# How much feed to raise a pullet?

#### Jacobnlynn

##### In the Brooder
8 Years
I'm trying to do a price comparison chart between buying pullets, near laying (4.5-6 months old). My problem is that the majority of my feed is free grain that has been boiled out at our local brewery. So, I've got 7.25#'s of pre-made feed into each bird.. so my cost is like \$3 a piece in feed (not including bedding and heating costs).

But, if a person was just raising new-hatched chicks to egg-laying age.. how much feed should they expect to feed. I have Orpingtons... but any egg-laying breed would help out my figuring. Thanks

#### wolftracks

##### Spam Hunter
12 Years
Think I'm going to see what kind of answers you get.

#### Jacobnlynn

##### In the Brooder
8 Years
I forget whose post it was.. but they had figured 16 pounds of feed to 4.5 months old. So based on that figure this is the sheet I wrote up to display at our Farmers Market (for next season when I'm selling chicks and pullets). In this sheet I figure the cost of raising 10 chicks out to get 5 pullets @4.5 months costing \$25.43 because of valuing the roosters at \$0. PLEASE tell me if something in my figure looks wrong. Obviously.. this sheet shows how bad a choice it is to buy unsexed chicks. By raising out just female chicks it would cost \$12.72 per bird (cost divided evenly between # of birds raised). I need to learn how to sex chicks!

Price Comparison Sheet -- Chicks vs Pullets

Chicks (50/50 males to females) 10 chicks at \$2 each = \$20

Equipment = \$20 heatlamp setup (\$10 high watt ceramic bulb holder, \$10 heatlamp bulb), Large box or tub (\$0-\$12 / \$0 on cost sheet), \$4-\$12 chick feeder and waterer (\$4 on cost comparison sheet)

Heat - 1st Stage - 250 watts 24 hours a day, 5 weeks (35 days/840 hours) @7.2 cents KWH = \$15.12 power
Heat - 2nd Stage - 250 watts 8 hours a day, 2 weeks = \$2.02

Bedding - Bag of wood shavings (clean floor material)\$6.00

Feed (Variable! Depending on current feed prices, how much free-range they get and tablescraps supplemented with). Expect to give 16 pounds of feed to raise to 4.5 months old (most chicken start laying at 6 months old, some start as early as 4.5 months old. On average this year we paid \$18.50 per 50# bag (alternating between chick starter & higher and lower protein types). Feed cost to 4.5 months old APPROXIMATELY \$6 each (\$6x10 birds = \$60/feed).

Losses -- Young chicks are easily killed by predators (pet cats and dogs especially). By the time they are near-laying most cats will leave chickens alone. Dogs, that can be trained to live peacefully with chickens, USUALLY don't respect baby chicks as chickens.. they are prey in their eyes. If a lamp bulb goes out during the night you could loose your entire box of chicks. Baby chicks require care at least everyday (even if it's just checking to make sure their lamp is still working). If large capacity feeders and waterers are provided to adult chickens they can be left with no care for a week or more (cost less to have someone come in and care for animals, if you have to pay someone). No losses figured in comparison sheet.. just something to keep in mind.

Subtotal -- So far, if you loose no chicks, your cost for a flock of 10 chicks to 4.5 months old is \$127.14
[\$20+\$20+\$4+\$15.12+\$2.02+\$6+\$60= \$127.14].

Roosters -- On average 50% of unsexed chicks are male, if you only want females for eggs you have to divide the cost of growth to just the number of hens you have grown out. You MAY get more hens that roosters.. but you may also get more roosters than hens. For this comparison it will be 50/50. So for \$127.14 you have 5 hens near-laying = \$25.43 each.

Time & Money -- By buying pullets for \$20 each you save over \$5 each bird, PLUS you get to start enjoying fresh eggs in very little time (disadvantage is I don't handle them as much as you probably would, so they won't be as friendly as your hand-raised ones would be). Many times moving hens/pullets stresses them and they will stop laying for several weeks until they feel comfortable at their new home. By buying right before they start laying you won't have any down time either.

This cost comparison sheet is an approximation only. If you already have equipment (heater, feeders, waterers, etc) you bring the cost each down. If you can supplement with tablescraps that will take your costs down. If you raise them inside the house for awhile and use a small watt bulb, your cost will come down. I have tried to be very fair with this sheet (as I'm trying to sell chicks too!).. but the reality is, if you raise a 100 chicks instead of 10 chicks, many of the costs don't go up at all.. but it gets done more efficiently.

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