When doing research on raising chickens, one of the most common questions is “how much does it cost?” There is a variety of items to consider when creating a budget for raising chickens. However, the direct expense is not all we need to consider. It is also important to assess the value of a healthy diet, diminished cost of purchasing eggs or chicken meat and satisfaction of having chickens as pets.
If you plan to raise chickens, you will need to budget for:
- Chicks: $2.50 – 8.00 per bird depending on breed and gender
- Chick starter: $20.00 (traditional) – 40.00 (organic) for 10lbs
- Brooder: $75 (home brooder) – $300 (commercial box brooder)
- Waterers: $10 (ground) – $50 (hanging)
- Feeders: $5 (ground) – $30 (hanging)
- Chicken feed: $15.00 (traditional) – 75.00 (organic) for 50 lbs
- Chicken coop: $35 (plans) – $500 (kit)
The majority of the items listed above are one-time purchases. The primary exception is your feed, which is an expense that will continue as long as you have a flock of chickens in your backyard. To budget for this expense, you will need to do a little math.
The amount of feed that a chicken consumes depends on the breed of the chicken as well her age, size and the climate or conditions she is living in. The following points illustrate how food consumption varies:
- Mature bantams only eat about ½ lb per week
- Mature egg layer eats about 2 lbs per week
- Mature dual-purpose chickens eat about 3 lbs per week
- Mature meat birds each eat about 10 lbs total in order to reach butchering weight
Let’s start by assuming you have a flock of 10 hens that you are raising for their egg-laying capabilities. You can expect your flock to consume around 20 lbs of feed per week or 1,000 lbs of feed per year. Depending on the type of feed you select, your annual cost could range from $300 for your run of the mill traditional feed up to as much as $1,500 for premium organic feed.
The following table highlights various feeders and types of chicken feed that we carry:
Our feeders are easy to clean, reduce wasted feed and help maintain sanitation.
The truth is that there is a bare minimum cost to building a safe, warm and secure chicken coop, but there is no maximum to what you can spend. There is a practical side to building coops, but there are also aesthetic considerations. If your family is anything like ours, you may start out with a budget approach and then find yourself gravitating toward slightly more expensive options that look a whole lot better in your back yard!
We offer three levels of support when it comes to building coops:
- DIY Chicken Coop Plans: Download the plans, buy the materials and assemble on your own
- DIY Chicken Coop Kits: Have us mail you pre-cut lumber, screws and hardware
You will find that the least expensive option is simply to download the plans and then make a trip to your local hardware store, lumber yard or home supply store. But, if you would prefer a little more help from us, we’re happy to save you the time of cutting the lumber by mailing you a kit. And, we’re even able to do the full assembly for you, but it’s obviously the most expensive option.