Sunday, June 15, 2014

Backyard Broilers -- Round 2: The Results

The remaining 8 broilers graduated yesterday.  I started with the first one at 8:00.  One of my buddies and his son arrived at 10:00 to help.  We finished right around 2:00. 

I let the birds sit in coolers with ice over night and put them in heat shrink bags this afternoon.
This was the biggest bird of the entire group.  6 lbs. 7.2 oz.

I've listed my expenses in the table below.  I have to note that while I was away last week I ran out of feed.  One neighbor brought some more over and the different neighbor picked up another 50 lb. bag.  I have no idea how much the birds ate during that time.  Therefore, I can't say exactly how much feed it took to get them to their finish weight or what the exact cost was.  (I have great neighbors by the way.) 

Description Cost
15 Cornish Cross Chicks $24.00
100 lbs. Purina Start and Grow feed $29.98
Vitamin packets $2.99
200 lbs. Soy Free Organic feed $144.00
50 lbs. Purina Layer feed $17.00*

Total Cost: $217.97
* I ran out of soy-free feed and had to use a partial bag of feed that I had for my layers. Since it was partially used I probably shouldn't add the entire $17 to my costs.  But it's also the case that my layers were eating the soy-free feed.  So that $144.00 didn't go entirely to feeding the broilers. 

I've listed the weights of my processed birds below. 
Bird Date Weight
Bird 1May 314 lbs. 7.2 oz
Bird 2May 314 lbs. 15.8 oz
Bird 3May 314 lbs. 7.6 oz
Bird 4May 314 lbs. 6 oz
Bird 5May 314 lbs. 8 oz
Bird 6May 314 lbs. 14.8 oz
Bird 7June 34 lbs. 5 oz
Bird 8June 146 lbs. 7.3 oz
Bird 9June 146 lbs. 0.3 oz
Bird 10June 146 lbs. 6.1 oz
Bird 11June 146 lbs. 1.9 oz
Bird 12June 145 lbs. 10.9 oz
Bird 13June 146 lbs. 2.2 oz
Bird 14June 145 lbs. 15.8 oz
Bird 15June 145 lbs. 10.1 oz

Total: 80.4375 lbs. (80 lbs. 7 oz.)

Cost per pound: $217.97 / 80.4375 = $2.71

I'm real pleased with the cost / pound.  I raised 11 Freedom Rangers last year and ended up with 44 lbs. of meat at a cost of $3.45/lb.  The 15 Cornish Cross birds I did this year yielded almost twice as much meat at a lower cost / pound. 

It's pretty clear from the results that letting the birds go an extra two weeks allowed them to gain a lot more weight.  I have to wonder though what the cost/pound would have been had I done all of them at 8 weeks and if the additional meat is worth the additional cost of feed.  I can't really answer that with the information I have.

I'm very pleased with the results.  From the information above I'd say that the Cornish Cross is the definite winner over the Freedom Ranger.  What I haven't mentioned so far is the mortality rate.  At the beginning I ordered 50 chicks. Those birds were split up among 5 families.  I kept 15 for myself and didn't lose a single one.  I've heard from some of the other families, and know of at least 7 birds that didn't make it to the freezer.  I think one may have been taken by a predator.  The others just died.  Anyway, 7 out of 50 birds equals a 15% loss.  I've heard that the Cornish Cross can have health issues so I don't think this is unexpected.  What is hard to explain is how one family lost 4 of 6 birds and another lost 3 out of 10.  When you look at those percentages the losses are much bigger.  They were all raised in different conditions so it's hard to say what happened, but I feel like I need to throw it out there.

(Updated June 16)
After I initially posted this last night it occurred to me that the cost per pound comparison between the Cornish Cross and the Freedom Rangers is even more drastic than I first thought.  Last year I raised the Freedom Ranger birds entirely on cheap Purina feed.  About 50% of the feed I used for the Cornish Cross birds was expensive non-GMO soy-free organic feed and they still ended up having a lower cost per pound! 


  1. Great post I bought mine and butchered same day thank u for doing the math :)

  2. Very interesting analysis. I enjoy reading all of your posts.