Monday, November 30, 2015

Fall Broiler Stats

In mid-November, we put our fall batch of broilers in the freezer.  Now that the books are closed on them, we wanted to take a look and see if we came out any better than our previous batches of meat chickens on a price per pound level.  We stuck with the same feed source we had for the previous batches, but we had a slightly different feeder setup that probably saved some wasted feed.  We also raised all Cornish Cross this time around instead of Red Rangers or Pioneers (or a mix of those and Cornish Cross), and the birds came from Meyer Hatchery instead of McMurray.  Ok, here's the numbers!

We ordered 25 birds, and one came free, so we started with 26.  We lost two as chicks, and had to cull three more at the six-week mark due to leg injuries, so 21 birds made it to the butcher date at eight weeks.  That's a mortality rate of 19%, or 8% if we don't include the six-week culls, although 26 birds is a pretty small sample size.  The butchering price increased from $3/bird to $4/bird for us this year.  The dressed-to-live weight yield is 72%, and the feed conversion ratio is ~2.5:1.  For comparison, the industry figures are 4-5% mortality rate, 71-74% dressed-to-live weight yield, and just under 2:1 feed conversion ratio.

The feed again accounted for the major portion of the overall cost, but the initial cost of the chicks and the butchering were also significant costs.  If we lived in a place where we were allowed to butcher them ourselves, we could have decreased the price to $3.34/lb dressed weight.  Some day!

To compare with other organic whole chicken prices, we're right in the range of what's available online (sources here and here), and a little above what's available in our local Sprouts grocery store.  Of course, if we got it from them, we wouldn't get any fertilizer for the garden!  We're also $0.54/lb less than our batch last year, even with the increased processing price, so we're definitely moving in the right direction.

Now that's a happy freezer!

Next steps for us? Start growing our own feed and get better set up to do our own butchering!

How do your home-grown chicken prices fall out?

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