You may have seen adorable photos of backyard chickens on social media and decided that you want to get in on the action.
But before you run out and buy a coop, there are a few things you should consider, including the cost of raising chickens.
Chickens are relatively low-maintenance pets, but they still have certain needs that must be met in order for them to be happy and healthy.
We'll outline some of the primary costs associated with raising chickens so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not this hobby is right for you.
One of the most important considerations when raising chickens is providing them with a suitable place to live. Chickens can't just live anywhere - they need a safe, clean place to roost and lay their eggs.
If you don't already have a chicken coop, you'll need to factor the cost of one into your budget. Chicken coops can range in price from around $100 for a simple prefabricated model to several thousand dollars for a top-of-the-line custom setup.
Feed and Water
Another necessary expense is chicken feed. A 50-pound bag of quality chicken feed typically costs between $15 and $20 and will last a small flock of 4-6 birds around 6 weeks.
Unless you plan to raise your own chickens for meat, you won't need to worry about purchasing feed every 6 weeks - once every 8-10 weeks should suffice. In terms of water, all your chickens will need is a clean source of freshwater that is easily accessible at all times.
A simple plastic bucket with a lid will do the trick - just make sure to clean it out once a week or so to prevent the water from getting too dirty.
Like all pets, chickens require routine veterinary care in order to stay healthy and avoid disease. Make sure to budget for an annual checkup with your veterinarian as well as any vaccinations that may be recommended based on your location/climate. You should also set aside money in case your chicken becomes sick and needs medication or additional treatment.
Fortunately, most common illnesses can be treated relatively easily and inexpensively with over-the-counter medications from your local farm supply store.
Keep backyard chickens as pets, you'll need to factor in the initial cost of setting up housing as well as the ongoing costs of feeding and watering your flock.
You should also budget for routine veterinary care, including an annual checkup and vaccinations.
With proper care, chickens can provide years of enjoyment - not to mention delicious fresh eggs! - so if you're thinking about adding some feathered friends to your home, don't let the cost deter you; raising chickens can be an affordable hobby for just about anyone.