Are you considering raising chickens? Wondering what is the cost of raising chickens? 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.
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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 expenses||Price|
|Feeders and Waterers||$30|
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.
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.
Chicken grit is an essential dietary supplement for chickens that helps in their digestion. It consists of small, hard particles, often made from crushed rocks, pebbles, or shells, that serve as tiny grinding agents in the chicken’s gizzard. The gizzard is a muscular part of the chicken’s digestive system that helps break down food particles, especially when the chicken consumes whole grains, seeds, or other coarse materials.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Creating a functional and comfortable chicken coop is an exciting step on your journey to raising happy and healthy poultry. Whether you’re a seasoned poultry enthusiast or a newbie, knowing the key items needed in a chicken coop will help you provide a safe and inviting environment for your feathered friends. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the essential components that make up a well-equipped chicken coop.
1. Nesting Boxes: Nesting boxes are fundamental for your hens to lay eggs comfortably and securely. These boxes replicate the cozy, secluded spots where a mother hen would naturally lay her eggs. The general guideline is to have one nesting box for every 3-4 hens. Fill them with soft bedding material like straw or pine shavings to provide a warm and comfortable spot for egg-laying. Ensuring that the nesting boxes are slightly elevated helps prevent chickens from scratching and soiling the eggs.
2. Roosting Bars: Chickens have an instinctual need to perch or roost at night to feel safe from ground-based predators. Install roosting bars at varying heights within the coop to accommodate different sizes of chickens. These bars provide a place for chickens to rest, sleep, and socialize, promoting natural behaviors. Opt for rounded or flat roosting bars to prevent foot injuries.
3. Ventilation: Proper ventilation is vital to maintain fresh air and control humidity levels inside the coop. Adequate airflow prevents the buildup of ammonia and reduces the risk of respiratory issues among your chickens. Install vents or windows that can be opened and closed as needed to regulate airflow. Consider placing vents near the roof to ensure warm, moist air rises and exits the coop.
4. Feeding and Watering Stations: Create a dedicated area within the coop for feeders and waterers. Elevate them slightly off the ground to keep feed and water clean and free from debris. Automatic waterers can save you time and ensure your chickens always have access to fresh water. Position the feeders and waterers away from the roosting and nesting areas to prevent contamination.
5. Bedding Material: Cover the coop floor with an absorbent bedding material, such as pine shavings, straw, or wood chips. Bedding helps control odors, provides insulation, and creates a comfortable surface for your chickens to walk and rest on. Regularly clean and replace soiled bedding to maintain a healthy and hygienic environment.
6. Dust Bath Area: Chickens love to take dust baths to keep their feathers clean and combat external parasites. Dedicate a corner of the coop or an adjacent outdoor area to this natural behavior. Fill the area with dry dirt, sand, or wood ash. Observing your chickens’ enthusiastic dust-bathing sessions can be a delightful sight.
7. Secure Doors and Latches: Predator protection is paramount. Install secure doors and latches to keep out unwelcome visitors like raccoons, foxes, and birds of prey. Ensure that doors can be securely closed at night to keep your chickens safe from nocturnal predators. Consider adding locks or heavy-duty latches for added security.
8. Lighting: Natural lighting is ideal for chickens, but if your coop is located in an area with limited sunlight, consider adding artificial lighting. Adequate lighting can help maintain egg production during darker months. Use energy-efficient LED bulbs placed high enough to prevent pecking and damage.
9. Windows: Windows provide additional ventilation and natural light to the coop. Position them strategically to prevent drafts and direct sunlight while ensuring proper airflow. Consider adding wire mesh or hardware cloth to windows for added security against predators.
10. Rodent Control Measures: Prevent rodents from infiltrating the coop by sealing any gaps or openings. Use wire mesh or hardware cloth to cover openings and prevent rodents from accessing the coop’s interior. Elevate feeders and waterers to discourage rats and mice from accessing food sources.
11. Perches or Ladders: Chickens enjoy perching and exploring vertical spaces. Install perches or ladders to provide opportunities for exercise and natural behaviors. Choose sturdy, wide perches that accommodate all sizes of chickens and allow them to roost comfortably.
12. Egg Collection Area: Designate a specific space within the coop where you can easily collect eggs without disturbing the hens. An egg collection area with easy access ensures that you retrieve eggs efficiently and minimizes disruption to the nesting boxes.
By thoughtfully incorporating these essential items into your chicken coop design, you’ll create a haven that caters to your chickens’ physical and behavioral needs. Regular cleaning, maintenance, and observing your flock’s behavior will help you fine-tune the coop’s setup over time, ensuring a cozy and nurturing environment for your feathered companions. With the right items in place, your chicken coop will contribute to the overall health, happiness, and productivity of your beloved flock.
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.
Raising chickens can be a rewarding and fulfilling endeavor, providing you with a regular supply of fresh eggs, meat, and a connection to the natural world. However, like any hobby or venture, there are costs involved in setting up and maintaining a healthy chicken flock. Let’s dive into the various expenses associated with raising chickens and gain a clearer understanding of the cost factors involved.
1. Initial Setup Costs: When you decide to raise chickens, there are some initial expenses to consider. These include purchasing or building a chicken coop, acquiring feeders and waterers, setting up bedding, and securing essential equipment. The cost of a coop can vary widely based on size, features, and whether you choose to buy a pre-made one or build it yourself. Feeders, waterers, and other basic supplies are also essential and can add to your initial investment.
2. Chick Purchase: The cost of purchasing chicks can vary based on breed and where you buy them. While buying from hatcheries or local breeders may have different price points, the average cost per chick can range from a few dollars to around $10 or more. Keep in mind that you may want to start with multiple chicks to ensure a successful flock, so the cost can add up.
3. Feed Expenses: Feed is a significant ongoing expense when raising chickens. The type of feed you choose (starter, grower, layer), the size of your flock, and their individual dietary needs will impact your costs. High-quality feed is crucial for optimal health and egg production. Be prepared to allocate a monthly budget for feed expenses, which can range from $15 to $30 per month for a small flock.
4. Bedding and Supplies: Maintaining clean and comfortable living conditions for your chickens requires bedding materials such as straw or pine shavings. These materials provide insulation, absorb moisture, and create a comfortable space for your flock. Additionally, cleaning supplies, such as brooms, shovels, and disinfectants, contribute to ongoing costs.
5. Health Care and Supplements: Ensuring the health and well-being of your chickens may involve occasional veterinary visits, vaccinations, and preventive measures against common poultry ailments. Supplements like calcium for strong eggshells and vitamins can also be part of your monthly expenses.
6. Equipment and Infrastructure: Depending on the size of your operation and the climate in your area, you may need to invest in heating equipment for cold weather, cooling systems for hot weather, and lighting systems to maintain egg production during shorter daylight hours. Additionally, you might need fencing and predator-proofing measures to keep your chickens safe from harm.
7. Egg Collection and Processing: If your goal is to collect and use your chickens’ eggs, you’ll need egg collection baskets or containers. If you plan to process your own meat, equipment like processing tools and storage materials are essential.
8. Miscellaneous Expenses: There are always unexpected costs that may arise, whether it’s the need to replace equipment, address unexpected health issues, or make improvements to your coop or chicken run.