So I crunched some more numbers after going back and looking at the cost of raising the cornish cross meat birds we’ve been enjoying on a weekly basis. I broke it down based on a dozen of them, since that’s about how many a family of four would go through in about three months.
We go through them faster because we LOVE chicken here.
I almost prefer it to beef. And there’s nothing better than these organic, hand raised, pasture fed cornish cross. They are easy to raise and taste amazing. They also get HUGE.
Here’s one compared to one of the layer hens we dressed out.
Ours are usually six to eight pounds dressed out, so a nice sized bird.
They are voracious eaters but we get them in early spring and raise them through summer so they spend their lives free ranging in the pasture, eating a variety of bugs and grasses. They do get feed and eat about as much as our full grown layers, around a bag every two weeks (since they start off eating less and end off eating more it averages out). So $30 a month for feed for four months so $120. Free ranging is free, so that helps, and we also share all of our extra leftovers from the kitchen and garden.
It takes around 4 months to raise them up to the size we like at butchering, and it does cost a little bit for bags for the vacuum sealer and the electricity to run it and the chicken plucker, but that’s just a few dollars overall, let’s say $10. Add the cost of buying the birds from the hatchery, about $70, and we are looking at around $200 total to raise them, butcher them and put them in the freezer.
Remember this is for 12 birds. So that puts their total cost at $200/12 which equals $16 per bird.
Now at first glance as you walk through the grocery store that price might seem high because you can get whole fryer birds for half that price, but they are factory farmed and filled with who-knows-what and are quite a bit smaller. Almost half the size of our birds, in fact. So they’re not much bigger than the layer hen in that picture I shared! Right now, free range, organic whole chickens that are around 4lbs are anywhere between $22 and $30 here, and honestly? I don’t think I’d pay that right now. I’m getting more than twice the value from our own, pasture raised cornish cross.
So we’re definitely saving there and we also feel better knowing we’re not part of the factory farmed meat market anymore. My health has improved drastically with this diet, too, which is really why we began this journey to begin with and that’s priceless.
Still, like with the eggs, it feels good to know all this work is paying off financially, too. Would we still do it if it cost more than just running to the local Natural Grocer? I don’t know, we’ve been debating that, which is why I crunched these numbers in the first place. I thought I’d share, though, because it’s encouraging for others who may be thinking of getting into the homesteading thing and like us, just want a small scale operation that is worth the effort.
Is it worth the effort? For meat and eggs, I’d say that’s a big YES! 🙂