Tell me if my math is right

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by wberry85, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. wberry85

    wberry85 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 21, 2011
    Milton, GA
    I quickly made up this spreadsheet earlier today on poultry profitability. This does not include the price to build each chicken tractor nor processing costs. I plan on using the Joel Salatin model chick tractor and moving each tractor daily over a 5 acre field. I understand 1sq ft per bird is optimistic. May adjust that number. This is just a rough estimate but am I in the ball park here in terms of cost per bird until 10 weeks?

    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  2. sparrker

    sparrker Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 12, 2011
    Baldwinsville, NY
    Does 1 meat bird only eat 12 lbs of feed over its lifetime, say 9 weeks
  3. Hummingbird Hollow

    Hummingbird Hollow Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 1, 2011
    Colorado mountains
    I'm not sure how you calculated your feed cost, but I'm guessing your numbers are off somewhere. I do think that if you cram your birds 1 chicken per square foot of tractor space, you'll run into the same type of problems as big commercial chicken producers and end up either losing many of them to illness or having to pump them full of antibiotics. Not only would that decrease your profits, you couldn't call them "organic" and having them packed that tightly would mean you couldn't call them "pastured" either and doubt you'd be able to command a good price.

    Perhaps there are folks out there who turn their meat chickens into a profitable venture. I am no expert because I was simply raising them for my family's table. I paid more per pound than I would have if I had purchased them at Safeway, but I knew that I had a ethicaly raised chicken who had plenty of fresh air, water and room to move.

    I calculated that my Freedom Rangers (slower growing and more expensive per chick than CX) cost me about $2.80/lb, not counting the broth I made and giblets I fed to the dogs.
  4. wberry85

    wberry85 Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 21, 2011
    Milton, GA
    Yeah the square feet per bird is too low I think. I want the animals to be happy. Happy animals is a big part of my marketing plan.
  5. barkinghills

    barkinghills Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 17, 2011
    I wouldn't count on your average weight being 6.5 lbs dressed. I think that is pretty high, especially for an average. The hens will be smaller than the roosters, and I think it is likely they will all average less than 6.5 lbs.

    Also, as someone commented up thread, 12 lbs of food per bird for it's 10-week life sounds really low. There are references online for how much food to plan for each bird.

    Don't forget to factor in bedding when they are little unless you are putting them out into tractors from day one. I was amazed at how wet and voluminous their dropping were, even at a young age! I spent a lot on bedding changes until I moved them out of their brooder bin at 3-4 weeks of age.
  6. Tabasco Jack

    Tabasco Jack Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 20, 2013
    Draketown, GA
    Last year I ran two batches of 25 cornish roasters in 8'x8' Salatin style tractors. The spring batch finished with 23 birds butchered at 8-9 weeks. Total feed consumption was 382 pounds. or 16.6 pounds per bird. These were the McMurray roasters so they grow a little slower that the cornish X birds and they eat a little less.. My average dressed weight was a fudge over 6 pounds. I paid $2.57 per bird. My feed cost was similar to yours at around .33 cents per pound.
    My direct cost (chicks and feed) came to $1.38 per pound of meat in the freezer.

    If I remember correctly, Salatin's tractors are 10' x 10' and he runs 50 birds in each of them. That's 2 sf per bird. My smaller tractor gives me 2.6 sf per bird. Often I had to move it twice a day due to the poop.

    I pulled my records out to double check things. Keep in mind, I didn't sell any of these birds but I ran my bookkeeping as if I did.
    Two batches of 26 birds. One Feb - Apr and the other May - July. I finished with 49 birds processed.
    I amortize capital expenses over a 3 year period and I purchased a Whizbang plucker kit for processing. I already had the roofing tin for the tractor so there was no cost for that.

    Total feed cost was $264.
    Bedding was $66.
    Cost of chicks was $135.
    Amortized cost of tractor and plucker was $215.
    Total cost for 49 finished birds was $682 or $13.92 per bird or $2.47 per pound dressed.

    I think you're being a little optimistic about the feed consumption and the number of birds you can run in a tractor. Good luck with it.
  7. birdman1960

    birdman1960 Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 26, 2012
    north central cheeseland
    I figure 18 # per bird for cornish X, depending how much green and bugs they get, maybe 16# per bird, that is for 8 weeks, I buy wood shavings for the young chicks, one bag of chick starter, then onto broiler feed for the remainder, add in cost for processing $3.50 per bird. my spring batch will be priced at $2.99/lb, out of 40 chicks, figure to lose 4 or 5 , usually a couple the first 2 weeks, then a couple more by 3 weeks, pray nothing startles them at 5-6-or 7 weeks, Flip can cause another one or two to be lost....
  8. Mingming

    Mingming Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 15, 2012
    Also think about fermented feed, that could cut your food bill a bit, and give you healthier chickens in the process!
  9. NJfarmer

    NJfarmer Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 28, 2007
    New Jersey and Maine
    What meat bird did you use cornish or the red broilers?
  10. GreenMountainEric

    GreenMountainEric Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 23, 2010
    Feed conversion will be one of the biggest guesses. A lot of that will depend on the feed formulation. In studies, that we have done, we have seen big differences in conversion ratio's.

    If you are using a very high quality, high energy feed that consists of mostly corn, soy, and wheat, and also has well balanced vitamin, mineral, and probiotic levels- You should see 2.5-2.8 conversion ratio. (2.5-2.8 lbs of grain, per lb of gain).

    Typically a lower cost feed, or a feed that comes from a big box store. (Tractor supply etc...), Or feeds that are manufactured by larger companies that don't lock formulas- You will see higher ratios. (I have seen as high as 4.0/1) Typically though, they are not that bad. Usually 3.0/1 or so....

    If you are looking for a 6lb bird, it will take at least 15lbs of grain. (more likely 17lbs), and if you use a lower quality feed, it could be more like 20-22lbs per bird.
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2013

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