I was told several years ago that it takes about 40 hens to break even. That may or may not be accurate these days. I do know that kids who have not liked to eat eggs often find they love the when they get healthy eggs from their family's chickens.
Wow - I had no idea chicken were that expensive to keep. I always wish we could have some. We constantly have coyotes and foxes on our property, though, so I know they would just get eaten, even if we could get the HOA to allow them. :/