Either everyone is fibbing, or I’m doing it wrong.
It might be a combination of both. While I was doing my taxes this year, I found a shocking amount of money spent in the “Pets” category. All of the charges I make at the local feed store for my flock’s needs fall into this category; this includes purchases of food, bedding, and the occasional extra goodie like a day pen or waterer. Holey macaroley it was a lot of money. Certainly nowhere near justifying the 1-2 eggs I get per day from the girls.
My flock consists of 3 hens, one goose, and 5 drakes. Now, one thing that I’m obviously doing wrong is my ratio of drakes to hens. Boys don’t lay eggs, and aren’t necessary for the hens to lay eggs. I love my boys and it just worked out that way, but they do increase the food bill.
Another, perhaps less obvious economic angle is considering my flock for meat. It’s not going to happen with them, but I’m open to the idea with chickens.
Age: the older the hen, the less productive she becomes. On a traditional, old-school farm, that meant the old ladies went into the stew-pot and were replaced by their daughters and grand-daughters. After their second year of laying, most hens produce significantly fewer eggs, and it just lessens each year.