Figuring Cost per Bird / Pound??


11 Years
Aug 4, 2008
Camden, AR
For all of you that have raised Meat birds (Cornish X's, Rangers, etc):

Have any of you tallied up the costs of raising your flock versus number of birds/pounds of table meat you ended up with?

What kind of numbers did you end up with?

Do you feel these were cost effective for you?

I already presume that the time and effort was worth it to you.

I would ASSUME (yes, I know), that those costs would include:
feed and water; electric if used; any transport costs; processing fee, if applicable; purchase of any equipment (amortized over a span of harvests). Anything else?

From an earlier post (
You may just be able to plug-in your own numbers, but this was everything I could reasonably think of. My "cost" ended up being about $9.60/chicken at an average weight of 5lbs. Since most of the costs are fixed, anything above 5lbs starts getting cheaper, so my last batch I sold for $2/lb up to 5 lbs, then $1.50/lb thereafter. It's a complicated formula, but it encourages people to purchase the larger chickens, which is a better deal for me and the end-consumer.

I purchased 50 cornish cross broilers from Meyer hathery, brooded them for 3 weeks, then put them in the moveable tractor/pen. I had them processed this weekend (58 days old).

cost of brooder ($0)
cost of chicken tractor, or housing ($250 or $42/batch amortized across 6 batches)
cost of feeders/waterers/lamps ($70 or about $12/batch amortized)
cost of pine bedding for use in brooder ($25/batch)
cost of electricity used in brooder for heat lamps (est. $10/batch)
cost of chicks ($53 shipped - received 51 birds)
cost of feed ($224 - 2 bags @ $14.50 and 15 @ $13.00)
cost of processing ($96 - 48 birds)
total costs for this batch: $462

avg weight (dressed): just over 5 lbs
selling price: $10.50/chicken (about $2.10/lb)
sold 43: $451.50
Net: -$10.50
chickens remaining: 5
So, hypothetically, you could spend $324 if you already had the housing and processed yourself, bringing it down to about $7.50 a bird. Good goal for me. Thanks!

$250 or $42/batch amortized across 6 batches)
cost of feeders/waterers/lamps ($70 or about $12/batch amortized)

cost of processing ($96 - 48 birds)​
I just did 5 of my Cornish X on Saturday. Here is the per-chicken math:

purchase cost $1.35 per chicken
2 bags of feed @14, for 10 chicks $2.80 per chicken
1 bag shavings @5, for 10 chicks $0.50 per chicken
run bedding - free (used stump shreddings from poplars being removed)
electricity for lamp: $3 for 10 chicks $0.30 per chicken
already had the building/pen/run they lived in, the waterer, etc

total = $4.92 per chicken
average DRESSED weight at 6 wks was just under 4 lbs (3.25-4.5 lbs)

roughly $1.25 per lb or $2.79 per kg

Even on sale, I have almost never seen chicken up here (in the past few yrs) for less than like $2.50/lb ($4.79/kg), plus supermarket chicken a) has its weight plumped up with saline, and b) the weight includes giblets and neck, which my weights do not include.

Thus I am raising my own chicken for roughly HALF of what it would cost in the grocery store. Plus this is better (and happier) chicken. (Edited to add: and my GOSH was that a good roast chicken we had on Sunday. Wowee. Had muscles where no storeboughten chicken ever had, and to my surprise there was not the least hint of dryness to the meat. Made far better soup stock afterwards, too. Three thumbs up

Those living in areas with lower supermarket chicken prices probably can't do this well, but, nah nah nah nah nah

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Some great examples here posted already. These are the categories I use to calculate costs:

Cost to Purchase Bird
Food (currently $0.31/lb where I live)
Slaughter (state inspected facility where I live in order to sell them)
Shelter (tractor amoratized over 2 years)
Portable Electric (electronetting amoratized over 2 years)
Fountains (assume purchase 1 replacement per year)
Ranger Feeder (assume purchase 1 replacement per year)
Brooder Lamps (1 per year)
Brooder Bulbs (2 per year)
Medicine ($10/fecal exame, so far no medicine used in them)
Insurance (varies)

I sell at $3.75/lb, which is actually a net loss for the first 2 years until the tractors are paid for (I have three of them). After that period, I should have a profit margin.

Also, the size to which you grow them will make a huge difference. I'm finding 3.5-4.0 dressed weight is the way to go. They sell better and obviously are less costly to raise.
Thanks All!

I was trying to figure what the costs would be, what materials &/or equipment I'd need, etc....

If I knew it was gonna be a mild winter again, I could raise chicks all winter, and butcher at 6 - 7 pounds live weight, and get a decent sized carcass. (whether they would mature quick enough to be fryers would be the question)

With the prices for meat what they are, we're eating more chicken & ground turkey. Butchering and freezing makes sense IF I can show hubby that it will be cost effective as well.

Generally speaking, raising your own birds is not a 'bargain'. But, if you love good, wholesome food for yourself, your family and to impress your loved ones, then by all means raise your own. You cannot buy what you can produce in your own backyard.

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