How Much Does it Cost to Raise Chickens?

Photo of Kassandra Smith

Kassandra Smith

Senior Editor • Backyard Chicken Coops

Last Updated: 22 July 2020

Backyard chicken keepers are growing like wildflowers! Flocks are sprouting up in cities, across the countryside and in between-everywhere you look, there’s a chook! So, what eggs-actly does it cost to raise a small backyard flock anyway? Keeping chickens is a delightful egg-sperience that families can enjoy together no matter what their household budget. 3-5 chooks is all you need to start!

The main egg-spense will be purchasing a chicken coop, you will need to consider an egg-cellently crafted, strong coop that will stand strong against the harsh Australian climate. You will also need to ensure that your coop has been specifically designed with chickens in mind, with perches, nesting boxes, predator proof wire mesh and well designed easy cleaning features. With all this in mind we've engineered chicken coops that also look outstanding and will be a lovely feature attraction in your backyard.

Different chicken coop options and ideas

Our Chicken Coops range from $249 - $1,749 and are suitable from just two chickens to a sizeable backyard flock of 20 hens!

The two ongoing consumable costs will be food and new bedding which is a minimal cost when compared with other common household pets. Keep in mind that if you choose to worm your chooks, you will need to add in the cost for wormers. Worming your flock is a personal choice-some flock owners worm their chooks twice per year, in the spring and again in the autumn, with commercial wormers as a preventive measure, whilst others prefer natural methods such as serving pumpkin seeds mixed into their chooks’ feed as well as numerous other natural remedies.

For example, if you were to feed five hens solely on lay mash you would pay approximately $25 for a 20kg bag that would last you 5 weeks. However, the fast majority of people would also be feeding their chickens a mixture of kitchen scraps and lay mash with the addition of free ranging. This would more than half the amount of lay mash they eat and double the length of time the bag of feed lasts.

Woman feeding backyard chicken flock

Things to consider:

  • An average size hen will eat approximately ¾ cup of chicken feed per day.
  • Consider the fact that if your flock free-ranges, they will eat less purchased feed.
  • If using straw for bedding in the nesting boxes, it will require additional straw weekly and a complete clean out once a month which is made much easier with our slide out cleaning trays, a feature of all our coops.
  • If choosing to worm your chooks with commercial products, please check with your local vet or produce store for recommendations. Annual worming costs are minimal, a liquid wormer will cost you less than $20.
  • Remember that 5 standard hens can give you up to 35 eggs a week. Therefore if you sell a few eggs to the neighbors you will help cover your costs.
  • Note that the average cost of a dozen free-range eggs from your local supermarket is around $5-7, think of the money you won’t be spending and the healthier fresh eggs you will be getting with your new clucky family.

While costs vary, you can usually spend up to $25 per month on feed. This can of course be subsidised by feeding your chooks kitchen scraps and letting them free range in your garden, foraging for grubs, grasses and seeds.

Bedding costs vary too, but if you choose wisely you can find materials that last longer and leave less moths in your wallet! We suggest using Hemp Bedding, which is twice as absorbent as other bedding materials- like straw and wood shavings - which means you don't have to change it as much! Hemp also provides pest resilience, keeping nasty mites and lice to a minimum.

After initial costs, chickens can be fairly low maintenance. As chicken keepers, we all want to do an eggcellent job when caring for our feathered friends. There are lots of things to consider when becoming a chicken parent from health to shelter. Many chicken keepers struggle to handle chicken health or behaviour issues, especially in the first few years of having a flock.

This is why I recommend Chickenpedia to all my readers. They have comprehensive online courses on everything you didn’t know you need to know and then some more! From healthcare to raising baby chicks to feeding and behavior, you’ll find beginner-friendly courses that’ll give you the knowledge and confidence to successfully look after your chickens.

As a member, you will get access to ALL their fantastic courses. No need to wing it, become the ultimate chicken eggspert! Check out Chickenpedia today!

As avid chicken keepers ourselves, we are always happy to chat with you and help you choose the products that will suit your needs egg-actly! So feel free to contact us:

Sources and further reading