more bang for the buck

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by aladatrot, Jun 19, 2008.

  1. aladatrot

    aladatrot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 24, 2008
    LaPorte
    I have a few questions relating to the total cost of the birds from start (purchase price) to finish. Here goes...

    How many of you who raise turkeys find them an economical bird to raise for meat? Being a novice "Chicken Rancher" (yeah, I'm from Texas and I loved the movie), I am still feeling out what it takes to raise some of these birds. How does the cost compare to buying a turkey from the store? I understand it will be higher, but is it twice the price by the time it finishes out?

    I just purchased 26 4-week old cornish x birds. They have been well cared for and are plump little buggers. I am estimating that I will have two to three weeks in these birds until I process them, and I paid $3 each for them. Can anyone say whether or not it is better for me to continue to make purchases like this or to raise them from a day old at $.85 each. Anyone bought these older birds before?

    I have these birds on finisher crumbles now, and I didn't lose any up to this morning. I have them in a horse stall with a box fan angled down onto a portion of the stall. They can either stand under the fan or not according to how they feel. They seem to appreciate the fan. I have feed and water standing to them day and night. I have heard someone mentioning picking up the feed at night, but I need to research from back posts the reason for this. For now, that's what I have.

    M
     
  2. seymojo536

    seymojo536 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 16, 2007
    Central Ohio
    We figure we have about $2.00 a lb dressed weight in one of our turkeys.
    That includes costs for bird, feed, building, electric, equipment and a small charge for labor. (we work pretty cheap)

    It doesn't match up very well when you can go to the store and get one for .49 to .99 a lb.

    But I can tell you that we have people calling us that either bought a bird from us last year or know someone that did and there is a waiting list for thanksgiving birds. You cannot compare a "factory" bird to one of ours when it comes to flavor. And they don't even hesitate paying $70 to $80 for one. We even have people buying all the ground turkey we can produce. Helps us use up the 50 pounders that didn't make the cut for showing at the fair.

    On the matter of the cornish. You paid $2.00 over what a day old should cost. With feed right at .30 a lb, if they weigh 3 lbs. you are money ahead. Plus you didn't have to house or care for them when they are at their frailest. (is that a word?) Just be careful to keep any birds you bring in seperate from any you have to prevent diseases.

    I would suggest you point the fan straight down so they can get away from it if they want to. Air moving across the pen doesn't give them anyplace to go if it's too much for them.

    By all means only feed those guys for 12 hours and take the feed away at night. They will eat themselves to death if given the chance. Watch for their heads and skin to start to turn a bluish-purple, that's the first sign their having problems.
     
  3. greyfields

    greyfields Overrun With Chickens

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    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    Broilers will have the edge over turkeys due to the crop length duration and FCR. But if you are really pushing the genetics of either to get the most meat per $$, you are going to be raising the most extreme genetic version of each (Cornish X and Broad Breasted White).

    You also have to be very careful how you amoratize your costs as well. Here is my breakdown from the last crop of broilers:

    Total Cost per Bird

    Cost $1.75 EA
    Food $9.30 EA
    Slaughter $4.50 EA
    Shelter $0.25 EA
    Portable Electric $0.38 EA
    Fountains $0.05 EA
    Range Feeder $0.16 EA
    Lamps $0.03 EA
    Bulbs $0.16 EA
    Medicine $- EA

    Cost per Bird $16.57 EA

    Cost per Pound $4.14 per pound

    Charge $3.75 per pound


    So for the first two seasons (or 200 birds), I've amoratized all the equipment. So after that break, I'll be down closer to $3.89 per pound to raise them. Also, I don't include the insurance in there because it's really hard for me to decide how to load it on each of our different products (beef, lamb, pork, chicken, duck, goose, vegetables). Also if you want to see some shocking numbers, what happens to these numbers if you lose 25% of the birds you bought because they were Cornish Crosses? It really hurts you to raise them in the long run.

    So as I've said many times, I make no money off broilers. I do it for the pure joy of raising quality food. If I happen to make a little money here or there, other people are paying me to eat my own delicious food. I also hope as they eat/buy my chicken that it will be a stepping stone for them to start buying my other products, as they have a profit margin in them (I can't say that about broilers).

    In summary, if you care solely about the economics of it, you will be better off buying free range, organic, day-spa pampered chickens and turkeys from Whole Foods than doing it yourself. But, I know for 100% certainty I enjoy raising and eating my own.
     
  4. HFC

    HFC Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 29, 2007
    Crosby, TX
    Good luck with them! I've got 51 that were born the same day. They've been in the tractor since they were two weeks old. The sides are all wide open and 9 out of 12 feet of the roof is covered for shade.

    I saw the add for the birds you bought on craigslist. That was a great deal. I would have tried to buy them had they been on my side of town. McMurrays has the best Cornish Xs IMO, but they cost just under $2 by the time I get them shipped.
     
  5. aladatrot

    aladatrot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 24, 2008
    LaPorte
    I see what you mean about looking at it from an economic standpoint. I figure on home grown birds to cost more than store bought, but I just have to figure out where my ceiling is for having something I've raised myself. An extra buck or two per home grown broiler would be worth it for me, but to have $60 invested in growing a turkey that would have only cost me $20 at the store would be cost prohibitive for me. I am certainly thankful that there is a forum such as this to get me feedback on what is and what is not cost prohibitive. That said, I may in fact try one turkey just so the kids can tell their friends that we raised our own thanksgiving turkey. However, I can't see me raising turkeys as a common thing due to the costs mentioned here.

    On my "ready made broilers", thanks for the advice on removing the feed. I will most certainly pick it up tonight and not let them have any more free choice. I must have missed the necessity for limiting that food intake in threads that i merely skimmed for content. That will show me to pay more attention :O) I'm glad you mentioned about the fan placement. When I first set it up, I had the fan just circulating the air. I moved it when I remembered that each year some older folks around here die because they run fans in hot houses trying to save on electricity. Now the fan is pointed so that there is one area they can sit and be blown upon, but it doesn't circulate beyond that area. I know now to leave it that way and not try to tweak it any more.
    Thanks again!
    M
     
  6. aladatrot

    aladatrot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 24, 2008
    LaPorte
    HFC,

    I shouldn't tell you how much $$ I spent in fuel to go get those birds. I needed some equine medical supplies, so I justified the trip as being "necessary" by getting those supplies at a store out that direction. It was well over 100 miles round trip, but the idea of only housing those birds for a few weeks was worth it to us.

    The lady I got those birds from had a neat set up for fowl. Her laying hens were ranging in a large fenced chicken yard and the younger birds she was raising were housed in round pens with pvc pipe skeletons and tall welded wire. There were teepees made out of plywood for them to get under in bad weather. Looked pretty neat to me, and everyone seemed to have plenty of room.

    I'm on the south east side, where are you?
    M
     
  7. HFC

    HFC Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 29, 2007
    Crosby, TX
    I'm between Crosby and Huffman just off 2100.

    If I didn't have my 50 in the tractor right now I would've FOUND a way to justify the gas myself, so I don't blame you. [​IMG]
     
  8. aladatrot

    aladatrot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 24, 2008
    LaPorte
    [​IMG]

    We have been in a hay field at 2100 and 1960 for two days now. STILL BALING. Small world.
    M
     
  9. HFC

    HFC Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 29, 2007
    Crosby, TX
    Is that the field that was going to sell square bails for $2.50 in the field?
     
  10. aladatrot

    aladatrot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 24, 2008
    LaPorte
    Yep. We sold them for $2.50. It was a clean up baling and we are now going to spray and fertilize that field. The field is an old jiggs field, but there were some native grasses coming up in it. We are in the process of reclaiming it as a 100% jiggs field. All in all though, the hay was pretty good and you could see which bales had weeds so they could be avoided for horses. I put up 250 bales myself (some of those weedy bales too for my goats). Even my picky show horses are pleased with it, and my goats eat those weedy bales like they are candy.

    There won't be any more "super cheap" hay coming off of it this year, but we will certainly keep it reasonable. Fertilizer is SOOOOO high right now, and the $4.79 per gallon diesel is a killer. However, even if the primo fertilized stuff is $4, it beats the socks off the mediocre $8.50 hay I keep seeing at the feed stores over here. :O)

    Cheers
    M
     

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