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How Much Do Chickens Cost? Start-Up and Ongoing Costs

Rising costs and chemicals being pumped into our food are causing more people to try the homestead lifestyle. You may be wondering what it costs to start a chicken coop, what it takes to keep it running, and if it is all worth it. Raising your food means you know where it came from and you can retain as many of the nutrients as possible without all of the preservatives.

The start-up and maintenance costs associated with raising chickens for eggs can vary depending upon:

  • The type and style of coop
  • The age and type of chickens
  • Cost of feed and maintenance supplies

Most who raise chickens find it to be worth the cost and effort that they invest in the process.

For a more detailed explanation of what it takes to get started in the backyard chicken business continue reading for helpful information.

How Much Do Chickens Cost?

The list below gives details of what you need to get started if you want to try your hand at raising chickens for eggs.

Cost Of the Coop

One of the largest expenses associated with starting a chicken coop is the cost of the actual coop. Premade chicken coops can get a little expensive at times so it is good to do some comparison shopping before making a final decision.

Premade chicken coops can range from around $100.00 all the way up to $3,000.00. When purchasing a premade chicken coop the price can range dramatically depending upon:

  • What supplies are used
  • The size of the coop
  • How many hens it can hold
  • If it is insulated and wired for electric

If you really want to live a sustainable lifestyle and reduce your carbon footprint on the earth the best way to acquire a chicken coop is to make one yourself, provided you are handy that way.

Many people who raise chickens for eggs make perfectly nice and functional coops from random unused objects lying around their properties or the property of someone they know.

Repurposing items is a great way to create a customized chicken coop and save some cash at the same time.

You can find good deals online for Chicken Coops, Chicken Feeders, and Chicken Waterers on Amazon.

Consider These Things Before Buying Or Making a Coop

Before getting too excited and spending a bunch of money on a premade coop or time creating a custom coop from the stuff in your backyard, stop and think.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • How many eggs do you or your family average per year
  • Do you plan on selling extra eggs to offset the cost of raising the chickens
  • Do you plan on eating any of the chickens

The answer to these questions will help you to determine how large of a coop you need. It will also help you to decide how many chickens you will need which will be discussed further in the article.

Here’s a fun video showing the math of owning/maintaining chickens:

What Does It Cost to Buy a Chicken?

You may be wondering what it costs to buy a chicken.

That answer like many others in this article can vary but the average prices are listed below to give you a rough idea of what you will need to invest to get started in the egg-laying business:

Day old chicks$2.00 – $5.00 per head
Pullets (6 – 20 weeks old)$12.00 – $20.00 per head
Ready-to-lay hens$20.00 and up

These prices are a rough average as they will vary depending on the breed, age, and productivity level of the bird.

What’s It Cost to Feed a Chicken?

Now you know what it can cost to house and purchase chickens but what about feeding them?

Once again, the prices will vary depending on where you live and the type of feed you choose but the average cost of feed is between $0.20 – $1.50 per pound.

To determine how much food you will need you should know that the average chicken consumes between 1 – 2 pounds of feed per week depending upon its age and size.

The Cost Of Keeping Your Chickens Comfy

Bedding is not too expensive and will also vary in price depending on which material you choose.

The most common forms of bedding used in chicken coops are: (links to Amazon)

Now, let’s see the other costs to consider.

Other Costs to Consider

Besides every day costs, there are other costs to consider when it comes to keeping chickens.

They include:

  • Supplies such as feeders and waterers
  • The cost of heaters and lighting
  • Cost of water
  • Occasional veterinary care, medicine, and parasite maintenance

Now that you know all about what goes into taking care of chickens, let’s calculate the total costs.

Calculating For Your Chickens

A good hen can lay an average of 200-250 eggs per year which means that someone who has 5 chickens can potentially bring in around 1000 eggs or more. That’s not too shabby.

After you have decided how much your family needs per year you can decide how many more you want to have extra so you can sell the eggs and make a profit.

The chickens should end up paying for themselves and possibly turn a profit if done correctly.

The average cost for dozen homegrown or free-range eggs is around $3.00

Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Poo

Although it is not the most appealing topic, chicken manure is one of the best fertilizers a person can use.

If you are the type of person who also likes to grow your own produce then you can get a bonus from the composted chicken manure and use it to make your gardens flourish.

Additionally, if you have an abundance you can sell the manure to other gardeners who are of similar mind for an even larger profit.

Buying Eggs Or Raising Chickens – Which Is Best?

Is it cheaper and easier to buy eggs or raise chickens for a more sustainable lifestyle?

The real truth of the matter is if you don’t eat or use eggs very often it is probably more logical to simply purchase your eggs.

Check out our Cheaper To Buy Eggs Or Raise Chickens Article Here for a complete breakdown and to see if it’s worth it for you.

If you like the idea of buying local and want to stay away from big-box stores try buying from a local farmer to keep the money within the community.

Raising Chickens Offers More Than Financial Rewards

As you can see from this article, it can take a small investment to get started, but once you have established your coop and know how to properly maintain your flock you will be happy with the results.

Raising chickens is also a great way to get the whole family involved and learn where our food comes from and what it takes to bring it to the table.

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