Chicken Growout overview 2015

I am doing a huge amount of tracking on this, as its a tracking year but I thought I had a basic overview up and If I do I can not find it, I can find my cow, pork and so forth but not birds yet.. this surprises me as I have all my data for chickens, ducks and turkeys, still crunching info on the other fowl..

So this is data from 2013- 2014 growout seasons, I would like to point out that everything is at least 10 to 20 percent higher in 2015, and in some cases in regards to feed, if you are buying from the feed store up to 30 percent plus more.

Clearly if you can hatch your own chicks, and you can raise fodder, and if you are willing to sprout grains and raise mealworms and make and use maggot buckets etc, and you self-butcher you will hugely reduce your costs..

So I am going to split this down..

Chick costs,

A) order from a hatchery, the average by the time you do the chicks, the taxes and the shipping costs as well as your paperwork.. 8 to 10 dollars per chick.

B) Buy local from Kijji, Lowest straight run mixed breed chicks, 3.50 to 5 dollars a chick, average straight run backyard chicks hatched from momma hen.. 8 dollars per.. well breed hatched chicks from a good local source.. 10 to 15 per chick and the price will go up the older they get.

C) go to a bird sale.. average price for chicks at the sales are 15 for a week to two week old fuzzy.. but depending on breed can go higher.. I saw a group of three  four days olds go for 65 this spring.

Average Growout Costs.

  • Chick costs- 10 dollars – 20 chicks =
  • Gas cost to pick up the chicks and to take to butcher- 10 to 20 depending on where you got them booked in and what you drive.
  • Bedding costs- chick bedding – 6.25, Adult Bedding till butcher at 16 week (not to be confused with the costs of raising layers, that is a different topic) 44 dollars in straw.
  • Feed – the average bag of 55 pounds of starter is 22 at the store plus tax, so 26.. the average bag of 55 pounds of grower is 20 plus tax, so 24, twenty birds are going though a bag every two weeks. (so 196 in feed) or 9.8 dollars per chicken.
  • Butcher costs at the one place I know, will be 115 plus tax for the 20 birds

Now I am being really kind, and saying you had no losses at all.. which is unlikely.. mostly likely you are not taking the same number of birds to butcher as you got. but lets say you had a perfect year (it happens) and you got them all to butcher size.

total to buy, raise, feed and bed, haul and butcher costs on your twenty birds are 576 (and that is not even thinking about organic feed costs, its also assuming no health issues, so no vet or meds needed) at 28.8 per bird.

Assuming at 16 weeks, you picked a good bird, you will be getting a 5 to 6 pound bird back.. at a rate of 5.76 for a five pound per pound or if you have a 6 pound bird back, at 4.80 per pound..

Now you know why the folks locally ask for five dollars a per pound at the local markets..

Please note, I have NOT included any of the upfront costs of a hen house, a outdoor pen, the costs of building a chicken tractor, Food or water feeders, your time for raising them, the cost of the heat lamp, the light that goes in it, the power bill for raising them up or the work in cleaning their pens and so forth. That adds in the costs for every chick produced but you need to look at that as a long term investment but its in the hundreds of dollars at a min to put the above into place.

Now lets look at the frugal way to do this.. Its worth noting that I do buy new blood stock every four to six years and then I am paying that ten per chick cost.

Farmgal Style Chicken Growout Costs

Assuming my dual purpose hens and roosters are hatching chicks..

Chick cost – Free (but not really, as I am losing that hen as a egg producer for months, so if you want to get fussy, there is a cost) figure the hen is out for three months, so 16 dollars worth of eggs, figure ten chicks for ease.. 1.60 per chick

Bedding Costs- 44, as the chicks are with mom, I do not need special bedding, no heat lamp, no power and so forth..

Cost for pickup or butcher- None, born on the farm

Feed- I get feed in bulk and from a local farmer, so I pay 8 dollars per 55 pounds, I free range my birds, so they get their extra protein from the land itself..  so total cost on 16 weeks of feed would be 80 I would also be giving extra from the yard, extras from the garden, and would be running worm and meal bugs programs for extra protein bump up.. but these are all sunk costs at this point.

I self- butcher, the sunk cost of the knives, tools and the huge steel sinks, figure to add 10 cents per bird for five years, its paid for at this time but I will add it in none the less.

Freezer Paper or Freezer bag per bird  1.00

Total 178.00

Per Bird cost 8.9 dollars.. Assuming a 5 pound bird, they will average about a pound less on my homegrown way of growing them compared to the commercial birds.

Total of 1.78 per pound in costs, with the same as above, not including all the buildings, bird tractors, the feeders, the time, the butchering time, the time to do all my other programs, or the cost to run the freezer (buy the freezers) or the cost to can them to preserve them and so forth.

Up until this year, store chicken, store Turkey etc, has always been cheaper to buy then to raise..  at my cheapest food store, the six to eight dollar birds that are now 11 to 14 depending on weight are still cheaper then I can raise even at my frugal..

Now we are just starting to be the same, or close to it but for the average person raising a few birds for eating, and doing the normal send out to be processed, they are going to be paying 2 to 3 plus times more per pound, but they will know how the bird was raised.





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4 Responses to Chicken Growout overview 2015

  1. onedogrunning says:

    Great info and breakdown!

  2. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Regardless of how the costs work out…
    Just from seeing that sliver of your farm last week, I know that there’s no way to compare your birds with the rest. Apples & oranges. Period.

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