How Much Do Live Chickens Cost?

Last Updated on September 16, 2023
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Raising chickens has been and most likely will continue to be a popular activity among farmers.

Proper care for the chickens, especially in the first weeks of life, plays an essential role in their further development. In order for them to be healthy, to give many eggs and tasty meat, it is important that they are fed with quality feed, that they are housed in the best conditions (away from cold and moisture), but also that they are vaccinated and treated to be protected against diseases.

How Much Do Chickens Cost?

Depending on your geographical location, the rarity of the breed, chicken gender (females are more expensive than males), and age (the cost peaks at almost 21 weeks old), the price of a baby chicken would be anywhere between $5 and $9. For a rare breed, you should expect to pay anywhere between $25 and $40. The cost for a started pullet, that is a young hen that just barely started to lay eggs, would be anywhere between $20 and $25. Experts recommend purchasing at least two chickens at once as these birds are social.

In the table below you will find the average costs of some of the most popular types of chickens.

Breed Price Range
White Yokohoma $5 to $6
White Sultan $5 to $7
White Rock $4 to $6
White Leghorn $4 to $6
White Laced $4 to $5
White Crested $5 to $7
White Cochin $4 to $7
Welsummer $4 to $7
Turken $4 to $7
Sultan $4 to $5.50
Speckled Sussex $3.50 to $6
Silver Spitzhauben $5 to $6
Silver Phoenix $5 to $7
Silver Lakenvelder $5 to $8
Silver Laced Wyandotte $3.50 to $4.50
Silver Laced Cochin $4 to $6
Sicilian Buttercup $4.50 to $5.50
Rhode Island Red $4 to $5
Red Jungle $4 to $6
Red Broiler $3 to $5
Production Red $3 to $5
Partridge Rock $3 to $6
Partridge Cochin $3 to $5
New Hampshire $3 to $5
Mottled Java $3 to $6
Mottled Houdan $4 to $6
Light Brahma $3 to $5
Jumbo Cornish Cross $3 to $4
Golden Spangled Hamburg $3 to $5
Golden Phoenix $4 to $6
Golden Lakenvalder $3 to $5
Golden Laced Wyandotte $3 to $6
Golden Laced Polish $4 to $6
Golden Campine $3 to $6
Egyptian Fayoumis $3 to $5
Easter Egger $2 to $3.50
Dominique $3 to $5
Dark Cornish $3 to $5
Dark Brahma $3 to $5
Cuckoo Maran $3 to $6
Cornish Rock $3 to $5
Cinnamon Queen $3 to $4
California White $3 to $5
California Grey $3 to $5
Buff Rock $3 to $5
Buff Orphington $3 to $4
Buff Laced $4 to $6
Buff Brahma $3 to $5
Buckeye $3 to $6
Blue Wyandotte $3 to $5
Blue Sumatra $4 to $6
Blue Cochin $3 to $6
Black Wyandotte $3 to $6
Black Sumatra $4 to $6
Black Minorca $3 to $5
Black Langshan $4 to $7
Black Jersey $4 to $5
Black Cochin $4 to $7
Black Australorp $4 to $6
Barred Rock $3 to $6
Barred Plymouth Rock $2.50 to $4.50
Barred Cochin $3 to $7
Bantam $3.50 to $5.50
Ancona $3 to $6

According to a Money Magazine reader, the cost of a chicken is around $6.

You should expect to pay around $60 for a rare breed, according to the Backyard Chickens website. The same source says that you should be prepared to pay anywhere between $6 and $12 for a day-old chick. On the other hand, mature chickens and old chicks would cost anywhere between $8 and $15 for a rooster and $25 to $60 for a pullet. Also, the writer says that, usually, you can find an old rooster on Craigslist for free.

According to the Weedemand Reap website, heirloom or organic chicks are more expensive than chicks from regular hatcheries. Also, the writers say that heirloom chicks need ten to twelve weeks to reach maturity, while regular hatcheries need six to eight weeks.

Which are the additional expenses?

When you first purchase live chickens, you need to invest in a brooder with lights, bedding for the adults, a coop with perches, a feeder, a waterer, and nest boxes. In case you need all of these items, you will have to pay around $700. As a rule of thumb, a chicken needs a space of around ten square feet and an average coop can contain three to ten chickens.

According to the Countryside Daily website, for the first ten weeks, your chick should be fed with high-cost, high-protein food. The average cost of a 50-pound bag of feed would be around $25 or around $0.50 per pound. The average chick consumes around one pound per week. After the first ten weeks, the following twelve weeks, the chicken will begin to eat around 1.5 pounds per week. So, plan on spending anywhere between $3 and $5 per month to feed every chicken.

An incubator will help fertilized eggs to hatch and costs around $120.

You might also like our articles on the cost of a rooster, a duck, or a Cornish Game hen.

For the flooring inside the coop, litter like pine shaving is recommended. Be prepared to pay around $15 for a two-cubic-foot bag that can last around two months.

Similar to a pet, sometimes chickens can require medical attention such as purchasing respiratory medicine for a cold or deworming the flock. The average cost of a chicken first aid kit is around $10.

Most cities require a permit in order to legally raise chickens, which initially costs around $55 and after that closer to $12 per year. For example, according to a Smart Asset article, Grand Rapids, Michigan has a fee of $50 for the first year and $10 per year after for its residents.

Plan on spending on the shipping fees in case you buy your chickens online, especially in case you don’t meet the minimum spending requirements.

Important things to consider

Two ChickensIf you are purchasing live chickens for the first time, it is highly recommended to choose one of the following breeds: Wyandottes, Rhode Island Reds, Barnvelders, and Speckled Sussex.

During the growth period, chickens need warmth and a constant temperature of at least 86 to 89.6 degrees Fahrenheit. To make sure that they don’t get cold, you can attach an infrared bulb (or two) right above the nest box, in such a way that the heat radiates in the direction of the chickens. But be careful to position these bulbs at some distance so that the chickens cannot touch them and burn themselves.

The lifespan of an average chicken is eight to ten years.

Over the course of a chicken’s life, you should be able to get around six eggs per week, depending on the breed.

Depending on the gender and breed, standard chickens weigh four to seven pounds, while the weight of a Bantam chicken is one to two pounds.

If you buy one-day-old chickens for meat, make sure you get them from licensed stores or farms, and that they are healthy, vaccinated, and have good genetics.

To recognize a healthy chicken, look for a sharp look, a clean beak, good standing, no ruffled feathers, and no spots on the body.

Tips for saving money

In order to reduce the costs, it is recommended by the chicken owners to build their own shelters by using scrap lumber. But if you don’t have time for this, you can find on Amazon many prebuilt coops for around $500 or less.

The more chickens you buy at once, the more you can save as the price per chick decreases.

Always, the price of a chick will be lower than that of a mature chicken, even though you include the raising costs.

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