Raise just to feed your family, or sell also? Pros and cons??

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by okiemommy, Jun 12, 2008.

  1. okiemommy

    okiemommy Mother of 5, Prisoner to None

    May 26, 2008
    I am considering getting meat birds, and have been pouring over the threads covering meat birds, but one thing that I havent found an answer to yet is:

    Is it worth it to sell meat birds profit wise? Is this something that a profit can be made of? Or is is just best to raise them for the family food?

    I notice that there is considerable cost for feed for these birds b/c they eat so much. Can these birds be completely free ranged? Or is the grower feed a must?
  2. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    You must feed broilers.

    I make more money on 2 dozen eggs than I do on a whole broiler. I'm in it for the satisfaction and having good food, rather than profit.
  3. mommy9994

    mommy9994 Songster

    Mar 10, 2008
    central VA
    I grow primarily for my family, but I hope to eventually be selling enough to pay for what we eat.

    I've been told that you can't free range them, but I did mine, and they did beautifully-- no, you will not get a huge 10 lb bird this way, but mine dressed at 3 lbs+ at 8 weeks, and 4+ at 10 weeks. Free ranging cut down tremendously on feed cost, but yes, you will still have to buy them feed. However (and someone will have a fit and disagree with me here), I fed them scratch grain in thier feeder from about 4 weeks on instead of the grower (also probly another reason they weren't huge)-- this also saved a bit of money.

    I bought them from Meyer hatchery, which has the lowest prices on them that I have found.

    I sold 3 out of this batch (I wasn't really planning on selling any). They sold pretty easily for $3/lb. Given all this, I still would have to sell 1/2 of the birds I raise to cover expenses of the ones my family eats. No, you will not turn a good profit on meat birds, but you may cover your families expenses-- and eating for free is as good as profit in my book!
  4. okiemommy

    okiemommy Mother of 5, Prisoner to None

    May 26, 2008
    Thanks Greyfields [​IMG] Yes you must feed them grower/reg feed? My motive is not for profit as much as it is for how much will all of this cost me? I am all for eating healthier/better, the problem is that we pay enough in groceries(and are slowly working towards self sufficiency), and I am not sure that we could afford to have our own meat birds at this time, if they are as expensive as I have seen on here. I am essentially hoping to get a feel for what this will cost us, and if I can offset the cost by selling the extra birds, or even profit. I do hope to sell the extra eggs that we end up with...this is all completely new to me. I don't yet know what the eggs or the meat tastes like that is homegrown, so I don' know what I'm missing out on. Yet. [​IMG]

    No, you will not turn a good profit on meat birds, but you may cover your families expenses-- and eating for free is as good as profit in my book!

    Thanks mommy9994 [​IMG] that to me would make it "do-able" at this point. And thanks for the great information on free ranging them. Do you folks keep your meat birds in separate coops? That was the plan for us, especially after reading about the massive amounts of poop [​IMG]
  5. greyfields

    greyfields Crowing

    Mar 15, 2007
    Washington State
    It's not really about saving money, it's about providing yourself high quality food. You can never approach the low cost of grocery store chicken; but you can certainly raise chicken which you know were treated humanely. That's more important than my wallet.
  6. dangerouschicken

    dangerouschicken Will Barter For Coffee

    May 6, 2007
    Columbia Gorge, OR
    Hear hear!
  7. WrenAli

    WrenAli Songster

    May 4, 2008
    Lebanon, OR
    With all businesses you will have some capital, both time and money, invested before you will turn a profit. I did not make money off my very first batch of chickens. I sold 8 at $2.50lb, they were 7 weeks and dressed from 2.5 to 5.5 pounds. I have orders for many more as well, I just wish I could find a more local hatchery to buy from. The one down the road from me lost thier contract and have not hatched a chick in 6 months. [​IMG]
    I also had to invest money to get set up for them. I am raising mine in a stall currently, but I hope to free range once I start breaking even/profiting, which will be on my next batch. I covered my feed cost, butcher costs and a bit more on the last batch. I just didn't cover my building materials & the 3 egg layers I bought with them. [​IMG]

    I know several people who successfully raised meat chickens on a small scale and made broke even/ made a profit. One guy I know had orders 6 months out before he quit raising them after he graduated from High School.

    Free Ranging the birds depends on your area and how big you want them. There is a guy who raises them where I live completely on pasture, in a tractor, after they get kicked out of the brooder. He is very intensive about it to. They get moved every day and such. He expect his birds to be 3.5 lbs. at 8 weeks and 5.75 lbs. at 12 weeks, dress weights.

    I have really enjoyed raising my meat birds. Sure they are a bit dirty, but I have dealt with dirtier animals. [​IMG]
  8. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    Something that might eat into profit is that if you go "legal" with meat sales, there are things you have to do up to code. If you're under the table though, then well, it's under the table.
  9. blueskylen

    blueskylen Songster

    Mar 3, 2008
    we are sending our birds to be processed tomorrow, and at 10 weeks, I am figuring that the cost to raise them was $2.10/lb - not including the coop and run - which we will keep using for the eggers and future meat chickens. this also includes the processing fee of $2.25/bird.

    If you sold them for $3.00/lb - there would be a small profit to it for you. Altho, we have had them since April, and the price of feed is higher now.
    we did not free range them, but i kept cutting tall grasses and clover and putting in their run.
  10. hdchic

    hdchic Songster

    Apr 12, 2008
    Personally, I don't think I would do the meat birds again. Mine are ready to butcher this week and I am SO ready to do it. I kept them in a raised brooder (6'x6' square x 4' high sides) and fed them twice a day from 3' long troughs. I don't plan on selling the meat, but if I did, it would take a lot to recoup the cost. Out of 52 birds, 45 have survived the 7 week growth period. I cannot begin to tell you how much feed I've gone through. LOL I believe they will dress out at about 5+ lbs each, and I had planned on keeping the meat to have all winter long. I agree with the folks about knowing where your meat came from, and that its not being injected with a million different chemicals. But I'm not sure I will do them again. The work and money involved is crazy! But, I haven't had the pleasure of eating one....YET. [​IMG]

    I saw a booth at the Farmer's Market that was selling his meat for $3.50/lb. I guess that is the going rate, but I'm like the others...I think I could get more for my eggs.

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