Hey All So I am running my first batch of meat birds. Something I've been wanting to do for years and logistically have the time/space to do it. For anyone interested I will be updating this thread throughout the process with information I have been thinking about in the planning stages. I will be tracking feed consumption, bird live weights, equipment costs, feed costs and so on. My goal here is to track and show the costs associated with raising your own meat birds and how they would compare to a bird of equal quality and ethical standards at a farmers' market or stores that sell pastured poultry. That being said, this is something I plan on doing regardless of the costs 2x a year from now on based on my own thoughts towards the ethics involved with factory farming. The birds arrived this morning from Freedom Ranger Hatchery in PA, I ordered 25 Freedom Rangers and received 27, all alive and well. I did not sex them on arrival being that they have been in a box since Tuesday, I quickly put them on the scale and put them into the brooder. Upon arrival at 3 days old, the average live weight is 1.16 oz. Here is a screen shot of a spreadsheet I will be using to track stats along the way. I ran the sheet out to 16 weeks to be safe but do not plan on going that long. I based it off of another spread sheet I saw here on BYC. I will be inputing only final numbers into that spread sheet, and tracking running expenses in another. Running expenses so far include food, everything else I am using is existing equipment I already own. Brooder, heat lamps, waterer, feeder etc.. Upcoming expenses will be building a drum plucker and building a pen. So far I have spent $21.59 on feed. The feed store/grain mill near my house has three levels of feed, 20%, 18% and 16%. All around $14 for a 50lb bag. From my reading, I found that the meat birds need a higher protein for their first three weeks, 22-24%. Because of this I bought a bag of 24% starter at Tractor Supply and ended up spending more than usual, hence the $21.59. I will move back to the feed store feed as I step them down in protein to save money. That's pretty much all I have for now. I will be deciding soon between truly free ranging them with electric netting and just a cover to get under at night, or a Salatin style pen. As far as Freedom Ranger Hatchery goes, I was super pleased with the way it went. I have never bought from an online hatchery, just through our feed store in the past for egg layers. I found them to be the cheapest option for the Freedom Ranger/Red Broiler. I think this is due in part to everyone else who sells the Red Broilers that I saw just drop ships them from Freedom Ranger after marking them up. I called with some questions that were answered on the phone and then ordered online, their customer service was great. Anyway, as I think of more, I will add updates. Weekly numbers will be put into the spreadsheet and uploaded accordingly. Thanks for tagging along!