Economics of rasing meat chickens

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by keepitlow, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. keepitlow

    keepitlow Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 11, 2009
    Next spring I wanted to try raising some chickens to eat. Excluding the housing for the birds, about how much does it cost to raise one chicken?

    I bought one farm raised free range chicken at a farmers market and it cost $14. So I hope the home raised chickens are a lot cheaper than that. The free range home grown chicken did taste great, but can't afford to buy them at that price.

    As far as housing, I saw some of the coops cost near a thousand dollars. Is there way to 'test raise' some chickens, say 6 or so, to see how one likes it before investing tons of money? I don't have lots of land, so they need to be enclosed somehow.

    I am interested in raising chickens cause the trend with the store bought chickens (at least in my local ) is to pump them full of sodium to make them weigh more.

    I don't care so much about that scam, other than I have high BP so prefer to eat meat with the low natural sodium content.

    ...and pretty soon we may all be eating chickens from China!

    so I figure I better learn how to raise some of my own food.

  2. Tad

    Tad Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 16, 2008
    South TX on the border
    I figure 5 to 6 dollars a bird also depends on cost of feed, and amount fed.
  3. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2008
    It also depends on the breed that one chooses... The Cornish X is the gold standard as it will be ready in 6 weeks for a 4 -5 lb carcass. 8 weeks for 5-8 lb carcass. The Freedom ranger will also reach those weights, however will take 2-4 weeks longer. The so called dual purpose will take 16-20 weeks but may or may not ( and more likely not) reach those weights. The roos of the egg breeds such as the Leghorn , one would be waisting time and money on.
  4. ChanceRider

    ChanceRider Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 19, 2008
    Somerset, CA
    We figure our birds cost approximately $6.50 each to raise and that includes buying the chicks, their feed, and about 8 bags of shavings. We only raise 30 at a time so we don't buy feed in bulk, just 50 lb bags. We're able to sell them to friends/co-workers for $10 a bird so we have no trouble coveirng our expenses, and are able to keep birds for our own freezer. We won't get rich on this scheme but I'm happy with the better quality of meat and knowing our birds are raised and processed humanely.
  5. kassy68

    kassy68 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 10, 2009
    Vassar , Michigan
    My Coop
    well.. this spring was my first time out.. I kept track of everything..
    I paid 55 bucks for 50 st run broilers.. lost 11 of them in the first 2 weeks

    9x12 area and started with 2 bags of pine shavings 5-6 bucks a bag.. turned and added a new bag each week

    the 24% food was 15 bucks a bag

    took food out at night from 2 weeks on

    at 4 weeks I dropped to 20 % (followed hatcheries guidelines)

    took them in at 7.2 weeks of age (processor was booked through the week of the 8 week age and didn't want to risk the heart attacks or stuff , newbie) and they were very healthy clean birds : processor was a 1.45 a bird

    So from chicks, to shipping, to feed and bedding and processing and cost of bags (zip locks with the new vacuum pumper,, way cool, but wasnt big enough for all of them)

    In the end It came to 1.69 lb

    Now I've found a place that grinds all natural daily for 18 bucks a 100lbs.. so my cost will go down a bit this next year. hope that helps.
    Hers my cornish 9 days before processing

    I had one small one that processed out at 3 something.. the average was 5lbs and the largest processed at just over 7 weeks was just over 7 lbs.. a BIG boy... and yes.. from the picture they grew a bunch... 39 birds were going through 25lbs of feed a day for the last week almost.. fortunately they don't start off eating that much..

    Knowing what I'm eating makes it allllllllllllllllllll worth it.. These guys would come up and stand at my feet for belly rubs.. ( what they didn't know is I was sizing them up)
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2009
  6. mstricer

    mstricer Overrun With Chickens

    Feb 12, 2009
    What about the Freedom Rangers wouldn't they cost less to feed and housing could be nothing more then a hoop house to sleep in since they can freerange. Or because they grow longer it comes out the same?
  7. keepitlow

    keepitlow Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 11, 2009
    Thanks for ALL the replies.

    I guess I better buy more than 6 to try out if so many can die the first few weeks. Is a 20% loss ratio about standard?
  8. the simple life

    the simple life Chillin' With My Peeps

    I think most people lose a few, I know I did. Greyfields posted in an old thread that you should figure in a 25% loss when you order.
    If you aren't picking up your birds locally, you will have to order a minimum of 25 through a hatchery anyway, they don't ship less.
  9. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 15, 2008
    WOW ... 25% loss... WOW !!! Even the evil big boys may loose up to 10%. If I lost that many , I would be looking for a different way to a yummy dinner. Maybe tofu ??? As the old saying goes... "The eye of the master fatens the cattle". I order 25 Cornish X at a time and may occasionally ( as in rarely) lose 1 or 2 on arrival or within 2 days. This is way fewer looses that I had with a self sustaining flock of RIR and BRs that had the run of the place in my old ranch up in N Cal.. The rest enjoy the good life for 6-8 weeks when they take a vacation at freezer camp, or enjoy a broth bath, or laze on a grill all golloped up with Bar B Que sauce.
  10. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mine run about 6.50/bird. You don't save anything versus regular store birds, as you can get a whole chicken for $5 in the supermarket, but you get a lot more for your money, and a lot better quality.

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