Saturday, April 24, 2010

Cheap Cheepers

We picked up our Cornish Cross chicks. Some people affectionately refer to this breed as "meat blobs", and by the time they are ready for processing, they certainly do live up to the nickname.

But right now, they're just fuzzy little chicks.

Most people would look at this picture and see, "Ah! Cute little chickies."

I look at it and see the promise that we will eat for the next year. I look at it and see food security.

Ten chicks cost us $37 to raise and, if we butcher them ourselves, work out to about $1.48/lb - no hormones, no antibiotics, hand-raised for the first two weeks, and then, pastured. It probably is cheaper to buy Perdue, but sometimes it isn't just about the dollar sign. We can't really assess the cost of raising our own versus buying chicken in the grocery store, as there is no grocery store equivalent to "hand raised and pastured."

We'll raise around forty meat chickens over the course of the summer, which will allow us almost one chicken per week until next summer when we start the whole process again ;).

This is our third year raising meat birds ... and our fourth with our chickens.

It just doesn't get old.


  1. I know what you mean when you say that it just dosen't get old, with raising meat chickens.We have been raising our own meat chickens for about as long as you have. You can't beat the taste and the peace of mind when you raise your own meat. I know everything that is fed to my chickens, so I know everything that is going into my body.

  2. Hey Wendy, I'm wanting to start some chicks for meat later this summer and would be very interested to see the how and where of your processing of all those birds.

  3. Richard - For the past several years, we've had our chickens processed by a professional butcher who lives nearby. This year, though, we're hoping to do it ourselves. We already process our own rabbits, and Deus Ex Machina has butchered a deer. We know the basic how-to. It's just a matter of finding the time to do it.

    Kelly - I couldn't agree more. There's nothing quite like the peace of mind from knowing how one's food was raised ;).

  4. I dunno, $1.48 a pound doesn't seem too horribly expensive. Of course I'm from AK...

    You'll have to take a picture of them when they're in that awkward "teenage bird" phase. I love that--half downy soft, half feathery. Hee hee!

  5. I'm still debating whether to do this again or not. I didn't enjoy the processing but I did manage it. Unfortunately, I let me birds get too old and they were tough. It wasn't a big incentive to do it again.

  6. A quick check on line and I found the equivalent of what you're growing for $3.50-4.00 a pound.

  7. Bezzie - I'll post a couple of pictures for you in a couple of weeks. They certainly are funny looking at that point ;).

    Christy - I think the positive for us is that for the first couple of years we didn't process them ourselves. It was much easier for us to ease into it one step at a time, and this will be the first year that we process them ourselves. We may still take a few to the butcher, depending on how our schedules work out, but the plan is to do a few ourselves, because we need the experience. As for how long to grow them, Deus Ex Machina actually charted their growth, and when their weight gain slowed, we knew it was time to take them in. Ten weeks was about as long as we kept them.

    Michael - Yep. That's about what I thought it would be. *One* chicken the size ours get would cost $20 to $25. Could you imagine paying $25 for ONE chicken?

    Incidentally, my math was wrong. $1.48 is if we take it to the butcher (at a cost of $4 per chicken to process). It's considerably less if we do it ourselves ;).