Sunday, February 15, 2015

How much does it cost to raise chickens?

Have you ever wondered exactly how much it costs to raise chickens? Not just a few chickens either, I'm talking a LOT of chickens. Like, say....80! Since I'm done doing my business taxes for the year I happen to have all these numbers handy. Some may surprise you, others may not. For example my bedding cost was much lower then I had thought it would be. Chicken feed was higher *sigh*. We didn't have any big expenses like new coops or incubators this year so this is a good example of a 'normal' year. I can't say for sure exactly how many chickens and guineas we had though, but the number always hovers somewhere near 80. So this is the summary of my poultry care expenses of 1 full year.


how much | cost | chickens?

This picture shows the cost for feed and bedding. Now granted, I spent $137.91 of my feed costs on chick feed. I hatched around 600 chicks and not all of them left right away. I had to feed them while they were here, and that bill was much higher then I'd like it to be. This doesn't include the free bags of lettuce from a local restaurant, or countless loaves of stale bread and mushy fruit that neighbors gave us. It also leaves out kitchen scraps, what I gave them from the garden and the corn patch they decimated when they found a hole in the garden fence. Bad silkies!  


How much does it cost to keep chickens?

The bedding cost doesn't take into account the hay that was given to me by a neighbor or hubby's uncle. Probably about 6 bales in all. We didn't need any sand for the runs this year. I also switched to shredded newspaper as bedding in one of the coops in the fall, which of course was free. Most of the bedding cost went for wood shavings although some was spent on DE and barn lime. 

Our only major expense for equipment this year was running electric to 1 of the coops. The rest was simple repairs. No big expenses this year. Hay forks break, heat bulbs burned out and incubators needed new tubing. It was all simple stuff this year.

The true cost of raising a LOT of chickens

I logged 1,915 miles this year just driving to feed stores and poultry swaps. My auction trips account for 491 of those miles! That's a lot of driving! I guess that's the biggest problem with living in the middle of farm country, everything is so far away. Mileage can be cut down though by combining with other errands and of course if you're not going to auctions and swaps you wouldn't be driving as much.

I didn't include electric expenses even though heat lamps and incubators were running for all but November & December. I could probably find a few other things to add in, but I'm all taxed out! I'm scaling back a lot for the new season and expect expenses to drop considerably this year. 

I have to admit that every year I look at the numbers and think "I didn't think I spent that much" Then as I go through them I find they were almost all necessities. So there you have it! This is exactly how much it costs to keep 80 chickens for 1 year. 
$1,722.02

~L 

6 comments:

  1. What a great informative post, thank you for sharing this at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

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  2. Thak you for the great insight into the cost of raising chickens! I bet though that the costs were offset with not having to purchase eggs (or meat if you do raise meat chickens). Do you sell any of your eggs or meat?

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  3. Great information. Thank you! I'd like to know about your meat or egg sales too.
    Hope to see you again on the Homestead Blog Hop tomorrow.

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  4. Great breakdown. Enjoying their fresh eggs must make the cost well worth it. Thank you for visiting The Maple Hill Hop this week!

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  5. Great information, it would be nice to know the other side of the sheet. Like how many eggs or if you had income related to the chickens. Not because I'm being snoopy, just because I wonder if it is worth it to have more. We have 17 and I would like 30 but I am starting to realize that more may not necessarily be better.

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  6. 80 Chickens is a lot. I bet you got a lot of eggs. We got only 5 right now and get about 4 eggs per day during the summer. I do it to teach my kids about life, but I think we brake even on the expense of the feed. Thanks for sharing.

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