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Has anyone had any significant luck marketing non-cornish meat birds

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by DanIndiana, May 11, 2011.

  1. DanIndiana

    DanIndiana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 27, 2010
    Valparaiso, Indiana
    I have my first batch of cornish x now, and I am not here to knock them, but I just can't stop the urge to have a sustainable meat flock. Could I actually educate at least some customers to buy heritage breeds? Please tell me someone (Brunty, others) has had worthwhile luck pursuing this. It seems like everyone says it's a niche market at best.
    Thanks
    BYC is absolutely amazing-I truly would not have chickens if it wasn't for the help
     
  2. Doctim

    Doctim Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 24, 2010
    North of Dallas, Texas
    I'm considering the same option. If you have an existing customer list from another product or service you provide, I'd start there. I currently have starter flocks of sussex, marans and delewares. We'll see how the numbers work out. They will definitely not be bargain birds. I think we'll both be marketing to the "Whole Foods"/ "Trader Joe's" type market.

    I would recommend Joel Salatin's Pastured Poultry Profits as a starting place. I too, am interested in other folks experience.
    Tim
     
  3. Bossroo

    Bossroo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    When One could raise and market 3-4 batches of say 25 birds for 8 weeks per batch( total 75 for 18 weeks, 100 for 24 weeks) of the Cornish X in the SAME TIME and much more saleable meat than one could raise and market one batch of 25 birds for 18-24 weeks ( total 25) of the "sustainable" ones , not to mention the time to hatch the eggs that are in the incubator ( so possibly another batch of CC). I also would have the expenes of keeping the parent flock as well as incubator and power for hatching costs. If it was me, I would choose the former. Too, if I was to process the CC at 30 days for game hens, I could harvest and sell 100 game hens in 18 weeks or 150 game hens in 24 weeks.
     
  4. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    Quote:x2
     
  5. KatyTheChickenLady

    KatyTheChickenLady Bird of A Different Feather

    Dec 20, 2008
    Boise, Idaho
    I would suggest you raise some "heritage" breeds up to a decent weight, then calculate your costs and sample them before you start looking for a market for them . . . of course that is going to take you the rest of the summer [​IMG]
     
  6. DanIndiana

    DanIndiana Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 27, 2010
    Valparaiso, Indiana
    Sure, throw logic and analysis at me:) One might say though, that the same logic would say why raise chickens at all, moneywise.
     
  7. Mrs. Mucket

    Mrs. Mucket Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 3, 2010
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    I am guessing you could educate some buyers! I'm sure this varies with demographics and from area to area, but some people are looking more for an alternative to commercially raised chicken than for a supermarket lookalike/tastealike. Also, I've talked with people who ethically do not want to eat chickens that are prone to health issues and others who miss that DP flavor and texture of chickens from days gone by. They are willing to try a different type of chicken (ie. different meat distribution on carcass) and many will pay what it's worth. Doctim, I agree about the Trader Joe's/Whole Foods customers, and lots of them are shopping Farmers' Markets.

    Another option is a compromise: colored broilers, market ready in 9-12 weeks--slower growing than CX but faster than heritage DP breeds. Of course they are eating longer than CX so will cost more if you don't have a lot of pasture. But the breeders can provide table eggs during winter to earn part of their keep. This is the direction we are going.

    Anyway I suppose it all depends on factors like your priorities, the scope of your poultry enterprise, and your local market.
     
  8. rainplace

    rainplace Interstellar Duck Academy

    In our market, we're finding people want to want heritage birds. They do take longer to grow out and ostensibly take more feed. However when I grew out some Delawares, they were monster foragers and I barely had to feed them. Next time I will probably pack some feed in them a few weeks before butcher in order to increase their weight. They dressed out at 5.8lbs, and though I loved their flavor, they were more bone than meat. They were a test so we ate them ourselves.

    As a side note, we have the land to support foraging. A backyard could not have grown these birds out with as little feed as we put into them.
     
  9. PotterWatch

    PotterWatch My Patronus is a Chicken

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    Apr 22, 2008
    Virginia
    There is a CSA near us that raises heritage chicken for meat sales (free-range, soy-free, corn-free). They sell their chicken in shares. A half share is 3 chickens/month for 3 months at a time. So you get a total of nine chickens that weigh 2.5-3.5lbs each. They can be shipped to your house or you can pick them up from the farm. The price for a half share (including shipping), is $204.50. It works out to $22.70 per bird. If each bird were to be the highest weight they say you might get, they would be almost $6.50/lb (keep in mind this price includes the chicken being shipped to your home). I know several people who have purchased from them and they say it is very tasty chicken. If you can find a good customer base, this would be a nice business.
     
  10. Doctim

    Doctim Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 24, 2010
    North of Dallas, Texas
    Quote:x2

    BossRoo and KatyTCL, Your points are valid and true. In fact, I've been there, done that myself. It is a fine way of raising meat.

    I'm sure you are also aware that niche markets tend to bring a premium price for your products/services if you can find/develop one. I happen to be blessed with a built in market that tends to look for what they believe to be healthier alternatives. They don't mind paying for it either.

    There are also valid arguments that heritage breeds are leaner and produce a much more favorable fatty acid profile then the standard industry bird. I don't think it has so much to do with the breed but more to do with the time it takes for the birds to reach mature weights. Factor in true free range and quality of life issues for the bird and add in "knowing" where your food comes from as well. I have more ideas for customization of the process but you can see where i'm headed here. These will be filet minon chickens. I think I can get $8-9 per pound per bird. For me, It's always been easier and quicker to draw 10 people with $500 then 100 with $50.

    It will be a very select brand, hard to find around here and marketed to a slightly affluent, health-conscious market who still has a dollar or two to spend. Think about it. These people paying $100+ bucks for a four hour class to learn to grow tomatoes! Then the buy there heirloom plants, wire cages(that they built) and bags of composted chicken poop as well.


    Or..... we'll be eating a lot of chicken around my house. Either way, I am happy with it.

    Tim
     

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