Raising chickens is a great first addition to your homestead. It doesn’t matter if you are living in the suburbs or have a ton of acreage. Chickens cost less, and can provide fresh eggs and meat.
My husband and I live a debt free life and love raising animals and enjoying a simpler life. By choosing a simple life we opt for a cheaper alternative way to do things.
We’ve raised chickens for 10 years now and are sharing some of our favorite ways to spend less money when starting with chickens.
Want to see other great first time livestock to raise for beginners?!
The Best Time to Get Chicks
If you want to save money, the first part is when to buy the chicks. In the past we have gotten ours from Tractor Supply.
But of course, if you follow the blog, you know I love CLEARANCE.
I find Tractor supply to put chicks on clearance frequently. The best thing to do is call ahead and ask your local store. This worked out when we purchased our first batch of ducks. Me being cheap, didn’t want to really pay $5 per duck.
It broke my daughters heart- because you had to buy six. We went back the next day because she was still so upset about it and they were on clearance!
We got Cornish cross chicks last year for a $1 in the fall when they were on clearance at Tractor Supply. If you are hesitant on butchering chickens yourself see our video here.
Make Chicken Feed Last Longer
Chicken feed is one of the costs when it comes to keeping chickens. It’s a cost you will have to keep up with for the life of your chickie.
Like how I grocery shop, the same thing can be applied to your chicken feed. Stock up on sales. These bags of chicken feed typically last for at least a year.
The best thing to do is shop around. We were loyal chicken feed buyers at Tractor Supply until Runnings came to town. They usually have better sales and their chicken feed is cheaper by a $2.
Price compare every month to make sure you are getting the best deal.
Another option is to mix your own feed.
We choose to pasture range our chickens. This allows us to save money on chicken feed. Most of the time the chickens stay out of the coop all day long.
You can give chickens feed in morning and night to limit the amount. And offer veggie scraps throughout the day if your chickens are confined.
Saving all your fruits and veggies to give to your chickens will also reduce your chicken feed cost. I divide the scraps up between the animals and the compost pile.
If your chickens are in a coop gather up the grass clippings from mowing the lawn and weeds to give them. I still do this for our pigs and they love it. It’s funny how the pigs eat the entire clumps of grass. Another reason to let your lawn grow a little longer in between cuttings.
Use the Deep Litter Method
When you raise chickens you can use the deep liter method to save on bedding costs and time.
We use sand in our chicken coop now and only add straw in the winter time. Before we used the deep litter method and it worked fine.
We do the deep liter method for our goats in winter.
Keep Up With Cleaning & Water
Keeping up with daily feeding and watering will help in the overall health of your chickens. Of course there are times you need to go on vacation and leave them, but otherwise it’s important to keep a daily check.
When I go into feed and water the chickens I like to wipe out the bottom of the waterer and weekly I fill it up with a teaspoon of Apple cider vinegar.
Removing any chicken poop from the water and feeder helps stop disease from spreading. As well as cleaning out the coop.
Build Your Own Coop
Of course you can watch for sales on chicken coops, but if you choose to build your own, it will cost less. I encourage you to check out Youtube videos to tackle the project.
The good thing about building your own coop to save money, is you can be really resourceful. I’ve seen some use sticks for their chicken ladders or runs.
Look for salvaged road in your area so your only cost is chicken wire.
Avoiding a Rooster
If you are only raising chickens for eggs, you don’t necessarily need a Rooster. If your chickens stay in a chicken coop, and have a spot for free ranging, you may want one, but it isn’t a must.
Roosters will protect your flock. We currently have two. If you only want eggs opt for buying all hens instead.
Roosters can be a pain in the butt otherwise. Or they can melt your heart.
I hope these tips help you to see you can cut costs when raising chickens.