Approximately how much do chickens cost to raise?
Apparently, there is no certain way to answer that question, but we can give you a figure based on typical costs.
You might be wondering how much money you’ll need to put aside each month to take care of your chickens if you’re considering raising them.
One of the best economic choices you can make is to raise your own chickens.
Chickens are a good investment because they provide a consistent source of a valuable byproduct at a low initial cost (or most days, depending on the type of chicken).
Chickens have a multiplicative impact, meaning they lay and hatch eggs regularly, doubling the size of your flock, which is why Bill Gates recommends them on his website.
To what other pet can you compare the benefits of free food, free fertilizer, and free pest control?
Of course, we’re only talking about the chicken here.
That doesn’t mean you can get away with raising chickens for no cost at all. There are, in fact, some costs you should budget for.
In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know about how much do chickens cost in terms of raising them as pets.
The most fundamental investment decision is deciding whether or not to buy chickens. It’s next to impossible to keep chickens without first buying some.
Prices here are not consistent. Chicks for sale can cost anywhere from a few cents to well over a hundred.
That’s because the cost of baby chicks is based on:
- Breed (rare breeds cost more)
- Sex of the chicken(males are less expensive than females)
You can get baby chicks from local vendors or online hatcheries for a couple of dollars each. Started pullets, or young chickens, are available for purchase for $25 per piece as well. Hens that are already laying eggs can cost anywhere from $10 to $100.
Keep in mind that if you decide to make your purchase from a hatchery, you will also be responsible for the cost of shipping. If you buy a certain number of chicks, these fees are sometimes waived.
Recommendations for Spending Less on Baby Chicks and Chickens: How Much Do Chickens Cost
Saving money on baby chicks and adult chickens is easy to do.
First, inquire locally to see if anyone is giving away free birds. In this case, vigilance is required. Check for any signs of illness or disease to ensure that the chickens are free of it. Verify that they are of high-quality breeding stock if possible.
Discounts from different hatcheries can also be researched. At different times throughout the year, some establishments provide discounts. The chickens probably won’t be free, but you might be able to get a good cost on them.
If you don’t care about knowing the gender of your chicks, or if you have other plans for them, you can save a lot of money by buying male or unsexed chicks.
How Much Do Chickens Cost: What Does It Cost Per Day to Feed Chickens?
The price of chicken feed should be your next consideration. At each of their stage of development, chickens have specific dietary needs.
In most cases, chick starters will cost the most, while layer and broiler feed will be significantly less expensive and more widely available.
The daily cost per chicken is expected to average between ten and fifteen cents. That’s just the bare necessities of feed. Expect to pay more than sixty cents per chicken if you demand organic feed.
Considerations such as calcium supplements should not be overlooked. Oyster shells typically come in fifty-pound bags (although you can buy them in smaller increments, too) and cost about twenty-five cents per pound.
Treats, such as black soldier fly larvae or scratch grain, are optional and will take additional costs. Some are more expensive than others, but many treats are easy to make at home on a budget.
Advice on Feeding Chickens Cheaply- How Much Do Chickens Cost
About half a cup to an entire cup of feed is required daily for a single chicken. Your chickens can gain and maintain a healthy weight through free-choice feeding.
Others warn that if you give chickens the chance to eat whenever they want, they’ll just spend all their time at the feeder and you’ll go broke.
Unfortunately, this is extremely unusual, and most chickens won’t overeat if given the opportunity.
Allowing chickens access to the outdoors is another way to save money on chicken feed.
Though you should still provide regular feed occasionally, allowing their feed to the outdoors will help them fill in some nutritional gaps and reduce their reliance on your efforts to keep them fed.
It’s also beneficial to their health, so doing so may help you save money on future veterinary care.
Your chickens will love scratching around in the compost pile. It’s a clever strategy for cutting down on feed costs and getting your compost pile turned for free, as they’ll find plenty of tasty morsels in there, such as insects and vegetable scraps.
Growing some of your own food is another frugal option. Catching insects to feed to birds is an excellent way of controlling garden pests. toss them into the henhouse’s run.
Additionally, you can raise your own grains and vegetable scraps by cultivating a chicken-friendly garden.
These chickens, many people even rear their own soldier fly larvae to supplement their chicken feed. Soldier fly larvae are a great source of protein and can be grown easily in a basement.
To increase the nutritional value of grain like barley, you can sprout it yourself and use it as fodder. Besides the initial cost of the grain, this activity is completely free and can have a significant impact on your financial situation.
How Much Do Chickens Cost: How Much Do Chicken Supplies Typically Cost?
There are a number of hidden costs associated with raising chickens. After you have constructed your coop, you must provide it with necessities such as food, water, nesting boxes, and roosting bars.
Nesting boxes and perches can be made from scratch or repurposed from other items you already have around the house. A used wooden or plastic crate would work well as a nest box. A piece of a stick can be fashioned into a roost bar.
If you want to buy nesting boxes or roost bars ready-made, prepare on spending between $15 and $20 each. While these costs can add up, they are necessary if you don’t already have the materials on hand to make the chicken supplies you’ll need.
The cost of chicken water and food is added on top of that. Depending on the material (plastic or galvanized metal) and the capacity, a feeding trough can cost anywhere from $5 to $20.
Although low-cost chicken feeders and waterers are widely available, they may not be of the same high quality or capacity as their more expensive counterparts.
You can save some money by making these things on your own. You can use an old dog bowl to water your chickens, but keep in mind that you’ll need to refill it more often and clean it more frequently, too, because they’re more likely to poop in it.
DIY feeders are possible with commonplace materials, including PVC pipes and trash cans.
What Would the Expense of Veterinary Care for a Chicken? How Much Do Chickens Cost
You should hope that you won’t have to factor this into your chicken budget. In most cases, chickens that have been raised properly won’t need any special attention from the vet.
Natural dewormers, such as apple cider vinegar and garlic, can be given to your chickens on a regular basis without spending more than a few dollars per month on the whole flock.
But things get complicated if any of your chickens fall ill. It can be expensive to take your chickens to the vet because so few places offer services tailored to small animals like chickens.
Veterinarian care can be so prohibitively expensive that you should avoid it if at all possible.
How Much Do Chickens Cost: How Much Do Chickens Coop Cost?
Up next is one of the most crucial but also one of the most challenging expenses to estimate on your behalf.
Fortunately, the cost of constructing a chicken coop is one that needs only to be incurred once; subsequent years can be spent worrying about other objectives.
A chicken house can be built from scratch or bought ready-made. Spend between $200 and $2,000 on a prefabricated hen house. These will be fully equipped with everything essential to get going and are typically made to last.
Although it is possible to save money by constructing your own chicken coop (a very basic one could cost $100 or less), doing so will necessitate some knowledge of construction in order to be effective.
All lumber, hardware (nails, screws, and other fasteners), and materials for nest boxes and roost bars must be purchased separately when constructing a chicken coop.
If you use a free online building plan or salvage recycled materials to construct your henhouse, you can save a lot of money. Why not turn that unused garden shed into a coop for your chickens?
It’s also possible to use a trailer or other mobile structure as the basis for a coop.
Don’t forget to factor in the cost of everything you intend to store in your coop when estimating how much money you’ll need to build your coop.
Bedding, which must be replaced frequently, adds to the list of expenses associated with caring for chickens.
You can use sawdust, wood shavings, or even dried leaves as bedding, and these are all readily available and affordable possibilities; however, if you don’t have a consistent supply, you’ll need to account for this cost.
You will need to invest in supplies like diatomaceous earth if you plan to lodge a dust bath in your coop. However, this won’t break the bank and is incredibly cheap.
How Much Do Chickens Cost: Our Recommended Most Economical Chicken Breeds to Raise
Although Cochins aren’t among the most well-liked chicken chickens, there are many good reasons to care for and keep these tough birds. They are docile and friendly toward humans, and they lay a lot of big brown eggs.
Cochins come in both bantam and full-size varieties; however, the latter is more likely to lay eggs. On the other hand, bantams consume much less food.
In terms of egg production, the Cochin chicken is widely regarded as one of the best chicken breeds you can choose to keep. It’s not just tame; it’s ridiculously so. Nonetheless, it has a relaxed vibe and a pleasant disposition.
It responds positively to being petted, making it a great option for families with young children.
When it comes to caring for their young, Cochin hens are among the best. Broodiness is a common response, and even if they do not have a chick of their own, they will step up to the motherly role in the flock.
Cochin hens frequently take in the unwanted chicks of other hens. Cochins, if given the chance, will lay multiple clutches of eggs each year.
Cochins are so big that they can be used to incubate eggs for other birds like ducks and turkeys.
Very early in the year, even when it’s still cold, they can hatch chicks, and they do an amazing job of caring for the young of other breeds once they’ve been born.
These birds are easy to tame and will quickly rule over your coop. They are excellent free rangers
despite their dislike of exploring because they will eat almost anything.
They produce an abundance of eggs, and the eggs are quite colorful to boot! Depending on the bird’s DNA, the eggs may be any color from blue to pink to green.
Besides being small, Easter Eggers are notable for not consuming a great deal of feed.
The Maran is known to be docile and calm despite its toughness and immunity to disease.
These chickens are low maintenance and produce a large egg harvest (up to 250 eggs per year). An excellent profit will result from your efforts and expenditures.
The eggs of Marans are so dark in color that they have earned the nickname “chocolate eggers.”
Black Copper eggs, along with Silver Cuckoo eggs to a lesser extent, are known to be the darkest of all chicken eggs and are therefore highly prized.
The addition of Marans to your flock is required if you consider having a varied and colorful egg supply.
The origins of the Marans chicken breed date back to the 1200s.
She was originally bred as a landrace chicken, but she has since absorbed characteristics from many different types of chickens. The specifics of her ancestry are highly unlikely to be revealed to us anytime soon.
But what we now recognize as Marans appeared in the early 1900s. Back then, everyone knew her eggs were the best because of their vivid colors and delicious flavor.
Modern-day Marans are typically kept in suburban or rural backyards or on modest farms.
Although they can survive in captivity, they do best when given free range.
Rhode Island Red Chickens
The Rhode Island Red is another iconic native bird. The meat- and egg-bearing potential of this chicken is high. Raising chickens can be expensive, but you can cut costs by selecting dual-purpose breeds like this one.
They have some of the best disease-resistance genes, and they are well-known for their resilience. You will also receive meat and eggs.
Jersey Giant Chickens
The Jersey Giant is a breed of heritage chicken. One of the largest purebred chickens on the market, it can lay up to 200 eggs in a year. That’s why it’s such a great meat-producing bird to raise.
When it comes to laying eggs, Delaware chickens are among the best.
They are known as heritage birds for being tough and enduring; furthermore, they can withstand freezing temperatures and are generally pleasant to be around.
Earning a Living From Your Chickens: How Much Do Chickens Cost
Most people who raise chickens do so with the end goal of supplementing their income in this way.
Even though this is a great way to save money in the long run, you shouldn’t count on it the first year you keep chickens.
It’s only natural that you’d want to devote some effort to iron out the problems.
Raising chickens can provide a return on investment in a number of forms. In this regard, selling live birds is an easy and effective strategy.
Pay attention to local laws and ordinances, but generally speaking, you can sell baby chicks for at least $1 each, and often more depending on the breed and your location.
If you are willing to put in a little extra effort, you can sell started pullets for $15 to $25 each and laying hens for $25 to more than $100, depending on the breed and your location.
There is a lot less of a financial risk involved in buying an adult chicken as opposed to a chick. A more mature bird reduces the risk of the mysterious deaths that plague young chicks.
The extra cost is reasonable, given that you will be able to devote more resources to their upbringing.
You can monetize your efforts in ways other than the sale of live chickens. Your eggs might also be marketable.
Carefully determining a price for these will depend on the location and breed of chickens you are raising the eggs for.
A dozen can be sold for anywhere from $3 to over $6 or $7 in most cases. In order to price your eggs appropriately, you should first calculate your costs and then decide how much of a profit you want to make.
The sale of meat is also an option. Top cuts, such as chicken breasts (as opposed to thighs and drumsticks), and raising organic meat will bring in more money.
Price per pound can be as high as $3 or $4, and even higher if you’re raising premium meats.
Feathers from chickens are another potential commodity. Feathers from certain chickens are so exquisite that they are often used by fly tyers and crafters.
How Much Do Chickens Cost? Are Chickens Worth It?
Sorry to break it to you, but if the reason you want to raise chickens is to save money on weekly grocery bills, you’ll be disappointed to learn that doing so is not the most cost-effective option.
In all honesty, store-bought eggs won’t break the bank.
But most people, including yourself, probably don’t start raising chickens because they think they can save money. Usually, they do it for another reason, too, like a desire for self-sufficiency or an interest in eating healthier food.
When you raise your own chickens, the eggs you produce will be of much higher quality than those purchased from a grocery store.
In addition, there are many more advantages to keeping chickens than merely financial ones.
Raising chickens will provide you with a free source of fertilizer and pest control, and you will have an easy place to dispose of all of your kitchen scraps, too.