Under the banner of full transparency, here are the efforts and analysis I have done to nail down a price point for selling dressed broilers. This chart from the Organic Feed Store aligns with almost all literature I have read on raising broilers. Specifically that one bird will consume ~11 pounds of feed in an eight-week lifetime or ~15 in a 9 week lifetime. After 8 weeks, the birds start to eat more than they put on weight-wise so that is the typical culling age. Simply, they cost more to feed than the meat they put on.
Feed Consumption Chart – Meat Birds – Cornish Rock Cross
|Age||Week 1||Week 2||Week 3||Week 4||Week 5||Week 6||Week 7||Week 8||Week 9||Total # of Bags|
|One Bird||4.2 oz.||9.2 oz.||3.7 oz.||18.8 oz.||26.1 oz.||34.5 oz.||38.5 oz.||42.6 oz.||46.5 oz.||14.63 lbs.|
|25 Birds||6.56 lbs.||14.38 lbs.||21.41 lbs.||29.28 lbs.||40.78 lbs.||53.91 lbs.||60.16 lbs.||66.56 lbs.||72.66 lbs.||7.32 bags|
|50 Birds||13.13 lbs.||28.75 lbs.||42.81 lbs.||58.75 lbs.||81.56 lbs.||107.81 lbs.||120.31 lbs.||133.13 lbs.||145.31 lbs.||14.63 bags|
|100 Birds||26.25 lbs.||57.5 lbs.||85.63 lbs.||117.5 lbs.||163.13 lbs.||215.63 lbs.||240.63 lbs.||266.25 lbs.||290.63 lbs.||29.26 bags|
Even though I am going to cull at 8 weeks, I will use the feed requirements for a 9 week bird as it gives room for spillage, waste and just a general buffer. Now that I have the amount of feed required to raise a broiler, I contacted local feed mills.
One of the feed consultants, in his Appalachian drawl, inquired if I was going to be “One of these more natural operations.” I responded that it will be a more natural, pasture-based approach but I personally place more emphasis on local sourcing than shipping “natural products from the Midwest” or natural kelp from Iceland. To my surprise, he about jumped out of his shoes in excitement to help me by immediately explaining their local lightly roasted soybeans, corn, alfalfa meal. He spent quite a while explaining how their mill works and the various blades for crimping, rolling or pelleting feed. He also listed the retail prices for all his ingredients as well as feed rations they have formulated for other poultry customers. They are willing to mix small amounts for me as samplers and will happily scale up production along with my operation as it expands. Needless to say, I have found my feed source!
So based on the quoted prices, I can build a model to determine all of my costs that go into each bird in its lifetime. From there it is a simple step to formulate the price per pound at which selling the birds will support my lifestyle. Stay tuned as I will publish the calculations and spreadsheets in a following post.