Finished my first flock of Chickens

De Bauer

Chirping
Nov 5, 2020
40
132
50
Any thoughts to going organic? I’m buying in bulk at .49 per lb for organic.


I actually did but it was after buying the feed in bulk for them.. I also need to try another coop farther away for better pricing.. The only one in close range New Country Organics best price for 1/2 tote 1000lb was $570 or 0.57/lb

My current feed 1/2 tote 1000lb is 0.27/lb. I could handle going up 1/3 or even 0.10/lb but close to or more than double is something I am not sure I would be willing to cover.. Maybe if I sell 100 as then I could recoup it all.. I may have to look into that.

The place I currently use is non GMO and they will not accept grains that use certain pesticides.

Currently my total cost per bird is very close to Costco retail for their rotisserie chicken.. Thats not counting any of my labor of course. Changing feed would be 75% per lb increase.. If I could off set that selling equal number of birds for $4lb that would work.. Raise 100 instead of 50.

Its still hard for me to get my head around people willing to pay $20 - $30 for a whole chicken but they sure do. Mine also look a whole lot better than those organic birds in Martins, Whole foods, or Costco.. Some of those birds look like they came from a concentration prison camp not a green farm pasture LOL

I would love to use organic everything We do grow all of our veggies fruits etc organic. although this year I was tempted when those vine sucker things came in and took out 3/4 of my zucchini plants in 2 days.. Had to grow a whole new round of them. 15 plants grrrr

I will keep looking into it.. The VA Poultry coop offered Turkey and I would think chicken feed all organic.. Their prices maybe better.

Thanks for bring that up.
 

De Bauer

Chirping
Nov 5, 2020
40
132
50
Awesome to hear your story! It’s inspirational and very well written. Im currently doing a batch of 50 cc. Have you considered fermenting their feed? I believe there are many benefits including less feed waste and less water consumption at the drinker. My birds go through less than 5 gallons a day at 57 days, their feed is the consistency of oatmeal. Wet and pourable. It definitely helps on the smell even when moving in a tractor everyday.
Please keep us in your loop!


This is the info I had saved for fermenting

Fermented Feed Facts

Does that look correct?. anything to add?
 

blueberry1

Songster
8 Years
Mar 2, 2012
67
70
131
Wow thats funny.. I had read about fermenting feed right before I picked them up but wanted to not try to many things with our first run.. I was literalism just starting to search this topic again.. I am so glad you brought it to.

I never considered the water they would get from the mash cutting down on water consumption.. Never crossed my mind.. That would be a benefit as adjusting for 60.I was still going thru 2x the water you were.. That would be huge.. Packing water to refill the reservoir container gets old.

I am already big into using probiotics for chickens.. We personally use them and eat fermented foods ourselves.

I recall a few threads on here with instructions.. IIRC its pretty much add nonchlorinated water and stir a couple x per day start using after 5-7 days?

If it keeps fermenting does it get too sour were it puts off the chicken ?
I do half a bucket of feed and about half well water then mix it up with a paint mixer on a drill. Super easy. I use 5 gallons buckets with a loose lid. I mix once a day for 3 days and then feed. You can see it start to bubble. I’ve read to keep a layer of water on the top of the ferment as to help keep it anaerobic and that you need a minimum of 3 days. I’ve began to mix in a grain mix to help fatten them up.
Check out my thread. This is my second batch on FF. There are some really good write-ups on here where I learned most of this stuff.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
13 Years
Feb 2, 2009
28,805
25,200
977
Southeast Louisiana
I was tempted when those vine sucker things came in and took out 3/4 of my zucchini plants in 2 days.. Had to grow a whole new round of them. 15 plants grrrr

I don't bother even trying pesticides for them. I think you are talking about the squash vine borer. A small moth lays an egg at night and when it hatches the grub bores into the stem. It starts eating along the hollow center until it kills the plant. It's inside where pesticides cannot reach it. You'd have to be unbelievably lucky to have a pesticide on that stem where it hatches and where it bores in to kill it.

In Arkansas I extended the life of a squash by splitting the stem lengthwise and removing the grub. By splitting it lengthwise you do not cut off the supply of water and nutrients. If you bury the stem above that cut and keep it moist it can grow roots.

The squash vine borer has one life cycle up north but in Virginia you probably have two life cycles. If you are far enough north you can plant late and miss that life cycle. Maybe you got lucky with your timing.

In Louisiana I don't even try to grow any kind of squash that has a hollow stem. I'm thinking about trying Tromboncini squash, supposedly it has a solid stem so these things don't bother it but they take up a lot of room.

I took these grubs out of one yellow squash plant. One plant. It didn't have a chance.

Squash Vine Borers.jpg
 

blueberry1

Songster
8 Years
Mar 2, 2012
67
70
131
I actually did but it was after buying the feed in bulk for them.. I also need to try another coop farther away for better pricing.. The only one in close range New Country Organics best price for 1/2 tote 1000lb was $570 or 0.57/lb

My current feed 1/2 tote 1000lb is 0.27/lb. I could handle going up 1/3 or even 0.10/lb but close to or more than double is something I am not sure I would be willing to cover.. Maybe if I sell 100 as then I could recoup it all.. I may have to look into that.

The place I currently use is non GMO and they will not accept grains that use certain pesticides.

Currently my total cost per bird is very close to Costco retail for their rotisserie chicken.. Thats not counting any of my labor of course. Changing feed would be 75% per lb increase.. If I could off set that selling equal number of birds for $4lb that would work.. Raise 100 instead of 50.

Its still hard for me to get my head around people willing to pay $20 - $30 for a whole chicken but they sure do. Mine also look a whole lot better than those organic birds in Martins, Whole foods, or Costco.. Some of those birds look like they came from a concentration prison camp not a green farm pasture LOL

I would love to use organic everything We do grow all of our veggies fruits etc organic. although this year I was tempted when those vine sucker things came in and took out 3/4 of my zucchini plants in 2 days.. Had to grow a whole new round of them. 15 plants grrrr

I will keep looking into it.. The VA Poultry coop offered Turkey and I would think chicken feed all organic.. Their prices maybe better.

Thanks for bring that up.
Depending on where you are located and your market hopefully you could charge a premium for an all organic pasture raised bird. I’d bet you are the only one for miles. Maybe do a batch of organic and one of gmo next time just so you can test out your customer base. For me, to do all this work and not have an organic product seems to go backwards. My first batch was gmo free but since I’ve went organic. But you do have to pencil it out!
Humans want what they can’t have. “Sell out” of organic chicken fast and I’d bet you’ll have a waiting list for the next batch. Good luck, sir!!
 

De Bauer

Chirping
Nov 5, 2020
40
132
50
I don't bother even trying pesticides for them. I think you are talking about the squash vine borer. A small moth lays an egg at night and when it hatches the grub bores into the stem. It starts eating along the hollow center until it kills the plant. It's inside where pesticides cannot reach it. You'd have to be unbelievably lucky to have a pesticide on that stem where it hatches and where it bores in to kill it.

In Arkansas I extended the life of a squash by splitting the stem lengthwise and removing the grub. By splitting it lengthwise you do not cut off the supply of water and nutrients. If you bury the stem above that cut and keep it moist it can grow roots.

The squash vine borer has one life cycle up north but in Virginia you probably have two life cycles. If you are far enough north you can plant late and miss that life cycle. Maybe you got lucky with your timing.

In Louisiana I don't even try to grow any kind of squash that has a hollow stem. I'm thinking about trying Tromboncini squash, supposedly it has a solid stem so these things don't bother it but they take up a lot of room.

I took these grubs out of one yellow squash plant. One plant. It didn't have a chance.

View attachment 2402547
Yep that!s those evil little $%%#@$.

I never thought or have heard of splitting the vine. Great Idea!

Yes I am as far north as you can get in Va.. If you look at the top north east of the state on a map there is a small finger that is surrounded by W Va.. Its fredrick county Va.
 

De Bauer

Chirping
Nov 5, 2020
40
132
50
Depending on where you are located and your market hopefully you could charge a premium for an all organic pasture raised bird. I’d bet you are the only one for miles. Maybe do a batch of organic and one of gmo next time just so you can test out your customer base. For me, to do all this work and not have an organic product seems to go backwards. My first batch was gmo free but since I’ve went organic. But you do have to pencil it out!
Humans want what they can’t have. “Sell out” of organic chicken fast and I’d bet you’ll have a waiting list for the next batch. Good luck, sir!!

You know you just had to spur that interest I have had to try and sell farm products. LoL

You are generally correct.. There are a few places that will offer turkeys that are grass feed. But they are only the double breasted whites which like our conishX are the least flavorfully of the birds.. Turkeys do not have the issue of tougher meat from using different breeds.. I have had midget whites and it was the best I have ever had and s couple tests arrived at the same conclusion.

For chickens I have not seen any offered.. Usually they advertise in craigs list.. There are probably a couple large farms but they charge top dollar.. Same ones that are charging $8 - $10 lb for 1/2 cow grass fed.. Like somehow that is costing them more $$.. Its actually far less as they are only on pasture or hay versus paying for tons of grain mixtures.

Yes I think you are correct.. Its worth exploring this more.. I will start to reach out to people at our church and community to see how much interest there is.. Just to start out I would be happy to cover all my own chicken costs.. Its really only extra work at processing, so a few hours.. I need to make a careful audit of all my costs including depreciating the equipment for how long it will last. The lower initial pricing would also generate more business and feed into that "selling out instills desire/ increased demand" you mentioned. I could slowly increase pricing over the yrs while still keeping it below premium store organic pricing.. So if currently my cost is $1.15/lb and that went to $2.00/lb going fully organic for myself and sold birds I would have to charge $4/lb to cover both if I only raised 1:1. So it will depend on interest and volume. At some point though added labor becomes a factor. If I raised 50 for our family and 100 for sale if I had that much interest initially that would cut the difference in half or $3/lb.. That would also likely generate more orders. Costco Rotisserie Chickens are what 4- 4.5lb. But I think 5lb is a good perceived value weight so $15 per whole chicken. I would need to fully debone one but its probably around 4lb of meat (1lb of bone) @$3.75/lb.. For free range pastured raised organic fed that seems like a good deal. Alone they will actually be properly aged and brined..

I would likely then have the same customer base for fresh turkeys for thanksgiving at 1-2 per customer for midget whites as they are smaller. But likely want to offer larger bird as there is demand just for visual presentation.. The 2nd best ranked Turkey for taste is the Bourbon Red and they will hit 20lb.

Oh see what you have gone and started.. Your a trouble maker...lol
 

Molpet

Enabler
Premium Feather Member
6 Years
Sep 7, 2015
13,972
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New Lenox township. Illinois USA
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Same ones that are charging $8 - $10 lb for 1/2 cow grass fed.. Like somehow that is costing them more $$.. Its actually far less as they are only on pasture or hay versus paying for tons of grain mixtures.
Actually, grain fed is 18 months and grass fed/ finished is 24. So it does take longer and that translates into $$
 

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