How many meat birds would you suggest per year?

mississippifarmboy

collects slightly damaged strays
11 Years
Oct 22, 2008
4,847
148
268
Glen, Mississippi. 40+ chicken years
We don't raise "meat" chickens, just dual purpose fowl like Orpingtons, Rhode Island Reds, Orloffs and such. We seldom ever freeze any, just process a couple anytime we want a meal with chicken. Three adults, two teens and a child here, sometimes an extra friend or cousin or two come supper time.
Our birds aren't as meaty as the common Cornish X birds, we usually clean and cook two at a time. I have severe arthritis and about five is the most I can do before the pain in my hands gets too bad, so it's easier to just do a few at a time for us.
We also process very young cockerels (Around 6 to 8 weeks old) and cook them whole like the Cornish game hens you see in the store. Not often, but I nice change sometimes. One small bird for each person.

Over all we eat around 6 chickens a week average for 6 people. Two chickens per meal, three meals per week plus leftovers. Comes out to around 312 chickens per year.


Dog gone it......


I had no idea we ate that many....



https://www.backyardchickens.com/gallery/image/view/album/6131504/id/4565531/sort/display_order
 
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partsRheavy

Songster
8 Years
Jul 28, 2011
283
9
108
Even if there are just 2 or 3 people this is usually a lot of birds unless no-one likes chicken or everyone eats out. Of course subtract out the times that pork, beef, fish, or non-meat meals are eaten.

Then estimate about how many times a week folks would like to eat chicken, and factor in white meat vs. dark meat. Then you have number of birds/week for, say, a 3-month estimate.
 

Life is Good!

Songster
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
1,179
222
226
suburbia Chicagoland
We've just put away 10 whole FR chickens in our freezer (divided amongst friends the 25 we ordered and processed). I'm realizing the value in cutting them up before freezing - they'd take a whole lot less space!

Since we take a meal to church on Sunday as part of the fellowship opportunity afterwards, well, that's just 10wks worth of chickens. Which means we REALLY need a whole bunch more! (Unless I make chili or beef sloppy joes or ham/bean soup....).

If these 10 last until the next batch is ready to be finished, I'll be happy. We're ordering CX for September's grow-out to go through the winter. But that means I won't be selling any - we'll be eating those! We'll also be eating our 4 Black Java cockerals who are now only 6wks old....not quite big enough yet, but getting fiesty, so some may have to go sooner....cornish hen anyone?!

(whoops - forgot to answer question - edited to add:)
We're a family of 4: 2 adults and 2 teenage boys so they'll eat the fridge if I let 'em. This is our first go-round with raising our own meat, although we've been buying 1/2 a cow for years now and love doing that....this FR experiment was an outgrowth of the beef. For this first go-round, ordered 25 FR's, divided between 5 families to help pay for the feed costs. It worked very well, but next round, we'll divide by 2 families - three aren't truly interested....
 
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Oregon Blues

Crowing
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
5,531
235
273
Central Oregon
I was asking everyone how many birds they ate for how many people so I can compare.
. How many chickens do you process for how many people?
I think I will start out with 20 and see how long that lasts. I can always grow more

Thanks everyone for your examples! I really appreciate it.
And I am trying to point out that it makes no difference how many chickens other families eat. I freeze 1/2 breasts and one of those feeds 2 of us. if you fry up an entire chicken and your family eats the whole thing in one meal, you need a lot more chickens than I do. 1 chicken that makes 4 meals for my family might be 1 meal for your family.

In fact, I can make 2 meals out one of those half breasts if I am cooking stir fry. I separate all the wings and we have big batches of buffalo Wings. I cook 3 thighs with enchilada sauce in the crock pot and make tacos and enchiladas. 3-4 meals is what those 3 thighs last.

I butcher 50 chickens at a time for 2 people. That is a full year's worth. So there you go. Cook like I do and eat chicken the same number of times every week and 50 will do you just perfect.

Your plan to do 20 at a time and see how long they last, then do another batch is a good plan.
 

Oregon Blues

Crowing
8 Years
Apr 14, 2011
5,531
235
273
Central Oregon
Incidentally, look at how much freezer space you have available. My 50 chickens take up more than half of a gigantic chest freezer. It's a bigger freezer than most people have. It had to be special ordered because the stores don't keep that size in stock.

Unless you are de-boning the chickens and packaging the meat flat, chickens take a lot of freezer space.
 

WinklerFarms

Songster
8 Years
Aug 17, 2011
914
16
121
Central Minnesota
Incidentally, look at how much freezer space you have available.  My 50 chickens take up more than half of a gigantic chest freezer.  It's a bigger freezer than most people have.  It had to be special ordered because the stores don't keep that size in stock.

Unless you are de-boning the chickens and packaging the meat flat, chickens take a lot of freezer space.

X2

We stuff as many as we can into our commercial upright freezer. We eat a lot of it but sell some too here and there. I would rather have extra than run out! I wouldn't be able to eat chicken than.
 

PGRanch

Chirping
7 Years
Jul 2, 2012
194
2
73
Northern California
Incidentally, look at how much freezer space you have available. My 50 chickens take up more than half of a gigantic chest freezer. It's a bigger freezer than most people have. It had to be special ordered because the stores don't keep that size in stock.

Unless you are de-boning the chickens and packaging the meat flat, chickens take a lot of freezer space.
We have two 19 cu uprights in addition to our house fridge/freezer. My dogs are fed raw meat so freezer space is a must :) If we don't have space, we can always just buy another since we can't have too much freezer space :)

We will most likely be packaging them cut up, flat and easily stored.
 

PGRanch

Chirping
7 Years
Jul 2, 2012
194
2
73
Northern California
And I am trying to point out that it makes no difference how many chickens other families eat. I freeze 1/2 breasts and one of those feeds 2 of us. if you fry up an entire chicken and your family eats the whole thing in one meal, you need a lot more chickens than I do. 1 chicken that makes 4 meals for my family might be 1 meal for your family.

In fact, I can make 2 meals out one of those half breasts if I am cooking stir fry. I separate all the wings and we have big batches of buffalo Wings. I cook 3 thighs with enchilada sauce in the crock pot and make tacos and enchiladas. 3-4 meals is what those 3 thighs last.

I butcher 50 chickens at a time for 2 people. That is a full year's worth. So there you go. Cook like I do and eat chicken the same number of times every week and 50 will do you just perfect.

Your plan to do 20 at a time and see how long they last, then do another batch is a good plan.
Good to know that you eat 50 a year with 2 people. I think 20 is a good place to start out and then grow more come spring.
 

Anna_MN

Chirping
8 Years
Dec 4, 2011
332
5
99
Princeton, MN
There is only 4 of us here and 14 birds only lasted us 3 months. We piece half of ours out and do a package of legs and thighs, breasts, and wings. We eat a lot of chicken! We just got done butchering 50 and sold 30 of them. It paid for our birds for next year which was nice. Everyone wants a homegrown chicken. Since we sold so many, we have to do another batch of 50 so we can hopefully keep 30 out of those. If you piece them out or cut in half, you will get more meals out of them. Hope this helps!
 
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