Considering Backyard Chickens Because of Egg Prices?

What Does it Cost To Raise A Few Hens for Eggs?
What You’ll Need and the Cost of Starting a Backyard Flock
Let’s Do The Math!

Can You Have Chickens Where You Live?

Before you buy anything, make sure you’re allowed to have a backyard flock where you live. Check your local city ordinances, and remember, homeowner’s associations and residential subdivisions may have laws that aren’t included in government city ordinances.

The Cost of Getting Started

I certainly understand the cost of eggs has soared to an unreasonable price, and having your own fresh eggs every day sounds pretty nice. But like anything else, there’s a cost for that luxury. It has been said the cost of your first egg is $750, however, in today’s world, a $1,000 minimum may be closer to reality. Your baby chicks are going to need a brooder until they are 7-8 weeks old, then a suitable coop for the climate where you live. Don’t forget, there are numerous supplies needed to care for your chicks/chickens which we’ll address later in this article. 

In short, you can buy an awful lot of eggs for the cost of having fresh eggs in your backyard, let’s face it, you’re going to pay for eggs one way or another. Don’t forget there’s also a monthly cost of keeping chickens, there’s feed, shavings for the coop, and other necessities and/or miscellaneous supplies.

Still Interested? Then Let’s Get Started…

The Brooder for Baby Chicks

A place to raise your baby chicks can be rather simple, a box will do, but chicks also need a drinker, feeder, and a heat source. Today, we use radiant heat, heat lamps are seldom used as they are difficult to regulate a consistent temperature, not to mention they are fire hazards. This means raising your baby chicks should be in the Spring, or when temperatures are moderate. Radiant heat is most efficient in temperatures above 55. Learn more about Radiant Heat Brooders

The Chicken Coop

First-time buyers always buy a too-small coop, this will prove to be a mistake in the long run. Chickens need space in order to live in harmony, and happy chickens are what fill the egg basket. A coop should be easy for you to clean, and easy to gather eggs. It should be a suitable shelter for inclement weather and be predator-proof. And remember, you get what you pay for, buy quality, you’re not saving money if you have to buy a coop twice. 
View Coop Types
How Much Space Do Chickens Need?

Where to Get Your Chicks and Choosing the Right Breed

Choosing a breed depends on what your chickens’ purpose is, egg production is the focus here, so learning about which hens are prolific egg layers is most important. Some breeds, especially exhibition or ornamental breeds have broody tendencies and are not a good choice for egg production. (A broody hen has a strong urge to hatch eggs, and a strong desire to sit on and incubate eggs. A broody hen will remain on the nest for extended periods of time, even when there are no eggs present. During this time she will not lay eggs.)

The Most Common Broody Breeds to Avoid

Buff Rocks, Cochins, Buff Orpington, Brahmas, Silkies, Sussex, Dominique, & Dorking.
Note: The Silkie is probably the most broody of all.

The Most Common Prolific Egg Layers 

  • White Leghorn: An excellent egg layer, leghorns produce 280+ eggs annually. They lay large quantities of big white eggs. 
  • Rhode Island Red: An excellent choice for laying 260 large brown eggs annually.
  • Ameraucana: (Easter Egger) Producing around 250 eggs per year. The eggs are medium in size and can be blue, green, white, or tinted pink in color. 
  • Polish Chicken (Top Hat) Looking for a hen with a little more character? The Polish hens lay about 200 eggs annually. This breed is not usually found in feed stores, but are available through online hatcheries.

Where to Buy Chicks

You can usually find baby chicks in your local feed stores, but you won’t have the opportunity to choose a specific breed. There are many hatcheries online that sell just about any breed you want, and your baby chicks will be shipped to your local post office. You will be notified when they’re shipped, and when they arrive. This is primarily how I buy all my birds.
Here’s a list of Hatcheries to choose from. Wondering how many chicks to buy?

Mail order chicks arrive in a box like this & are shipped to your local post office.

Learn More About Which Breed is Best For You

Basic Start-up Supplies For Chicks

  • Brooder for chicks (Brooder Box Ideas)
  • Heat Source (Radiant Heat)
  • Bedding (Pine Shavings)
  • Chick Feeder & Drinker
  • Chick Starter Feed
  • Grit
  • Paper Towels (Best footing for the first week in the brooder. Also for pasting-up issues.)

Basic Start-up Supplies for Chickens

  • Coop
  • Fencing (with cover) for outdoor run.
  • Roosting Bar
  • Drinker & Feeder
  • Nesting Boxes (1 for every 2 birds)
  • Pine Shavings
  • Chicken Feed
  • Supplements
  • Metal trash can for 40lb bag of feed
  • Rake
  • Wheel barrel (for cleaning & managing pine shaving transporting feed bags.)

Let’s Do the Math

Today in Phoenix, Arizona, the price of one dozen eggs is $7.82. If you bought one dozen per week that totals $406.00 per year. Overhead on four hens for feed & shavings alone would average approximately $347.76 annually. That doesn’t include supplements, miscellaneous supplies, and YOUR TIME AND LABOR. Now add your start-up cost….is it worth it? 

The real question you should be asking yourself isn’t about saving money on the cost of eggs… it’s whether or not you want to raise chickens and enjoy fresh eggs.

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Less Waste, No Mess Chicken Feeders

Looking for a Better Way to Feed your Chickens?

Feed waste is expensive, and the biggest reason for it is because chickens tip the feeder and it spills all over the place. These new designed feeders solve that problem because the birds have to reach inside the feeder to eat.
The feeders I’m showing you below target this problem, and although they’re a bit more pricey, it’s definitely money well spent. Trust me, it’s time to pitch those ol’ fashion hanging feeders, reach a little deeper into your pocket and join the modern chicken keeping world. Lets take a look…

RentACoop Feeder (I use this one)

Package includes (1) 10lb Feeder which can be installed inside or outside of your coop on wood or wire.
Dimensions are 5.5 x 5.5 x 17 Inches
The 10lb Feeder prevents feed spill and is 100% waterproof. The design also deters rodents and wild birds from stealing and contaminating your chicken’s feed.
Comes with all necessary hardware including 2 screws for installing on wood and 2 custom metal hooks for hanging on any type of wire (even 1/2″ hardware cloth)
Suitable for all types of feed – Pellets, Crumbles, Grain and Scratch
For Poultry 12 weeks and older only.
Available on Amazon

KEBONNIXS Port Feeder & Drinker Set

Kebonnixs port feeder and cup waterer has overcome many of the common issues with the traditional metal or plastic chicken feeders or waterers.

The set includes: one cup waterer (2 gallon) and one port feeder(10 lbs), both of which can be installed inside or outside of your coop on wood or wire with using included screws or metal hooks. Available on Amazon

OverEZ Chicken Feeder
For Large Flocks

This chicken feeder is the clean, convenient feeding solution for healthy chickens. Chicken feeder holds 50 lb. of feed and is suitable for indoor and outdoor use. It features a no-waste design and feeds chickens that are 12 weeks or older. Feeder may be placed inside a coop or outdoors. Sold by Tractor Supply

Got Baby Chicks Spilling Feed Everywhere?

Chick Feeder Dual Port

Chicks must be at least 1 week old to use feeder.
Feed your chickens—not the ground! This 10″ high, mess-free feeder is practically revolutionary for those of us who have been feeding our flocks the old fashioned way.
No-Waste! This innovative feeder solves all the problems of standard feeders. For starters, birds can’t spill their feed—the port design ensures it. Birds have to stick their heads in to eat. Lack of spillage not only keeps the mess to a minimum, but will also save you big bucks in the long run.
Available at My Pet Chicken

Didn’t find what you were looking for? Many more chicken feeder types HERE

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Keeping your Chickens Safe from Fox

  • Fox Proofing the Chicken Coop 
  • Suggestions to Keep Fox Away 

The fox is an efficient and clever hunter with the capability to dig and maneuver through very small spaces.  With little effort, a fox can chew through chicken wire and open latches that are of simple operation. Factory made coops often have both lightweight wire and flimsy latches which are merely an invitation to dinner for a fox.

Fox are mostly nocturnal animals, so your chickens are most at risk at night, unfortunately, when you’re sleeping.  However, a hungry fox who knows chickens are free ranging during the day, will hunt then.

They’re smart and patient, they will watch your coop for weeks before they attack. Every bird the fox can grab in the coop will be killed, often the entire flock will be completely wiped out. They’ll take as many birds from the coop with them. I think I have your attention now, so here’s what you can do to help protect your flock…

How to Fox Proof the Chicken Coop

  • A wire floor secured to the coop frame will prevent fox from burrowing under the coop. You can get wire that has bigger holes so your chickens can still scratch in the dirt. If that’s not possible, attach a wire skirt around the coop so that a fox can’t dig or burrow near the coop. However, this means you won’t be able to move your coop.
  • Enclose the coop with heavy gauge wire and make sure there are no gaps in the corners, around doors, or where the sides meet the roof.
  • Put two sturdy latches on the coop door, or use a lock.
  • If there access to the nest box make sure it’s locked at night.

Building or Buying a Coop?

Ideal housing for chickens where predators are a problem (which is everywhere) is a ventilated shed or structure with solid walls and a floor for overnight. An attached covered pen with heavy gauge wire and perimeter wire skirting for daytime use.

Suggestions to Help Keep Fox Away

  • Sensor lights near the coop are a help keeping away fox, you can easily buy solar and put them low to the ground.
  • Motion sprinklers near the coop are another option, predators are startled by water.

Hope this article help you keep your flock safe!

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