Pastured poultry--what are you charging this year?

Mrs. Mucket

9 Years
May 3, 2010
Pacific Northwest
Anyone who sells pastured poultry--have you set your 2011 prices yet? I've been looking at farm websites and have seen some big jumps due to grain costs-- prices across the country as high as $6 a pound for colored broilers. In my area the market seemed to bear $4-4.50/pound last year.
I'm curious too.

We've had a few egg customers asking about broilers. I was running through the numbers this morning. I called the mill and bagged 22% organic starter is currently $15.99 and 20% organic grower is $14.76.

For a trial batch of 50 certified organic birds I estimate expenses at:

Chick $1.50
Feed $5.50
Shavings $0.30
Electricity $0.25
Cert fees $0.09
~ $7.64 per bird
We were going to try $3 per pound this year. I saw on Joel Salatin's website that they were charging $3.25 for pastured poultry this year. We are in the midwest and I am sure it varies all across the country. I can't imagine that we could get more than $3 a pound, but I am not for sure. I know we lose money on the eggs at $2.50. Everyone around is at $2.50, but we are thinking of going up to $3 for large eggs. The meat birds seem to be more profitable than the eggs.
After much reading I gather that $3 per lb has been an average price. I might be able to get a little more for certified organic, but $3 seems reasonable to start and test the waters.

I also find that I've probably way overestimated the amount of feed required. We'll see...

Revised estimate:

Chick $1.10
Feed $2.50
Shavings $0.30
Electricity $0.25
Cert fees $0.09
~ $4.25 per bird
So it looks like a range of $3-$6/pound across the country. I read that in the Seattle area, people are already paying $10 for a whole grocery store chicken. One customer there even said he would pay as much as $9/pound for a good pastured broiler from a local farm. I guess we'll all see how high it gets.

Thanks for your expense figures, Mac. At $3/pound you should still be able to get something for your time too!

I was shocked the other day to see a supermarket price of $2.38 per dozen AA Large eggs. They have been closer to $1 here for a long time. (I'm in the Pacific NW.) Farm eggs were going for $2/dozen till recently, now many local jumped all the way to $3/dozen.
While a few can afford to buy a chicken or a dozen eggs at any price, many of us are struggling to buy even beans in this new economy. Just check out the local welfare rolls. If pastured poultry gleans at least part of it's feed in grasses, seeds and bugs from it's environment instead of purchased commercial feed, therefore free. Then why does it have to be sold at a higher price than what can be baught from a grocery store? Instead of raising prices, which puts a tremendous extra load on many a families' finances, we should all look for ways to cut ineficiency, lower feed conversion rates, waste, and cull out dead wood to increase our production and therefore our profit.
I think we get a premium price for our pastured birds is because you can't buy a pasture fed bird at the store. Pastured birds are said to be higher in nutrients and lower in cholesterol, thus making them attractive to those who are trying to eat healthy. I can tell you that none of my customers are hurting for money.
I think we should so both. Grain prices and grocery store food prices have risen dramatically, we as food producers are not immune to that. We should be striving to be as efficient as our model allows, but there are inherent limitations as to how efficient we can be. We cannot control that a cold spell comes through and throws our feed conversion ratio off. The model we do is not about lowest price, to me it is about great tasting chicken raised in a way that lets the consumer feel good and is probably much healthier for them.

I am unwilling to sell my chicken for grocery store prices, and I don't have any problem selling out at my prices. There is a lot of work in producing the chickens, if someone is willing to do that work for very little pay then more power to them. I am not demanding high pay for my work but it will not be for free. Otherwise I will just do it for my family. Again, I have never had anyone complain about my pricing.

If i were unemployed I would not be buying pastured poultry. I would probably not even raise it as I coudl buy for sale at a price cheaper than I can produce it. I would get by with factory raised food until I was in a position to pay for healthier tastier food.


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