Anyone Limiting Their Flock Due to Costs and Economy?


11 Years
Jun 1, 2008
North Fork Eastern Long Island
I got a kick out of reading this post about "For those who's spouses don't play along...." and the quantity of chickens, coops, etc. being added to everyones flock.

Rather than try to hijack that post with my thoughts, I wanted to start this post in hopes of having a conversation about the cost of our hobby.

The part of that post I found most interesting was that in many cases, chick purchases seem to be influenced by 'impulse buying' as more and more chicks show up at the local feed stores. What started out as someone purchasing 4-6 chicks to keep their family with fresh eggs, quickly turns into many dozens of new chicks. One person equated the habit with her mother sneaking new shoes into the house!

I agree this is all great fun and that I have to stop myself from expanding my flock beyond what I can realistically use and care for. I am by no means condemning anyone in that thread.

That thread did turn my thoughts to some of the personal finance problems many people now find themselves experiencing. I believe many of these troubles are a direct result of a pattern of impulse purchasing, especially on credit. Whether it be fancy clothes & shoes, boats & big screen TVs, or even chickens, such spending can quickly get out of hand.

I am interested in hearing if anyone else is adjusting their chicken 'hobby' because of the cost.

I think we all can agree that from a strictly financial standpoint, raising you own chickens & eggs doesn't make great cents (sic). Luckily, there are many intangible benefits from doing so. Still, there are costs associated with our hobby that must be accounted for. All of you that requested raizin's spread sheet might be astonished at the results. I am certain the cost of these critters has expanded beyond what I expected.

As an example, I posted about my rooster being hen-pecked. I went out an brought 'Blu-Kote,' 'Udder Balm,' 'Pine Tar' and 'No-Pick' before I got control of the problem. Now with warm weather coming I'm starting to dread the possibility of needing to treat worms, bugs, etc. My coop is also due for its every six months cleanout and change of pine shavings.

So, to get the ball rolling, these are some of the things I've been doing:

- This past fall I found myself going over to a buddy's farm and pulling all the corn from his corn maze that he had set up for the local pumpkin festivals. I've been using that corn all winter as a supplement for my feed program. I've also been reading about growing some greens just for the chicks to eat.

- Last week one of my metal watering cans sprang a leak. Normally I would toss it and buy a new one. Instead, I took the time to solder (lead-free) that crack and it works good as new.

- I've been wanting to start some meat chickens and a couple of turkeys this spring but with my oldest heading off to college I feel the need to hold back until her tuition is covered.

I would enjoy hearing you thoughts.



Deluxe Dozens
11 Years
Mar 29, 2008
Riverside/Norco, CA
I got a whole flock of assorted pullets around three months old and raised them up to laying age and they started eating like PIGS when they started laying so I very shortly found them all good homes, and cut my bill in half. I have since acquired more birds and am past that number, but it is a more carefully chosen flock that genetically works together for my purposes and are mostly truly dual purpose, with sellable eggs, not just for eating, but for hatching. I try to stay with higher end birds, not only because i like them better, but apparently so does everybody else. It really helps to be able to blow out a few dozen eggs over the weekend online auctions and more than cover your feed bill. With more common varieties I could blow out three dozen and get ten dollars... no fun. I have yet to pencil it all out and find out just how much or a pyramid scheme the "eye candy" breeds are. I am accustomed to horses and their high maintenence bills so to me, chickens is a much easier hobby to enjoy. I have all but forgotten about horses, which were my driving, all consuming hobby for 45 years. The chickens get a big $ leeway just for getting me to kick the horse habit.


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
I limit how many critters (chickens included) I have due to finance and economy, but it is just "economy" in general rather than THE economy, you know?

It would certainly be fun to buy everything that caught my fancy as seems to be popular on BYC (the "chicken shopaholic" culture <g>) but I really just cannot see spending that kind of money on feed and upkeep for cute egglaying collectibles, alas. So while I would *like* sumatras or several other decorative breeds, they're a no-go because no practical value; while I would *like* chanteclers and light sussex and BR and several other heavyish breeds, they're a no-go because my sussexes are already filling that niche and I'm not going to feed other redundant pens of basically the same sort of thing; etc. This extends to goats, too, alas, which i would most dearly love but I just can't justify them as mere pets (and dairy or meat goats would not work out in this house, for various reasons)

As far as scrounging materials/feed, repairing things, or building things instead of buying, that's the story of my life... hasn't changed any



12 Years
Aug 17, 2007
Lancashire England
Hi, We don't have local feed stores selling chicks like you do in the US, plus chicks cannot go through the postal system either so there is less oportunity to impulse buy.

Chicky Tocks

11 Years
Oct 20, 2008
Benton, Arkansas
I have a scheme. I'm going to buy some chicks, a nice pure breed strain of chicken, then I'm gonna raise them. Keep one roo. Hatch hatch hatch and hatch a hundred more baby chicks. Sell them to our two local feed stores. And as for eggs, I'm going to sell them to our local farmers' produce market store that stays open year round. Yesssss...I has a scheme! So nope, I plan to make money from it if possible.

Now to get DH to build me a new coop so I can put this scheme into action.
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Born city, Living country
11 Years
Mar 8, 2008
Eaton, Colorado
We are not limiting our flock so to speak. I just recently hatched 7 chicks and intend on 1 more hatch before summer. We are however being more resourceful on finding supplemental feed for our flock. For example:

-We now do accept that doggie bag and bring home all scraps

-My MIL gives us her leftovers and scraps instead of feeding them to the garbage disposal.

-I also remind friends regularly that I will take any food they think uneatable and decide for myself if my hens can have it.

-Nothing gets wasted, it can be fed to dogs, cats, chickens or the garden.

As far as ornamental birds, I allow myself a few. This is my one and only hobby that also provides my family with fresh eggs. I do not buy shoes, clothes, furniture etc. I can feel good about this one because my family also benefits from it. Besides, it makes me happy and a whole lot easier to get along with!!


10 Years
Feb 15, 2009
Boondocks, Colorado
I kinda disagree about the economics. I guess it depends on how you do it. Just like gardening. You could go all out with raised beds, boughten compost and soil, seedlings, fancy tomato supports, etc.

Or you could plant seeds in the ground.

The same way with chickens. I think we are at least breaking even, if not making and saving money. We have a free coop, free fencing, I free range them and during the summer I never fed them boughten food. Now, in the winter I SUPPLEMENT the free ranging. Read supplement. I did not feed them even everyday, yet they thrived. We had no snow and periodic warm spells all winter. Like 70deg warm spells. There was planty for them to eat.

Today I just bought game bird feeder because I am going to be raising babies now. I did the math, and if I can sell them as pullets for $10 apeice, the going rate here, and eat the roos, we will be making money.

Now, i realize most people cannot do this, but I just thought it would maybe give someone some ideas.

And yes, I really think that chicks are definitely an impulse thing for a lot of people, just like any baby animal.


Everybody loves a Turkey
11 Years
Feb 10, 2008
Eastern NC
Actually we are finding a higher demand for birds this year that kind of caught us by suprise. With the economy we were thinking it would be alot less and were planning on downsizing, seems in our area people are looking to go back to gardening and small flocks.

Steve in NC

Sunny Side Up

Count your many blessings...
11 Years
Mar 12, 2008
Loxahatchee, Florida
I thought it was funny to read about folks starting to keep laying &/or meat chickens to SAVE $$$ now that The Economy is so bad. You don't keep chickens to save $$$, even though you do benefit in many other non-financial ways.

I've always been thrifty, and have a lifestyle of habits that help me economize. It's irritating to hear news reports from paid "experts" who list ways to trim the family budget, they're merely describing my own way of life, it's not news to me!

Since Mister lost his job I'm challenged to scrimp even more. I did have to postpone ordering a batch of Colored Range Broilers I had wanted to raise for meat this spring. Instead I'm allowing my broody bantam hens to hatch our mixed-breed standard eggs (instead of confining them to the Broody Buster Cage) and selling the pullets and keeping the cockerels for meat.

I've been fortunate to have found a limited number of customers willing to pay a good price for fresh eggs from free-ranged backyard hens. So the chickens have been able to earn their own feed.

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