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How much does it cost to raise a meat chicken?

post #1 of 135
Thread Starter 

From what I am looking at it seems the cost of the chicks plus the feed will be about 12 dollars a bird... can this be right?

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4 Barred Rock, 13 Ameraucana,1 Rhode Island Red, 2 Leghorns, 2 New Hampshire Red, 1 Maran and 3 Runner Ducks!

 

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post #2 of 135

It really depends on a lot of things.  If you only get 25 chicks, your price per chick is going to be more than if you get 100 chicks, so raising a 100 will lower your cost per bird.  It also depends on what kind of feed you use and how much you have to pay for it.  If you feed organic feed, the cost is going to be way more than if you feed non-organic.  If you buy your feed from a feed store a few bags at a time, you're going to pay more than you would if you have a batch made at a feed mill.  Also depends on where you live.  Some parts of the country have cheaper feed than others.

I would say the best way to figure out how much it would cost you is to do a little homework.  Decide how many you want to do and price that quantity of chicks.  Figure out your feed options and price accordingly in your area.  If you going to raise them up to 7 or 8 weeks of age, figure between 15-18 pounds of feed per bird.  Doing this will get you pretty close.

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Buff Orpingtons, Barnevelders, Speckled Sussex, and Black Copper Marans.  Cornish Cross from March-November.  Wish List - Dark Cornish
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post #3 of 135
Thread Starter 

and how much will they weigh at that age?

4 Barred Rock, 13 Ameraucana,1 Rhode Island Red, 2 Leghorns, 2 New Hampshire Red, 1 Maran and 3 Runner Ducks!

 

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4 Barred Rock, 13 Ameraucana,1 Rhode Island Red, 2 Leghorns, 2 New Hampshire Red, 1 Maran and 3 Runner Ducks!

 

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post #4 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChickenJill 

and how much will they weigh at that age?


Females will weigh 4 to 4 1/2 pounds(sometimes there will be a 5 pounder) and males should be 4-6 pounds.  Not sure if it's just me, but the males seem to vary in size more so than the females.  When we process a straight run batch of 50 at 8 weeks, the average is usually around 4 1/2 pounds, give or take a little.  My average cost is typically around $5 with how I do things.

Something I didn't touch on before is processing.  We do our own, and in doing that, we save (or make) $2 each.  If you not going to do your own, find somewhere that will and add that cost to the total as well.

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Buff Orpingtons, Barnevelders, Speckled Sussex, and Black Copper Marans.  Cornish Cross from March-November.  Wish List - Dark Cornish
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post #5 of 135

$12 a bird is very close to what I found for 5-7lb dressed and bagged. Including the cost of chicks, bagged feed, bedding, hydro and processing.

Switching to bulk feed and if processing DIY the cost for me is about half that.

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I'm only plucking pheasants cuz the pheasant plucker's late.
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post #6 of 135

After killing and cleaning my lame turkey, (I felt I needed to make her death worthwhile), I have  solemnly vowed, as god is my witness, never to do it to another animal again. Not only was it heart breaking, it was just plain gross! I think I spent more time vomiting than I did cleaning. I choose now to buy my poultry already processed. And from this thread, it sounds like it will be cheaper as well!sickbyc


Edited by surgerynut - 9/22/11 at 9:56am
Why take life so seriously when you'll never get out of it alive?
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Why take life so seriously when you'll never get out of it alive?
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post #7 of 135

You won't raise them for cheaper than you can buy them on sale at the supermarket.  They were 99 cents a pound last week.

But you can't compare them to supermarket chickens. They are not the same. If you are price shopping, they compare to the specialty free range chickens, which I think you will find are rather expense to buy.

If cost is the only consideration, then buy from the market.  If quality matters, raise your own. It's not cheap to do, especially since all the expenses are concentrated into 2 months.  That's a lot of cash for feed all at one time.

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Exhibition quality Blue Swedish Ducks and Gray Saddleback Pomeranian Geese,   Hatching eggs available in late winter and spring. NPIP

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post #8 of 135
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oregon Blues 

You won't raise them for cheaper than you can buy them on sale at the supermarket.  They were 99 cents a pound last week.

But you can't compare them to supermarket chickens. They are not the same. If you are price shopping, they compare to the specialty free range chickens, which I think you will find are rather expense to buy.

If cost is the only consideration, then buy from the market.  If quality matters, raise your own. It's not cheap to do, especially since all the expenses are concentrated into 2 months.  That's a lot of cash for feed all at one time.


This question about cost of raising your own vs. cost of birds at the supermarket comes up all the time here.  Lots has been written on the subject, and I've mostly tuned out on it.  But the previous post captures my thoughts on the subject better than I could say it myself.  If you are able to get your meat birds on some pasture, and let them move around and chase bugs and scratch at the dirt, the finished product will be fundamentally different than the rubber chicken from the store.  Because home-raised and supermarket birds are such different meats, in terms of taste and quality, comparing the costs of the two is an exercise in comparing apples to oranges.

post #9 of 135

I will pay $5 a lb for ground beef any day of the wk, from grass fed local producers. But when I go into the store & see beef for $3 a lb I feel it is expensive. When I was younger & first married ground beef was 99c a lb any day of the wk. Once I discovered I could cook with grass fed beef & not need to drain the grease off I was hooked. Price didn't matter, I wanted a better product. I think once someone experiences what they find to be better quality the price doesnt hurt as much. But when you are use to paying x for a product you expect to always pay x. I know if I saved $2 buying meat @ the store I would fuss the whole time I cooked it, so I dont try to save the $2.

Some people say there isn't a difference in pasture or commercial chicken, just price. I don't know anyone who can't see the difference in browning  ground beef. One is sitting in a pool of fat & the pan next to it that is fat free. Ground beef is a much easier analogy for me!


Edited by jcatblum - 9/22/11 at 1:04pm

Christina

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Christina

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post #10 of 135

This is from a post I made a few weeks ago.  These prices were using certified organic feed which is widely available in my area and thus lower in cost than most areas:

We butchered 31 broilers today at 7 1/2 weeks old.  Our results were outstanding.  I ordered 30 straight run jumbo broilers from Sunnyside and received 31.  I allowed for 15 lbs of feed per bird ordered and bought 150 lbs of 22% organic corn/soy ration to start and 300 lbs of 20% organic corn/soy to finish.  The birds dressed out at an average of 5.5 lbs per bird with neck.  The largest were 8 lbs, the smaller ones just under 5 lbs, with one runt at 3 lbs.

It was 168 lbs of dressed birds, working backwards I figure 240 lbs of live weight (using .70, since I left the neck attached).  That gives me an FCR of 1.88:1.  WOW.

I'm not sure why folks complain about the cost.  My numbers:

450 lbs of ORGANIC feed:  $153.96
Chicks:                                 $34.70
Shavings for brooder:            $6.00
Electricity (est.)                    $15.00
Propane for scalding:             $5.00
Shrink bags for 31:               $11.00

Total                                        $226   or    $1.35 / lb

That's $1.35 / lb feeding certified organic feed...

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