Dumb questions from a chicken noob.

Sublight

Songster
Jun 2, 2016
619
670
216
Pensacola, FL
1. Is it cost effective to raise my own meat birds? (My wife and I would do this to save money in a heartbeat)
2. How hard is it to process the chickens. I don't want to drop 500 bucks to process 10 chickens every few months.
3. How old do the chickens need to be before slaughter?
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,502
20,752
907
Southeast Louisiana
1. Is it cost effective to raise my own meat birds? (My wife and I would do this to save money in a heartbeat)

Compared to buying them at the store, probably not. They have the advantage of mass production and you would have start-up costs. If they can forage for most of their food, this equation changes so maybe.

2. How hard is it to process the chickens. I don't want to drop 500 bucks to process 10 chickens every few months.

Are you relatively healthy? As long as you have use of your hands and such, say no severe arthritis or other limitations, it's not that hard to process 6 to 8 week old Cornish Cross birds. There are several how-to threads with pictures in this Meat Bird section, including some in the stickies. Those are right at the top of the section.

3. How old do the chickens need to be before slaughter?

Cornish Cross should be slaughtered somewhere around 6 to 8 weeks old. They grow so fast their body can't keep up so they develop heart problems and die or their skeleton breaks down unless you severely limit their feed. Rangers and other types of meat birds can usually go a month longer but cost more to feed.
 

StarChicken

Songster
11 Years
Feb 14, 2010
102
75
201
Benton, Arkansas
1. Is it cost effective to raise my own meat birds? (My wife and I would do this to save money in a heartbeat)

It depends . . . If you already raise chickens with a rooster and they're heavy bodied enough, why not let one of your broody hens hatch them for you? However, more importantly, you have control over your birds; all those nasty extras (like antibiotics, etc.) in commercially raised and processed birds can be left out of the mix. And, you know where your meat came from!

2. How hard is it to process the chickens. I don't want to drop 500 bucks to process 10 chickens every few months.

Processing the birds can be done on a shoestring. If you're in good health, not squeamish over the killing and (no way to say it nicely) gutting part, then it's an easy task. You will need a large pot of boiling water (preferably outside) to loosen the feathers, so you can pluck them out by hand. Then gut, wash and prepare the bird for cooking or freezing.

3. How old do the chickens need to be before slaughter?

Again, it depends on the bird you're processing. When I was a kid growing up, when a broody hen hatched chicks, those that turned out to be roosters (usually at two or three months) were the "meat birds" while the hens were kept for egg production and hatching more baby chicks.
 

Sublight

Songster
Jun 2, 2016
619
670
216
Pensacola, FL
I don't really have a meat breed. They are just ole barn chickens that I hatched from about 3 different farmers eggs back home. We called them Yellow Buffs. I can feel their breast bones through the feathers, but ive killed and ate one, and after dressing it, it looked ok (nice drumsticks). But they were nothing special.
 

PD-Riverman

Crowing
8 Years
Jan 14, 2012
5,007
1,302
406
Conway SC
1. Is it cost effective to raise my own meat birds? (My wife and I would do this to save money in a heartbeat)
Answer is NO----Not if you are after the Money end. Plain NO. You can buy them from the grocery store cheaper. If you are after Good Quality Meat, that You Know how it was fed and taken care of, how it was slaughtered, how old it is---how it was processed by you----then The Cost is Not a factor.

You can not compete with the BIG chicken raisers/processors when it comes to Cost----only Quality!
 

StarChicken

Songster
11 Years
Feb 14, 2010
102
75
201
Benton, Arkansas
I don't really have a meat breed. They are just ole barn chickens that I hatched from about 3 different farmers eggs back home. We called them Yellow Buffs. I can feel their breast bones through the feathers, but ive killed and ate one, and after dressing it, it looked ok (nice drumsticks). But they were nothing special.

Sounds like Buff Orpingtons to me. Or maybe just mutts. :)
Answer is NO----Not if you are after the Money end. Plain NO. You can buy them from the grocery store cheaper. If you are after Good Quality Meat, that You Know how it was fed and taken care of, how it was slaughtered, how old it is---how it was processed by you----then The Cost is Not a factor.

You can not compete with the BIG chicken raisers/processors when it comes to Cost----only Quality!

Very good answer, Riverman!
 

StarChicken

Songster
11 Years
Feb 14, 2010
102
75
201
Benton, Arkansas
I don't really have a meat breed. They are just ole barn chickens that I hatched from about 3 different farmers eggs back home. We called them Yellow Buffs. I can feel their breast bones through the feathers, but ive killed and ate one, and after dressing it, it looked ok (nice drumsticks). But they were nothing special.

Here's information that might help you:

http://thebackyardchickenfarmer.com/5-best-meat-chicken-breeds/

The author gives choices between "meat only" chickens and "dual purpose" chickens with explanations of why he/she chose that particular breed.

Like you, I'm also interested in putting some meat into my freezer. And like Riverman said (paraphrased), "Cost isn't everything. Quality and taste heads the list."
 

Sublight

Songster
Jun 2, 2016
619
670
216
Pensacola, FL
Here's information that might help you:

http://thebackyardchickenfarmer.com/5-best-meat-chicken-breeds/

The author gives choices between "meat only" chickens and "dual purpose" chickens with explanations of why he/she chose that particular breed.

Like you, I'm also interested in putting some meat into my freezer. And like Riverman said (paraphrased), "Cost isn't everything. Quality and taste heads the list."
Great article, thank you. And again, this may sound silly. I know you can taste a difference between different types of cows, can you tell a difference between different tastes of chickens?
 

twigcrafter

Songster
5 Years
May 5, 2016
347
243
187
Orange county NY
This thread got me thinking. I did the math and it came out to $30.05 each bird! Hahaha.

:lau That includes the price of the plucker.

Oops add another .50 each for the shrink bags.
$30.55 per bird.
 

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