Raising a chicken seems like more and more of a good idea recently. Inflation has raised the price of food significantly, and eggs are currently at an all-time historical high. But you also have to consider the list of things to calculate the cost to raise a chicken.
When raising a chicken, consider costs such as setting up the coop, sanitation practices, nutrition, and chicken feed, medical care, pest control, possible cleaning expenses, feeders, waterers, predator protection, chicken bedding, yard maintenance, and slow egg production in winter.
Raising a chicken is fun, especially when you know you will always have eggs. But the cost is something essential to consider and calculate before you go ahead and purchase your chick.
14 Cost To Consider For Raising A Chicken
The cost of raising a chicken requires a lot more than simply buying food to feed the bird. There are costs involved with start-up and maintenance. All the aspects must be included when calculating the cost of getting a chick and raising it.
Below is a list of factors that you can add to your calculations:
Cost Of The Chicken
The first thing to consider when calculating the cost of raising a chicken is the price of the actual bird. The price will differ depending on whether you want to buy a chick or an adult. You will also pay premium prices if you plan to buy a special breed of chicken.
Many people look at the price of chickens and think that’s it. But the cost of the chicken is only one number to add to the list of factors involved in the calculation.
If you plan to raise a chicken, you will require some sort of cage or chicken coop. Even if you plan to let your chicken roam around as freely as possible, you will still need to create some containment or segregation to keep it within specific bounds for their safety.
You can purchase a chicken coop or build one yourself to cut costs. The birds require shelter, especially to keep warm and for somewhere to rest when it rains.
Chicken bedding is an added cost for their soft and insulated comfort. It also helps to keep the coop clean by managing the chicken droppings (poop). It absorbs moisture from fecal waste Chicken bedding is alternatively called litter and provides a surface for scratching and resting.
You might not have thought about sanitation because many people avoid or ignore the practice. But sanitizing your yard or the area where you will raise your chicken is recommended. Not only is that good for the chicken’s health, but yours too.
It also reduces and prevents bacteria growth and recurring pesticides. Before getting a chicken, it is great to get it done. It should also be done as a maintenance practice every few months of having the chicken. Costs will be involved whether you do it yourself or hire a company.
Nutrition And Food
Food is one of the highest costs people think about when raising a chicken. And it is with good reason. You will need to buy food regularly, either weekly or monthly, depending on how much you buy at a time and how many chickens you have.
You must also consider the price difference between regular chicken feed and organic food. Organic, non-GMO food will be more expensive but is definitely worth it in the long run for the chicken’s health and yours.
You can prepare veggies/greens to give your chicken variety. That must also be calculated because you will purchase more than usual. Chickens also need worms and all sorts of bugs for their natural diet, and if your land doesn’t provide that, supplementing will be necessary, which is an added cost.
Keeping your yard, the coop, and everything clean and hygienic will require proper and regular cleaning expenses. You can do it yourself to reduce costs, but you will want to consider any tools and products you need to do the job. Those costs eventually add up.
You can also hire someone to clean for you and pay them. Outsourcing that task will add to your weekly/monthly cost of raising a chicken and should not be overlooked when you do your calculations.
Another cost to factor in is possible medical care. Chickens do not need antibiotics unless they have an infection, but financially preparing for that is a good idea. You will have to cover the medical costs if anything else happens to your chicken’s health. Always make room for that in the budget.
Slow Egg Production In Winter
If you plan to raise a chicken for eggs, you may want to consider that egg production can stop or reduce significantly during the winter months. The chickens need additional warmth and a special light to continue producing eggs. That must be added to the cost calculation if you plan for it.
If you plan to let the chickens produce eggs naturally, you may have to supplement with eggs from the store during winter. If you use a lot of eggs and won’t have enough from your chicken during the colder months, thinking ahead about the cost of purchasing eggs is necessary.
Pest control is essential when raising a chicken. When you consider raising a chicken, you want to add pest control expenses to your calculations. The chicken’s health must be maintained in a clean, pest-free environment to protect your home and health.
Chickens are big fans of water. They drink more than you would realize. Chickens also need fresh, clean water. The best way to keep their water clean for longer is by getting a chicken waterer. You can get as many as you prefer depending on how many chickens you raise.
If you have a large area, you may want to place a waterer on each end. Chickens go through a lot of water, and the best way to drink enough clean and fresh water is by using the chicken waterer. Always add a chicken waterer to your cost calculation when considering raising a chicken.
Chicken feeders are a necessity and an item that must be added to your cost calculations. When you raise a chicken, you want to care for it as best as possible and ensure proper hygiene. Chicken feeders help to prevent the feed from getting knocked into feces and reduce messes.
Another aspect many people overlook when planning to raise a chicken is predator protection. Even if you have an enclosed yard, chickens can sometimes find a way out. Predators can jump over walls and dig underground to get to the chickens.
One of the highest costs you must consider is putting up a predator fence and ensuring it is secured a good few inches into the ground. This will prevent any animals from trying to hurt your chickens or people from breaking in to steal your chickens.
Yard maintenance is another overlooked cost by many. Cleaning, planting, cutting, etc., must all be kept in mind. Even the cost of fertilizer must be considered if you plan on giving your chicken an entirely natural, organic experience.
The yard will need trimmings. The coop must be maintained and checked for any damage. All these factors will require some expense, whether done yourself or by someone you need to pay. Making way for it in your budget is always a good idea.
When you raise a chicken, there is no doubt that your monthly municipal water bill will increase. You will use a lot more water by cleaning the chicken coop regularly. Chickens drink a lot of water and require fresh, clean water, so you will change water multiple times.
These practices will add to your water bill, especially if you follow proper hygiene and care for the chicken. It is something to consider and budget for.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Cheaper To Raise Your Own Chicken?
Raising your own chickens is cheaper than purchasing eggs from a store, even if you factor in the monthly cost of caring for the chicken. It also means you get healthier and quality eggs.
Raising chickens for their meat can work out a little more expensive because you will pay a monthly average of $13-15 until that chicken is grown and ready to be slaughtered. You can purchase whole organic fresh chickens from a local farmer without the costs of raising and caring for the chickens.
However, if you factor in the number of eggs, you will get over the years of raising the chicken; the benefit cannot be overlooked.
Is The Cost Of Raising A Chicken Worth It?
Whether the cost of raising a chicken is worth it or not depends on which angle you look at it from. Raising chickens is worth it if you think about the price of eggs. It can be less worth it if you want to slaughter the chicken for its meat.
Another aspect to consider is that raising your own chicken means you get natural, organic eggs and meat without hormones, antibiotics, etc. This plays into the cost of your health from consuming poultry.
Eating healthier chickens means there will be a decline in your medical costs. Store-bought poultry products can harm your hormones and other health aspects in the long run. Raising your own means, you know exactly what goes into your body.
Is It Expensive To Raise A Chicken?
Raising a chicken can be expensive, depending on how you plan to care for the chicken. It is expensive when you consider everything that needs to be done at the start of the process. In the long run, it can be cheaper than buying eggs from a store, depending on how many eggs you use in your home or whether you will sell the eggs and profit from the process.
How Much Does It Cost To Raise A Chicken To Slaughter?
After considering all costs, from setting up the coop to chicken feed and everything else involved, it would cost around $13-$15 per month per chicken. You can keep a chicken for 2-3 years at its best health. That would cost you around $312-$540 in total.
If you raise that chicken for longer to get as many eggs as possible, you can keep it for up to 5 years. More than that is not recommended as the chicken will be old. The longer you raise a chicken, the more your cost will rise before you slaughter it.
How Much Does It Cost To Own A Chicken?
The cost of owning a chicken is relative. It is based on whether you purchase a chick or an adult chicken. The breed also plays a role in the price. Chicks cost around $3-$5. Adult birds cost anything between $30-$50. Fancier breeds will cost more.
Owning a chicken doesn’t only include the price of purchase. You must also account for setting up your space to keep and care for it. If you already have a space ready, consider chicken feed and basic maintenance costs.
How To Lower The Cost Of Raising A Chicken
Raising a chicken can become expensive, no matter how many eggs you get. Here are some ways you can make it more pocket-friendly and break up the costs:
Start slow: When starting up, take things month by month. You can first prepare your yard and get a coop. The next month you can add bedding, feeders, waterers, etc. Allow yourself a few months to prepare before you take your chicken home.
Purchase bulk feed: Buying bulk feed is always cheaper, even when you purchase organic food. Find out if there are any discounts and stock up. This takes the load off month to month.
Do the work yourself: Instead of outsourcing builders, cleaners, etc., to do all the work of raising a chicken, do it yourself.
If you are thinking about getting a chicken (or a few) to raise, remember to consider all the factors when calculating the total cost. Start-up and monthly costs are essential to know whether it will be worth it.