Meat Birds Results

We started with 45 chicks in a shoe box.

We ended with 39 birds for processing.

We ended with 33 birds in freezer bags.

The smallest bird was 5lb 10oz.

The largest bird was 9lb 8oz.

Total freezer weight was 248lb 4oz.

Avg to $2.30/#

There is significant cost for infrastructure: Two chicken tractors, 4 waterers, 2 feeders, heat lamps, lumber, paint, chicken wire, steel sheets, hardware, PVC pipe. ~$600 fully involved.

There is significant labor time. Two Saturdays of tractor repair and production. Chick pickup, temp management, “ZOMG there’s a huge thunderstorm coming so cover the pens management”, feed and water management, rotational movement, removal of deceased birds. Figure 30 minutes per day as an accurate average for our initial process, more like 15 for the last two weeks.

Then there is processing time and costs.

1. Kill step

2. Hot water scald to loosen feathers (borrowed crawfish boilers)

3. Plucker machine to remove feathers (rental from excellent neighbors)

4. Remove extras, clean out bird. (Stainless table bought off Craigslist)

5. Final wash step, then move to ice coolers

6. Drip dry station after chickens below 40f.

7. Bird in bag, dip in hot water to heat shrink

8. Label then into the freezer!

We are very blessed to have friends interested in the process join us. Learning experience for everyone. Started at 9, lunch at one, done by six for dinner. I prepared a brisket that covered both meals for the families.

Hard work for a long day. We’ll be faster next time. I was happy to send both families home with some birds We received some excellent feedback.

This is what you call great feedback

The end result is a very large bird given rain water to drink and feed free from GMO. A healthy and wholesome outside life with room to move. Healthy birds make healthy meat.

I’ve smoked some of these. The meat covers dinner 3 times for the family. Then the carcass boils into a gallon of chicken stock. The stock is far superior to what you’ll buy at the store or boil from a typical store chicken.

Was it worth our time? In terms of cost savings, we will eat one bird per week for 6 months. The savings in our grocery budget will cover the costs of inputs within 2 months. This sets up a nontrivial amount of grocery money for other allocations 8 months a year. As inflation waits for no man, it’s worth it.

Separate from that is the improvement in quality of meat and efficiency gains of an 8lb chicken.  Smokon Sunday, eat 3x dinners for busy week nights. That’s worth it.

Additionally this is a family endeavor of a tightly focused 8 weeks with a big blowout processing day. My oldest son led the posses of children to capture birds. They put them in a cart and hauled them to the kill station. The children are deeply familiar with what the cost of meat is, and what honoring creation can look like to bring it to the table. That’s worth it.

Pastured poultry is a good fit for family. While we can sell some birds to you and yours, I’m more interested in helping you get your own up and running. A goal here is to improve food stability for every backyard, and pastured poultry is an effective method for anyone with some grass and a will.