The Cost of Keeping Chickens and the Returns
The online Poultry ROI Calculator provides a tool to estimate the profit/cost of home poultry keeping. There are a number of variables involved. Enter your own details to try different scenarios (or just leave items at 0 if they are not relevant for your situation). The calculator does not include your labour.
The cost of buying poultry can vary from 50 pence for Ex-Battery hens to £5-£25 for hybrid birds and £30 or more for special breeds. Egg laying quantity also varies from breed to breed. Modern hybrid breeds of chickens are more productive than pure breeds.
A reasonable price of a chicken coop might be £150 for 4 hens but high quality coops and larger coops will be more. On allotments, chickens are often kept on a financial shoestring with coops made at very low costs or even free from recycled materials. Feeders and drinkers can be bought or something like an old bowl can be free. Housing and equipment are depreciating assets.
Feed cost depends on breed and fowl size. Large Fowl eat almost twice as much as bantams. Free range chickens may not need supplementary feed products such as grit and vitamins. Welfare includes medication products to control parasites such as mites, lice and worms.
Consumables - Other Cost
Consumables include hen house bedding material, cleaning products, vermin control products and perhaps a subscription to a poultry magazine or books. Other cost to consider are veterinary care. If you have a water meter there will be a cost. Electricity cost for running an incubator or heat lamp to raise chicks. For example, £6 electricity for 3 weeks of incubation and £35 electricity for 6 weeks brooding under a heat lamp. Optionally, you can also specify the cost of fuel related to looking after the chickens. For example the fuel expense to collect feed/shavings.
The Return Value
The key tangible return from hens is eggs. The comparible shop value of eggs for your own consumption can be seen as a return. A portion of eggs may also be sold. Cockerels will add to the feed cost but they will also help with the returns if you sell hatching eggs. For selling pullets enter an average value. The manure from chickens can be used in the garden for plants and vegetables therefore it might be worth putting a value on this as it saves buying manure and compost.