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Where do I start?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
My best egg customer want me to start raising birds for meat. I don't know where to start. I rarely eat chicken. One because I don't really like it and two because I love my chickys and I see their sweet faces when I do. Anyway I've told her if she is willing to handle the slaughter part id raise them. But I have about a million questions. Are there any good links to answer my questions. I understand their are dp and broiler. But do broilers require any different food or accommodations. What do I do with them if she backs out? What's a fair price for them? Do broilers lay eggs?

I'm really honored she asked me. She has a family member who is a farmer and friends and she doesn't want their chickens because she doesn't think the conditions are good. ( pretty close to chicken factory or so she says). My dirty birdys are beyond pampered.
post #2 of 5

I was thinking last week about raising some meat birds (calculations for my limited space available gave me $1 per bird profit, so i decided against it). It might be an idea to consider the number of birds that you could raise at one time, how you will manage and accommodate birds at different ages (in order to have a constant supply) and the purchase, brooding and feed / bedding costs. That, and I'm sure you will think of other costs, should help you get to a unit cost of keeping 1 chicken from day old to slaughter weight, and then consider a profit margin that makes the process worthwhile. If your potential client agrees on a price, then all is well. 


Good luck


Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya
post #3 of 5

Here are some of my thoughts.  For the record...  I only keep chickens as pets, but do eat the eggs.    I also do eat chickens from the grocery store,  as well as chicken out at KFC.  I wont eat my pets.

Broilers are intended to be meat birds. They grow fast and do not get to egg laying status very often.   Most are ready to eat at 8 weeks or so.   You may raise them in a wilder fashion so they grow slower, but then your  return  $$$  is lowered. JMO.  This is if you are doing it to sell.    Dual purpose chickens are of course good.    You turn them into meat at the end of their useful laying cycle.. (they will still lay, but the amount of eggs is no longer profitable compared to feed consumed)  These chickens are not as tender as broilers.

The second part  in  your agreement with your customer will need to be the purchase amounts when your broilers mature.   I am assuming that you would get broiler chicks from the hatchery at like 15 count batches.   After 8 week, your customer would need to take ALL of them at same time.   Broilers will not live long lives past their ideal harvest stage, and develop, broken bones, and also  cardiac issues. (its not going to happen right away like week 10 or 14 but you get the point) You would not want to be selling broiler chickens that are on their last breath.  You mentioned that you Luv your chickens.   I understand where you stand.

Now if you are hatching your own chickens, You may consider selling your roosters to that customer.   Wait until they are somewhat grown but not old and tough.   It has been calculated  by members here on BYC. that such operations are not cost effective.  That translates to rooster eating more feed $ than his sale brings in $..

You have all these things to consider, as well as accommodating  the additional chickens.  You may be better off just staying with eggs. :idunno
Everyones situation is different so  it may work for you.


post #4 of 5
I would say honestly don't do it...

Sounds like it's against what you want to do, it will most likely not be worth it when your done.

CX are a different experience than layers, actually they are like pirañas with feathers. They eat more than you can even imagine, and the amount of waste they produce is staggering. Mortality is much higher than layers as well. And then of course there's processing, needs to happen on schedule.

All that being said I enjoy raising them, but I raise them on grass so I don't have any clean up. They aren't difficult to raise as long as your prepared.
post #5 of 5
I suggest you look through the stickies at the top of this meat bird section. And look through the threads in this section. You will get all kinds of different opinions and a lot of good information. There are also a lot of different ways you could go.

As far as cost effectiveness you just can’t beat the broilers. But as others have pointed out there are some issues with them. They are not GMO or anything like that but they have been selectively bred to be extremely efficient at converting feed to meat. They pack on weight so efficiently that unless you restrict their feed in some way they often have heart problems or skeleton problems at a fairly young age. Restricting feed might involve feeding certain amounts on a schedule or making them find a lot of their own food like on grass. There are always different ways to do things.

But in general they need to be butchered when they are ready. I agree the person needs to take all of them whenever that time is. They need freezer space to manage that much meat. You need to have an agreement how many that is and how often you raise them. I suggest your first time you try to start small to get your system down. Some hatcheries have 15 or 25 chick minimums but sometimes you can get as few as 6 at a feed store. Not all these need to be broilers either, you can often mix in some others to get the minimum number.

There may be enough difference in broilers and your other chicks that you can handle the pet” issue, especially if you go into it knowing they are for meat. I look at is as they had a great life with only one bad day. And it sounds like your friend will handle that bad day with respect and dignity. They won’t suffer.

 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.


 I grow a little impatient when people seem to think that they are unique in the world. Of course they are. Just like everyone else.

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