Meat chickens are in the freezer – cost analysis

All the meat chickens are in the fridge/freezer, and I have done up my numbers (cost, poundage, etc) to share. (Sorry for the formatting stuff, it looks fine in the edit screen, but obviously not so fine when it’s live.)

In March we purchased 4 Rhode Island Red day-olds and 2 Americauna day-olds. So the costs for the heating lamp, feeder, and waterer belong to those chicks. We also purchased 25 Cornish Rock cross day-olds, and the additional feeders to support those.

Cornish Rock chicks    25    $1.49    $37.25
RIR chicks                    4       $2.49    $9.96
Ameraucana chicks    2       $2.99    $5.98

.                                                         $53.19 Cost of chicks

PRODUCT                      COST        cornish-only?
Waterer                           $4.99
Feeder                             $8.99
Sav-a-chick powder     $2.99
Heat lamp                   $20.00
white feeders                 $1.98           $1.98
Emergen-C                    $4.00          $4.00
Electricity                        ?
Water                               ?

 .                                 $42.95 Product costs for laying chicks
.                                                        $5.98 Product costs for Cornish alone


Deaths in the first week included 1 RIR, 1 Americauna, and 4 Cornish, bringing my total to 25 birds. For the 9 weeks I grew the Cornish, I spent $170.71 on feed.

Chick Starter 18%      50        $15.99
Chick Starter 18%      50        $15.99
Flock Raiser 20%      50         $21.20
Meat Chicken 22%    40        $14.51
Meat Chicken 22%    40        $14.51
Meat Chicken 22%    40        $14.51
Meat Chicken 22%    40        $14.51
Meat Chicken 22%    40        $14.51

.                                  350     $125.73           $0.359 per pound of food at 8 weeks

Organic 20%             40          $22.49
Organic 20%            40           $22.49

.                                 430         170.71           $0.397 per pound of food at 9 weeks


The chickens were butchered over a four day period, but the days were not consecutive. Two chickens weren’t done until they were 10.5 weeks. Carcass weight includes bones, I took all the chickens down to plucked or skinned whole birds.

Date Processed   Live Weight    Carcass Weight  H/R (Hen or Roo)
5/16/2012             5.33                      4.00                 H
5/16/2012             5.33                      4.25                 H
5/16/2012             5.33                      4.00                H
5/16/2012             8.00                      5.50                H
5/18/2012             6.00                     4.50                H
5/18/2012             6.00                    4.50                  H
5/18/2012             7.00                     5.00                 H
5/18/2012             5.50                     4.00                H
5/18/2012             7.50                     5.50                 H
5/18/2012            9.00                     6.00                 R
5/18/2012            8.00                     5.00                H
5/18/2012            6.00                     4.50                H
5/26/2012            7.00                     5.00                R
5/26/2012            7.50                     5.00                R
5/26/2012           9.00                     5.50                 R
5/26/2012         10.00                     6.00                R
5/26/2012           8.00                     5.25                 R
5/26/2012           7.00                     4.75                 R
5/26/2012           6.00                     4.50                 R
5/29/2012           9.00                     5.50                H
5/29/2012           7.50                     5.00                H

.     TOTALS    149.99lb              103.25 lb
(Plus approximately 12 lbs of giblets and feet, which I did not include in these weights or in the cost analysis)


So for the analysis:

MISC                            $5.98
FEED                       $170.71

.                              $213.94 TOTAL COST FOR 21 CORNISH TO 9 WEEKS


$213.94 Cornish costs
103.25 Total carcass weight



I am quite satisfied with that. (I could have been more exact with assigning the cost of feed, but I did what I could. In my extimate, my laying chicks have cost $10.67 apiece to date.) I expect to do meat chickens again in the future, but only after I find a source for bulk food that costs less. But for happy, healthy, back yard meat chickens that were finished on organic food, I am accepting of $2 per pound. The meat is more tender than store-bought, and it has more flavor. Even my husband noticed and agreed with that. But I need the cost to come down if I am going to do this regularly. All in all I’m pleased with this experiment.

Have any of you raised chickens for meat? Do you think it’s best to raise your own when you can? What were your results?


5 thoughts on “Meat chickens are in the freezer – cost analysis

    1. Yes. Butcher, pluck or skin, and eviscerate. That’s why the dates were spread out so much, I can only do 8-10 in a day comfortably, mostly because I need more finger strength. If you have any questions about the process, I’d be happy to answer them.

    1. I did some quick math (hope it was correct!) and if I had gotten feed at your price instead of mine, it would have reduced my final meat cost to $2.02 per pound – 5 cents per pound cheaper. Not much, but not miniscule either. It’s something I’ll have to pay attention to if the price for chicken food increases, too. A little change in feed price trickles straight through to a change in per-pound of meat cost.

      1. Yeah every little bit helps. I have never figured it out, as we are doing chickens for eggs right now. We sell for $2 a dozen and I am sure it costs us close to that in production costs. I am not too worried about it right now as we get great nutritious eggs and can sell the extras.

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