How much feed would it take to raise 50 chicks to POL age?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by shelleyd2008, Sep 6, 2009.

  1. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    I'm thinking of 'stocking up' on pullet chicks to raise as POL pullets, for sale next spring. MPC has a very good special going on right now. POL pullets, in the spring anyway, can sell for anywhere from $8 to $15 each, depending on the breed.

    I am considering getting one each of the BR, EE, and rainbow egg layer assortments. That would give me 75 chicks, give or take. We would only keep about 10 or so, to replace our RIR layers. So that would give me 60-65 to raise for selling.

    Right now I have about 100 chickens (mostly bantam), 20 ducks, 60+ quail, 15 or so guineas, and a couple of geese. I spend about $25 a week on feed. I feed all the 'outside birds' a combination of a 16% feed that my feed store mixes and cracked corn, and the quail and baby birds get a 20% flock raiser.

    I was thinking that I could mix the flock raiser and the 16% feed once the chicks are over 2 weeks old, which would cut down on the feed cost. Then once they are about 8 weeks or so I could give them nothing but the 16%, which is only about $6 a bag.
    I was thinking, since these would be LF chickens, they would probably eat half as much as I feed my other birds total, does this sound about right?

    How much should I expect to feed 50 to 60 LF chicks from day-olds to about 5 months?
  2. RedStarDaddy

    RedStarDaddy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 18, 2009
    I did something very similar here the other day while I was playing with the notion of selling eggs and what I would have to get for each one to break even. I figured a nickel a day to feed 16 Red Stars for four months then to feed the 12 of them the unknown predator left me for another month, and came up with $105 worth of feed for 78 "chicken-months" or $1.35 to feed one chicken for one month. Call it $6.75 per chicken to get it to 5 months just for feed. With my feed cost that comes out to about 34 pounds of feed per bird. This is overstated a mite; it assumes a day-old chick will eat 1/4 pound of feed a day.

  3. Junkmanme

    Junkmanme Chillin' With My Peeps

    It's my "unmeasured", "unaccounted", purely observant opinion, it COSTS too much!

    My "teenage" chickens eat more than twice what a mature chicken my purely observant opinion.....

    I should "measure" this according to accepted accounting practices.(having been schooled in that discipline)..but I ain't a gonna do THAT anymore. What I SEE is what I get!

    I could SEE that housing prices were TOO HIGH....but acceptable accounting practices said "It's OK."

    get my drift?

    Feed costs for young chickens are HIGH....if you feed them RIGHT!
    (unless you have a real farm where than can mostly forage for themselves.) [​IMG]

    just my inflated 2 pesos worth, [​IMG]
    -Junkmanme- [​IMG]
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2009
  4. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Last year, I paid the $2/chick at the feed store and then $6 on feed to get the first pullet to point of lay at 21 weeks.

    They were eating a locally milled starter at first and then put on Purina Flock Raiser.

    I think cutting any corners on feed will delay their development. Dropping the protein in their ration to 16% before they are 8 weeks old would slow them down.

  5. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Perhaps I should clarify what I said about feeding my pullets to point of lay and add a little bit more from Gail Damerow's, Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens:

    The pullets I was raising in 'o8 were Australorps and Barred Rocks.

    Ms. Damerow says, "Each commercial strain lightweight pullet will eat about 15 pounds of feed before she starts laying at about 20 weeks of age. Heavier pullets take a few weeks longer to reach laying age, during which they eat as much as double the feed."

  6. Sunny Side Up

    Sunny Side Up Count your many blessings...

    Mar 12, 2008
    Loxahatchee, Florida
    I think $8-$15 is too low a price to charge for pullets at POL. You're barely breaking even on the feed costs, and making nothing for your time & labor caring for them for 20 weeks. Even less if you have bad luck with predation or illness. Or a higher than expected percentage of cockerels. Chicks are a risk. Then you'll have to spend at least time if not $$$ advertising them, and spending time talking to prospective buyers, coordinating appointments for them to come over to see them, haggling with them because they'll certainly want to try and talk your price down.

    If that's all you can expect to get in your neighborhood for POL pullets, then maybe you should just raise chicks for your own flock & let everyone else do the same. Or try with just a few extras this year, and see how it works out.

    I had good fortune last year raising pullet chicks to show & sell at our county's fair. There are a lot of folks coming through who will pay good money for grown chickens. I was able to get $30 apiece for my POL pullets, but it was a LOT of hard work being there in the tent almost every day. And a lot of work convincing folks that my birds were worth the price because they were so young, other folks were selling off older hens for $10-$15 and getting more interest.

    I have been buying chicks at our feed store, a few at a time as they got different breeds in for sale, and raising them for show & sale at next year's fair. I'm also trying to sell some now from home, and it's been a slow & frustrating process. I do not know how anyone could buy chicks at $3.99 apiece at the store, feed them for 20 weeks, and sell them for less than $20-$25. But people give me the bug eyes when I name my price. I guess it's because other folks in the area are selling for less, but I don't know how or why. Unless they're not feeding them as much or as well, or selling older birds that have been laying for a while.

    Then I see ads for tiny lap dogs being sold for 100s, even 1000s of dollars, and I wonder if I'm raising the wrong species...
  7. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    My experience has been very close to the Damerow info. I raised 25 chicks and they are now at POL. Averaged out they have each eaten about 15-20 pounds of feed. And although they are nearly 22 weeks old (sussex, delaware, EE) only three are laying so far...and very small pullet eggs at that.
  8. Mojo Chick'n

    Mojo Chick'n Empress of Chickenville

    No idea on total - but it'll be winter so the free range will be less (if you're gonna turn them out).

    I would go with 1/4 pound of feed per day each (what RedStarDaddy said...) that seems to be about consistant with what I am doing here. I do switch them to 16% sooner than 8 weeks, simply because by then they are usually outside with the others and eating what everyone else eats anyway, and I hate to feed chick starter to the bigger guys. If you had them in their own coop, though, you could control feed better.

    I've also found that some chicks simply grow slower than others - even in the same group of chicks. I have 7 or 8 RIR chicks - about 8 weeks old, and half of them are small, and half are huge. They all came in the same shipment from the same hatchery. So, not knowing how they get their stock, One of their suppliers has good birds, and another one has small birds from their hatchery group. (got them from Reichs Poultry)

    I've never ordered from MPC before, so I can't give you any indications of how their stock grows out.

    You have a good idea [​IMG] kudos to you for being brave enough to tackle it in the winter time [​IMG]

    Oh, and SunnySideUp - wow, if you can get 30 bucks per bird, that is fantastic - unfortunately where Shelley and I live, it simply won't happen. Maybe she'll get more at the Liberty sale in the spring, but not at the local auction/swap house.

    Luckily, in the spring we can get chicks free at the feedstore - they have a deal that if you buy chick starter or flock raiser, you get 5 free chicks per 50# bag. I ended up with about (at least) 80 chicks free this spring [​IMG] . I go through a lot of chick starter, since I hatch all the time from December through July. If you want to simply buy the chicks, and less chick starter, they will sell them for about 1 dollar each. (the chicks are from Mt. Healthy Hatchery).

    I'm going to cut back a bit on my hatching next year (so I say now [​IMG] )

    I grew out and sold probably 500+ chicks this year so far. I'm done hatching for awhile (I hope). I don't take mine to POL, however, because, as you said, after a point, you are putting more feed into them than you'll get out of them.

    I sell started chicks - ones people won't have to put in their house to brood. A lot of people want "chicks" but hate the idea of them being in their house (can't say as I blame them at this point, I sometimes wonder about my own sanity for doing so many chicks in the house.)

    I make pretty decent cash out on started chicks - more per/ratio than I would on POL pullets. (especially the free chicks from the feedstore.)

    Plus, they're small, so people will buy more at a time, then sell their extras or cull the extras. With POL pullets, at such a high price, they buy what they can afford at the time. So I sell cheaper at a larger quantity, and don't have to feed them as long as a POL bird.

    Shelley should do really well, however, if she takes them to the Liberty Sale - it's a huge consignment auction every spring and fall and they sell really well there, so I've heard. I have yet to make it to the sale, maybe the one this fall if I have anything left to sell - I'm almost out of birds for the year for selling.

    eta for Shelley - at the consignment auction over in Gradyville, POL and laying hens were selling for about 17 - 20 bucks each, so if that's any indication, Liberty ought to be really good this fall.

    Last edited: Sep 6, 2009
  9. shelleyd2008

    shelleyd2008 the bird is the word

    Sep 14, 2008
    Adair Co., KY
    Liberty in the spring does better than in the fall. By fall, everyone and their brother has chickens! It also depends on how many you have per lot, say if you have 5 birds in the cage as opposed to 10 birds in the cage. Whoever bids on that lot has to buy all the birds in it, so smaller lots brings bigger prices [​IMG] I try not to get too many in the summer, everyone is overwhelmed with chickens in the summer and spring!
  10. codybird

    codybird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2009
    Near Myrtle Beach
    My six BSL's ate 100 lbs. of food in 18 weeks.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by