How Many Is Worth While???

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by doublejfarm, Aug 1, 2011.

  1. doublejfarm

    doublejfarm In the Brooder

    Jun 6, 2011
    Modoc, SC
    Ok so I think I am gonna venture into meat birds soon. All I want is to have fresh meat that is home grown for my family. As far as cost goes, how many would be worth while to make the meat around what it costs in the store. My layers eat about a pound a week each. Is the close in meatbirds. I don't want to make money but just break even. Any insight would be great
  2. saddina

    saddina Internally Deranged

    May 2, 2009
    Desert, CA
    You won't, not really.

    I can find chicken on sale for 99 cents a lb. Now if i shop for organically raised pastured chicken it can be $3-$5 a lb, but unless you're already shelling out for prenimum meat, it won't save money. Now most meaties for family use are raised in groups of 25-50, and because of the various flaws in the cornish crosses, need be be butched all at once and stored (if you already have a vaccumm sealer and chest freezer, great, if not much of your hard work can be freezer burned). not saying don't raise your own, I do it, and many others do too, but once you add up costs of chicks, high protien feed, feeders, waterers, run space... it's not as cheap as it sounds. You'd have to raise them for years to get back those start-up costs.
  3. al6517

    al6517 Real Men can Cook

    May 13, 2008
    In short ............ you won't break even nowhere close.............. the satifaction comes from raising them yourself and peace of mind. You can cut cost however as you raise other batches as you learn where you can save and get the knack of the whole meat bird mentality. $2.00lb is close to what you can expect to spend doing it yourself and processing all your own birds, alot of folks pay others to process their birds which takes up the lions share of the price per lb. The cost of processing equipment has to be considered and prorated out over time by the bird. Meaties can be a daunting experience but also rewarding so think things through well before making the jump.
  4. homesteadapps

    homesteadapps Songster

    Nov 8, 2010
  5. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Crowing

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    The most economical meat is going to be from Cornish Cross. You have to buy those and if you look at the pricing, you usually get a price break once you order 26 of them. So 26, from most hatcheries, is a good place to start.

    You will never match supermarket prices. The chicken farms get a much bigger price break on their chicks because they purchase millions, not 26 birds. The buy their feed by the truck load, not by the 50 pound bag, so they get feed a lot cheaper than you ever will. They have mechanized assembly lines to process, so a bird takes them 10 seconds and it takes you 20 minutes. So their labor costs are lower.

    However, you will get much better meat and if you keep costs under control and raise your birds well so they don't die on you, then the cost for home raised chicken won't break the bank.
  6. Don't forget, when looking at your value, the number of quarts of stock that you'll be able to can if you have a pressure canner, or freeze if you don't can. I spend about $3.00 a quart for a quart of organic, low-sodium chicken broth at the store. Broth is one area that I really don't skimp when shopping because the better broth really makes a difference in taste in my cooked foods. So, if I can get 2-3 quarts of broth per carcass ( including those wonderful feet) that adds a bunch of value per bird. Given the increased intensity of the flavor of the bird we just butchered at ten weeks instead of the standard eight, I'll venture to say that the broth I can today will be extraordinary, as well.
    I'm preparing for 25-26 chicks this October, which is my best time of year to raise chicks here in AZ.
  7. galanie

    galanie Treat Dispenser No More

    Aug 20, 2010
    Quote:Good gosh yes. I now roast the carcasses and slow cook them overnight to make a really concentrated stock and WOW does that make a difference. I buy beef neck bones and do the same thing with them. It makes a huge difference in recipes, much more so than normal canned broth.

    Sort of reminds me of some Enchiladas I made for a pot luck. I kept getting asked the recipe but the real secret was that the sauce was made with homegrown tomatoes. Just can't get that flavor from a storebought can.
  8. booker81

    booker81 Redneck Tech Girl

    Apr 18, 2010
    You can't break even with discount market chicken prices.

    That said, the chicken you raise yourself will mean more to you, will be appreciated more, will make you proud, and will taste great and be fresh. Your chickens will be cared for in a more personal matter than any Tyson chicken, will not be soaked in some sort of sodium "solution". You will be empowered with knowing you can raise food for your family, and if you choose to process on your own, with the knowledge to bring that food to the table.

    That's worth more than the price of discount chicken to me [​IMG]

    (I can't remember, mine ran me about $1.50 to $2.00/lb whole for total cost, I did 12, and processed myself.)
  9. Sitting here eating chicken and dumplings while reading this. Used a leg quarter and breast from a pullet I butchered last week, she dressed at almost seven pounds. Stock from the pot I made today for canning. This is by far the most flavorful pot of chicken and dumplings I've ever made. I've just started raising meats. I still have a huge breast and leg quarter left from this bird, plus the carcass and feet to make more stock.
    Don't throw those feet away. Learn to clean them. They will really make some great stock!
    It makes me feel good that my birds lived a good life and I provided nutritious, delicious food for my family. I think by using all the parts and making stock, even with the expensive cost of feed in AZ, its still worth it.
  10. We have seven Pullets. I'm butchering at ten to twelve weeks, a little old but remember, I was fighting heat of 110 degrees all summer and didn't really push them to grow quickly.
    Looks like my husband and I will get four meals per bird. Plus, nine quarts of stock per bird. Plus two meals of scraps for the dogs per bird which saves me about $2.50 in cheap chicken, pork or beef for the dogs ( Doberman, papillon and chihuahua) because I don't feed them dog food.
    So, 28 human meals, 63 quarts of stock and fourteen meals for three dogs. Not too bad out of seven chickens. I sure wasn't expecting this much. Part of why it stretches so far is the intensity of the meat flavor and the fact that you get every piece of the carcass ( not a tiny scrap of neck, liver and gizzard), plus the feet which really nourish the stock. The stock, BTW, is at least twice as rich in flavor as the stuff I buy, which means I can use half as much and dilute it, making it actually stretch to 126 quarts!
    I'll be canning the pot that I made today up tomorrow. I used a quart of it tonight when I made chicken and dumplings but actually still had a full seven quarts left to fill the canner.

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