I have some ideas but am looking for others on making meat birds make sense from an economìcs standpoint. With .34/lb chicken quarters and .99/lb whole chickens this is tough to justify I realize. Anyways, here are my speculations on how this would be possible:
1. If big food can do it, there's got to be a cheaper source (somewhere) for chicks as well as feed. Maybe somehow small groups can team up and bulk buy from the places the BIG chicken farms are ordering from or perhaps even from chicken farms directly.
2. Raise feed somehow. I've heard of magot farms... maybe worm farms, raising grains.
3. Raise/keep a self sustaining flock. Not quite possible with the most efficient bird (Cornish X).
That's all I can come up with. Any other ideas? Are my ideas way off? There's gotta be a way... has anyone materialized these or other ideas that make raising meat affordable?
I know this thread has kind of wandered off into where to get $0.80 chicks, but I think it's worth going back to the main point and driving something home. You don't raise chickens at home to complete with factory farms. They've got you beat on scale. They just do. However, you've got them beat on quality...and that's without even trying.
Try even a tiny bit to feed your chickens better or give them a more natural, healthy environment, and you'll be ahead by a mile in the quality of the meat you produce.
Then the real question is what do you value? Do you value cheap meat that may (or may not) be of questionable quality that is likely teaming with deadly bacteria?
Or, do you value expensive meat that you know is more healthy and natural?
Decide what's important to you and go for that, but don't try to match cost with a giant that is churning out more in a year than you'll do in a lifetime. Just saying.
Edited by brucewayne - 3/3/16 at 4:12pm