I gave a high estimate to our friends of $2/lb for the chickens. I *really* hoped to keep it under this. I recalled a previous year’s price of about $1.25/lb but feed was a *lot* cheaper back then (chick grower is now $13 for 50 lbs; it used to be about 8 or 9) and chicks were 50¢ instead of 75¢. I didn’t remember if I used an organic starter and finisher back then either.

Each group had a share of organic starter (a corn/soy free feed from Azure) and its companion product towards the end of their lives. In the middle they ate game bird conditioner and game bird maintenance pellets (very similar in content and % of protein to starter and grower, but a little cheaper and unmedicated). I was a lot more diligent on the “withholding of feed” with the ascites threatening them (especially with CX2 – that is, the 2nd batch of Cornish Cross chicks) and I think that is why their averages are lower than in previous years. I didn’t withhold (on purpose – sometimes they ran out anyway) from the RR group, but you can see that the CX2 pullets put on a lot of weight in the last week (when I offered free-choice) which didn’t happen with the RRs.

Without further ado, here are our stats.

  • 110 Cornish Cross Chicks: $93.81
  • 50 Red Ranger Chicks: $106.00
  • 200 lbs organic feed: $130.02
  • 1700 lbs (!) conventional feed: $416.21
  • Electricity: $60
  • Misc.: $20
  • Total: $826.04

The electricity estimate is based on the sudden jump in my bill for March and April. It might be more, since we stop using heat for the house during those months, but it’s impossible to truly tell (unless I keep track of the hours the lights are on? Yeah, right!). Miscellaneous includes heat lamp bulbs, apple cider vinegar, and might have been higher, but I had a couple bulbs in the garage that I used. I did NOT count the cost of additional infrastructure and durable supplies: Feeders (bought and built), 2 bell waterers, 3 new chicken shelters, an additional heat lamp or two. A lot of this was brought on by the logistical complications of the arrival times, but I didn’t foresee that when I started this venture. 🙂

We had five separate processing days, and information for each of those. The first group of Cornish Cross (CX1) that almost disappeared entirely is first. CX2 was done in 2 separate batches, as was the RR group. For both of these we did the big ones first – primarily cockerels – and then the rest the next week – usually pullets (females). Giblets were sometimes kept, but are not part of the weights. Averages are listed for each group.

(I wish I could get that to display right here, but it’s not.)

Total weight of 423.5 lbs at a cost of $826.04 results in $1.95/lb! EVEN with the drastic losses in the first group (up to and including the day of processing – that’s a lot of birds and feed down the drain), the final cost came within the estimate I quoted to people. That makes me extremely grateful, and hopeful that with better management costs can stay affordable.