The cost of owning chickens

We have owned our chickens for well over 18 months and I’m keen to share our experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly

In April 2019 we purchased chickens in the initial desire to reduce our free range egg bill, which in a household that loves eggs is about $10 a week. Since our ‘girls’ entered our lives we have learnt a lot about owning and keeping chickens, and I’m keen to share our experiences.

Photo by Pixabay on


Initial Set Up Costs

  • Chickens $25 each x 2 (found via Gumtree)
  • Chicken Food $35 (found at our local farmer supply shop)
  • Chicken feed container $15 (found at our local farmer supply shop)
  • Water container $15 (found at our local farmer supply shop)
  • Pea Straw $20 (found at our local farmer supply shop)
  • Hutch $20 (We haggled and found ours second-hand. We then cleaned it up and painted it using cheap sample pots. It scrubbed up pretty well – see photo below)
Our Chicken Hutch where our girls stay safe at night, and when they don’t want to be out.

Ongoing Costs

  • Pea Straw every 6 months $40 / year
  • Chicken Food $70 / year

Cost Benefit Analysis

The total set up costs for two chickens was $155. It took another month before our girls started laying eggs, and luckily for us they reward us with a steady 2 eggs per day (throughout the year).

To date we’ve spent $230 on our chickens and with the cost of 12 eggs being $6 for the quality of egg we’ve become accustomed to this investment took 38 weeks of laying to pay back. Therefore we’ve had almost a year of eggs at no cost to us which equates to almost $300 worth of eggs.

ROI (Return On Investment) = ( $600 expected investment value – $300 investment cost) / $300 investment cost

ROI = 100% approx. investment return

(Not including any of your own time spent caring for them)

Other Considerations

The Good

We have absolutely loved owning chickens. Our chickens are very friendly and have become much loved pets. Our kids have named them ‘Snowball’ and ‘Kentucky’ and they love a cuddle (both the kids and the chickens do). We spoil our chickens rotten and they happily enjoy our veggie scraps daily. We also free range our chickens throughout the day, and they love eating snails and our weeds.

The Bad

Chickens are pretty low maintenance in terms of a pet or animal, but its still additional work. You will need to have time to check their food daily, feed them scraps regularly, check their pen daily for any hazards/pests, restock hay, check them frequently for any diseases (we’ve been very lucky not to have any issues), collect the eggs daily, and wash the eggs before use. If you take into consideration this additional time your return on investment goes into negative territory real quick.

The Ugly

Mucking out the hutch is my least favourite chore in the house. It takes a morning to clean it out, scrub it, spray it down, and restock everything every month or so. It’s a dirty and smelly job, but the silver lining is that the chicken poo is awesome for the garden.

Would I do it again?

The short answer to this is ‘yes’ but I would not do it for the sole reason of saving money on eggs. This is because when your own time is accounted for owning chickens has a negative ROI.

We will own chickens again because:

  • The eggs taste amazing,
  • Its nice knowing that the chickens are well treated,
  • We enjoy using the chicken poo in our garden,
  • The pest control in the veggie patch is much appreciated,
  • and they are extremely beloved pets to our children.

Should you do it?

Chickens are a great pet with benefits. They still require time and money to look after, but if you don’t mind that you will be rewarded with tasty eggs and hopefully a good friend.

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Photo by Alison Burrell on

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