How much do chickens cost? How much feed do chickens eat? What do chickens eat, anyway!? All of these are questions I constantly get, and it’s for good reason. People want to know just how much they will have to invest into their chickens every single month when it comes to feeding them.
Before you jump into the wonderful world of chicken keeping, it might do you some good to learn about the costs of chicken keeping. While they really don’t cost much, each person is different.
More than anything, though, it’s important to know how much feed chickens eat in order to prepare your budget accordingly.
How Much Do Chickens Cost?
There are a few different ways that you can purchase chickens. Make sure you read my blog post about 10 Easy Steps to Start Raising Chickens for a more in-depth discussion on the things you’ll need to get started. But ultimately, there is a wide range as to how much chickens will cost when you’re getting started (excluding feed).
The first month will be the most expensive month because you’ll need to buy or build your coop. For a flock of 6 chickens, expect to spend anywhere from $500 to $1,500 to get everything up and going. Unless, if course, you’re using recycled materials.
How Much Feed Do Chickens Eat?
In general, chickens eat about 1/4 lb. of feed per chicken per day. This comes out to about 1.75 lbs (or 1 and 3/4 lb.) of feed per chicken per week. So one chicken will eat a 50 lb. bag of feed in 200 days. That means that a flock of 6 chickens will eat a 50 lb. bag of feed in roughly 33 days, or one month.
So if a flock of 6 chickens eats one 50 lb. bag of feed in one month, that means you’re only spending about $15 to $20 a month on chicken feed for a flock of that size. Not bad, huh?
This flock of 6 chickens will lay about 5 to 6 eggs for you each day from spring through the end of fall. Ultimately, you should get about 140 or more dozen eggs every single year. To reiterate, that’s over 1,600 eggs a year!
So, really, how much do chickens cost each month?
The cost of a non-gmo eggs at the grocery store are around $6 to $7 a dozen. If you bought 140 dozen of these eggs in one year, you would spend $840. But if you raise your own chickens and use non-gmo feed, you would only spend about $240 to $300 a year in chicken feed. Not a bad trade-off!
It really IS cheaper to raise your own chickens after the initial cost of the chicken coop and set up is over. If you free-range your chickens, you’ll save even more.
What Do Chickens Eat, Anyhow?
Now that you know how much chickens cost and how much feed chickens eat—you might wonder, what do chickens eat, anyhow? Well, that’s a pretty loaded question.
Most chicken keepers will start with a 16% protein chicken feed. We like to feed non-gmo feed. As I mentioned before, chickens eat 1/4 lb. of feed per chicken per day. You can get chicken feed in pellet form, crumble form, or even a mash (which is a powdery form). In my experience, the mash is more digestible for the chickens and they eat less of it. Just make sure you put the feed into a feeder or rubber livestock bowl instead of directly on the ground.
If you want to free-range or pasture-range your birds, your chickens will eat far less feed each day. Your chickens will also get amazing nutrients that they wouldn’t necessarily get by just eating feed. We like to pasture range or free range, either allowing them to roam freely, or by setting up a pasture ranging system, like the moveable coops in the photo above.
You can also feed chickens common kitchen scraps to help offset the costs of feed. Just stay away from citrusy things.
Chickens really don’t eat much, and they don’t cost much in the long run, either! It’s a no brainer—raise your own chickens and you won’t regret it! Not only will you save money, you might even make some money too if you decide to sell all those extra eggs. Selling eggs helps offset the feed cost. You could literally be raising chickens for free if you sell some of your eggs!
Other Posts You May Enjoy:
- How to Make Homemade Chicken Feed
- 10 Steps to Start Raising Chickens
- Easy Steps to Start Raising Ducks
- Easy Steps to Start Raising Meat Chickens
- How to Preserve Chicken Eggs
- How to Make Deep Cleaning Chicken Coop Cleaner
- Herbs for Your Chickens
- 10 Ways to Make Money on Your Homestead
- Growing Fodder for Chickens—A Chicken Fodder System
Amy K. Fewell is an author, family herbalist, entrepreneur, homesteader, and homemaker. Living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, her and her family live a natural homesteading lifestyle where they promote self-sufficiency and liberty. Amy is the founder of the Homesteaders of America organization and annual events. You can discover more on this website and at homesteadersofamerica.com