The price of the birds should be less than $4 each at a feed store, Cook says, although fancier breeds can cost up to $20 per hen. Plan to buy a minimum of four chicks — chickens are social animals and need to huddle for warmth early on.
Experts generally recommend buying chicks and raising them to maturity rather than buying adult chickens. In the four to five weeks from hatching to the coop, chicks need a deep container with smooth walls, bedding, a heat lamp, and nutrient-rich food that’s more expensive than chicken feed.
The local farm store might sell elaborate chicken coops that cost hundreds of dollars, but a simple coop can be made from salvaged materials.
Letting chickens forage for their food may be economical, and naturally groom the landscape as the flock roams free, but their diet dictates the quality of the eggs.