How Much Does it Cost to Have a Farm Animal?

We knew how much it cost to buy the farm animals.  Approximately two or three dollars per chick.  $200 per alpaca (that was a smoking deal).  $200 for the pair of adorable goats to be bartered for herbal medicine.  (Another great deal.  We should be able to sell Katrina’s babies for $200-$300 each!)


What we didn’t know and couldn’t seem to get answers to was how much is it to raise these guys?  How much to feed them?  Twenty dollars a month?  Two hundred dollars a month?  I needed to know if I would have to return the farm animals after three weeks if we couldn’t afford it.  I keep a good budget (it could certainly be better) and I save up money for months in advance because our main income is earned during the summer.  So, if some farm kid is going to eat us out of house and farm, Lord, I need to know about it!

Look who wanted in this morning!

I have gathered the numbers for all of you out there wanting to get a few cute farm animals yourself.

Introducing Ferdinand!

Alpacas are surprisingly affordable.  The upfront cost can make you choke (count on $300 for a fiber boy up to $20,000 for a prized breeding girl) but once you get the little guys they don’t cost much.  We’re talking one bale of hay between the both of them.  Around $13 a month.  With pine shavings and the pellets that have their minerals in it takes us to twenty.  So, each fiber boy costs $10 a month.  It’s a good thing they don’t cost much to feed because any animal that is that fluffy and cute should allow me to go snuggle with it.  No can do.  They don’t come near me.  Sad.


Goats eat a tad more, but not much. They love to eat.  We got a pregnant mama here.  They don’t need the grain. (I was told at church yesterday by Jill.  We spoil them a tad too much perhaps.)  So with pine shavings, this makes the girls about the same.  $10 a piece per month.  We’ll give some sweet feed in a few months when we are milking Katrina, so that will raise it up slightly.  Jill gave us a good start on minerals.  So, when we do have to purchase minerals and the sweet feed, we may be looking at $15 a piece per month.  I have Nigerian Dwarves, so a larger breed would probably eat more.


The chickens….wouldn’t you expect them to be the cheapest?  They are giving us eggs to pay for their room and board.  We feed organic feed.  It’s not that much more than the GMO stuff.  They have been going through much more lately because of the cold and lack of forage (and lack of things to do, in my opinion).  $36 dollar a month plus pine shavings which will take us to roughly $40 a month.  At the two to three eggs a day from fifteen hens and their useless (but good looking) husband, that makes each dozen of eggs cost $6 a piece.  No profit.  But, we do have to consider that we don’t buy eggs either.  So, I am okay with that cost.

baby and kitties

The greyhound costs $20 a month and eight cats cost $60 a month.  So, in the end, the cats are the ones eating us out of house and farm.  They better get back to mousing!

Of course these costs don’t take into consideration veterinarian costs.  But, we rarely to never use a vet.  We are herbalists and teach people how to treat their own animals.  Not much we can’t help take care of.  So, that saves us a tremendous amount of money having that knowledge.  We did pay $75 for the people we got Natale from to geld him.  Looks like the bratty Ferdinand may have to go that route too, we’ll see.  But, just having a cat can place you at risk for having a huge vet bill in an emergency, so I don’t count vet costs because that would come out of an emergency fund.

It is nice though, to see a general cost of feed and housing.  A house is much more of a home with a rooster and a goat, don’t you think?  Now, how much does it cost to have a sheep….

petting goats

23 Comments Add yours

  1. thank you for taking the time to break down the costs

    1. Farmgirl says:

      You are certainly welcome!

  2. debweeks says:

    The cost of raising sheep? Good question. I have a new friend in my area that has sheep and will have to ask her since Lili is now convinced we need sheep. Of course we plan on having animals for meat as well as other things like milk and eggs, so I need to find out how much it costs to raise pigs too. Of course based on your numbers, I think we may skip the cats 🙂

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Only one way to find out!!

    2. Farmgirl says:

      And Deb, the cats are my favorite part of the homestead!!

    3. erikamay85 says:

      Cost of sheep raising depends entierly on where you are located an how you run your operation. It could be a year round pasture deal with hair sheep so your only cost is minerals, vaccines and pasture. Or you could do indoor housing with hay feeding all winter and straw bedding. But then there is raising them up on mostly grain…thats going to change the numbers again since you’ll probably have more digestive issues.

      For me I finally got to hay feeding my 6 sheep in December. We are up to a $4.50 bale of hay every 3 or 4 days. lets say $9 a week until pasture comes back for a total of $165, plus bedding so another $120 on that. But then I’m milking my sheep so I’m adding in alfalfa once they start lactating. That will nearly double my cost…but i get milk i can sell, wool and lambs out of the deal so they pay for themselves with my operation.
      With my ex we were pasture year round until i decided they were too skinny and gave them a little grain at the end of lactation…other than that they were low imput animals.
      I also shear by myself so i don’t have to pay anyone to come out and do it for me. Same with banding.

      1. Farmgirl says:

        Thanks for the great information!

  3. Holly Goudy says:

    When your alpaca are full grown, they will eat more. We have 2 adult goats (a dwarf mix male and an alpine male) and 2 adult Alpaca. They are going through about 1 small bale a week between the 4 of them. And that is with grain and 4 acres to graze.We bought one of the big bales last year and that is definitely a savings – you just have to have the upfront cash to do it. Your calcs on the chickens are right on. Before we lost our chickens to the owl (over several months) I was able to reduce our costs because they were free-ranging. During a typical winter, that isn’t really an option as much, but on sunny days, they would be out and about.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      How old is considered adult? I believe that mine are adults…Ferdinand is a year and a half so he may still have some growing but Natale just turned 5. The large bale definitely saves money!

  4. life of the hand - life of the mind says:

    Another cost to consider is this one: How much does it cost to NOT have farm animals?

    1. Farmgirl says:

      You are so right! I thought of this after I posted it. Monetarily speaking, I did not count future yarn sales, clothes knit for us, and the price of fresh, raw goat’s milk, cheese, etc. But, emotionally speaking, these guys make my morning bright just walking out there.

  5. Thanks so much for sharing. I hope you don’t mind that I shared this on the Livestock section of Reddit. I am getting sheep, so maybe I can help with those costs this spring.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      I appreciate it!

  6. newstoreview says:

    Great information here. I have found that the cost of the alpaca is actually closer to 350 a year. However, I supplement with show grain, which helps their coats out quite a bit. This cost also includes the shearing and other misc. The cost of chickens I figured up for my farm is about 30 bucks a month, but I have 20 laying hens and 3 turkeys. However, when they are turned out of the coop and on the range the cost of feed is about 10 bucks a month.

    Good article!! I really liked reading it!

    1. Farmgirl says:

      I suppose costs will vary around the country depending on how much hay is running, etc. I did not count shearing as we will take them to my friend’s house when she shears hers, so I have no idea of cost yet! My chickens are free range. I wish our chicken feed was that inexpensive. Chickies are trying to eat us out of house and home!

      1. newstoreview says:

        Yes, chickens can eat you out of house and home! We are paying 12.95 a bag for feed from the local mill. So that is why the cost is lower for us. Shearing for us depends on the shearer and it ran us about 30 bucks an animal plus 65 bucks for the set up fee. We split the set up fee with one of our friends. However, we still had to pay for the 30 bucks per animal.

  7. aumcchildren says:

    Sorry I’m so late to reply. For us, our 10 cats cost us around $52 a month, Dogs cost us $70 a month but I feed raw so its cheaper for my shepherd, 15 chickens including two roosters organically fed costs us about $100 a month in winter with shavings included. this cost goes way down, almost in half during summer, and our one sheep..she’s pretty much in the barn because I cant leave the door open due to the rabbits. She eats about a bale a week and right now a bale is $5. I also feed my chicken feed to her so that helps. During the spring and summer if you have room to rotate pasture they are free. Vet care is extremely minimal. I guess banding the boys would cost you to get the bander and bands..then of course you have to figure in cost of feeding the husband I use to do it lol. We also have 5 rabbits. During the warmer months they pasture during the day..freeeeee, but over winter they eat hay like crazy! I go through a bale a week easily on them! Of course they use it as bedding when its -5 or lower and I cant fault them for that!

    1. Farmgirl says:

      Thanks for the info!

  8. permiechick says:

    Thank you so much for writing this. It’s something that I’ve been wondering about since I feel the same way…the animals must pull their weight to be part of the farm, especially when living on a budget.

    1. Farmgirl says:

      You are welcome, and thanks for posting your latest post. I need images and the photo of the swale was really helpful!

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