# Feed cost per bird question?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by mvktr2, Oct 13, 2009.

1. ### mvktr2In the Brooder

I'm just getting into doing this after about 2 decades off the farm! I'm absolutely getting some layers, but am considering getting some meaties if it's cost effecient. I'll probably be limited in space, so I'll be purchasing in lots of 25 I suspect. Thus my initial investment would be slightly higher than someone buying 100 at a time. Okay I can do that math on my own. What I hope someone can guide me on is:

What is the cost estimate in feed, medicated water, starter, etc. to grow a bird up from hatchling to butchering size (8-10 weeks)

Thanks,
Phillip

Jul 16, 2008
South TX on the border
i based my math on just the feed and what I read on this site that it takes about 17 pounds of feed per meat chicken start to finish....I figure its gonna run me about 4.5 to 5.5 dollars per bird in feed

3. ### bigredfeatherSongster

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Oct 1, 2008
Yorkshire, Ohio
Quote:Seventeen pounds per bird is a good estimate. The biggest variable is how big will the birds get eating 17 pounds each. The % protein of the feed will determine the outcome. I use a 23% non medicated feed from day one until freezer camp. At 8 weeks, my birds average about 4 1/2 pounds. If you go with a lower % protein feed, they will likely be smaller, because the birds have less protein to build mass.

Raising broilers isn't an economical way to get chicken. You will most likely not be able to raise them for less than what you can buy at a grocery store on sale. It is piece of mind knowing you are eating something that you have been a part of for 8-10 weeks, giving them only what you feel is best. I will say they generally taste better than a store chicken. I'm not sure if it because I raised them and something I raise always seems to taste better to me, or if there is a real difference.

Goodluck! Don't be afraid to try it once. You never know unless you try it. If you decide to try them, there are many people on here willing to give you advise on raising them.

Jul 16, 2008
South TX on the border
good point my feed cost is based on a 28% game bird chick starter, non medicated

5. ### mvktr2In the Brooder

Hmmm 4.5-5.5 dollars sounds slightly more than store bought, but not much more. I do enjoy the idea of eating something that lived a reasonably good natural life. If I could break even, minus my time spent, I'd be for trying it at least once.

What about processing excess roosters that come from hatchings? How long do you have to wait before processing a non-meat bird on average, 16 weeks? (basically twice as long) Hmmmm that becomes an expensive chicken dinner!

Fwiw I am an avid homebrewer. I started out of curiosity and love for good beer. Now by buying hops and grain in bulk, also roasting and caramelizing my own malts at home I can brew craft beer quality for less than \$.33 per 12 oz. bottle! So for \$2 I get what would cost me \$9+ in the store. If I get inventive and clone existing beers like Hobgoblin which cost \$4.50 per 16 oz. bottle I can brew 5 gallons for approx. \$31 vs paying something around 150 for 5 gallons worth at the store! No savings like that to be found in the chicken business apparently... oh well it'll be worth it I suppose for the piece of mind, security of food, and learning experience for my children.

Thanks,
Phillip

6. ### mvktr2In the Brooder

edited double post

Last edited: Oct 13, 2009

Jul 16, 2008
South TX on the border
I am diving into this meat bird deal because I have a customer who has agreed to a price where I can eat a few birds sell the majority and cover my feed cost for my meatys and layers.....

8. ### patandchickensFlock Mistress

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Apr 20, 2007
Quote:Not because of the time, though... because of the relatively small amount of meat you'll get off the carcass. It will cost a LOT less to FEED that dual-purpose bird. Less still if you can free-range or tractor 'em without having to subtract a lot of losses to predators.

I don't think it makes a lot of sense to try to compare economics of cornishX to dual-purpose, though, as they are just two totally different animals and two totally different foods, you know?

By all means try some CornishX or Freedom Rangers, and also some dualpurpose breed cockerels, and see whatcha think. You may well prefer them even if they are not cheaper than the cheapest store chicken. (Note that they can easily be cheaper than comparably-raised store-bought chicken).

Actually my CornishX and colored broilers HAVE come out cheaper than the cheapest sale chicken I can get from the supermarket... but only because I have spent \$0 on housing and because chicken is less dirt-cheap up here in Canada for some reason than it is in the States

Good luck, have fun,

Pat

Last edited: Oct 13, 2009

Jul 16, 2008
South TX on the border
I have some dominique X sussex that I hatched from my layers, they grow fast but are nowhere near a cornishX rate of growth, so feed conversion is the name of the game!! also body type, a cornishx is engineered for packing on meat the hybrids I have are nice but they are no meat packers dream by a longshot!!

10. ### brandywineSongster

Jul 9, 2008
Western PA
Quote:Don't forget the cost of the chick, plus any costs for equipment, which can be spread over however many flocks of meat birds you raise, but is an up-front expense.

Fwiw I am an avid homebrewer. I started out of curiosity and love for good beer. Now by buying hops and grain in bulk, also roasting and caramelizing my own malts at home I can brew craft beer quality for less than \$.33 per 12 oz. bottle! So for \$2 I get what would cost me \$9+ in the store. If I get inventive and clone existing beers like Hobgoblin which cost \$4.50 per 16 oz. bottle I can brew 5 gallons for approx. \$31 vs paying something around 150 for 5 gallons worth at the store! No savings like that to be found in the chicken business apparently... oh well it'll be worth it I suppose for the piece of mind, security of food, and learning experience for my children.

Thanks,
Phillip

I just started homebrewing, and am feeding the spent malt to the chooks. So there's a potential cost-savings for you right there.

Get your homebrewing friends to save their malt, too.​