Our cost for Heritage

mandelyn

Crowing
10 Years
Aug 30, 2009
2,445
935
331
Mt Repose, OH
My Coop
My Coop
Yesterday we sat down and did math for 7 hours. My head still hurts! We have a clear picture on where we're at with the birds though.

For the extra cockerels, they work out to be $1.45/lb with an average weight of 3 pounds at 16 weeks. We have Marans, Bresse and my Hybrids. The Hybrids are a mixed bag of sizes, I don't have a consistent result from them yet. The Bresse though... they get the biggest the fastest. The Marans aren't far behind them.

Eggs in the lean times (now) with the flock size we have is $7.30 a dozen, during peak lay that drops to $2.18/dz in feed costs.

The whole thing, from meat to eggs to extra pullet/hen sales brings in $4.21 per hour of care, averaged over the year. From that $4.21 pay rate at 5 hours a week in care, I still have to pay for bedding, supplements and whatever else.

It worked out to be a deficit of $6 a week, so essentially the whole flock costs us $312 a year. That's just the chickens.

With the Turkey math, we bounce back to a solid break even.

Every trip to the feed store makes me think we're doing something wrong but once we ran the numbers and broke into the details of it, we're actually doing pretty good for this comfortable personal-use based scale. We're not hatching on a big scale or shipping off eggs/chicks/birds. I feel a ton better about scooping out $10/day in feed! (that's during our peak grow out time)

We're saving $0.15/lb over grocery chicken (based on our local prices), for pasture raised free range birds versus the $1.60/lb cheap chicken. We save $2.55/lb by growing our own versus buying pastured free ranged chicken from another farmer, that's usually around $4/lb locally.

Since we're doing all of this for the sake of breeding for our own replacements, I also don't need to worry about the expense of buying more chickens. Hatch and grow. Eat the boys, sell off the spare girls. The math works out!
 

Molpet

Crossing the Road
Premium member
Sep 7, 2015
7,931
29,875
872
New Lenox township. Illinois USA
My Coop
My Coop
You're doing quite well.
I figured I am $100 a month in the hole. Averaging out over a year feeding organic and gathering leaves and dry grass for bedding. 4 dz adult chickens and 2 dz turkeys this winter.... I need to reduce numbers.

In my signature is a study on cost for raising different hatchery heritage chickens
 

mandelyn

Crowing
10 Years
Aug 30, 2009
2,445
935
331
Mt Repose, OH
My Coop
My Coop
You're doing quite well.
I figured I am $100 a month in the hole. Averaging out over a year feeding organic and gathering leaves and dry grass for bedding. 4 dz adult chickens and 2 dz turkeys this winter.... I need to reduce numbers.

In my signature is a study on cost for raising different hatchery heritage chickens
Reading through your study was very enlightening! A lot of commonalities too. If we changed gears into selling birds for the table, we would definitely restructure the flock to be just the Bresse. I need variety though! Egg colors!

What I didn't know going into this was how different the birds could be by bloodline. We tried Black Copper Marans, both lines we tried were built too narrow and were slow to fill out. The line of Black Silvers (B/B/S) we have is thick and stout, with slow feathering males that get chunky in a hurry, for their type of chicken. It only took a little bit of breeding (3 generations) to improve on the Marans we retained for their table qualities, growth and consistency.

We lucked into good Bresse on the first go around. The Marans took a couple of tries to find the right genetics for us. The Hybrids are a work in progress.

In your study you had mentioned casualties by breed and that was interesting and something I've seen too. Some of one type but none of the others. Perhaps a genetic inclination towards how they handle shipping stress? Or some other variable. SO many variables to raising chickens.
 

Beaglegal

Songster
Sep 8, 2019
523
1,260
161
Western Washington
Yesterday we sat down and did math for 7 hours. My head still hurts! We have a clear picture on where we're at with the birds though.

For the extra cockerels, they work out to be $1.45/lb with an average weight of 3 pounds at 16 weeks. We have Marans, Bresse and my Hybrids. The Hybrids are a mixed bag of sizes, I don't have a consistent result from them yet. The Bresse though... they get the biggest the fastest. The Marans aren't far behind them.

Eggs in the lean times (now) with the flock size we have is $7.30 a dozen, during peak lay that drops to $2.18/dz in feed costs.

The whole thing, from meat to eggs to extra pullet/hen sales brings in $4.21 per hour of care, averaged over the year. From that $4.21 pay rate at 5 hours a week in care, I still have to pay for bedding, supplements and whatever else.

It worked out to be a deficit of $6 a week, so essentially the whole flock costs us $312 a year. That's just the chickens.

With the Turkey math, we bounce back to a solid break even.

Every trip to the feed store makes me think we're doing something wrong but once we ran the numbers and broke into the details of it, we're actually doing pretty good for this comfortable personal-use based scale. We're not hatching on a big scale or shipping off eggs/chicks/birds. I feel a ton better about scooping out $10/day in feed! (that's during our peak grow out time)

We're saving $0.15/lb over grocery chicken (based on our local prices), for pasture raised free range birds versus the $1.60/lb cheap chicken. We save $2.55/lb by growing our own versus buying pastured free ranged chicken from another farmer, that's usually around $4/lb locally.

Since we're doing all of this for the sake of breeding for our own replacements, I also don't need to worry about the expense of buying more chickens. Hatch and grow. Eat the boys, sell off the spare girls. The math works out!
Thanks, this is interesting food for thought. Where did you get your Bresse. Also does this include any processing equipment or just feed?
 

mandelyn

Crowing
10 Years
Aug 30, 2009
2,445
935
331
Mt Repose, OH
My Coop
My Coop
Thanks, this is interesting food for thought. Where did you get your Bresse. Also does this include any processing equipment or just feed?
Just feed. We do small batch processing without any expensive equipment, though we've been looking into pluckers.

With our rooster coop, we start a grow season by putting in about 30, 6-8 week old cockerels. Starting at 14 weeks we go in and see how they're doing, usually pulling the smallest out who won't mature to a "roaster" size which is usually out of the hybrids. If we pull out 10, we can add in 15 or so from the next hatch. If a good leader bird sprouts up he gets to stay as the boss bird. If I see one who looks like a winner, I'll pull him out and put him with the keeper girls. If one of the cockerels starts up trouble or gets mean to his peers, he comes out for finishing in a different pen. They'll play fight and bicker a little bit, that's normal. But if actual aggression starts up the instigator gets pulled. That's where the leader bird comes into play, since he'll break that up and keep the peace, if he's a good one.

For about 5-7 months we add and remove, add and remove. At the end of the season I have a nice selection of boys who stayed through based on merit and appearance. The ones that grew the best, filled out the best and look the part. From there I can choose the breeder boys for the following season.

Our Bresse came from Chicken Ridge Farm, she had gotten hers from Greenfire Farms and another line from "American Bluefoot" had been crossed in. Recently she added in birds from Bresse Farms so I don't know if that changed her results or not. We're 3 generations in and are getting really consistent results by using the widest/fullest boys with the roundest girls.

Husband wants to look into fodder systems and we're trying to get to where soy free feed is affordable.

We're also looking to move onto larger land. That would let us tractor more for additional free range. Rooster coop has a 1/3rd acre field which still has grass, so far we're good on that. We don't start opening the coop door until the first batch is about 10 weeks old, depending on weather. We started hatching earlier this year, we ran out of chicken!
 

Beaglegal

Songster
Sep 8, 2019
523
1,260
161
Western Washington
Just feed. We do small batch processing without any expensive equipment, though we've been looking into pluckers.

With our rooster coop, we start a grow season by putting in about 30, 6-8 week old cockerels. Starting at 14 weeks we go in and see how they're doing, usually pulling the smallest out who won't mature to a "roaster" size which is usually out of the hybrids. If we pull out 10, we can add in 15 or so from the next hatch. If a good leader bird sprouts up he gets to stay as the boss bird. If I see one who looks like a winner, I'll pull him out and put him with the keeper girls. If one of the cockerels starts up trouble or gets mean to his peers, he comes out for finishing in a different pen. They'll play fight and bicker a little bit, that's normal. But if actual aggression starts up the instigator gets pulled. That's where the leader bird comes into play, since he'll break that up and keep the peace, if he's a good one.

For about 5-7 months we add and remove, add and remove. At the end of the season I have a nice selection of boys who stayed through based on merit and appearance. The ones that grew the best, filled out the best and look the part. From there I can choose the breeder boys for the following season.

Our Bresse came from Chicken Ridge Farm, she had gotten hers from Greenfire Farms and another line from "American Bluefoot" had been crossed in. Recently she added in birds from Bresse Farms so I don't know if that changed her results or not. We're 3 generations in and are getting really consistent results by using the widest/fullest boys with the roundest girls.

Husband wants to look into fodder systems and we're trying to get to where soy free feed is affordable.

We're also looking to move onto larger land. That would let us tractor more for additional free range. Rooster coop has a 1/3rd acre field which still has grass, so far we're good on that. We don't start opening the coop door until the first batch is about 10 weeks old, depending on weather. We started hatching earlier this year, we ran out of chicken!
What breeds of turkeys do you raise
 

ColoradoPip

Songster
May 3, 2015
180
330
124
Denver, CO
Thank you very much for posting all of this super helpful information. $6/week sounds excellent (assuming this is hobby/food and you aren't commercial or looking to profit). Also sounds like you have an excellent system of culling and selective breeding going!

Are you finishing the Bresse in the French way or just normal? Can you describe the meat texture and taste difference between Bresse and Marans, if any?
 

mandelyn

Crowing
10 Years
Aug 30, 2009
2,445
935
331
Mt Repose, OH
My Coop
My Coop
Thank you very much for posting all of this super helpful information. $6/week sounds excellent (assuming this is hobby/food and you aren't commercial or looking to profit). Also sounds like you have an excellent system of culling and selective breeding going!

Are you finishing the Bresse in the French way or just normal? Can you describe the meat texture and taste difference between Bresse and Marans, if any?
We're doing a normal finishing. The first time we did a 6 week finishing with cracked corn soaked in goat's milk and that did add some more fat.

The Bresse have a delicate skin and a lighter thigh color, not SO dark. Larger breasts than I've seen on ANY "Heritage" type. The meat is finely textured. They don't get fat globs and what fat does develop melts like butter.

In contrast, the Marans have a thicker skin, darker meat on the thighs, smaller breasts but with heavier thighs. The meat isn't "soft" but it's not tough/chewy either... more like what you'd expect from a decent dual purpose bird. Their fat melts down good too.

We like to bake the Bresse whole, we do them with skin on. The Marans we mainly skin and crockpot and shred down for sandwiches or to mix in with rice/veggies.

There isn't really a taste difference... chicken tastes like chicken... but it's in the details of the texture, the skin, and where/how much meat there is.
 
Top Bottom