The Cost Of Raising Chickens
Raising chickens has its upside but you should also consider the cost of raising chickens before you jump into this endeavor. In order to add up the costs, you will also have to determine why you are doing this. You should ask yourself and the rest of your family if the chickens are going to be pets or if they are going to be farm animals. If the answer is the former, then you can be sure that the cost will be very high because you will constantly be tempted to coddle the chickens.
If you want them to be farm animals, you will have a tough go at making it a cost-effective venture. There is a reason that family farms have disappeared over the last few generations. However, you might just make the whole experience worth it, even if it does not save you any money.
Initially, you are probably going to want to purchase new chicks to raise as your own hens. These could cost you anywhere from nothing to quite a few dollars, depending on how attached the owner is and your relationship with him or her. After that, you will need a box, some floor covering, some chicken feed and a light bulb as well. The latter is to keep the chicks warm in the tiny chicken brooder you will make out of the box. You can either buy these things or make them fairly cheaply, so the costs so far are negligible.
The Chicken Coop
The cost of this structure will, again, depend on you and your circumstances. If you need to build one, it could cost several hundred dollars whether you do the work or not. If you are going to raise egg-layers, then this hen house will need special perches and nests that will safely hold their eggs for you to collect periodically.
You cannot get away with only feeding table scraps to your chickens. You will not need too many birds before you find yourself making table scraps on purpose for them to eat. Most likely, you will want to feed them cracked corn and pellets that you can find in feed store. Enough to feed 20 birds for about a week may cost you as much as 10 dollars. Remember how many weeks there are in a year.
You will have to periodically replace the straw or pine shavings on the floor of the hen house. This means that you will have to remove the used floor covering. The cost of cleaning poop is more than a monetary expense.
You need to determine, on your own, just how many chickens are right for you. You want enough to make the expense and the effort worth it. There is a question of just how many eggs you can stomach. If you are going to sell them, you will have to consider this a business and keep track of expenses and earnings because this income will be taxable. If you are raising them for meat, you should consider how cheap chicken is at the market. Ask yourself if you can really raise a chicken up from hatching and slaughter it months later for less than the chicken in the frozen foods section.