Cost of raising Jumbo Coturnix vs Cornish X chickens for meat ????

Discussion in 'Quail' started by Buttercup Chillin, Dec 20, 2010.

  1. Buttercup Chillin

    Buttercup Chillin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 27, 2008
    SouthEast TX
    I'm curious if anyone knows which is cheaper to raise for quick meat for the table? Jumbo Coturnix or the Cornish X's? Remember its winter and people live all over the country. I have never raised the Cornish X's but I know they are eating machines. But you can process a lot of meat at one time.

    I raise heritage chickens, ducks and the Jumbo Coturnix for meat for my table. I know that the Quail for me are the cheapest, just feed wise.
    Not accounting for the cost of the incubator, brooders and pens for growing out and breeding. OR grow out pens for Cornish X's or something else.

    My ducks and chickens can free range for most of their feed but in the winter, I buy large amounts of feed for them. Thank goodness we have short winters here. I buy bags and bags of greens for my Ducklings when they hatch in Winter and early Spring before the garden comes in, until they are ready to process. I whine about it but I do it. So if they are getting the goodies that they need I have to give the chickens some too, so add that on. (I am really going to whine this year, a few days ago the chickens got into the garden, the ducks followed and they stripped it clean). I think I have some parsley left.

    I would love to just buy meat at a grocery store, I know it is cheaper than what I can grow it out for. But I can't because of my allergies.
    I know there are cheaper ways of raising these birds than I do. But living where I do, I prefer to keep them on their feet rather in the freezer, so that alone costs me more and I realize that.

    But what about others, what can a person raise cheaply and fast for meat for the table? Or is it even possible?
    There's a lot of people out of work out there. Their coming here, looking for help and its winter.
  2. Omniskies

    Omniskies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2008
    Here's the breakdown that I have been able to find over time:

    To raise a 5lb Cornish for six weeks you will go through 10lbs of feed.

    To raise a 12oz (I'm being reasonable!) for 8 weeks, you will go through 2lbs of feed.

    They both dress out to around 75%, which is 3.5lbs (56oz) for a Cornish and 9oz for quail. That means 2.857lbs of feed per pound of dressed chicken, and, if my math is right, 3.555lbs of feed per pound of quail.

    However, that is strictly in feed. You have to determine how much each chick costs you to either purchase or hatch. If hatching, include egg cost or parent cost plus the cost in energy to incubate. Plus you should probably determine heat lamps. How long does a Cornish need a heat lamp in comparison to a quail kept in the same space? And lastly, factor in personal preference and health. Do you want a leaner meat? Do you want to fuss with a smaller bird?

    Personally, I think rabbits are cheaper to raise. The feed isn't -quite- as expensive and can be supplemented with orchard or timothy hay - which will almost cut the price in half. Processing is a lot faster since all you do is skin them. There's no incubating, no heat lamps, and a pair of rabbits can easily produce 150lbs of meat for the freezer. With five does and one buck you can put as much meat in the freezer as a single steer, 214 Cornish Rock, or 1,333 quail.

    It really comes down to personal preference. My ducks cost more to raise, but that doesn't mean I'm going to dump them and raise more quail. Turkeys and Jumbo Ringnecks are more expensive than chickens, but I'll take the variety over the cost any day.
  3. RiverOtter

    RiverOtter Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 4, 2009
    I'm a total newb at Quail but I can tell you that CX are expensive to raise, unless you get a serious discount for bulk buying of food. And especially as chicken is a common "loss leader" in grocery stores, you will have a hard time raising it for what you could buy it for.
    (For those that don't know, a loss leader is an item that the store will sell at cost or even less because it will "lead" you to buying other items. Chicken is cheap, a box of ShakeNBake is 2.49)
    But if you are comparing non-medicated, free range, non saline injected chicken and paying a premium for it, it may be worth it. LOL, I've a dozen free range raised CX hens in my yard right now because my freezer died and they are at the bargain price of $2 a pound to anyone who wants them. And I can't sell them.
    But it would hurt too much to drop the price because I've got more $ then that in them. They may just become brood stock for a crossbreeding experiment.

    Also, when doing cost analysis of CX, the feed rates are for roosters. You pay more for rooster chicks because the hens grow slower and not as big.
    So think of price of chicks, shipping, loss rate (flip or piling) and while you can process more meat at once they are very expensive to keep as meat-on-the-hoof. And you really only have that option with hens as the faster growing roosters are prone to just up and dying.

    The expense of raising CX or quail is the protein level of the feed. It would take a lot of effort to grow enough protein to make a home diet for CX worth it, but I think it may be a worthy experiment to see if quail could eat red wiggler worms raised in composted quail poo, supplemented by grains that could potentially be grown in the backyard..

    But as Omniskies pointed out, the cheapest meat to raise is rabbit. You can raise a rabbit on good quality hay alone, and any grain you give them will just make them grow faster. Pellets are expensive and easy, but not necessary. I've got rabbits and I'd like to wean them (and me) off pellets completely. It will be harder for me then them. Pellets are a very easy way to feed that takes no thought on your part - just dump them in. I've raised rabbits without pellets before, it's just easy to get out of the habit, esp the further north you go.

    Muscovies can be pretty cheap to raise if you can let them range. They'll also clear out mice. I'm not a big fan of duck, but have heard that Muscovie(sp?) is leaner then other ducks. One day I'll get around to trying one. I raised them and sold them years ago (never ate one then) and if I was a fan of duck meat I'd have a trio and have roast duck coming out my ears and for not much cash either. Very easy keepers.

    I think the real secret to cheap meat raising is timely processing and storage. Every day past "prime" butchering age you can count as money lost. I could cry when I think what those CX hens have cost me in feed. In hindsight I should have just knocked them on the head and fed them to the dogs - taking the smaller loss. When the freezer went unfortunately canning wasn't an option either.
    With a self sustaining meat herd or flock, the trick is to never winter anything but your breeders. Come first frost everything else goes in the freezer. Feeding a trio of Muscovies is cheap - feeding a dozen isn't. But that means being able to store meat.
    The hardest part is keeping your eye on the bottom line.
    For example; For eggs and nothing but enough eggs to feed your family, 3 to 5 Leghorn hens allowed to range and fed kitchen scraps and maybe a handful of feed to get them in the coop and locked at night in whatever predator proof thing you can build after raiding a dumpster at a construction site will keep your family flooded with eggs for a couple of pennies per egg.
    Then we get the "bug" and plain jane leghorns aren't good enough. We want blue laced red wyandottes. And that cobbled together coop is redneck looking. And maybe you can sell hatching eggs so you need a bigger flock and a rooster and a spare. And next thing you know you're going through 50 pounds of feed a week and trying not to think about how much your eggs are costing. In a couple of years you give up the money pit in disgust and the pricey coop you built stands empty. That or you tell yourself it's cheaper then drinking and stop keeping receipts. A coop like this takes about 348 dozen eggs to begin to pay for itself
    looking at "what's the cheapest?" be careful to not fall into the traps.
  4. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009

    Well, funny line, anyway.

    I gave away 7 1/2 dozen eggs yesterday to my sister. I shudder to think how much they cost me if I sat down and really figured it out. It's a hobby, and not a cheap one, but they sure taste good.
  5. Hooligan Farm

    Hooligan Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 24, 2010
    Burlington County, NJ
    I just started out with all this a few months ago. I have ducks, chickens, quail, and rabbits. Though I don't have cornish, I would have to say compared to what I put out to what I gain quail are at the top and my rabbits are a close second. I have about 40 eggs in incubators( one I built myself) and have 13 baby rabbits expecting another litter in a couple weeks. So in theory, my freezer will be packed by the end of January. The initial output of money wasn't to bad and now that everything is starting to run smooth I just have feed cost. Since I'm over run with rabbits (19 all together) I spend about $25 a month on them. But come spring I will try a couple meat birds for $hits and giggles.
  6. pascopol

    pascopol Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 6, 2009
    Tampa Bay
    Quote:Rabbits are easy, quiet and efficient, all white lean low calories, healthy meat.

    In my past experience with rabbits when I started raising them having few of them I fed them veggie scraps, dried bread, and some commercial pellets. The meat was delicious.

    Then I expanded my rabbitry to about 50 heads, there was not enough veggies for them so they were fed solely commercial rabbit feed.

    At this point meat quality went down the tubes, nobody in my family wanted to eat them anymore so I quit raising rabbits.
  7. Whitehouse Quail

    Whitehouse Quail Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2009
    Amen about not keeping the birds over the winter... I was planning on processing a batch before winter, but it came early! [​IMG] So now I put ten pounds of food out for them every day, which isn't even worth it because they aree so old.
  8. Omniskies

    Omniskies Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 7, 2008
    It's easy to make meat cheaper. You just have to decide how far you want to go with it. Here's how to produce cheap meat:

    1. Cheaper/free animals to begin with
    2. Processing when you should - not when you want to.
    3. Not wasting anything. Be creative.
    4. Alternative feeds.

    I finally found a supplier of Cornish Rock hatching eggs. I can buy them by the case (360 eggs), then when I hatch them out, sell the extras for what it would cost a person to buy them at a hatchery (around $1.50~). That pays for my whole hatch. Whatever I have left are free chicks. From there all I have into them are feed, time, and heat lamps. I raise my rabbits for show and pet - anything that doesn't make it to the show table or sells as a pet before it is 12-16 weeks goes in the freezer. The rabbits that go in the freezer have already been paid for by the show rabbits. Again - effectively "free" meat.

    I've also started picking up free/$1 young roosters. I skin them, dry the skins, and sell them for people interested in feather crafts. The meat I can cut off can be made into a "stuffed" roast (slice off the breast meat, stuff broccoli and cheese on the inside, and cook it), then the meat I don't want to fuss with goes in the slow cooker with the bones. The broth goes to make Tomato Florentine/Gulash, or occasionally chicken soup, and the extra meat usually goes toward BBQ sandwiches. I'm still working on trying to make chicken nuggets/patties.

    So out of a single $1 rooster I can get a $5-10 hide, roughly 2-5 quarts of broth (around $15 or so), enough breast meat for a fancy meal, enough simmered meat for BBQ sandwiches, innards for a gravy or to fry (we usually store a bunch then fry the gizzards/livers/lungs). And let's be honest; raising a heritage rooster doesn't cost all that much to begin with.

    As was pointed out - process when you should, not when you want to. As animals grow they eat more. A two day old Cornish Rock eats less than a six week old, which eats less than a 12 week old. Sometimes it's better to have a less expensive Cornish Game Hen than it is to have a Birdzilla.

    Don't waste anything. Have you checked out the prices for good broth at the grocery store? Do you know how many tasty things can be made with broth? A lot. And very little of it is a soup (which, let's face it, gets old after a while). Simmer those legs or smoke them and give them to the dog (mine won't eat raw legs, but loves anything partially cooked), make a nice meal with the organs, make catfish bait out of the blood - whatever works for you.

    Then tally _all_ of that up. How much would you have had to spend to get around 16 cups of broth? For me, around $15-30 at the grocery store.

    Alternative feeds gets tricky because it's extra work. We will fuss around with some alternative feeds, but in the end I get too lazy and stick with pellets in the winter and garden odds and ends in the summer.

    When you've done a genuine tally of how much you have made back just from one bird - more than just weighing the meat and grumbling - then suddenly the costs are a little more in line with what you would want. Sure, it's $2-3/lb in meat. But broth, feathers, innards, etc will reduce that cost by a lot. Fast.

    I hope that helps.
  9. JJMR794

    JJMR794 Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 2, 2009

  10. JJMR794

    JJMR794 Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 2, 2009
    Oh Yeah... Forgot, I Aint Eatin Guts- Period! Sorry [​IMG]

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