Does raising meat birds really save you money?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by ragerkid2, May 8, 2011.

  1. ragerkid2

    ragerkid2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2011
    Johnstown Pa
    I was thinking about raising meat birds but I was wondering how much do you really save on them? What is a good site other than this one to learn all about raising and killing beat birds.....?
  2. Two Creeks Farm

    Two Creeks Farm Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 23, 2011
    Hedgesville, WV
    For us, the money is break even with store bought, but higher quality we feel. Ive eaten my last store bought chicken with broken bones before it ever it the roasting pan.
  3. Dogfish

    Dogfish Rube Goldberg incarnate

    Mar 17, 2010
    Western Washington
    Depends. Do you buy bargain chicken or organic? If you buy organic, very easy to save. Harder to save if you buy bargain birds, but not impossible. Quality will likely be better.

    You have the cost of the birds and feed, and the cost of their pen.

    If you only raise one batch, you will be hard pressed to break even. Raising multiple batches spreads the cost of the pen/tractor over many batches. Multiple species, etc make things more sustainable. You can make it sustainable with minimal sales.

    I sell eggs from other birds and turkey poults, and that has paid for the feed for all birds so far this year (pheasants, quail, turkeys, laying hens and CX). That means my investment in my meat birds is $106 for the 60+ I have right now. Everything else was a break even, zero cost.

    There is more information here that on any single site. Lots of folks who do this for a living, and lots of us who do it for fun. Click on the thread at the top of the meat bird section. LOTS to learn there.
  4. cassie

    cassie Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 19, 2009
    You are not going to save any money by raising your own meat birds. Chicken is so cheap in the store it is hard for home raised birds to compete on price alone. People raise them because they enjoy doing it and because they like producing a superior product. I like BIG roasting chickens. In the eleven and twelve pound range. You can't find those in the store.
  5. 4-H chicken mom

    4-H chicken mom Overrun With Chickens

    Aug 3, 2007
    Oberlin, OH
    We raise meat birds every year but with the price of feed, we really don't save a whole lot. It is just that fresh chicken is so much better than store bought chicken. You never know how long it has been frozen or how it was raised and what it was fed. [​IMG]
  6. ragerkid2

    ragerkid2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 16, 2011
    Johnstown Pa
    Oh, well Im not sure if i could bring my self to do it. Maby if I have a few roo's that hatch under a hen.... But even then I couldn't do it.
  7. Saltysteele

    Saltysteele Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2011
    cost is not the issue, it's being able to eat chicken not pumped full of water and preservatives and flavor enhancers

    you need to not make them pets. if you sit there and hold them and play with them and talk to them, of course you'll have a hard time killing them.

    wait till your roosters start attacking you, it will make things a lot easier [​IMG]

    seriously, though, i grew up on a hog farm (not just a "5-hogs out back" farm, but a production farm). at no point did we single out any of the baby pigs and play with them and tame them, they were animals with a purpose.

    we did have a couple guilts (which turned into sows) who we named and scratched, but even when it came time, they had to go, also.

    if you don't think you can do it, then pay a processor (don't know what they cost, wouldn't pay someone to do something i can do).

    but most importantly, if you're going to raise an animal for meat, do yourself a favor and don't make it a pet
    Last edited: May 8, 2011
  8. brandislee

    brandislee Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2011
    Southern Minnesota
    I agree that it's not totally about saving money, although that is part of it. Your upfront costs can be high enough that you won't see any real savings for a few years, and you really would only see significant savings if you're comparing to free range/organic/pastured/etc chicken (ie if you're comparing like to like, so if you compare how you raise your chickens to a comparable product at the store, not the bargain chicken). A broiler costs around $1 to buy as a chick, and eats about 20 lbs of food over 8 weeks, so depending on the cost of your feed that one chicken is going to cost you (based on these expenses alone, not anything involving housing, etc) between $6-$9, possibly higher if you feed organic or lower if you get a good deal at a feed mill. Bargain basement on sale chicken tends to be $4-$5 a bird, but it is an inferior product. Comparable birds in the store, not even organic, are $12 and up.

    So yes, comparing like for like you'll save money over the course of several years. But there's also the satisfaction and pride of doing it yourself, and of knowing that your food was raised humanely and fed whatever you're comfortable feeding.

    So far as "not being able to do it," I had the same reservations. But someone else who has chickens near here told me she takes the chickens to a locker to be processed, so I took the plunge and bought 10 Cornish Crosses when I bought my laying chicks. Now having lived with these birds for three weeks I'm starting to think that I may have no problem processing them myself (although if I can pull it off I may have my hubby do the killing- I don't want to do it, but if it comes down to it I feel like I could). For the second week I had them I was like "I don't think I'll do broilers again- they're so gross and ugly and have no personality," ...especially compared to my ladies and my three roosters. But then I realized that that is PERFECT (except for the gross part- but I built a tractor for them so it's not bad now). You don't get very attached to the (all due respect to them) fat lazy uniformly colored eating machines that are Cornish X's. They eat, they waddle over to the water, they poop (a lot...), and they lay down. So now I have much respect for them as animals (hey- besides giving me meat in a few more weeks they're also fertilizing my lawn for free!), but I don't think I'll have any problem doing the deed if I have to. That's my two cents, anyway (and I'm a bleeding heart animal lover).
  9. hipeatall

    hipeatall Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2009
    We raised slow grow naked neck meat chicks ( and fed them organic feed in addition to free-ranging for 14 weeks. Poulet Rouge chickens sell for $5.00+ a pound, so yes, I guess we saved money. That's not why we raised them though - for us, it's not about the money it's more about knowing where our food is coming from. [​IMG]
  10. FeedYourself

    FeedYourself Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 25, 2011
    Washington State
    I'm estimating to be in mine $7.30/bird --avg 5 lbs.

    This = $1.46/lb, last I saw at the supermarket, the southern fryers were $1.79, the regional stuff was over $2.25. + my homegrown meat will be better.

    I am not including any cost for tractors, feeders, waterers, etc., but you can make alot of that stuff for not a lot of money.

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