The Cost Of Raising Chickens
The number of people keeping chickens is growing rapidly. Flocks are appearing even in the least likely places across cities and countrysides. As a new chicken keeper, do you know what it costs to keep these beauties healthy and happy? Keeping chickens is a delightful experience and you only need 3-5 chooks to start so let’s look at what the costs involved are.
When starting your backyard chicken flock, your main expense will be purchasing a chicken coop. The chicken coop needs to be spacious enough to accommodate the size of your flock, well ventilated and able to withstand harsh temperatures. You will also need to make sure that the coop has been designed specifically with chickens in mind. It will also need to be predator proof, easy to clean and at least add to the decor in your garden.
Different chicken coop options and ideas
Chicken coops range from around $249 – $1,749 and are suitable for two to 20 chickens depending on the size you choose. Two ongoing costs that you will have to keep in mind is food and bedding. Fortunately, the ongoing costs of keeping chickens are quite low compared to other household pets. Keep in mind that you will have to have back up funds for vet visits and any dewormers you use for your flock.
Some owners prefer natural remedies when it comes to cleaning the coop and worming the chickens, so those costs will have to be taken into account. For example, if you have 5 chickens that you feed exclusively on layer mash, you would pay about $25 for a 20kg bag that would last around 5 weeks.
However, the majority of chicken keepers also feed their chickens a mixture of kitchen scraps, treats, layers mash and whatever the chickens find during their free-ranging time. That means that you will use less layer mash so it should last longer and thus cost you less to feed your flock.
Things to consider:
The average-sized hen will eat approximately a ¾ cup of chicken feed per day. If you consider the fact that your flock free-range, they will eat even less so you will need to purchase food less often. If you use straw as bedding and padding for nesting boxes, you will need to add additional staw weekly and clean out the whole coop once a month. Thus you will have to purchase enough bedding to manage.
If you choose to worm your chooks with commercial products, then you need to consider the costs of the product and visits to your local vet. Your vet should be able to recommend the best product for your chickens. Annual worming costs are minimal considering that a liquid wormer will cost you around $20.
You can sell some eggs to neighbours to cleverly cover some of your costs. 5 standard hens should give you around 35 eggs per week. Take note that the cost of a dozen free-range eggs from a supermarket is around $5 -$7. That means that you won’t be spending that money since you will have eggs for free.
While cost varies depending on what you feed, the coop you get and many other factors, you can expect to spend around $25 per month on feed or less if you feed kitchen scraps. Bedding costs will also vary depending on the type of bedding and how often you need to replace it. We recommend hemp bedding since you will need to replace it less often due to its absorbency.
After the initial costs, chicken maintenance costs are fairly low. As a chicken keeper, you will want to do an excellent job of caring for your flock. There are a lot of things to consider so make sure you have the knowledge you need.