Chickens For Meat? - Cost/Breed/Feed?

Do you keep livestock? Having any problems? Want to talk about it, whether it be sheep, goats, chickens, pigs, bees or llamas, here is your place to discuss.
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Thomzo
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Re: Chickens For Meat? - Cost/Breed/Feed?

Post: #116021 Thomzo
Tue Jul 22, 2008 6:12 am

Yikes
My bantam chicks hatched on first and second of July. that's three weeks ago now and they still look like chicks. They certainly aren't halfway to those birds. What am I doing wrong? The older one is about twice the size of the younger one despite only a day between them. I make sure their food and water is always topped up but turned the lamp off after two weeks. Was that too early?

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Re: Chickens For Meat? - Cost/Breed/Feed?

Post: #116103 Odsox
Tue Jul 22, 2008 2:26 pm

I shouldn't worry too much Zoe
All chicks take a few weeks to get going.
Also of course Bantams and other non hybrid breeds will never grow as fast as the ones talked about in this thread.
16 weeks is old age for a meat pullet, but teen age for a Bantam.
Tony

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Re: Chickens For Meat? - Cost/Breed/Feed?

Post: #116235 ainslie
Wed Jul 23, 2008 1:14 pm

are you permitted to sell the chickens you grow to other people? We raise enough extra birds, red-veal, and pork to sell to other people and this covers the cost of the meats we keep for ourselves (as well as the costs of raising them)...It doesn't pay me for my labour though! yet!:lol:

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Re: Chickens For Meat? - Cost/Breed/Feed?

Post: #119235 PoultryMan
Wed Aug 13, 2008 12:27 pm

We raise free range turkeys and chickens for the table here in Essex. Always happy to set people up, provide birds etc. We do also eat excess cockerels that we hatch, but these take many months to rear and still have little meat. Whereas the specific meat birds we have (Hubbards or Cotswold Whites) are table ready in 10 or 12 weeks. We also have turkeys which will be ready for Christmas too!
Thanks
Stewart

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Re: Chickens For Meat? - Cost/Breed/Feed?

Post: #233558 lex spencer
Sun May 29, 2011 8:58 am

I realise this is an older posting however I thought I would share my experiances with everyone including those that may happen upon it in the future. It is true that if you purchase broilers/day old chicks and feed them commercial feed you will never grow out the chicks to be cheaper of comparable in price to a store brought chook. The first batch of day olds I purchased for $2.50AU ended up costing approx $60AU ea bird to get them to a decent table weight at 9 months old. Obviously this is pointless to do so I opted to keep the chooks and fortunately out of 25 chicks only 5 were cockerals, the rest were hens. Whilst not being spectacular layers they were not terrible either so I managed to collect about 100 eggs for eating from each bird as well as collecting about 30 eggs from each hen for incubating. Being commercial hybrid broilers I knew they were not going to be the best for breeding if I put the hybrid roosters with the hybrid hens so I put a Australorp which is a dual purpose breed over the hybrid hens, the eggs I collected for incubation had a 90% hatch rate and I ended up with 50/50 pullets and cockerals, To save on feed cost which is the biggest killer when raising chooks for the table I opted to free range the cockerals in a pen 5mx5m, as I was expecting chicks for this pen I planted lucerne seed to grow as the green feed over which I streched chicken wire to prevent the chooks scratching up the lucerne and turning the pen into a dust bowl. To supplement the green feed of lucerne which is high in protien I feed the cockerals a whole assortment of vegie scraps from the garden as well as collecting slugs & snails, when I didnt have much in the way of scraps I asked at the local produce merchant/grocer for their waste, I provided them with a wheely bin and asked for clean waste, ie vegie off cuts, old produce and breads. This worked out well as the retailers would normally have to pay for their removal by a waste disposal company. So my only real cost was for chick starter for the first 5 weeks and a couple of bags of scratch mix to supplement the green feeds. I also have a large worm farm where I compost garden waste not suitable for the chooks so I have a good supply of fresh earth worms to feed once a week to the chooks. So the result was that these 2nd generation hybrid chicks (90 in total) cost me about $3AU (includes power cost to incubate/brood chicks, water and feed cost)ea to raise to table weight and I had started processing chooks from 12 weeks old onwards (in batches of 10) with the last lot being processed at 30 weeks old, the older birds were huge and enough to make either 4 meals or feed 8 adults and the flavour was sensational. I will definately continue raising my own x-bred chicks for meat and I would reccomend people do them in batches of 50 plus and process a few at a time so you end up with meat to eat asap as well as chook to grow out to really tasty roasters. I also have the advantage of living on a 4acre farm so I have a bit more room to grow food for the chooks but there are plants/vegies/crops you can grow in an urban enviroment to supplement brought in feed for your chooks to refduce your feed cost. So while you will never grow them as chaep as commercial farmers it is possible with a little effort and time to grow them out for close to the same cost as purchasing them retail with the added benefit of getting a better tasting bird, a better quality bird, lots of free manure for a vegie patch or to sell to neighbours.

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Re: Chickens For Meat? - Cost/Breed/Feed?

Post: #233560 Green Aura
Sun May 29, 2011 9:12 am

Hi lex - welcome to Ish :wave:
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Re: Chickens For Meat? - Cost/Breed/Feed?

Post: #233598 RuthG
Sun May 29, 2011 12:43 pm

Interesting thread, thank you.

It is our plan (when we move from here in about a year or so), to get dual purpose hens to raise for meat and eggs. The sale of the eggs should cover a large proportion of their food and what I save on buying eggs myself (we eat quite a few) should cover the rest. That means the meat will only cost the price of the actual hens when bought in. After that, we plan to have some hens and cokerels to breed our own chicks and then that willr educe that cost too.

The overall plan is that whatever venture we start must pay for itself - no outgoings, apart from start-up costs. Breaking even will be fine; making any profit will be better but not essential.

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Re: Chickens For Meat? - Cost/Breed/Feed?

Post: #233604 niknik
Sun May 29, 2011 1:16 pm

I only keep chickens for eggs ( so far), mainly for lack of space!
I costed it out at the price I was paying for shop bought eggs ( NOT free range/organic), and decided it would be cost effective.
The eggs are much nicer, and I do eat far more than before!
I stretch the feed out, by boiling up and mashing veg scraps, to mix with the feed, ( and some crushed up shells too).
Asthere isnt a lotof room, thre´s no chance of anything growing in their pen.except what they won´t touch, so I´ve got a couple of "trays" with varied seeds in, and once evrything is a reasonable size, will put thesetrays in their run for them gobble up!

Mine unfortunately wont touch slugs, which I always seem to have a plentiful supply of!

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Re: Chickens For Meat? - Cost/Breed/Feed?

Post: #233605 Odsox
Sun May 29, 2011 1:18 pm

Funnily enough I have just started producing meat chicken again, I did it about 20 years ago along with ducks but haven't repeated it since we moved here.
We have 3 Light Sussex hens and a huge Rhode Island Red cockerel and the hens lay on average about 18 - 20 eggs per week.
At the moment I have 8 x 7 week old pullets and a clutch of 13 eggs in the incubator, due to start hatching next Friday. The pullets are pretty big already, although I haven't weighed one yet, but I think I will probably only keep them to 16 - 20 weeks.
I weaned them off chick crumbs last week and they now have straight wheat and cooked potatoes, but I have no real idea how much it will cost me to grow them to a suitable weight as I never intended it to be a financial venture. The main reasons are taste, knowing what they have been fed on and knowing what conditions they were raised in, like plenty of space and free range from next week onwards, but at the moment the corn costs me about €5 a bag and I think they will probably get through 3 bags during the next 10 weeks and the potatoes are of course free apart from the cooking.
At a really rough guess, I would say that the cost per bird is probably more that an intensively raised bird but probably a bit less that a shop bought organic chicken.
But, who cares ? :iconbiggrin:

Edit to say, prompted by this I just went out and weighed a few.
The biggest looking one weighed 2lb 12oz and the smallest 2lb 6oz and they are 7 weeks old tomorrow.
Interesting to note that the biggest would probably dress out to 2lb 4oz, or about a kilo.
Tony

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Re: Chickens For Meat? - Cost/Breed/Feed?

Post: #233606 JulieSherris
Sun May 29, 2011 1:48 pm

Yep, I have 3 more rooster boys ready to go for the oven over the next week or 2 plus a turkey stag who has taken exception to the husband.... :mrgreen:

I put approximately 2 dozen assorted eggs in the cabinet each day & they all sell at €1.50 for 6, so that's about €40 to €45 a week. The feed costs me typically €36 a week and any bird (duck/chicken) I prepare for customers sell for a tenner. So we're sort of making a profit, albeit small.

The nice thing is that with the little band of loyal folks that drop by for their eggs, I can pop jam, pickles, chutney, and any seasonal veg in the cabinet as well & then we really see a difference in takings each week :cheers:

On the back of that. I also make little crochet keyrings, egg cosies, right up to afghans that folk can buy & that's just starting to take off too - who'd have thought when I bought my first 3 hens that I'd be building an empire :lol:

Last year, I did try the commercial broiler birds, but to be honest, although they grew quick & yes, made a nice heavy bird, I really didn't like keeping them penned in & then watching as their little legs just couldn't take the weight, so our boys for the oven are all RIR crosses & I am quite happy to wait the 26 weeks to get a 6lb bird.
Yes if I worked out the cost, they are expensive, but it all fits in with how we live & & how we want the animals here to live.
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Re: Chickens For Meat? - Cost/Breed/Feed?

Post: #233610 darkbrowneggs
Sun May 29, 2011 2:52 pm

I havent' actually costed mine, but over the years I have bred for the utility qualities, so not only do they lay a good number of exceptional eggs, but the boys get to 5-6 lbs dressed weight in 24-30 weeks, and then old hens make good eating also

The chicks generally come off heat at 4-5 weeks if the weather is good and are kept on chick crumbs til about 6 weeks. They ar then given total free range and fed on straight wheat bought from the farm which last year cost me £3 per bag.

For the last 7-10 days they are penned and fed boiled wheat and rice, They come out totally fat free and the flesh is a fine textured white breast meat, and full flavoured dark legs, a real gourmet treat. Apparently they can be killed at 2-3 mths for a small roaster, though I haven't done that myself.

They make excellent broodies and mothers so it is easy to hatch your own chicks, and the birds cover a good quantity of eggs.

Any pullets produce a good quantity of really top quality eggs. You can check out my website for photos of the birds and eggs http://www.darkbrowneggs.info In my opinion this is the very best all-round dual purpose bird

All the best
Sue

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Re: Chickens For Meat? - Cost/Breed/Feed?

Post: #233618 red
Sun May 29, 2011 5:12 pm

i raise chickens and ducks for meat - and just starting out with muscovy ducks too.

how much they cost to raise depends a bit - ie whether they were incubated or under a broody etc, but we have kept notes and can raise them cheaper £/for lb than i can buy (FR of course).

turkeys were definitely worth doing - financially as well as knowing they had a pretty good life.

with chickens, I'm keen to stick to dual purpose birds, and trying to find the right combination to give us the best weight at 20 weeks. (there is only so much crowing we and our neighbours will take). So far my welsummer x cuckoo marans have been good.
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Re: Chickens For Meat? - Cost/Breed/Feed?

Post: #233620 SandraR
Sun May 29, 2011 5:14 pm

I'd second raising turkeys for meat is cost effective....the eggs go under the hens tonight :icon_smile:


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