Possible beat 34 cents per pound (store prices on quarters) at home? Brainstorming here...

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by 777funk, Feb 11, 2016.

  1. 777funk

    777funk Out Of The Brooder

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    I have some ideas but am looking for others on making meat birds make sense from an economìcs standpoint. With .34/lb chicken quarters and .99/lb whole chickens this is tough to justify I realize. Anyways, here are my speculations on how this would be possible:
    1. If big food can do it, there's got to be a cheaper source (somewhere) for chicks as well as feed. Maybe somehow small groups can team up and bulk buy from the places the BIG chicken farms are ordering from or perhaps even from chicken farms directly.
    2. Raise feed somehow. I've heard of magot farms... maybe worm farms, raising grains.
    3. Raise/keep a self sustaining flock. Not quite possible with the most efficient bird (Cornish X).

    That's all I can come up with. Any other ideas? Are my ideas way off? There's gotta be a way... has anyone materialized these or other ideas that make raising meat affordable?
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2016
  2. 007Sean

    007Sean Overrun With Chickens

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    The reason the BIG FARMS can do it and make a profit, is because of volume, cost is spread out over thousands of birds vs. just a few. But that's not the reason back yarders raise meat birds, they want to know what their eat'en...organic, no GMO's, no growth hormones, etc...so unless you free range, have a free feed source, the costs of raising small scale meat birds will be a costly endeavor.
     
  3. 777funk

    777funk Out Of The Brooder

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    Only one post! Wow... I realize this is a tough one, but it seems like there's always a smarter way to do something in order to make a prospect more competitive. Maybe I'm wrong!
     
  4. poorfarm

    poorfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    somewhere here there's a current discussion of the feasibility of raising meat bird through the summer months without supplying feed. Centrarchid has some experience and is involved in that discussion, so you could maybe find it through searching for those posts.

    The birds they are talking about are game type, old type, not big meaty birds like cornish x or the pure Cornish that I keep for meat.

    From my own experiences, I do not believe it is possible for the home grower to equal or beat the supermarket price on chicken. As has been said, we do it so we know what we are eating, also in my opinion the quality of the meat is much better. No tasteless mushy meat pressure impregnated with "15% broth" and whatever chemicals are in that.

    I had a restaurant ask me if I would raise pastured heritage breed meat chickens for them, and I showed them a breakdown of the costs. So I'll toss out some of the numbers from that, which shows a best possible sort of scenario in my area in my conditions.

    Cheapest Dark Cornish rooster chicks I found were $2.80 each, plus $19 to ship 25-35.

    A purebred eats about 8 lbs. of feed for each lb. growth

    With free ranging, figure about 13 weeks to slaughter weight.

    My local feed runs about $13 per 50 lbs. (don't forget your gas cost to go get this)

    Are you going to butcher them yourself? I do sometimes but I don't have a plucker, and then I skin them, which not everybody likes. If I take them to a poultry processor the cheapest I can get to is $2.80 per bird. The ones close to me charge $4 and $5 per bird. Don't forget your gas costs to transport them.

    Any way, in the best possible world, for 20 chickens, it came to something like $7-8 direct out of pocket cost per bird, for some very nice meat birds weighing 3 to 4 lbs each.

    I hope this is helpful.
     
  5. poorfarm

    poorfarm Out Of The Brooder

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    P.S. The fancy restaurants are often willing to pay enough for you to may a profit on this kind of thing, but the big, big issue in most areas is you have to either become, or have access to, a poultry processor who is licensed to process birds for resale. In Ohio, for example, I only know of one such business, out near Cinncinnati/Dayton somewhere. In Pennsylvania, you are allowed to do up to a certain number of birds yourself for resale under certain criteria. Each state is different, so if you're thinking of selling you have to consider that. If for yourself, you either have to get real good at plucking, or you have to buy or make a plucker, and even the parts aren't cheap.

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  6. Hiltonizer

    Hiltonizer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You can get chicks directly from the breeding stock companies like Aviagen, for 1/2 to 1/3rd of what retail hatcheries sell them for... but if you're getting small quantities then big ag is beating you by 50% right off the bat just in shipping costs. It doesn't cost much more to ship 100 birds than it does 25, for example.

    Feed is a tough nut to crack, bulk feed is 1/2 to 1/3rd the cost of retail bags, but in my area I need to order 3 tons of it at a time... that requires a grain bin... and enough birds to burn through it in a reasonable amount of time so that it doesn't go bad. As far as alternative feeding methods, that's basically integrating another business into your operation at a certain point. You're just borrowing from Peter to pay Paul if you don't pay yourself for that feed. If not paying yourself for feed is what makes your chickens profitable, the feed part of the business in itself is a loser. Meal worms should be cheap and easy to produce, try it and run the numbers, maybe it makes sense to be integrated here if accounted properly. When I go fishing, I usually fill a bucket of sunnies which have no limit... they up they make high protein chicken feed... but can't over-do it due to mercury uptake.

    Lastly, you're biggest opposition is the government. They work for big business, not you, so the scales are tipped in their favor in terms of the red tape necessary to sell your birds. You either have to start your own licensed processing facility to get a reasonable rate on your processing, or pay a processor more than what a bird costs at the grocery store. Around here, it's $5/bird for licensed processing, when I can go buy a whole chicken for that at the grocery.

    Big business is integrated in some areas, and leverages scale in others. Until you can do both, you won't compete on price. Raising your own birds can be cost saving if you throw away your time and process yourself.. and have some otherwise unused land to pasture on... but for sales you need to fetch a premium as a result of your market differentiator which is usually just being local and having your birds be legitimately pastured.
     
  7. slingshotandLAR

    slingshotandLAR Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A few things I've done to offset cost...

    First I buy meat birds for $.80 each, if I can so can you.

    Next, I buy bulk feed. 1000lb bags, they load it in my truck with a fork lift and we shovel it in to lockable sealable 50gallon totes. It takes 4 to hold 1000lbs. 1 bag costs $200 that's half the cost of bag feed and it's a custom blend that's far better.

    Processing is the cost that I cannot change $3 bird. Remember commercial producers use mechanical processing. No humans evolved, hence the 13 colorine baths. I'm fairly sure they also get government subsidies, this makes it impossible to compete.

    All this being said, I can produce a 4.75lb average @ 7 weeks for under $6.00 a bird. Last year i think it was $5.17 to be exact, but I haven't looked at the charts in awhile. This season I'm hoping to be even lower as all of our customers want smaller birds.

    Feasibly I don't think you raise meat birds much cheaper than I'm doing it right now. Only option is to buy more birds at a time which would cut some costs or, find away to get cheaper feed that does not affect quality.
     
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    I haven't seen .34/# in probably 20 years. That's got to be a loss leader: Store sells at a loss to get you through the doors. They make up that loss in the other items they hope you'll buy while you're there. No way to compete with that. However, I'm satisfied to produce my own meat, knowing that it's been raised humanely, processed humanely and cleanly, has not been fed antibiotics. I still occasionally purchase chicken, either at grocery store, or as a prepared meal, but those occasions are few and far between now. The other benefit of raising my own is the benefit to my land: Insect control, weed control, free fertilizer, as well as the amusement provided do not enter into the cost analysis.
     
  9. sonofabish1

    sonofabish1 Out Of The Brooder

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    Curious to hear where/how you get your birds at $.80 each. How many are you buying and are they local vs shipped.

    I have found someone about an hour away that processes for $2 (whole, pieces, whatever I want) when most around here are $4+. That really helped my cost.

    Anyone feed fermented feed to their meat birds? I'm told it's better for them and they eat less...that could be another cost savings.
     
  10. Hiltonizer

    Hiltonizer Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Burr Hatchery is 80c in quantities over 100. That doesn't include shipping.

    They're out of CT.
     

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