the yard :)

  25. Amy says:

    Yes, the Eglu is crazy expensive. But I am seriously considering paying the price. I can’t get my husband or live-in brother-in-law to commit to helping me build something really nice for my Seramas. Maybe once I spend MY money for something really nice for my babies, they’ll take me seriously next time I ask for help.

    My chickens obviously aren’t just for eggs, since Serama eggs are so tiny. My birds are my mental health therapy, awesome pets and my Autistic son’s favorite of all our pets. So, IMO, I can’t put a price on any of these purposes for my babies.

  26. Amy says:

    Anna’s post just above mine is so true ;-)

  27. cairstine says:

    I have an Eglu cube. Yes the initial purchase price is high but it has saved me so much time compared to a wooden coop that it has worked out to be worth it. Your calculations on price didn’t include an allowance for your time. Maybe you have a lot of free time but as a busy Mum my time is precious.
    The Cube can be easily jet washed and scrubbed and you know it is completely clean. Not like wooden coops that can be a real pain.
    Oh and all the comments about not being warm enough are unfounded. The double skinned plastic kept my girls warm all winter, even in the snow.
    I highly recommend the Eglu if you value your time.

  28. Jan says:

    Hello, if anyone is selling a cheap Egluand run etc in NOrth Essex, please email me.
    Thank you.

  29. Deborah says:

    I bought one of these Eglus. It is total crap! I couldn’t believe what poor quality it was. It looked like it had been dragged down a gravel street for a mile. Omlet told me well that’s the bottom, it’ll be on the ground anyway. To which I replied, well it’ll be full of chicken poop soon too. Why not send it “fully loaded” then? pathetic. The mold was dirty because dirt was embedded in the mottled plastic. The seams had jagged edges of plastic hanging out all over. that could easily cut the delicate flesh of any animal. Including me! For $650 you’d think they’d make more of an effort. I even had to pay $40 to get a courier to pick it up at the bus station. They didn’t reimburse me for that. Never again.

  30. Margot says:

    I purchased an eglu a year and half ago. I really like the set up. It has worked out for me. I like that it won’t rot, it keeps them warm in the winter, wicked easy to keep clean and if I am not home to close them in I know they are safe in the run. I did purchase an extension so my chickens have more room, which I am really glad about since I used to let them run loose until a fox killed my favorite hen, Bubbles. Onlu negative is I don’t like they can’t roost. I am currently rethinking my whole chicken set up and I have already had an offer to purchase the small eglu – another plus it has a high resale value.

  31. margaret says:

    I was very interested to read all the comments even though some were not so positive about the eglu. I want to keep chickens and have done for sometime. The eglu is the answer for me due to urban garden and foxes! The comment about it having sharp edges and not fitting well together is a concern. Is there anywhere where i can go to see the real thing?

  32. La says:

    Yeah it is expensive but it is cool & functional. Plus hens are not just for eggs they are pets too. Sad that Omlet US discontinued the Eglu classic. The fox safe thing doesnt really matter for where I live

  33. Jonesy says:

    I bought an Eglu Go. The product is very solid. It sounds like maybe Deborah’s product was damaged in some way. Mine arrived in perfect condition. It does require assembly which is simple, but the gate/run portion was a bit time consuming as I put it together in dead of winter with cold fingers. Anyway, aside from the issues with the article which is a poor analysis of the cost effectiveness of an Eglu since it does not compare free range, organic egg prices (which can be upwards of $6 a dozen) with home grown eggs, I love my Eglu. It allows me to have a fun hobby, and attractive and easy to clean coup, and plenty of delicious, nutritious and guilt free eggs from what I believe are happy chickens. I completely understand the appeal of a homemade, scavanged material coup as well, but for our yard, this “cute” and convenient option was ideal.

  34. anna says:

    Jonesy, Can you move the Eglu Go around the yard by yourself or does it take two people?

  35. Steph says:

    I bought an Eglu Cube for myself for Christmas! “The girls”, six very cold tolerant Buckeye hens (to -19F), are on order to appear after May 23rd from MyPetChicken. I live alone (5’3″ 60 year old active female) and commute 80 miles round trip daily to my job. I do most of my own work at home myself (hence SAVE a lot of money) and am very tool handy. I could build a coop myself but have so much other work at home that after subtracting the cost of lumber from the $1395 for the coop with a 9 foot run I decided I was a nice girl and deserved the Eglu Cube! I said to myself— “You’re too busy! Again, another year you won’t have the chickens you want!” I decided life is short and I got on the phone and ordered it. Besides skipping building a coop, I liked the ease of cleaning for a commuter and the imperviousness to the mite problem. Be forwarned– the Eglu Cube comes in five large boxes that are bussed to a Greyhound terminal! Thank God I drive a pickup truck and have some terrific friends at work who helped me load this thing up for the long trip home. (It was hilarious and we will never forget it!) I am SO looking forward to this. I am an organic gardener who is looking not just for the eggs but composted organic chicken manure for the garden, as well as the enjoyment of chickens. It will be a while before I retire and frankly I just wanted to make it easier to live the lifestyle I want to now and at retirement. This makes it easier.

  36. Albus316 says:

    Oh, come on. You guys are only slagging off the Eglu cuz you don’t want to pay that much, right? Seriously. It’s an awesome piece of kit. It has double layered walls for insulation and protection and draughts free ventilation.

  37. sharon says:

    I bought Eglu Urban chicken coop and it was priced extremely high end, but I had to take one of my chickens from the big coop and place her where the others would not peck her to death. Her name is Lucy, and she is very happy and gives us about 4 beautiful blue eggs per week, so no we don’t get our money’s worth at all but we love Lucy and so all has worked out well, but yes expensive.

    Lucy stayed warm in the winter, it’s Florida, but only because I put in plenty of hay, and put blankets over the coop on the very cold nights we had, and she’s fine. I have to put plastic over the run when it rains, the cover doesn’t keep her dry enough. When the summer comes I am very concerned how I keep Lucy safe and yet cool, if I close the door and secure her I am afraid she will over heat. I have to put a fan on her in the summer, as on the other coop.

    Now with all this said it only takes a few moments for all of this, and Lucy gives us a lot of pleasure, some beautiful eggs and a lot of joy. Of course she’s a pet, doesn’t require haircuts, just some feed and eats lots of weeds.

    Oh the the coop in my opinion would only barely hold 2 medium sized hens at most.

  38. online hen house plans says:

    I have built my own chicken coop from mostly scrap materials for next to nothing. Am so glad other poultry keepers have so many bits of info on hen houses. It’s all good fun!

  39. Michelle says:

    I bought an Eglu in spite of the high initial cost for a number of reasons. We live in a travel trailer and move from park to park, across the country, so we needed something that was very portable and presentable, super easy to clean, durable enough to be stuffed into the back of a pick-up truck, and that could be shared by three bantams and two rabbits. The Eglu fit all those requirements.

    Our park neighbors are always intrigued at what’s in that little plastic hut and camping kids are delighted to see the rabbits and chickens. Obviously, we keep the animals not as livestock but as pets and as a previous poster pointed out, the cost of keeping a pet is not based on the pet’s “utility”.

    Heck, it’s a lot cheaper than keeping a teenager around. Now THAT’s a big wallet drain . . .

  40. JRP says:

    I’ve appreciated this exchange. While the blog post was a bit sanctimonious (don’t love the unnecessary diametric between ‘true’ DIY folks and the rest of us), it was a great way to open the conversation. For us–living in a small VT village with close neighbors–aesthetics, cleanability, warmth and efficiency of use were the most important factors in weighing cost:benefit of various options. The Egul’s cost is definitely a concern, but after seeing frostbitten roosters and plenty of cobbled (or lovely but filthy) coops we realize that there are other aspects to the equation which tilted the balance in favor of the eglu.

    P.S. Folks around here charge up to $5/doz for organic eggs!

  41. JRP – I wasn’t trying to be sanctimonious in the post, although I may have lost my temper in some comments. The post was merely pointing out an economic fact. Never once did I even allude to there being some superior “true” DIY folks out there raising chickens. I am very much pro-suburban chicken. I am very much pro-chicken-keeping for the sake of chicken-keeping. I am very much supportive of urban homesteading. What I don’t get is that the urban homesteading movement is supposed to be concerned about sustainability (of food and/or the environment) so why buy some plastic thing that was probably made in China and shipped over here when you could salvaged an old dog house, or buy a locally made wooden chicken coop with some character that looks like a barn or something?

    But whatever… I really don’t care. Honestly, I was just trying to lay out some economic points, and people can take it or leave it. If you want to buy an Eglu Omlet just buy one. You don’t need to justify your purchase to me or anyone else. I find it crazy how many comments this post has received. So crazy, in fact, that I’m beginning to think our ranking on Google for Eglu Omlete has caught the attention of that company, and they are coming on here posting. That’s the only way I can justify that this one post on my site has received so many comments from people who seem OUTRAGED at the fact that I DARE do some simple math and write about it on my blog!

    So if that IS the case, they’d better knock it off because that kind of PR has been known to blow up in a company’s face. Take it for what it is. Your product is made out of plastic and is expensive. While it makes a great impulse buy or gift, giving it one iota of thought makes one realize, whether they are keeping chickens for food, economics, environmental reasons, or just as pets, there are probably better options out there.