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The Cost To Raise Chickens (For Eggs and Meat)
Whenever you begin a new hobby or venture, there’s always a lot of questions that come with it. The same is definitely true when it comes to wanting to raise chickens. One question that most people ask before setting out to raise chickens is how much is it going to cost?
That’s exactly why I put this article together. I want to give you a general overall idea of the cost to raise chickens, whether it be for meat, for eggs or for simply the joy of having chickens in your backyard.
What I want to do is break it all down so you can see how much it might cost you to get started as well as to maintain a flock of chickens.
The good news is that chickens can earn their own keep. That’s to say, if done right, you can completely offset your cost to raising and owning chickens by selling the eggs or by even selling the meat that they produce.
The Average Cost of Raising Chickens
Below you’ll find a list of all the basic necessities for successfully raising happy chickens. And remember, happy chickens lay more eggs!
A Chicken Coop
There’s no way around this one. A coop is an absolute must have. Chicken coops provide shelter from predators as well as shelter from the weather. A coop gives the chickens a place to roost at night as well as lay their eggs.
The cost of a chicken coop can range from free to thousands of dollars. So it really depends on what kind of coop you want or need.
I’ve seen some chicken coops made out of old appliances and I’ve seen some that are more extravagant than my own home. But for a smaller sized modest backyard chicken coop, I would plan on it costing between $150 and $500.
You can read about the best chicken coops I recommend in this article here.
Even if you have free range chickens, you should still plan on buying supplemental feed for your chickens. Maintaining a well balanced diet for your chickens is very important whether you’re raising them for meat or for eggs.
There are a lot of different types of feed that you can provide your chickens, and different types of feed have different amounts of the nutrients that your chickens need. And each of these types of feeds will vary in cost.
On average, you can expect to pay between $10 and $50 for a 30 pound bag of chicken feed for egg layers or meat birds. Keep in mind that the cost of feed will increase if you choose to use organic and non-gmo chicken feeds.
For more information on the different types of chicken feed and what they cost, read my article 10 Different Types of Chicken Feed (and When To Use Them).
All the chicken feed in the world doesn’t do a whole lot of good if you don’t have a way of giving it to your chickens. So a chicken feeder is another must have.
Like most other things on this list, there is a wide range of the types of feeders you can buy. From basic $10 feeders to the more specialized treadle type feeders that can run up over $100.
The type of feeders that I generally recommend are the hanging feeders that can either be hung by a rope or wire from the ceiling or the treadle type feeders. The reason I recommend these two types of chicken feeders is because they save on waste and they protect the feed from rodents and other critters.
For a chicken feeder, you can expect to pay between $10 and $50. For more information on chicken feeders, read these two articles I wrote:
Much like the chicken feeders, a waterer is another necessity for your new flock of chickens. And there are a wide variety of types of waterers.
The most basic type of chicken waterer will cost around $10. However, these waters require you to fill them manually on a regular basis.
The types of chicken waterer that I use and recommend to folks asking about raising chickens are automatic waterers. These come in a variety of shapes and sizes and will typically run around $30 or so. The best part about these is they are connected to a water source which means you never have to go out and manually give water to your chickens.
For a chicken waterer, you can expect to pay between $10 and $30 depending on the type of waterer you decide to get.
You’ve heard me say that happy chickens make better egge layers, and it’s true. In addition to providing your new chickens a safe coop to roost in, you also need to provide them with a nesting box, a safe place inside that coop to lay eggs.
Depending on how many chickens you have, you’ll typically need around one nesting box for every 3 to 4 chickens. That’s because chickens like to share nesting boxes. Even if you provide more nesting boxes for your chickens, you’ll quickly find out that they’ll find one or two they like and share it.
A nesting box will typically cost anywhere from $20 to $30 each. To learn more about the nesting boxes that I recommend, read my post, The Best Nesting Boxes For Your Chickens. And The Best Nesting Material For Chickens to learn what kind of bedding you should use inside the nesting boxes.
Chicken Coop Heater
If you’re like me and happen to live in a part of the world that experiences cold months, then you’re going to need to provide some type of heater for the chicken coop.
There are a variety of types of heaters you can use to keep your hens warm during those cold months, but typically speaking, you should expect to pay around $40 for one.
Medical or Veterinary Expenses
This is one of those things that you often won’t find on other lists of how much it costs to raise chickens. But just because it’s overlooked doesn’t mean that it’s not a critical part of raising chickens, whether they’re for eggs or for meat.
Chickens get sick and they get mites and they get worms. It’s just a fact of having chickens. But most of these things can be prevented by keeping a close eye on your birds and treating them yourself. By doing this, you end up saving a significant amount of money.
You should anticipate budgeting around $200 for healthcare costs for your flock of chickens. The hope is you won’t need to spend it all, but you want to make sure you have it when you need it.
To learn more about how to know if your chickens have mites or worms and how to treat them, be sure to read these articles from The Hen’s Loft:
- How To Know If Your Chickens Have Worms (and Treat Them Naturally)
- The Best Wormer For Egg Laying Chickens
- The Best Way To Treat Chicken Mites
Total Estimated Cost To Raise Chickens
In addition to buying the chickens themselves, you can expect to spend around $250 on the low end to get started raising chickens. However, this cost could even be reduced more if you decide to build a chicken coop yourself. In that case, you would just pay for the cost of materials.
On the other hand, if you wanted a top of the line luxury chicken coop and only the best feeders, best feed and best of everything else, then you could easily be spending into the $1000’s. I don’t recommend this route if you are new to keeping chickens.
I recommend starting slow and only buying what you need to create a safe and comfortable place for your chickens. Take a look below to see the specific items I recommend for starting out as a new chicken owner.
Recommended Supplies For Raising Chickens
|Best Choice Products Chicken Coop||View on Amazon|
|Manna Pro Layer Pellets | Non-GMO & Organic | 30 Pounds||View on Amazon|
|Harris Farms Galvanized Hanging Feeder||View on Amazon|
|RentACoop Automatic Chicken Water (6-pack)||View on Amazon|
|Miller Manufacturing Nesting Box||View on Amazon|
|Manna Pro Pine Shavings||View on Amazon|
|Cozy Products Safe Chicken Coop Heater||View on Amazon|