How much do farm animals cost

Animals can be very expensive in the long run, so everyone, who wants to take care for any animal should first consider the financial side of keeping a pet or farm animal.

So how much money should you calculate if you want to keep the most common farm animals or pets ?

The cost to purchase and keeping an animal greatly depends on which animal you want to keep, the range can be anything from 100$/Year to keep a Chicken to 1800$/Year for a Horse. The total amount you should be able to provide furthermore depends on your location and life expectancy of the animal.

I have worked with a lot of different animals both on commercial farm as well as pet at home. The first step before taking care of such a furry creature should be carefully evaluating how much money you can expect to spend to keep him or her happy.

In this article I want to give you an overview of what to expect financially, for purchase of the animal, a place to keep them and feed. There are still some variables, which I cannot consider, but you will get the overall picture.

Rabbits

Initial Cost: 

  • Rabbits are pretty cheap to buy and are often given away for free, so you don’t have to worry about the cost of the rabbit itself, normally you will pay between 0-50$ depending on the choice of breed.
  • Housing for your rabbit will cost on average between 20-50$ for an indoor and 30-150$ for an outdoor enclosure, depending on how much space you want to give your little bunny.

Ongoing Cost:

  • This cost mostly depends of the diet of your hopping friend. If you only want to raise the rabbit for meat you can expect about 4$/rabbit to raise them to slaughter weight (about 60 days).
  • Do you want to raise your rabbit as a pet, you should expect a much higher cost, about 25$/Month is a good conservative number. Litter material will cost you an additional 15$/Month

Other Costs:

  • Medical cost can be between 45-160$/Year depending on the general health of your rabbits and their age.
  • Keeping you Pet rabbit entertained will cost you an additional 5-10$/Month for Toys and other treats.

Summary: The cost to keeping a pet rabbit will be around 700$/year. Raising rabbits for meat is much cheaper, but you have to consider a lot of additional factors, raising a single rabbit for meat is just not worth it, so here is a link to a good source to introduce rabbit production.

Chickens

Initial Cost:

  • Buying small Chicks will cost between 1-5$ each, but you will need to get a brooder. Alternatively you can buy Pullets, which are birds, about to start laying eggs, these will cost you 10-25$ each.
  • A Chicken Coop can be build basicly for free with no upfront cost or bought, reaching costs well into 2000$.

Ongoing Cost:

  • A big 50 lbs bag of feed will average between 15-30$; an average mature Chicken will eat about 5 lbs of feed a month (Free range), totaling for 2-4$/Month
  • Straw or Wood Shaving for bedding will cost you an additional 6-10$, one bale of straw will last a whole year for a individual Chicken, going for about 1$/Month for each Chicken.

Other Costs: 

  • Pest control, Medizin, Egg Boxes and Cleaner will cost you another 4$/Month for each Chicken

Summary: You can expect to pay about 10$/Month for each Chicken. It’s important to keep multiple Chickens in your flock, as they are social animals, so expect at least 30$/Month for a really small flock.

Turkeys and other big birds

Initial Cost:

  • Turkey Chicks cost between 5-13$, when bought online. Buying Chicks will require you to have a Brooder until the Chicks are old enough.
  • Similar to Chickens the cost for a Turkey Coop has a huge range, for simplicity I will assume you either build something yourself or already own a Coop. Spending multiple thousand dollars on a coop won’t be much of a challenge.

Ongoing Cost:

  • Most Turkeys are raised for Meat, so their food needs greatly depends on their age. On Average you have to feed them for 28 weeks at about 5 lbs/every 2 weeks. Which totals to about 4-8$ of Feed every Month; If you keep turkeys as pet you will require 16 lbs/month for a mature free-range turkey costing you 7-10$ each month
  • Keeping your Turkeys outside enclosed by a fence is the cheapest option in terms of Bedding, otherwise expect about 2$/Month in Bedding cost for each Turkey.

Other Costs: 

  • Medical cost and other additional cost vary quite a bit with Turkeys, but expect about 5-10$/Month for each Turkey to be on the safe side.

Summary: You can expect to pay about 10-20$ per Turkey each Month, being quite a bit cheaper, if you only raise them for meat. Keeping multiple Turkeys also reduce the cost for each individual Turkey.

Pigs

Initial Cost: 

  • Initial cost for Pigs can vary between 50-600$, for a normal Pig expect to pay 150$ at an age of 2 Months.
  • Fencing will cost you about 150-200$ for 170 ft of fence, choosing to raise Pigs for meat from spring to autumn, is the cheapest option, as you do not need a heated barn nor the increased amount of feed during colder months.

Ongoing Cost:

  • Feeding pigs to raise them for meat will cost you about 40$/Month. Should you keep you Pig as a Pet you have to expect about 600$ of Feed a year, as the winter month will be much more expensive.

Other Costs:

  • There a lot of other factors, which might or might not affect you. Keep in mind, that animals can get sick from time to time. Consulting a vet can be a very expensive. Expect to pay another 50$/Month. Keeping a pet Pig will also require you to buy Toys or even visit a dog school (yes, they sometimes also train pigs). Additional costs can be as high as for any normal Dog and shouldn’t be underestimated.

Summary: You can expect to pay 100$/Month for each Pig, while producing Meat. A Pet Pig will be much more expensive. If you want to keep a pig, you should expect costs well above 300$/Month.

Goats and Sheeps

Initial Cost:

  • Cost for buying a goat or sheep can vary quite a bit, expect to pay between 50-300$. Goats tend to be a bit cheaper in general, getting a pure breed will affect the cost tremendously. A Lamb will be much cheaper, but it will take some time to grow up. Buying an ewe or a goat older than 2 years will cost you about 150-500$.
  • Fencing will cost you another 200-500$ in the beginning. They require about 250sq feet each, Goats are real escape artist, you have to be careful, not to give them any way outside of the fenced area. You can also go for a smaller moveable area, which will be cheaper, but require more work.

Ongoing Cost:

  • Feeding cost will be about 15-20$/Month depending on your availability of free foodstuff on your property. Goats are pretty much happy with almost anything, our goats only get bought Hay every couple days. Sheeps are a little bit more picky, but also really easy to keep.

Other Costs:

  • Mineral Supplements, Vet cost and other factors like toys, or leashes to go for a walk with you goats will cost you another 10$/Month.

Summary: Keeping Goats or Sheep will cost you about 30-40$/Month.
This number will change for different kind of breeds or uses, here are some links, if you want to get a more detailed picture about goats or sheep.

Cows

Initial Cost:

  • Financing a cow can be a tough thing. A normal Cow will cost anything between 750-2000$, depending on breed, age and mentality. Take your time to carefully consider buying a cheaper cow, as it might cost you more in the long run.
  • Housing for a cow can be very expensive, you will need a huge fenced area, up to 3-5 acres, if you want to minimize feed cost. Using a smaller area and buying feed during winter, can tune down initial cost. Expect to pay between 400-1000$ in initial cost for fencing.

Ongoing Cost:

  • Feeding a cow is also not the cheapest thing to do, expect to pay 30-40$/Month in feed, depending on your location and size of pasture.

Other Costs:

  • Paying your Vet for checkups, Artificial insemination, Minerals will cost you another 15$/Month

Summary: A Cow is quite an expensive animal to keep with about 45-55$/Month. You will also require a lot of money upfront, making a cow one of the later animals to get, if you want to keep one at all.

Horses and Donkeys

Initial Cost:

  • The initial cost for a horse or donkey will be anything between 500-3000$ and more. Donkeys are normally a bit cheaper than horses, but both will cost you a lot.
  • Horses and Donkeys need a huge pasture to be happy, similar to cows you should expect to pay a horrendous amount, if you don’t have a fenced pasture already. A Barn and other factors makes it literally impossible to care for a horse without prior construction work.

Ongoing Cost:

Feeding cost greatly depends on your pasture size, the feed you want to provide your horse with and other factors like climate. Expect to pay around 50-100$/Month in feeding cost.

Other Costs:

Vaccines, Vat costs, nursing and miscellaneous items will cost you another 20-100$/MonthIf you already have a lot of experience with horses and know how to train and nurse them, then you can save some money here.

Summary: Expect to pay a lot to keep a Horse. A good 150$/Month is to be expected to properly care for one. Additionally Horses will not earn you much money, except you offer lessons on your property.

Related Questions

What is the best animal for Profit? In my Opinion, Chickens would provide you with the most money for the least effort and initial cost. You can both sell eggs and meat (depending on your breed). They are also a good animal to start with, as they are easy to care for.

What is the best animal for cheap lawn control? A goat will not only keep your weeds, trees and pretty much anything else that grows in check, they are also not very expensive, if you have enough feed on your property.