We ran into a predator problem a week before slaughter. lost about 14-15 birds. We caught a dog in the backyard with the meat chickens which, unfortunately had to be let out to free range because with my bad tennis elbow and the sheer size of the no wheel chicken hoop coop tractor, it became too much for me to move and i couldnt keep up with the poop. were signs of a muskrate i was told?? a few heads snapped off, one with a small amount of entrails out and one breast missing, but mostly just mauled and not touched, but the birds probably keeled over from fear. Bad planning on our part that ended up costng money and innocent chicken lives for nothing. Lesson learned.. 100 birds were just TOO much for me to take care of by myself and keep them safe at the same time. The end total ended up being 71.. which isnt bad out of 100. it could have been about 86 but asi es la vida, eh? the chicken trailer we rented ended up actually only being $25 a day, so we rented it for 2 days in case, which ended up being a totally smart move, as the morning of, my mil went to the hospital by ambulance, right to the ICU. The kids were on early release day from school, a cousin was coming over to show me the ropes and only having one vehicle, i stayed behind to do the ugly job to start with while DH went to the hospital. 3 hours later and after 20 birds, he came back and said she was stabilized, etc. so we almost finished the job thoughout the day, which was cold, and rainy and windy. NOT conditions for this woman to be outside in with wet hands!!! I did NOT kill any chickens.. I only messed with their dead bodies which is a step forward for me. I still wont touch a dead animal that i found. one i saw die for food made it different. YEs, i know im strange LOL. the big scalder and auto plucker was awesome. I saw cousin gut one while i copied and from then on i did very well on my own. After the first 20 i was about frost bitten so i convinced him to come inside and get dry while started cutting those up and packaging them in the food saver. then DH walked in. so i got to stay inside! woohoo! So far i have given 7 away to family and the helper, and i have the inlaws and a few others i will give one to. GAve some necks also to grandma. We didnt harvest the organs because of the weather and we dont have the use for them right now. Cousin took hearts though. Next time the circumstances will be different. we will have more time and possibly better weather, etc. I have a 40 gallon trash bag of carcasses to make stock from I have my canner now so that will be fun! HAHA. We ate some breasts the other day and they were good. in a way i cant explain.. they tasted like condensed more powerful chicken. DH is hooked. On the other hand. i took a video of what cousin did to the chickens and the whole extended family is blaming ME in horror , apparently just for shooting it on camera... LOL. so my final cost.. i think im over estimating the food because i had a whole bag unopened left and such but its better to overestimate than under! 7.29 a bird. thats for the 71 we ended up with. i know for a fact i didnt end up with ANY smaller than the ones i bought at walmart for $5. I factored in food, cost of birds, food saver bags, trailer rental for 2 days, etc. If i factor in the $40 i got for the free cockerels at auction that i got with my original order, that brings it down to approximated $6.73 a bird. thats awesome!!!