On average, how much do you spend on your flock?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by jessmccue, May 3, 2011.

  1. jessmccue

    jessmccue New Egg

    May 2, 2011
    I didn't really know where it would be appropriate to post this question, so I hope this is ok!

    My husband and I have been preparing to welcome 3 pullets in to our home. We are very excited and we have been sharing this excitement with our friends. This was one of our friends replies:

    "they are stinky and eat a TON.. our landlords owned chickens and although they did produce the best eggs ever it is definitely a lot of work time and money. Also chickens are very territorial believe it or not and you have to "weed out" the agressive ones. I think and for and against i. I just suggest you look at the cons as well before you take that on so you don't regret your decision."

    My main concern about this is that she said the chickens will cost a lot of money. From what I've gathered from visiting my local feed store, it shouldn't cost me that much to care for 3 chickens. My husband and I have already done some quick calculating: $250 for a small coop, $100 for fencing supplies, $50 to set up a brooder. We figure food, nutrients, and coop materials shouldn't cost more than $50 a month. For free eggs and the chicken raising experience, this seems like money well spent. I was wondering if you wouldn't mind sharing your financial experience in raising your flock? Please don't feel pressured into giving me exact numbers! I would just like to know your general investment and your thoughts on whether it was worth it or if you would've gone about it differently. Thank you [​IMG]
  2. mamabahre

    mamabahre Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 6, 2011
    Well Dh being the over-doer that he is estimated our coop (using new materials because he is a snobby carpenter:rolleyes:) would be around 200...It cost closer to 400 and was a lot bigger than we planned...We are building an entirely new one too...That will be built using mostly free lumber though so much cheaper overall...

    I built a feeder out of a 5 gallon bucket for FREE but I opted to buy a galvanized steel waterer for 30 bucks...I fill it and it lasts a week although I do clean it out every day.
    We didn't do the whole brooder thing, we got our chicks old enough to go in the coop right away so we didn't have those costs...

    I bought a 50lb bag of organic feed at 24.99 (which is somewhat expensive as far as chicken food goes) and it has lasted us OVER a month for 5 hens...Although they do free range ALL day pretty much at this point so they are getting a lot of food just foraging.

    Honestly, it isn't as expensive as I thought. The key is to go into it assuming you aren't really going to be making money or maybe even not breaking even!
    A dozen free range organic eggs cost me 6 bucks at at the farmer's market so to me it is worth it.
    Last edited: May 3, 2011
  3. Daphne16

    Daphne16 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 29, 2011
    You can use a cardboard box as a brooder. You don't need anything fancy for that. We are using a baby gate we used to put around the Christmas tree to keep the kids from pulling at the gifts and ornaments with a plywood lid and chicken wire we had)
    We figured for our 6 girls it should be about 1 50# bag of food a month ($17.99). I built a feeder from 2 buckets for free and received some really great waterers from freecycle. Pine shavings are around $7.50 for a huge bag of compressed.
    Freecycle again for scrap lumber (will probably need about $50 worth of plywood), craigslist I got a 10x10x6 dog kennel for the run for $85 and will probably spend another $100 for hardwarecloth and netting for the top.
    To me it is so worth it, but hey it has only been a week and the coop isn't built yet.
  4. Luke13:34

    Luke13:34 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 3, 2010
    The Naugatuck Valley
    You may find your coop and run initial costs will be higher. Check out Craigslist, though and see what you can find to keep your costs down. My girls live in a Little Tikes playhouse that I converted to a coop. My run is a 12x12 dog kennel that has been super-reinforced to keep predators out. Spend the money to buy whatever is needed to keep things predator-proofed.

    Now my monthly expenses are fairly low. I buy a $5 bale of hay every 4 months. My six girls take 2to 3 months to finish off a 50 lb bag of feed ($20). If you let them free range, that will keep your feed costs down as well (although raise your risk of predator attacks).

    If you are only getting 3 pullets, you should not have a problem with them being territorial and mean. I'm guessing that your friend's landlord had many chickens including too many roos.

    Best wishes on your chicken endeavor. Build your coop bigger than you think.
  5. KansasBoy

    KansasBoy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2011
    You'd be buying the best feed possible to even spend that much monthly!
    Last edited: May 3, 2011
  6. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    A flock for a household shouldn't be stinky or time consuming to care for. If their coop or run is stinky, you need to do something differently and can ask on the forum.

    As adult egg layers, they eat around a 1/4 to 1/3 of a pound of feed a day, depending on the type and size of chicken. That's the maximum, if they aren't getting scratch, scraps or free ranging to find some of their own food. So, you can price chicken feed where you live and figure that out.

    You also need some type of litter for the coop. Usually people buy bales of wood shavings at the feed or farm store.

    The biggest expense with chickens is usually the initial cost of housing. If you have that worked out, you're all set. One thing that adds expense is decent wire. Sometimes people think they can get away with using chickens wire, which is cheap. It will keep the chickens confined, but will not protect them from predators like dogs and raccoons. You need something stronger than that.

    Most breeds have been bred to be pretty docile, especially the hens. Just pick a nice breed and you shouldn't have a problem.

    I feel bad for that landlord's chickens, that had to live in stinky conditions. It sounds like they don't have chickens anymore. That's probably a good thing.
  7. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    For three pullets/hens, your monthly costs will be MINIMAL. A 40 lb bag of layer feed (@$15) will last you at least 2 months. You may end up buying things like oyster shell, grit, DE, etc., but bags of those things will last a lifetime for three birds. I bought a 40-50lb bag of DE for 5 birds two years ago, have shared it with my brother, and STILL have tons left. With only three birds, your biggest monthly expense will be in spoiling them, because you'll probably want to buy them treats like cantaloupes, raisens, etc...lol.

    Now...your upfront costs can be about as much or as little as you want to spend. If you want a cutsie/fancy coop, it'll be more. If you're not too concerned with how it looks, it can be almost free as long as you're willing to spend some time scrounging.

    Three birds definitely won't be smelly as long as you maintain their living area. That's no different than someone who has a dog in a kennel - if the dog's area is cleaned regularly it won't stink. But if the kennel is allowed to fill up with dog wastes, it will. I remember DH's nephew coming over to see our birds for the first time. He was amazed by them, saying "I always thought chickens were nasty. They're so pretty looking." Of course he also thought all chickens were white...lol.

    And with only three chickens, they will probably be spoiled lap chickens, so I'm not sure why someone assumed they'd be aggressive, unless they'd had a bad experience with a rooster???
    Last edited: May 3, 2011
  8. Ohiodirtdigger

    Ohiodirtdigger Out Of The Brooder

    May 3, 2011
    Preble County
    Upfront costs: about $300 for our 10x10 coop. Monthly feed and wood shavings about $30.00 for 9 hens, 1 rooster, but I expect feed cost to drop a bit since they are free ranging more with nicer weather. We get about 5-6 doz eggs a week and sell most of them. Has totally been worth it for us.
  9. Niss

    Niss Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2011
    Coop--Free shed from fil, added nests with 2 nex 2x4s and scraps around the house
    Fencing--$200--this is NOT a preditor proof run, just for daytime use that a lg, determinded animal could get through or a hawk can swoop down into.
    Brooding--$30 heat lamps, $15 bedding (Plus free newspaper underneath for ease of cleaning and shreaded paper from work--I would not recomend it per say, but it's free and I like to reuse things), $20 lg plastic totes
    Feeders and waterers--$65ish, but we had 3 tubs of chicks at one time
    Feed--So far (been doing this 6 wks) 2 50# bags of wild game starter (because I have ducklings and don't want to keep the food seperated) but they are foraging and I ask my grocery store for discard produce too. But when this bag is gone I'm switching to $10 per 100# mix of chopped oats and corn from a local guy as my primary feed.

    Time--Can't even begin to count all the hrs I've put in, but alot is trial and error. I've made mistakes that cost many many hrs. Plus I like to watch them and don't hurry as much as my family might like. I have moved more chicken poop than I care to think about. Ask questions and don't keep buying more and you can keep the investments (esp time) to a minimum.
  10. jessmccue

    jessmccue New Egg

    May 2, 2011
    Luke13:34 :

    You may find your coop and run initial costs will be higher. Check out Craigslist, though and see what you can find to keep your costs down. My girls live in a Little Tikes playhouse that I converted to a coop.

    Is your little tikes playhouse the one that is shown in the coops section? If so, I think it is AWESOME! Such a great way to recycle [​IMG]

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