How to keep chickens on a budget
Ways to make and save money keeping hens in your garden
Chickens can make wonderful family pets, they are super friendly and full of character. I've been keeping chickens for over 10 years now and I wouldn't be without them, along with the fresh eggs, they help me reduce our kitchen waste and are great company.
How to save money keeping chickens
If you would like to keep chickens but are concerned about the costs involved, here are my top ways to save money:
Recycle old wood to make a chicken coop and pen
Save money by building a coop and pen using old pallets and bits of wood you have lying around rather than buying a flat packed kit. Do make sure it has perches and a nest box for happy hens as happy hens lay lots of eggs! It will also need to be super secure to keep your birds safe from foxes and other predators.
Feed your chickens leftover kitchen scraps
Reduce your kitchen waste by feeding your kitchen leftovers to your hens. Most foods are fine for chickens to eat but I would just double check before feeding anything new, for example you may not be aware but raw potato peelings are poisonous for your feathered friends, however, if boiled they are perfectly safe and very much enjoyed.
Buy second-hand feeders and water dispensers
You can often pick up second-hand feeders and water dispensers on second websites such as eBay for a fraction of the usual price.
Don't buy grit for your hens
Rather than spending money buying bagged grit for your chickens, simply crush empty eggs shells and feed them back to your girls, it is full of calcium and just as good if not better then shop bought grit.
Free fresh eggs
Once your hens are happy and content you'll be able to enjoy delicious free fresh eggs, there is nothing like eggs from your own girls!
No need to buy pesticides for your garden
Chickens act as natural pesticide, they will very happily eat the bugs in your garden protecting your plants and saving you money on expensive pesticides.
How to make money keeping chickens
There are ways to make a little money by keeping hens, here are a few of them:
Sell any surplus eggs
People love buying fresh eggs, if you find yourself with surplus eggs pop them out the front of your house with an honesty box and you may make a pound or two!
Sell chicken mess!
This may sound a little strange but chicken mess is a great natural fertilizer, you may find gardeners in your local area will be interested in giving you a couple of pounds in exchange for your chickens mess!
Sell fertile eggs, chicks and pullets
If you live in a suitable area to take on a cockerel to have with your hens, you may wish to sell fertile eggs, chicks or pullets depending on the breeds you may be able to make a decent income from doing this.
Other financial considerations when keeping chickens
You will need to provide your birds with layers pellets, they cannot live entirely on leftovers alone, I buy a 20kg bag every six weeks for £9.99.
You may need to buy dust-extracted straw for their house floor and nest boxes to make it cosy and warm for your birds.
Chickens can live up to 14 years, my oldest girls lived for 10 years so they are a long-term commitment.
What will you do with your chickens when you go on holiday?
What will you do with your chickens if you go on holiday? Luckily my family and neighbours help me out but if you need to pay someone to look after your brood whilst you are away this can cost around £10 per day. To find a local pet sitter try Tailster.
Still interested in keeping chickens?
Help chickens in need by re-homing hens through the British Hen Welfare Trust (BHWT). BHWT is a charity helping ex-commercial hens all over the country find a new home. For those of you who are able to take on a cockerel, there is also a re-homing page on the website for cockerels who need a new home.