The Cost of Raising Chickens – Guide For 2021

Are you considering raising chickens? Wondering how much it will cost you? Well, that is exactly what we are going to look at on this page! We are going to go through all of the expenses related to chickens, and give you a guideline price for them. This means that you will have a rough idea of how much does it cost to raise chickens and how much you will need to be pulling out of your pocket.

cost to raise chickens, expenses
The Cost of Raising Chickens

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How Much Does it Cost to Raise Chickens?

On average, the one-time cost of raising chickens, you’re looking at around $500 to get started. The average monthly expenses of raising chickens, for a flock of 8-10 chickens is around $50. This doesn’t include vet bills, which can cost from $25-100 once in a while.

One time expensesPrice
Chicken Coop$250
Feeders and Waterers$30
Incubator$100
Brooder$60
Chicks$30
Toys$30
One-Time Cost of Raising Chickens (for 8-10 chickens)

Monthly expenses
Bedding$15
Food$30
Grit$5
Monthly Cost of Raising Chickens (for 8-10 chickens)

Chicken Coop Cost

This is going to be your main expense. It will be around $250 on the best chicken coop. However, thankfully, this is something that you will only need to be spending once.

A chicken coop can easily last you decades with a few repairs here and there. You can even build your own chicken coop if you want to save yourself a little bit of money.

Of course, your coop should be big enough to accommodate the size of the flock that you are planning to raise. The more chickens that you bring into the mix, the more space they will need.

If you plan on breeding chickens in the future, then it is likely that you will need to have multiple chicken coops.

Feeders and Waterers

Plan to spend somewhere between $20 and $30 here. These will just be places where your chicken can eat and drink. We have bought this chicken waterer + feeder from Amazon and we are very very satisfied with the product, our Rhode Island Red chickens love them.

You can save a little bit of money using a bucket here, but since feeders and waterers tend to be on the cheaper side of things anyway, you may as well buy something that is designed for the job, right?

If you want, you can also check our top picks for the best chicken waterer for your backyard chickens.

Food

This is going to be your major ongoing expense. The amount of money that you spend each month will vary based on the number of chickens that you have. If you have around eight chickens, then you could be spending around $30 per month on their feed.

In the grand scheme of things, it isn’t really a lot. However, since most people are raising their chickens to be ‘productive’ birds, they try to factor the cost of feed into eggs and meat that they are getting. If you want tasty eggs, then you must use the best chicken feed for laying hens.

It is food costs that will make raising chickens cost more than just buying the eggs or meat from a commercial enterprise. Although, let’s be honest, whatever you produce with your own chickens is just going to taste better.

You may also want to factor in some regular fruits and vegetables here too. However, to be honest with you, most people will just top up their chicken’s diet with some table scraps, so you may not even need to have an extra ‘treat’ budget.

Just give your chickens whatever you can’t eat and your chickens will gobble it up. Yep, chickens will eat chicken meat as well.

If you are raising chicks, then they will need to have different food available to them than the average chicken. So, raising chicks will add a further $12-$20 onto the price of the food each month.

Chicks, thankfully, do not eat that much so a decent bag of chick food should last you a while.

Grit

The chicken grit, which is normally a mixture of oyster shells and small stones, is required by your chickens.

It allows them to grind up the food in their gizzard. While, if they are free-range chickens, they may be able to get some grit from their environment, don’t risk it. Thankfully, it will only cost around $5-$10 per month for grit.

Bedding

This is going to be another one of the regular ‘major’ expenses that you have to be thinking about.

It is tough for us to give a price as there are so many different types of bedding out there for you to choose from.

Cost of Raising Chickens

Some people may be spending $10 per month, while others may be spending $50-$60 per year. It is up to you to find the right type of bedding for your chickens. Currently we have six Rhode Island Red hens and we are using this bedding in our coop.

Remember, you shouldn’t be trying to cut costs with the chicken’s bedding. We have seen some people try and clean the chicken coop as little as possible in order to save money.

If you do that, then you are putting your chickens at risk of becoming sick, and you certainly won’t be enjoying their meat or eggs if that happens.

Chicks

You are going to need to have some chicks to fill up the chicken coop that you have been filling up.

The cost of these can vary quite wildly, and it is all dependent on the type of chicken that you want to raise and for the purpose.

You are going to need to have some chicks to fill up the chicken coop that you have been filling up. The cost of these can vary quite wildly, and it is all dependent on the type of chicken that you want to raise and for the purpose.

If you want fast-growing meat chicken breeds that are going to be slaughtered within weeks (these are known as broilers), then you will be spending $1.

Chickens that produce a ton of eggs will cost a little bit more than this. If you are looking for show-worthy birds, then you may be spending hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of dollars.

On average, most homesteaders will be looking at a $20-$30 investment for a small flock of birds, which isn’t really that much. However, do remember that if you are not planning on breeding the birds, then this is going to be a regular ongoing expense.

If you buy one day old chicks, they will be the cheapest to purchase (ranging from $2-$5, depends on the breed). If you buy 6-10 weeks old pullets, they will cost you $15-$25 per bird.

Incubator

These are expenses that will only apply if you are planning on breeding your own chickens. Expect this to cost between $50-$100, if you buy less expensive incubator, like this one.

We know that the chickens can do the same job as an incubator and brooder. However, by incubating the chicks and raising them yourself, you stand a much greater chance of success when you are breeding. We are currently using this incubator.

This is an expense that will last you for many, many years! So, don’t think you need to be buying an incubator regularly!

Brooder

The brooder is something that you can make on your own out of a cardboard box, but you will need to have a heating lamp, which can cost around $20.

However, if you are not into DIY things, then we will recommend this brooder for warming up to 20 newly hatched chicks.

Toys

Chickens love to be mentally stimulated. You can load out a coop with some decent toys for chickens for between $20 and $30.

Chickens will be entertained by something as small as an old tire or a bit of rope, so you don’t need to go too crazy here. However, there are a few proper chicken toys on the market too if you really want to treat them.

How Much Does it Cost to Raise Chickens – Conclusion

Chickens will cost you, on average, around $30-$50 per month to raise for an average-sized flock of around 7-8 chickens. In total, you will be spending $500-$700 on all the equipment that you need too.

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