• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

My Chicken Start Up Costs

 
Emily Smith
Posts: 54
Location: West Central Georgia
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm logging my expenses for this chicken venture...just to see how expensive that first egg ends up being.    Figured I'd toss it up there so you can laugh, cry, commiserate, or criticize. 

We've had these 8 chickens for 6 1/2 weeks, so...
the breakdown (rounded and not including tax):
$34 - 8 chicks
$17 - brooder materials/supplies
$65 - feed and other things that go in their beaks
$292 - hoop coop building & moving materials
$21 - supplies
$50 - bits and bobs that I messed or that didn't work out
$479 - Grand Total (so far)

Notes:
Nearly all the materials were bought new; nothing to scrounge around here and Craigslist is banned.
I did have the brooder box on hand (twice); I started them off in a big Sterilite tote, then moved them to some moving boxes when they got too big for the tote.
I could fit 21-32 birds in the coop if I really wanted to (and committed to a pasture or run).  However, I probably really ought to have build a smallish chicken tractor.
I have managed to feed them 18 1/2 lbs. of kitchen scraps in about 11 days, so the feed is being stretched.
I reused the quart waterer as a chick grit dispenser, when I got them a gallon waterer.
I should have just gotten a big bag of starter/grower off the bat.  That would have halved my feed cost right here.
Umm...can't think of anything else at the moment!






 
Jen Gira
Pie
Posts: 37
Location: Northern New Mexico/Heart of Espanola Valley
8
chicken greening the desert hugelkultur solar
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Emily Simmons wrote:I'm logging my expenses for this chicken venture...just to see how expensive that first egg ends up being.    Figured I'd toss it up there so you can laugh, cry, commiserate, or criticize. 

We've had these 8 chickens for 6 1/2 weeks, so...
the breakdown (rounded and not including tax):
$34 - 8 chicks
$17 - brooder materials/supplies
$65 - feed and other things that go in their beaks
$292 - hoop coop building & moving materials
$21 - supplies
$50 - bits and bobs that I messed or that didn't work out
$479 - Grand Total (so far)

Notes:
Nearly all the materials were bought new; nothing to scrounge around here and Craigslist is banned.
I did have the brooder box on hand (twice); I started them off in a big Sterilite tote, then moved them to some moving boxes when they got too big for the tote.
I could fit 21-32 birds in the coop if I really wanted to (and committed to a pasture or run).  However, I probably really ought to have build a smallish chicken tractor.
I have managed to feed them 18 1/2 lbs. of kitchen scraps in about 11 days, so the feed is being stretched.
I reused the quart waterer as a chick grit dispenser, when I got them a gallon waterer.
I should have just gotten a big bag of starter/grower off the bat.  That would have halved my feed cost right here.
Umm...can't think of anything else at the moment!






What type of feed are you using and how many pounds did you get for $65.00? I only ask, as I purchased organic feed from a local feed supply store, and it ran me around 28. I bought two, and I have 20 chickens who are well into their 2nd Month- I guess it depends on what your answer(s) are, but It might be worthwhile (unless you bought a large bag, but then I saw your post about "bigger bag of starter grower"-so I fear you bought a small one) to look around, even if there is no cragilist, most rural areas will have a feed supply store (or more than one) and there are lots of websites that sell feed.

I think if you decide to get some more chicks, you've got your supplies, but barring some accident, (i know I had some, wind knocked over a brooder set up smashing the bulb, and damaging a few things-my birds were in a courtyard) I have learned from my mentor, who has been doing permaculture for nearly 40 years, a lot of the "stuff" for the birds, is helpful, but the birds, if they are good stock, and you are keeping them clean, and reasonably warm- you can make do, (especially in Georgia, in the summer) with a well ventilated box outside, etc.  Don't fret, I bought all this stuff too. (and I just got my chickens as well. I warn you, you might become a crazy chicken lady. I am! hahaha)

I have post in other forums that where I live we are experiencing a bit of a plague of grasshoppers. I was advised to get some with a fly swatter and to begin to feed bits of the hoppers to the chicks-get them started on the varmints right away. I didn't even need to feed them bits. Because I had my brooder in our courtyard, hoppers were just going inside the little cage I had been borrowed (and was using with a box as a brooder pen) and the chicks, very very young were just going to town on the bugs. They are extremely robust and healthy, and I still have a huge amount of feed. So as 'wacky' as it sounds, if you have any crickets or grasshoppers, or any other bugs, get out your swatter, and fill up a cup with them. I started to do that and give them to the birds as "treats"- I too, in entering this chicken experience, worried, that my desire to feed them the best organic feed, (or planted forage) and do things "just so" would end up with my eggs costing me $10 a dozen- so this bug action is really helping big time.

Looking at your list, We bought many of the same things, and I think you are on the right track. I am 'green' too, so all would say is maybe look into the feed, (or even better, plant some buckwheat or other "chicken friendly" salad mixes if you have the space. I also, had a pretty good time scrounging around the garage and storage shed for supplies for my own coop, tractor, and range shed. I don't know if I am just a zany hoarder or what, but man, with a little tinkering (children's bicycle training wheels on a chicken tractor- yes, totally work great!) I found I had almost everything already.  Good Luck! and I hope you weren't discouraged by the lack of feedback. I bet you are as excited as I am about your first egg. (waiting... waiting.... waiting...)
 
William Bronson
Posts: 1130
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
7
forest garden trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am building a coop/ run right now,mostly from scavenged materials.
I was wondering, are you in a religious community that forbids Craigslist?
It would be hard to keep Craigslist out of most places.
 
Emily Smith
Posts: 54
Location: West Central Georgia
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
No, I wasn't discouraged!  But thank you for the concern.   

The bag of feed I have now was 40# and cost around $32.  It was from the local feed store.  It's organic and the only unmedicated brand they sell in big bags.  I bought the first 15# of feed in 5# bags.  I didn't realize they sold that big bag until a month after we got the chicks.  And I included a bag of chick grit in the feed figure.  We're still on the 40# bag after 6 weeks.  I'd like to mix my own feed in the future, but we have storage and savings issues to fix first!  Right now they get kitchen scraps, and have access to grass each day.  Their pen is open-bottomed, but after day two in the same spot, I'm not sure they bother much with it.  They get super excited when I move it (about twice a week).  I let them out nearly every day, and they invariably end up in the garden.  Sometimes I'll just close them in there for a while and let them clear the grass/weeds a bit.

I've since spent about $5 on a rubber feed pan for the kitchen scraps, and bought a cinder block to put the waterer on.  Also, I am actually reusing some of the wasted materials!  Step-in fence posts and cage wire around a little future herb bed (to keep my dog out; he thinks he's a rabbit/woodchuck), and PVC pipes over the pull ropes instead of as coop skids.  The brooder shavings went in the garden.  The other "oops" materials might have a future use somewhere, too. 

I love the training-wheels idea!  We have twice as many riding toys as kids, so maybe I can fight them for parts.    If I had done a small chicken tractor, I probably could have scavenged from my dad.  We don't have scrap wood or scrap much of anything, but he does--just not full length lumber, which is what the hoop coop needed.  Doing a tractor is the main thing I would have done differently.  I don't want to get more birds on this property because I don't want to concern the neighbors too much. 

Re: Craigslist.  My husband is just really uncomfortable with it.  We all have those certain "ist verboten!" things we're opposed to; that's one of his and I respect that.  There are worse things he could have put his foot down about (like chickens!), so I'm ok.  It does make things more expensive, though.    By "around here" I meant our little slice of property/our household; I'm sorry for the confusion!  We live in a cookie cutter neighborhood, but we kind of have a more secluded, introverted mentality. 
 
Emily Smith
Posts: 54
Location: West Central Georgia
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
new costs + updates

I went ahead and bought two wheels, and 4" carriage bolts w/nuts - $15.  My kids love their toys.    I'm a small, not-super-fit adult, and I can move this coop fairly easily now.  The wheels are attached to the side rails toward the dragging end, and the eye bolts where the rope/pvc pipe right attach are on the inside so it's Flinstones physics.  BUT, the chooks are best shut out of their coop while I move it (which is every 1 or 2 days)

Two milk crates & hanging hardware for nest boxes - $23.  Scrap wood and left over screws for a frame.  I'm not sure how that will work out; I intend to screw eye hooks into the nest box frame and then use carabiners to hang the whole contraption on the cattle panel frame.  We'll see!

Went back to the feed store for 50# of layer feed (standard stuff; not great I know) and 50# of grit - $17.  O.O  I was shocked.  I expected it to be twice that.  The feed is our fallback food.  It's mainly kitchen scraps and as much forage as I can give them time with.  I'm still working out how to do chooks and dogs in the yard together.  I've been trying to get them in the garden more frequently, but they can fly right over the fence, and one of the dogs and climb right under (fortunately it's the one that would rather eat plants than chickens).  I'm seeing the value of electric something; either fencing or collars.  It may come to wing clipping, too.

I think the best place to put outlay, if a person has it, is in electric fencing.  A good scavenger and designer could probably do all the rest for cheap or free.  I'm sure that's a no-brainer to a lot of people here, but that's my hindsight.  Especially if you have dogs and they aren't LGDs.  I'd say a chickshaw is an awesome idea, too.  But I like the flexibility of having mine on grass, since I'm the one feeding both people and critters every morning.

Next on the list is oyster shell.  Hopefully that will be it for new things for a while!  And I agree, I could theoretically expand the flock a good bit with little additional cost.  I'd definitely build a brooder box in the future, though.  Or a broody hut. 
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic