How much should baby chicks cost? - Birdful (2024)

Baby chicks are a joy to raise for backyard chicken enthusiasts or small farm owners. However, before bringing home those cute little balls of fluff, it’s important to understand the costs involved with acquiring and properly caring for chicks in their first weeks of life. Buying chicks can range from just a couple dollars to over $10 per chick depending on breed, source, and other factors. Additionally, there are significant costs for housing, feed, supplies, and medications to keep chicks healthy and thriving. By understanding typical price ranges and costs of chick ownership, buyers can set a realistic budget and ensure they are fully prepared for these endearing but demanding little poultry pets.

Typical Costs for Purchasing Baby Chicks

On average, baby chicks from hatcheries and farm stores cost $2 to $5 per chick when buying smaller quantities (25 chicks or less). Here are some typical price ranges:

  • Layer chicks (egg production breeds): $2 – $4 per chick
  • Broiler/fryer chicks (meat production breeds): $2 – $4 per chick
  • Rare/heritage breed chicks: $4 – $6+ per chick
  • Bantam chicks (miniature breeds): $3 – $5+ per chick

However, there are many factors that affect chick pricing:


The breed of chick greatly influences price. Purebred heritage and rare breeds often cost more than commercial hybrid layer and broiler chicks. Some breeds like Australorps, Orpingtons, and Brahmas tend to be on the lower end around $3 per chick while Marans, Jersey Giants, and other uncommon breeds can cost $5 or more per chick.


Egg layers and dual purpose breeds usually cost less than premium broiler/fryer chicks bred specifically for meat production. Show quality breeds from prize-winning bloodlines also fetch higher premiums. Run of the mill “barnyard mix” chicks are the most economical.


Female chicks are often more expensive than males since hens are required for egg production. Straight run (unsexed) chicks are the least expensive.


Younger 1-2 day old chicks are cheaper than older 3-5 week old “started” pullets that have been brooded by the hatchery. However, started pullets are less work for the owner.


Larger orders of 25-50+ chicks can qualify discounted bulk pricing per chick. Small backyard flocks of just 6-12 chicks may cost a bit more per chick.


Hatcheries, farm stores, local breeders all price chicks differently. Ordering from a national hatchery like McMurray or Meyer Hatchery costs $3-5 per chick with shipping while small local breeders may charge more for rarer breeds. Pick up prices at the local feed store are often the most economical.

Time of Year

Chick prices may be slightly higher early in the brooding season around February-April when demand is highest. Discounts may be offered late in the season.

Here is a pricing comparison table of common chick breeds from two popular national hatcheries:

BreedMeyer Hatchery PriceMcMurray Hatchery Price
Barred Plymouth Rock$2.90$3.60
Rhode Island Red$2.70$3.10
Buff Orpington$2.80$4.20
Light Brahma$5.45$6.15
Speckled Sussex$3.55$4.05

As you can see, common dual purpose breeds like Plymouth Rocks and Orpingtons are the most economical, while rare breeds like Brahmas carry a premium price.

Additional Costs of Raising Chicks

Beyond purchasing the chicks themselves, there are many ongoing expenses needed to keep them healthy and thriving during their first 6-8 weeks of life. Here are the main supplies and approximate costs for brooding chicks:


Chicks need an enclosed, heated brooder area for their first weeks before transitioning to a coop.

  • Brooder box with heat lamp/chick mat: $50
  • Small coop for 15-25 chicks by 6-8 weeks: $150-$300


Pine shavings or coarse wood chips to line the brooder and absorb waste.

  • 8 cu ft bag pine shavings: $5
  • 40-50 lb bale pine shavings: $13

Feed and Water Supplies

Special starter feed rations and chick feeders/waters are needed.

  • Chick starter feed 50 lb bag: $20-25
  • No waste chick feeders: $3-5 each
  • Chick water fonts: $4-6 each

Health Supplements

Electrolytes, vitamins, and probiotics help chicks thrive.

  • Chick electrolyte packets: $3-5
  • Vitamin powder: $5-10
  • Probiotic gel: $6

Health Care

Basic medical supplies help treat common chick issues like paste and parasites.

  • Antiseptic spray: $5
  • Chick lice/mite dust: $8
  • First aid ointment: $6

Altogether, a brooder setup and supplies for 25 chicks can cost $300-500 depending on specifics. Ongoing feed and bedding costs are approximately $10-15 per week.

Of course, if an existing coop and supplies are already on hand then costs will be much lower. Deep litter bedding can be reused and supplemental heat may not be needed in warmer climates either.

Here is a sample starter budget for 25 chicks:

25 chicks at $3 each$75
Brooder box with heat lamp$50
Pine shavings 2 bags$10
Chick starter feed$25
Waterers and feeders$30
Health supplies$25
Total Initial Costs$215

This gives you a sense of the upfront investment required for a small backyard flock. Ongoing weekly costs for feed and supplies would be approximately $15-20.

Saving on Chick Costs

Here are some tips to lower your chick buying costs:

  • Buy larger quantities for bulk discounts
  • Choose younger, straight-run chicks
  • Select dual purpose breeds over rare breeds
  • Find discounted locally sourced chicks
  • Reuse or borrow brooder supplies when possible
  • Split costs of a batch of chicks with other poultry raisers
  • Buy later in the season for lower prices
  • Only purchase the number of chicks you can adequately house and care for

With some savvy shopping and planning, you can acquire chicks for as little as $2-3 each. Focus your budget on the essentials for shelter, feed, and health care.

Key Takeaways on Baby Chick Prices and Costs

Here are the key points to remember:

  • Baby chicks can cost between $2-$5 or more each depending on breed, age, quality, and source.
  • Layer and broiler/fryer chicks are the most economical, often just $2-3 per chick.
  • Rarer breeds and older pullets cost more, closer to $5 per chick and up.
  • Housing, feed, bedding, and health supplies often cost $300-500 to start.
  • Ongoing weekly costs are around $15 per chick for feed and supplies.
  • Buying in bulk, reusing supplies, and choosing basic breeds can help lower costs.
  • Proper housing and care are essential, so only acquire the number of chicks you can comfortably manage.

With good planning, baby chicks can be an affordable and rewarding addition to any backyard flock or small farm. Focus your budget on providing the basics for health and growth. Do your homework to find the best chick prices from reputable sources. Then enjoy raising a lively, cheerful bunch of chicks!


Baby chicks require an initial investment and ongoing costs for feed and supplies. However, with some budget-friendly choices like opting for quantity discounts, straight-run layer breeds, reused or borrowed equipment, and proper space considerations, chicks can be a fun, cost-effective project for many chicken enthusiasts. Be sure to thoroughly research hatchery reputations, chick pricing, and equipment needs before bringing home your fluffy new flock! With good preparation and care, those adorable peeping balls of fluff will soon grow into a free source of eggs, insect control, and garden fertilizer as friendly mature chickens.

How much should baby chicks cost? - Birdful (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Edwin Metz

Last Updated:

Views: 5261

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (58 voted)

Reviews: 81% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Edwin Metz

Birthday: 1997-04-16

Address: 51593 Leanne Light, Kuphalmouth, DE 50012-5183

Phone: +639107620957

Job: Corporate Banking Technician

Hobby: Reading, scrapbook, role-playing games, Fishing, Fishing, Scuba diving, Beekeeping

Introduction: My name is Edwin Metz, I am a fair, energetic, helpful, brave, outstanding, nice, helpful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.