The Hidden Costs Of Keeping Backyard Chickens
By Tom Seest
At BackyardChickenNews, we help people who want to raise backyard chickens by collating information and news blended with our own personal experiences.
When you decide to start raising your own flock of backyard chickens, you will need to figure out how much it will cost. This will include feed, predator protection, and building a coop. However, there are some things you can do to minimize the costs. Read on for some tips on how to raise your backyard flock.
Table Of Contents
- What Does it Take to Raise Backyard Chickens?
- What Does it Cost to Feed Your Backyard Chickens?
- Protecting Your Chickens From Predators: Is it Possible?
- What Does it Take to Build a Coop for Backyard Chickens?
- What Veterinary Costs Should I Expect When Raising Backyard Chickens?
- How Many Eggs Can You Expect From Your Backyard Chickens?
One of the primary costs of raising backyard chickens is feed. It is important to buy good quality feed for chickens because they have special nutritional requirements. The amount of feed you give depends on the type of chicken you plan to raise. You can also supplement the feed with table scraps from your kitchen. One pound of feed will last your chickens for about ten weeks.
Chicken feed costs around $16 per 50-pound bag. You will need about 15 to 18 of these bags to raise 100 chickens. In addition to feeding, chickens also love to eat kitchen and garden scraps. They can also be given treats, such as grapes, apples, or beans. The other costs associated with raising backyard chickens are the electricity costs and your time.
The total cost of raising backyard chickens depends on your budget and how much you’re willing to invest in the chickens. On average, a female chick will cost from $5 to $8. On top of that, you’ll need to purchase their feed, waterers, and bedding. You’ll also need to purchase medicines and pest control.
A good chicken coop can cost up to $370. You’ll also need to invest in some equipment, including fences, parasite prevention products, and chicken feed.
One of the most important parts of backyard chicken keeping is choosing the right food for your flock. There are many different types of foods your chickens can eat. Some are better than others for varying reasons. You should look for organic foods that are high in fiber and contain plenty of vitamins and minerals. These can also be great treats for your chickens.
Your backyard chickens will be healthy pets as long as they get a well-rounded diet. The right feed will provide them with the essential vitamins and minerals, as well as carbs, fats, and proteins. You can purchase both organic and conventional chicken feed at a local poultry store.
In addition to their poop, chickens also consume various insects and vegetation. They will eat bugs, mice, lizards, and even worms. Chickens also like to eat berries and seeds. They will also leave any poisonous plants alone. You can even feed them crickets.
Chickens need different types of food depending on the season. They need more carbohydrates during winter and more water in summer. They also need plenty of fresh vegetables all year long. Organic vegetables are also a great source of nutrients. In addition to food, chickens also need fresh, clean water. Make sure to keep their water dishes full and clean.
You can also give your backyard chickens table scraps to supplement their diet. Table scraps can be a good source of protein, vitamins, and minerals. But be sure to limit the table scraps to 10 percent of their daily diet.
When you raise backyard chickens, you must keep them safe from predators. There are many kinds of predators, and they can cause significant harm to your flock. Aerial predators, including hawks and owls, can easily climb over fences and kill chickens. These predators typically prey on chickens at night or in the early morning. To avoid any risk of your chickens being killed, install a trail camera or set up a camera to monitor your chickens’ surroundings.
Fencing around your chicken coop will help keep predators away. Use a strong wire and check the perimeter of the fence regularly for any gaps or breaks. Alternatively, you can install an electric fence. This is an inexpensive solution and may deter larger predators. For best results, you should also secure your coop and outdoor structures to keep predators away.
Electric fences and bushes are two common ways to deter predators from causing problems. Electric fences can be set to flash red or blue light that resembles an eye. If a predator sees the flashing lights, they will be scared away. Another effective way to protect backyard chickens is to install a Nite Guard Solar. This predator protection device activates at dusk and flashes a light that predators mistake for an eye.
You can also use motion-sensing lights to keep predators away from your chickens. These lights can also be accompanied by alarms that will alert you to any dangers. This way, your chickens will not be harmed by predators.
Keeping chickens in your backyard may seem like a fun hobby, but raising them is not a simple task. Chickens require daily maintenance and seasonal chores. In addition to regular feed, they need bedding and water. You can use table scraps to supplement their diet, but you’ll need to invest in a few supplies as well. A good budget for chicken supplies is around $10 a month.
For starters, you’ll need to buy a chicken coop. You can get an Ikea-style coop for around $200. However, you can also spend hundreds of dollars on deluxe designs. You’ll also need feed and bedding materials, including straw. Feed costs for one chicken can range from $5 to $20 per week.
Backyard chicken supplies are another important aspect of chicken keeping. Investing in the right supplies is key to raising happy, healthy chickens and a plentiful supply of eggs. You can either build your own coop or buy a pre-built one for up to 100 chickens.
Chickens lay their largest number of eggs during the first 12 to 24 months after birth. After that, their egg production starts to decline. Older hens also produce eggs of poorer quality, and the shells can crack easily. This is why most commercial egg producers cull older hens after two to three years.
When it comes to backyard poultry, veterinary care is crucial. The disease-causing bacteria and parasites can be dangerous, especially if they can be transmitted to other animals. Fortunately, these diseases are treatable with a preventative care routine and annual checkups. Learn about common poultry diseases and how to treat them.
Observe your chickens on a daily basis to spot any signs of illness. Make sure to check their eyes and nostrils for discharge. Also, check for drooping wings, a swollen belly or leg, and a lack of appetite. If your chickens become ill, isolate them from the others and contact a veterinarian immediately.
Backyard poultry and livestock are growing in popularity in the United States. Many people raise them for companionship, local food, and sustainability. However, they may also require a different approach to care. To better serve this market, veterinarians should become more adept at providing care to backyard poultry and livestock.
If you don’t have a local veterinarian, you can always use an online service to find one near you. Some avian veterinarians specialize in other species and may not be familiar with chickens. It is recommended to speak with several veterinarians before choosing one. The Association of Avian Veterinarians has a list of vets in your area. You can also ask around for recommendations.
While getting eggs from backyard chickens is a rewarding experience, it can also be dangerous. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warns against exposing young children to live poultry because it can lead to infections. Chickens may carry pathogens in their droppings and on their bodies. Before touching them, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. Young children should be supervised by adults. Also, keep live poultry out of areas where you prepare food. Finally, make sure to thoroughly cook your chicken’s eggs.
Backyard chickens are beneficial to our diets, but their production is also problematic for the egg industry. The egg industry kills half of its population after birth, including chicks that are not given water or feed for up to three days. Those same chicks are sent to hobby farms and are likely to be subjected to the same conditions.
While it is possible to buy chicken eggs from a grocery store, you cannot use them to hatch your backyard chickens. The eggs in grocery stores are not fertilized and are not suitable for incubation. They also need to be kept at the correct temperature for the proper amount of time. You may also be subject to regulations in your area. Check with your state’s Department of Agriculture for information on specific regulations.
When buying eggs from backyard chickens, you should be sure to carefully wash them before eating. According to USDA Farm to Table, washing eggs increases the risk of contamination because wash water can get into the eggshell’s pores. Also, the hen will apply a protective coating on the egg shell during the time of laying.
Be sure to read our other related stories at BackyardChickenNews to learn more about raising chickens in your backyard.