Chickens cost per year?

Question:
I was wondering how much money do chickens cost per year. For food hay and vet checks. My family doesn't know how much money it will take for this stuff.

Also, include the cost of a chicken coop, waterer and a fence because we are planing to have free range chickens during the day.

Answer:

I am going to answer your question from the most economical way of starting out with chickens.

First, lets get the vet issue out of the way. If you will practice good sanitary methods keeping everything clean(chicken coop, waterers, feeders and chicken pen), you will for the most part never visit a vet.

Most people who raise chickens are checking on them at least once a day, and are aware of any changes in their behavior. If you find that you have a chicken that is sick, it will need to be separated from the flock and properly disposed of.

This may sound cruel but when a disease hits your flock it will usually wipe out all of your chickens. I am not trying to discourage you, if you keep things sanitary 95% of the time you will be fine.

Feed:

The amount of feed your chickens will eat will depend on the breed(s) you choose. Also, I noticed you said you would be free ranging during the day.

I to free range my birds, I have 12 birds(several different breeds) and they go through a 50 pound bag of feed every 4 to 5 weeks. I purchase my feed from tractor supply and it runs about $11.00 per bag.

Chicken coop:

I think you mentioned in your last question that you wanted to purchase one hen and a rooster.



Keep in mind if you are not going to raise fertile eggs for hatching you do not need a rooster for your hen to lay eggs. In your coop you should provide at least 4 to 5 square feet per chicken.

Since, You are only interested in a couple of birds I would suggest you build a chicken tractor. Check out the one we have featured on this web site. I spent $175.00 for all the material and built it over the weekend.

There are cheaper ways to get started, especially if you can find salvage lumber. Even though you are wanting only 2 birds now, build something a little larger, because you will probably want to add more birds later.

Bedding:

Using pine shavings or hay for 2 to 4 chickens will be very minimal. Maybe costing you 3 to 4 dollars a month.

Water and feeder:

I just purchased a 3 gallon waterer for $7.50 and a 10lb. feeder for $15.00 dollars at tractor supply. Again if this is out of your budget you can make your own.

Chicken run:
By using a chicken tractor you have your chicken run and coop right together.

I have seen people plan out every thing they need to start their own flock and patiently acquire these things over time for free. I think you need to look at what resources you have and figure it out.

Once you get your initial expenses paid for, the cost of raising chickens is very reasonable. Besides, they are one of the only pets that give back. Don't forget about all those fresh eggs.

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Comments for Chickens cost per year?

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Sep 09, 2009
Great Question
by: ◊Chicken lover◊

That question was the same one I asked! I find that question Important because you neverknow:) Bye!

Sep 09, 2009
Same here!
by: Anonymous

I'm going to say the same as Chicken lover ^^

Feb 25, 2011
Ohio
by: Sharon

That's a hard question to answer. Feed prices seem to be on a steady rise. The layer mash I was buying at a local mill has gone from $6/ 50lb, to almost $11 in the last year!

I spent about $1000 on fencing, lumber and roofing materials to build a good high fence and refit an existing out building for the coop.

When thinking about keeping chickens, I would suggest figuring out how much you could afford each month for feed and care and how much you could afford to spend to make a safe and healthy environment, plus feeders, plus water containers, and the cost of purchasing the chickens.

The next step would be to go to the local suppliers of all these goods and price everything.

I've found Craigslist a good source for buying chickens from local breeders. If you want to raise chicks you will need a brooder and there is cost of electricity to plan in, if you are on a tight budget.

I prefer buying pullets (yearling hens) ready to start laying. I've paid about $5 each for them, which is probably less than it cost to raise them from chicks.

Feed prices vary, depending on quality of feed. Organic is the healthiest for the chickens and eggs. There is good reason why they are often $6 / doz at the grocery store, especially free range organic.

Hens lay an egg about every 30 hours, but not all year. You will want to decide how many eggs your family needs or wants on a regular basis and figure how many hens it will take.

Two or three chickens per person will probably provide all you need most of the year. Hens lay a lot in the spring and summer. Unless you provide artificial light in the coop, egg production can slow down in the fall and winter months.

A rough estimate, based on how I feed my chickens (not organic as we don't have a local supplier), is about $2 / chicken / month.

I also buy wood shavings (on sale) to keep their coop clean and dry. I use much more in the winter, maybe $10/ month, and about $5 per month the rest of the year.

This fall and winter I've been supplementing their diet with black oil sunflower seeds for the added fat and protein.

My chickens free range, but during the fall molt and cold months I believe they need the added nutrition. That cost me about $.50 / chicken / month.

Hope this helps.


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