Reason home grown is better than store bought meat chickens

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by 16 chief, Dec 13, 2012.

  1. 16 chief

    16 chief Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 5, 2012
    Lumberton NC
    The wife and I are discussing raising some chickens for the freezer. She claims its cheaper to buy them from the grocery store than raise them ourselves. Anyone have information they can share with me on the cost. Is the only reason the store bought birds worse b/c of the increased chemicals used? Thanks for any replies?
  2. sourland

    sourland Broody Magician Premium Member

    May 3, 2009
    New Jersey
    Knowing what they have been fed and how they have been treated is a major reason for going home grown. For me increased flavor and texture of the meat is well worth any increase in cost of production. Not sure of the cost comparison, but someone on here will have a figure for you.
  3. naillikwj82

    naillikwj82 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 30, 2011
    Olympic Peninsula, WA
    A person can definately purchase chicken for less than what you can grow it for. It is impossible to compete with mass production for cost. However, for us it is not difficult to compete with mass production in regards to quality, I think we grow a better bird. The numbers below were our best cost effort, it has cost us more at other times. We process our own birds, and all labor time for the project is unpaid.


    Total feed used was 475 pounds.
    Statistic for this run was 2.82 pounds of feed per 1 pound of dressed chicken. (the three late deaths are calculated into the feed conversion, not actual pound of meat price)

    # Bird Wt. dressed Total Wt. Avg.
    21 5#2 to 7#13 149.5# 7#2

    Expense for raising birds taken from expense log was 299.31 less 34.67 for 100# left over feed to equal $264.64
    Average price for each bird: 12.60
    Average price per pound: 1.81

    If the 3 late deaths are calculated into the overall, the final costs would be as follows,
    24 birds, 168 pounds, $11.02 per bird, $1.58 per pound.
    Costs include- price of chicks, brooder bedding, bulb replacements, and feed.

    Our most expensive project ended up at @2.68 per pound. Near the end of the project we lost one third of the flock to coxidia.
  4. Oregon Blues

    Oregon Blues Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 14, 2011
    Central Oregon
    That's pretty close to what my last batch cost. Costs go up fast if you lose birds or if the sparrows and mice can access your feed.

    The local Safeway occasionally sells bagged whole fryers for 70 cents a pound. I can't buy them for that price every day of the year, but they are available perhaps 4 times a year for that kind of price. That's less than 1/2 my cost to raise birds.

    It's not only economies of scale for the big commercial growers. The stores will often use chicken as their loss leader and sell it for less than it costs them. Just like the stores give turkeys for free around Thanksgiving. You know that nobody is raising them and giving them away for nothing. The stores are simply taking the loss in order to get customers into the store.

    I raise my own chicken because I like the meat a lot better. My family appreciates good food, and home raised chicken is quite different from the mass produced chicken at the grocery store. However, if cost is your main concern, wait until the chickens are on sale at the market and fill your freezer that way.
  5. SmokinChick

    SmokinChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2011
    Kingsville, MD
    Stores have $.99 a pound birds every day, 4-5 pounders.
    The $1.80 cost stated is very close to what I've been doing. But it is a hobby to me. I went from a small fluff ball to a dinner for the family in 8 weeks. Interacting with the birds, fulfilment in the end product and it keeps me out of the bars.
  6. phalenbeck

    phalenbeck Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 14, 2008
    Canton, N.C.
    Just got done eating a home made meatey. Much cleaner body, no smell, firmer meat, a bit more flavor, no 'slime'. My feed is cheaper than above, and I figured about $1.30 +-. It is simply a better product. I did 8, then 20, and this season will do 50-60 to get one a week. I think if is well worth it for the quality, not for cost savings.
  7. gg706

    gg706 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2011
    Did you range your birds? Could I cut the feed bill drastically if they were ranged?
  8. Island Roo

    Island Roo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2012
    Duncan, BC
    It's not just about price for me. My birds taste very different from store bought. I could not go back to factory raised meat - I don't like the taste, texture or the way they are treated and I wonder about the feed, medications, or other "contaminants" that might get into my food. Store bought has what I call a "chemical" taste.

    I can't compete with walmart prices but their product in very different from mine. If I was comparing prices, I would compare mine to organic, free-range prices at the store.

    I know some people save a lot on the feed bill from free range if the birds are "encouraged" to forage (ie only feed late in the day) Mine always have food and free range.
  9. Island Roo

    Island Roo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 14, 2012
    Duncan, BC

    Cleaner flavor too!
  10. Talihofarms

    Talihofarms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 4, 2010
    You can cut down your grain cost by pasturing.
    We are in the Midwest and our season for growing broilers begins in April and ends around November.
    We sell hundreds of Organic Pasture raised broilers.
    The cost of raising the broilers is cheaper when a pasture can be utilized.
    We have found that we have cut our grain usage down by around 40% when taking advantage of a combination of Grain and pasture.
    Consideration must be made in the advantages of volume discounts in bulk feed as apposed to 50 pound bags.
    Predator control is another factor to consider when pasturing.

    As far as which product is cheaper commercial or home raised.
    The question has been answered.
    However if you have ever been or seen a true commercial operation or have seen the amount of antibiotics used in the battery cage system.
    Your decision as to what is better will be obvious.

    just my .02

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