How much do you spend per month on feed for your small flock???

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by KaylaBird, Dec 9, 2010.

  1. KaylaBird

    KaylaBird Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 25, 2010
    Sunny SoCal
    Hey, I am writing a paper on urban chicken farming and am studying the costs of raising hens in your backyard for egg laying. If you could please post how many hens you have in your flock, what you feed them (commercial feed, homemade, kitchen scraps, a combination of things?), and how much you approximately spend per month feeding them.

    also any tips you have on cutting costs would be helpful [​IMG]
    and if you happen to have calculated the costs of raising hens versus what you save in not having to buy eggs, that would be great info as well.

    I am trying to show others that raising your own chickens is the best way to go!

    Thanks!!! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2010
  2. Teach97

    Teach97 Bantam Addict

    Nov 12, 2008
    Hooker, OK
    From a straight forward money stand point...it ain't gonna work...

    For me...I refuse to count my birds because I would then know how many I have and I don't want my wife to know that so I don't count but all told...there is a bunch of birds back there...I would bet...I spend at least $75-100 for chicken feed and will get like 150 eggs....so from an eating standpoint...I saved myself like $20. I am not an accountant but did take a couple courses and that doesn't work out for saving money...that is for like a month

    You can't factor in the reasons I have birds into a $ formula...
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2010
  3. Kansaseq

    Kansaseq Prairie Wolf Farm Asylum

    Feb 12, 2009
    NE Kansas
    I"ve got roughly 27 birds, and go through roughly $20-$30 a month on feed. Gee, that's almost a dollar a bird per month! How cheap!
     
  4. Domestic_goddess

    Domestic_goddess Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I buy the IFA brand of feed and it's approximately $16 a bag. I have 25 chickens who go through a bag a week, and I also buy cracked corn which is $11 dollars a bag and mix that and grain(my father in has a farm, and we get the grain free) with my feed. I sell my eggs and we make enough for the cost of feed. We know we could probably just buy our own eggs and it would be much easier and cheaper, but that wouldn't be any fun! We don't think of our chickens just as egg producers they are our pets and we enjoy them. We spend atleast $75 a month on feed! I also feed my chickens our food leftovers and let them free range/forage, both of those things will help reduce feed costs.
     
  5. KaylaBird

    KaylaBird Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 25, 2010
    Sunny SoCal
    Quote:Wow thats alot! I guess I am looking into more along the lines of people in the city/suburbs raising at max maybe 15 hens (or like me, just 4). but all info helps. Thanks!
     
  6. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

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    Adair Co., KY
    Change your title to reflect that you are wondering about small flock owners. I don't think I'd be of any help since I have chickens, ducks, geese, quail, doves, turkeys, guineas, and peafowl...all eating the same feed. All in all, I think I spend from $200-$300 a month on feed, but that's for over 150 birds.
     
  7. KaylaBird

    KaylaBird Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 25, 2010
    Sunny SoCal
    Quote:Yea i guess that would be better [​IMG] thanks
     
  8. boykin2010

    boykin2010 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Sep 26, 2010
    South Georgia
    i have 8 laying hens who go though about a bag of laying pellets a month. we also feed them scratch feed everyday and sometimes table scraps
     
  9. forrestacres

    forrestacres Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 28, 2010
    Squam Lakes - NH
    I have 8 girls, and I go through about one 50 lb. bag of layer pellets per month, plus 12lbs. of scratch grains, veggies from the grocery - so I guestimate that I spend about about $50 per month feeding my girls during the months when the local farm stands are closed.
     
  10. Olive Hill

    Olive Hill Overrun With Chickens

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    Apr 19, 2009
    Quote:Wow thats alot! I guess I am looking into more along the lines of people in the city/suburbs raising at max maybe 15 hens (or like me, just 4). but all info helps. Thanks!

    He's right though, even with a small flock from a purely money standpoint 99% of the time it will not be cheaper than buying eggs in the store -- even the "expensive" store bought eggs. Actually, in a small flock it's probably less likely to be cost effective than in a large flock. Just generally speaking people with small flocks tend to "baby" their chickens more, see them as pets, spend more money on treats, etc. They also are less likely to be able to take advantage of cost savings by buying supplies -- feed, bedding, etc -- in bulk. The labor per chicken per day also increases. It takes the same amount of time per day, for instance, to fill one waterer for 4 chickens as it does to fill one waterer for 20 chickens.

    It's an easy enough figure to come up with though, with a little math, if you want cold hard numbers to work with. And, all that said, if you stick to the bare bones and use frugal cost estimates (from cheaper areas of the country, store brand feeds, etc) you may be able to make at least a weak argument for your cause. Just playing with some numbers here...

    Lets say the average hen will consume 1/4 to 1/2 cup of feed per day. I'm going to make an educated guesstimate that commercial feed will probably come out to about 2 cups per lb. So, the average hen will eat 1/8 to 1/4 of a lb of feed per day. Commercial feed in a 50 lb bag averages $11 - $16 (obviously not organic). Using those numbers the average hen would cost 2.7 to 8 cents per day to feed. Or $0.82 to $2.43 per hen, per month.

    Aside from this you have bedding costs. I would figure 1-2 bales of pine shavings at 5-8 dollars per bale, per month, per flock. So $5 - $16 per month divided by the number of chicks in the theoretical flock would equal your per hen cost of bedding. For a four chicken flock that would be $1.25 - $4.00 per hen per month.

    Water costs should also be included. I live rurally and don't pay for water so I had to do a quick Google but came up with an estimate of $0.27 to $0.65 cents per gallon depending on the U.S. city. I would estimate a water usage of no less than 1/2 gallon per hen, per day when you consider the water they consume, the water used for washing equipment and eggs, etc. So $0.13 - $0.33 per hen per day or $3.95 - $10.04 per hen per month for water.

    These are bare minimums. Most families will also have electrical usage costs to figure in -- at the very least in the chick stage when heat lamps are used. In northern climates electricity is often used during winter for running heated waterers or heated water bases as well. I'm not going to get into those though.

    So, adding the above bare minimums together you have $6.02 - 16.47 per hen per month.

    Hens will usually provide 15-30 eggs monthly depending on age, breed, environment, etc. with the lower end of that range being more common for backyard flocks. Or 1.25 - 2.5 dozen eggs per hen, per month.

    Now if we divide our costs by our estimated egg production you come up with $2.41 - $13.17 per dozen of eggs. And to stress one more time, at the bare minimum. The $2.41 may not seem too bad at first glance but it's important to remember that figure is an ultimate ideal and highly, HIGHLY unlikely to be accomplished by backyard chicken keepers. Keeping chickens on a small scale for the eggs and the eggs alone is just not cost effective under the grand majority of circumstances.
     

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