If you buy a whole chicken at the store, one can buy them for $0.79 -- $0.89 / lb. and this is the type of chicken carcass you get when you grow your own. If you buy only the already cut up and packaged breast meat not so much. If one includes all of the true costs of keeping the breeding flock, feed, housing, power, your labor, proportional share of property costs, etc ..... you are actually on the losing end of the equation. . Those that raise their birds to know how they were raised and what they were fed ... As for knowing how the chickens are being raised... each person has their own work ethic and providing living conditions for their chickens ... so ??? unless one follows each chicken every day , just how do you know what each one has eaten in the backyard ? Then one has to know exactly what is the actual soil structure and plants that grow there together what is it's nutritional value at each stage of the growing cycle and what insects and how many in any given day were eaten as well as what nutrients are in the feed that the chickens are consuming in your particular backyard . Whereas, in commercial operations, there is a written protocol for housing, labor, lighting, air movement, temperature , water, every bite of the feed is a balanced ration ( developed by poultry nutritionists ) and their percentages listed on the ingredient label . So who actually knows what ?
It dependeds how much you pay per pound for the chicken, I raise 20 Cornish cross at a time and it takes about $300 to feed them process them and buy bedding to prevent gang green but I sell them and make around $425-$500 so it all pays off. Also if you do raise your own meat chickens you know what you feed them and they have no antibiotics or growth hormones and they really are all natural. In my opinion they taste much better and if you raise more than you can eat you can always sell them many people would be willing to buy an all natural chicken.
I bought one to try it out. I'm all for knowing where my food came from-we grow quite a bit, raise pigs and have friends with cows. My husband on the other hand sees $$$ and wants to do what's cheapest. I tried blindly convincing him that it's cheaper but couldn't back myself up with the math or facts wasn't sure if someone had already done the math. I only bought one bc he's going to be the one processing, not me. If he can kill pigs, cows, sheep, fish etc he can kill a chicken, right?? We've got acreage so if it all works out I want to build a separate coop and raise meaties. He understands the health benefits but isn't as passionate about it as me. $$ is on his mind bc after all, living in hawaii is EXPENSIVE.