How much do chickens cost? – A start-up guide for novices

Chicken coop

Once I decided I wanted to get chickens it wasn’t just a case of buying the chickens but also working out what else I needed to buy, so I did my research and here’s a helpful list of all the things I’ve bought to make my chooks feel at home.

This will obviously vary depending on the space you have and the amount of birds you want but I think if you’re a complete novice like me then this is all you need for three chickens which I think is a great starting point.

1. Chicken Coop – £120-£150

Chicken coopThis is the first place to start as you will need somewhere for them to sleep and hopefully lay lots of eggs. I bought mine from Amazon (well my wife did) as I found the prices very competitive and sometimes half the price as in some garden centres. I put it hours of research and the main thing I found is that most sellers overestimate the amount of chickens their coops will accommodate and that they usually don’t mention any type of run.

The coop I bought has a small run attached but nowhere near enough space for the chickens to have a good roam around so you’ve got to take this into account. It’s obviously not a problem if your birds are going to be 100% free range wandering around your garden as all hours, but the fact is I have a job and so my hens will have to be fenced in so that they stay safe.

2. Run – £0-£60

My hens can’t be free range as I work 9-5 and this is probably the case for most first time hen owners. With this in mind I needed to get them a large run so they were able to have lots of space but also so that they are safe from foxes etc in the daytime whilst I’m away from home.

You can buy runs online but I took the decision to build my own as I had lots of spare wood and only needed to buy some chicken wire. It did take me a full day to build but it also meant that I could get the exact dimensions I wanted for my garden. DEFRA suggest 3sq foot per bird for the run so keep that in mind.

Update: I’ve been continuously upgrading the run to first add an extra area to it… then add more height… and then restart completely and make a much bigger version! Check out the evolution of my chicken home!

3. Feeder & Drinker – £10

The good news is that you don’t need to change food and water everyday and the 6kg and 6 litre feeders I have will keep my hens in food for a week and I change the water every few days.

4. Straw – £3

Straw is great for not only the nesting boxes but for also putting in your run as the chickens love scratching around in there. 1 bag of straw will last 2 months but obviously that depends on how generous you are but at only £3 a bag (bin bag size) it’s not going to bankrupt you.

5. Feed – £6.50 per 20kg

Depending on the age of your chickens you can get different types of feed but as mine are Point Of Lay I am feeding them Layers Pellets. These are rich in calcium and nutrients to ensure healthy eggs. I bought these from a local farm for only £6.50 for 20 kilos but have seen the prices vary upto £20 a bag in some garden centres so again it’s worth shopping around. At the current rate I think a bag will last me and my 3 chickens about 5 weeks.

6. Corn – £6.50 per 20kg

Corn is only to be used as treats but great to have when you have visitors and want to hens to be as charming as possible.

8. Chickens! – £9-£30 each

chickensI opted for hybrid chickens as they are a great starter birds with a good temperament, docile, and will lay a good number of eggs ranging from 200-300 a year. I was able to buy my chickens for only £9 from a local farm and have seen the exact same breeds for sale in garden centres for £20-£30 each so as with everything, shop around, do your research, and you can save a lot of money.

Total cost

I would guess that my total spend so far on the chickens has been £200 and I don’t expect my costs to go up much further as the feed and bedding is so cheap. If you’re thinking of getting chickens then why not add some of the items to your birthday or Christmas wishlist? I got an IOU from my mum for 3 chickens at Christmas!

Update: If you love your chickens then you will spend money on extra things, such as extending the run like I did, but we’re not talking big bucks here.

Hopefully this price guide will help you budget for getting your own chickens but if you’ve got any questions then please don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments section below.

 

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