Monday, June 08, 2009

Meat Mutant Breakdown

Well, after finally ridding ourselves of the scourge that is the Meat Mutants, I'm excited to have kept careful records of what it took to get these things to the freezer.  For once.

50 chicks @ $.50/ea (I think we actually came home with 52) = $25.00*
50# chick starter @ $11.30 = $11.30
9 bags (50# ea) chick grower @ $9.60 = $86.40
6 bags (50# ea) chick grower @$9.70 = $58.20
?? of ?? =  $8.00**

Wood shavings @ $10
Light bulbs @ $5

Total investment: $203.90

Total return: 35 birds, ranging from 4 to 7 lbs, totalling 181.25 lbs.

Cost per lb of dressed bird:  $1.25/lb***


To tell you the truth, I'm a little surprised by this.  I'm fairly certain I have all my receipts but it sure felt like I was at the feed store every time I turned around, shelling out dollars like crazy.  Of course, I was also buying lay pellets, grain, and dog and cat food, and that adds up too.  

The cost of hardware is not included here, as we bought it in years past, but it would be something to consider; the feeders, waterers, heat lamps and the like.  And obviously it doesn't take into account our work both in feeding/housing them and butchering.  And I don't think you could pay me enough to do that. :)

Considering how many birds died between bringing them home and putting them into the freezer (we even found one Saturday morning before trying out the plucker), I would expect we could get this price tag down considerably if we could keep more of them alive.  We also should have had them dressing out closer to 4 lbs than the 5+ we averaged, and that last pound or more of weight probably cost a whole lot more.  When eviscerating, there was a LOT of fat on these critters, and much of it was tossed.  I don't know how my eviscerating compares with the store (well, yes, mine's FAR more careful and cleaner than mechanical evisceration!), but I usually cut off the tail-feather thingy, and any hanging fat or skin.  These are likely included in the weight at the grocer's.  Also, Hubby keeps the gizzards and hearts (ew), but I didn't count them in the end.  *I* don't really consider them food. :)

Overall, I'm somewhat surprised that these didn't come out more expensive.  Considering our losses, and how long we left them alive, I expected the pricetag to be double a decent grocer's or more, and it's not (Costco had them for 99c/lb last I noticed).

[Don't read the following paragraph if you're eating commercial chicken for dinner tonight.]

And in comparison to the grocer's (other than that they're huge), they enjoyed fresh air and sunshine, green stuff (when they'd eat it), and weren't constantly medicated (the one bag of starter was) or breathing fecal dust.  In death, they were killed more humanely, eviscerated by hand (carefully keeping the poop from the food!), and chilled in a tank of clean water - that didn't have several inches of fecal matter settling at the bottom (how much of that do you think is soaked into the meat?).  Still hungry for chicken?  I am! :)

*This is far less than the 'usual' pricetag of $$1 - 1.50 or so.  But the local farm store was running specials a lot this year, and we ordered during that time.

**The last week when we still had most of the birds to feed, the feed store was out of chick grower.  We bought lay pellets and whole wheat, and they got some of this, in addition to what we had left of the grower.  This cost is an estimation.

***Also, I didn't include sales tax in the costs.  Consider the final price tag to be $1.25/lb "plus tax."


Rachel Le said...

Wow, that seems like a really good price for the quality of meat you're getting! That's great! the way, I'm coming over for dinner.

Kevin and Beth said...

I don't think we have ever added it all up, I think we were afraid to. This year we will though. I'm encouraged by your numbers. We've got a bunch of meat turkeys to raise for Thanksgiving. I think they have already eaten us out of house and home. I need to blog about them and show some pictures. Maybe today. I'm so happy about your plucker. Can you believe how clean the birds are? You should post some pictures, I'd like to see it.

karl said...

we have pretty good luck at keeping our chickens alive (saying this with fingers crossed). the digest version is; we keep them in chicken tractors that are so easy to move that they get moved at least twice per day. we buy feed specially milled for us**. we have a big dog that guards the pens with his life.

i have a big post about building our chicken tractors. your husband being an electrician would appreciate some of the materials used.

**milled for estes hatchery and we buy their mix from their mill. recipe is unkown to us.

your statement that you couldn't pay you enough.. is something we say about butchering around here too