Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How Much Does It Cost To Raise A Meat Bird?

Well folks, butchering time for the meat birds of Clucky Dickens Farm arrived. At almost nine weeks old, we found a day that all six of us were available to get those meatballs in the freezer.

I had been keeping track of how fast the birds grew in Meat Bird Experiment posts #1 and #2. The unfortunate thing is that I forgot to take a picture of the birds at their biggest, right before we butchered them.

I do have a current picture of them, though. ;)

Okay, so everyone is wondering how much did it all cost and was it worth it? Here's the figures:

25 Cornish Cross Chicks - they actually sent us 28, as it is habit to send extra "just in case"...

Food for almost nine weeks (50 lbs of starter and 650 pounds of meat bird food)...

Total cost for chickens...

From the chickens, we got about 206 pounds of meat. We ended up butchering 25 - one of the original 28 they sent died as a chick and two died just before butchering day. The birds we did butcher averaged about 8 pounds each. Our Clucky Dickens Math (219.33 divided by 206) tells us that it cost about $1.06 a pound to raise our own meat birds.

Financial advantage? I have no clue what chicken costs in the store, so I can't compare it that way yet.

Are they tasty? Oh, goodness yes. :)

Was it worth it?  I'm still deciding. They were worlds easier to butcher than our dual purpose birds have ever been in every aspect imaginable. And one Cornish Rock makes a tasty meal for our family of four adults and two kids. BUT they are disturbing birds. They stare at you and you can hear them asking for food. If they could salivate, they'd be drooling constantly waiting for you to come in and feed them. They reek of desperation...and poop. They eat ALOT. They drink ALOT of water. And they poop way more than ALOT. We cleaned their coop every other day.

So was it worth it?

Hmm. What do you think?


  1. We peeked in on them on Saturday and they were laying down and eating. Very nice picture of them above, that is such a satisfying feeling to see that in the freezer :)

  2. We've thought about doing meat chickens, but we honestly don't eat chicken that much for the amount of work that goes into butchering them. We don't even do stewing hens. I think we will stick to pig as our meat of choice, since that is what most people in the family eat the most.

    I don't like the Cornish. My mom had some and they are just creepy and sad. I have read about Freedom Rangers though, and I think if we do meat birds I would go for them.

  3. Although I like the idea of the Freedom Rangers, I also know that we only have so much time for so many critters and I like the idea of having a plump, homegrown chicken in the freeze in eight weeks. Nice work on getting those "mini turkeys" into the freezer. Many a wonderful supper will come from your efforts!

  4. Totally worth it! Nothing like being able to feed you own family :) Can't wait to do ours :) Thanks for sharing :)

  5. You certainly cannot buy chicken for $1.06/lb in the store, at least not around here, and the satisfaction of knowing exactly what you are eating is simply priceless! Good job you guys!! :)

  6. Totally worth it. :) Our meat chicks are one week old today and we'll butcher in 4-5 weeks. More tender and still usually a 6 lbs bird.

  7. Worth it because buying pastured birds, butchered, is very expensive! We keep one batch (30 birds for the year) and sell one batch (30 birds)... it offsets the cost for ours and gives us a tiny profit. I don't love raising them, but I refuse to buy conventionally raised chickens from the store and can't afford pastured ones from a local organic store. :)

  8. why would you buy 'feed' for them??? why not let them graze so they eat what nature intended?? besides that being a healthier diet for them and the fact that they'd taste even better and be even more nutritious, it sure would cut the costs down a lot!!


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