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Meat Chicken Breeds for Pastured Production
 

Meat Chicken Breeds for Pastured Production

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Meat Chicken Breeds for Pastured Production

Meat Chicken Breeds for Pastured Production

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    Meat Chicken Breeds for Pastured Production Meat Chicken Breeds for Pastured Production Document Transcript

    • Meat Chicken Breeds for Pastured Production A Publication of ATTRA—National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service • 1-800-346-9140 • www.attra.ncat.orgBy Anne Fanatico While most pastured poultry producers in North America raise the same fast-growing Cornish-and-NCAT Agriculture White-Rock-cross broilers used in conventional confined production, many producers are interested inSpecialist alternative genetic types that may be more suitable for outdoor production or for niche markets. ThisUpdated by publication provides information on the Cornish-Rock crosses in outdoor production, discusses severalBetsy Conner slower-growing breeds and provides information on hatcheries that offer these alternative breeds.NCAT ResearchSpecialist© 2010 NCATContentsIntroduction ..................... 1Genetics andcommercial availabilityof Cornish and othermeat breed birds ............ 2Producer preferences ... 3The importance ofaccess to chicks ............... 3Other decisionfactors................................. 4Beyond Cornishcrosses ................................ 4Considerations ................ 6References ........................ 7Further resources ........... 7Appendix I: Pastured Cornish cross chickens on pasture. Photo by Betsy Conner.poultry budgetcomparison ...................... 8 Introduction The Chicken of Tomorrow encouraged the development of meatier birds. Cornish crosses M ost pastured poultry producers became the birds of choice at that time. Since in North America raise the same then, the conventional poultry industry has Cornish-and-White-Rock-cross genetically refined Cornish crosses for rapid broilers used in conventional poultry pro- growth, efficient feed conversion, broad- duction. These are the standard meat birds breastedness, limited feathering (for ease ofATTRA—National Sustainable of the industry, and essentially all broilers plucking) and other traits considered desir-Agriculture Information Service(www.attra.ncat.org) is managed produced commercially in North America able for rearing very large numbers of birds inby the National Center for Appro- are Cornish crosses. confinement. Because of their rapid growth,priate Technology (NCAT) and isfunded under a grant from the This has been true since meat became a pri- they reach a market weight of 5 pounds (liveUnited States Department of mary focus for chicken genetics in the 1950s, weight) in six to seven weeks.Agriculture’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service. Visit theNCAT Web site (www.ncat.org/ and confinement-rearing became the domi- However, most pastured poultry produc-sarc_current.php) for nant form of production for the U.S. poul- ers today use the Cornish crosses becausemore information onour sustainable agri- try industry. A 1950s contest, sponsored by they are meaty and are readily available,culture projects. the Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, called not because they are ideally suited to rearing
    • on pasture. Many of the characteristics that formerly separate companies of Arbor-Acres, make the Cornish-cross broiler strains good Ross Breeders and Nicholas Turkeys), Cobb- for industrial confinement production are not Vantress (which now includes Avian Farms well-suited for alternative production systems. and Hybro and is owned by Tyson Foods) and Many pastured poultry producers see the Hubbard. Most of these companies are mul- Cornish crosses as having weak legs, exces- tinational enterprises and dominate the world sive rates of heart attacks, a high incidence of market for conventional broiler production.Related ATTRA congestive heart failure (ascites), poor forag- These companies work constantly to pro-Alternative Poultry ing ability, poor heat tolerance and other lia- duce genetic improvements in their breedingProduction Systems bilities when raised on pasture. While most stock. They typically use a system of four-and Outdoor Access producers value their rapid growth, others way crossing to produce the parents of the find it unnaturally fast. In most pasture- birds that are raised as broilers. They selectGrowing Your RangePoultry Business: based production systems, Cornish crosses and develop certain strains to use as theirAn Entrepreneur’s usually produce a 5-pound bird in eight male line, with emphasis on growth per-Toolbox weeks. Keeping the birds longer than eight formance and body conformation, while at weeks and allowing them to get larger can the same time developing different femaleLabel Rouge: contribute to even greater leg problems. lines, with emphasis on reproductive perfor-Pasture-Based PoultryProduction in France Many pastured poultry producers would like mance. This cross-breeding system protects to raise birds that are better suited to range each company’s genetic research, because thePoultry: Equipment forAlternative Production production than the Cornish crosses. The genetics of the original grandparents cannot purpose of this publication is to identify the be reproduced from their offspring.Range PoultryHousing genetic options available to producers who Most of the primary breeding companies do not want to use the conventional confine- produce more than one strain of Cornish ment production model. cross. They try to meet the needs of their customers by producing a heavier-breasted Genetics and commercial bird for producers focused on white meat, availability of Cornish and a thriftier bird that has a slightly better feed conversion ratio or a heavier strain for the other meat breed birds roaster market. Some also offer slower- and Many pastured poultry producers would faster-growing strains of Cornish-cross birds. like to raise birds that are better suited to The slower-growing strains may be of interest range production than the Cornish crosses, to pastured poultry producers, because they but their alternatives at this time are may have fewer heart and leg problems. Breeding companies extremely limited. There are several different strains of Cornish crosses. The different strains of birds that the breed- Aviagen ing companies offer are described at their No other type of chicken that is (256) 890-3800 Web sites. Some of these sites also include www.aviagen.com widely available in North America produces as much meat as economi- technical manuals and guides for raising Cobb-Vantress their birds. cally as the Cornish crosses. This fact (479) 524-3166 www.cobb-vantress.com makes it very difficult for producers The breeding companies sell hybrid parent to consider other breeds, even though stock to vertically integrated poultry produc- Hubbard there is abundant variety in the poul- ers, independent hatcheries and others who (603) 756-3311 www.hubbardbreeders.com try world. The Further resources produce the hatching eggs that will ulti- section contains links to color pho- mately become broilers. Most independent Perdue tos and descriptions of many poultry hatcheries do not keep their own flocks to 1-800-992-7043 breeds and information about hatch- www.perdue.com produce hatching eggs. Instead, they buy eries, organized by state. Pureline their hatching eggs from a few very large (860) 889-1933 The primary breeding companies suppliers (such as the Keith Smith com- www.purelineinside.com for broilers in the United States pany in Arkansas, www.keith-smith.com, or are Aviagen (which includes the CWT Farms International, Inc. in Georgia,Page 2 ATTRA Meat Chicken Breeds for Pastured Production
    • www.aviagen.com/home.aspx?siteid=6 ). significant than the performance differencesTherefore, the Cornish cross chicks available between strains. The liability of shippingfrom hatcheries throughout North America stress is also confirmed by the practices ofare the same strains being used by the vast the major conventional industrial producers.majority of the conventional industry. Producers use their own employees and vehi- cles to deliver chicks directly to their contractProducer preferences growers and try to control the chicks’ ship- ping conditions as much as possible to mini-Even though the differences in the mize their shipping stress. This is an argumentCornish-cross strains are relatively small, for having more, rather than fewer, hatcheriessome pastured poultry producers do have and having them located as close as possiblepreferences. Over the years they may see that to the producers who will raise the chicks.one strain performs better than others. Thesedifferences may be things such as fewer leg Below are the Web sites of several hatcher-problems, slightly faster or slower growth ies. These are not given as recommendations,or lower mortality. Therefore, while most but simply as examples of what independentpastured poultry producers do not know hatcheries have to offer and how they pres-exactly which strains they are raising from ent themselves. A more complete listing ofbatch to batch, a few producers always try to hatcheries throughout the United Statespurchase a particular strain of chick. can be searched at https://npip.aphis.usda. gov/npip/openParticipantSearch.do and www.Yet even those producers who express a pref- poultryconnection.com/hatchery.html.erence for one strain may have had theiropinions influenced by factors that are not Shipping constraints beyond the control ofrelated to the genetics of the birds they have the hatcheries can be an important factor, asraised. For example, the age of the breeder well. During the early and mid 1900s, theflock influences the size of the hatching eggsand the chicks that result. Young breederflocks produce smaller hatching eggs and Samples of hatchery Web sitessmaller chicks than mature flocks. Older Belt Hatcheryflocks nearing the end of their productive www.belthatchery.comlives also produce chicks with greater incon- (559) 264-2090sistencies in their size and vigor than a flockat the prime of its life. Estes Hatchery www.esteshatchery.com 1-800-345-1420The importance of access McMurray Hatcheryto chicks www.mcmurrayhatchery.comBecause the differences between modern 1-800-456-3280Cornish-cross strains are relatively small, Moyers Chicksmost pastured poultry producers use other www.moyerschicks.comcriteria when deciding which birds to raise (215) 536-3155and where to get their day-old chicks. Many Mt. Healthy Hatcherieshave concluded that a hatchery’s customer www.mthealthy.comservices and location are more important 1-800-451-5603than the precise strain of broiler chicks Privett Hatcheryavailable. They have learned to get their www.privetthatchery.combirds from the most reliable hatchery, one 1-877-774-8388that can get the chicks to the farm with theleast shipping stress. Usually this means the Townline Hatchery www.townlinehatchery.comhatchery that has the shortest delivery time. (616) 772-6514Death losses and slower rates of growth thatresult from shipping stress are often morewww.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 3
    • practice of sending day-old poultry by mail some of their customers prefer smaller birds from hatcheries to customers all over the and some prefer larger birds. Some will country became very popular and common- even choose to produce Cornish game hens place. In recent years, however, the number (which are the same Cornish cross birds, just of airlines willing to carry day-old poultry as butchered younger and smaller), while other U.S. mail has declined, even to the point that producers have customers who want very the chicks-by-mail service appeared to be in large roasters and are willing to pay a pre- jeopardy. Then in 2001 and 2002, the U.S. mium price for them. Uniformity certainly Postal Service and several airlines modified can become more important, however, as their mail-carrying contracts and the regula- producers move beyond on-farm processing tions governing the shipment of live animals and direct marketing. A spread-out harvest through the mail. These new arrangements that is advantageous on a small scale may have apparently stabilized the situation, and become a distinct problem at larger scales of the chicks-by-mail service continues. The production. Some customers prefer colored latest information on the postal regulations birds (red or black) over white-feathered ones. governing the shipping of live animals as This kind of preference also influences pro- mail can be found by visiting the Web site ducer decisions about which birds to raise. of the U.S. Postal Service, www.usps.com, or www.birdshippers.com. Beyond Cornish crosses North American producers of range poultry Other decision factors who want options other than those offered Some pastured poultry producers also make by the conventional Cornish crosses do not decisions about which chicks to raise based have very much to choose from at present. on other non-strain factors. For example, Their options may be increasing, however. some producers choose to raise all females, For a listing of producers that offer other because that eliminates the problem of cock- options, see the Further resources section. erels harassing the pullets as they grow, There are genetic options in other countries. resulting in a more tranquil f lock and In France, in particular, there are lines that presumably better feed conversion. Or they are bred for France’s range production sys- will raise all males because their customers tems. These lines have been developed during want large birds, and producers want greater the past 30 years for pasture rearing. These uniformity in their product. distinctive lines are used primarily by pro- Uniformity is tremendously important for ducers who are raising birds to be marketed the conventional poultry industry. Birds are under the quality-labeling program known managed as a unit instead of as individu- in France as Label Rouge (Red Label). Food als, and birds that are not nearly identical to products carrying the Label Rouge logo are the others are problems. For broilers, much highly valued by French consumers. of the conventional industry’s processing The Label Rouge program focuses on high- equipment is automated, and odd-sized birds quality products, mainly meats, with poul- may not process well because they are not try as the flagship product. The program the size the equipment is designed to handle. emphasizes quality attributes such as taste, Variations in carcass size cause real problems food safety and free-range production. The for automated equipment. main reason for the superior taste is the use of slow-growing birds harvested close to Most pastured poultry producers do not seek sexual maturity, instead of the fast-growing this much uniformity, however, because their birds used in the conventional U.S. industry. market does not require it. Using straight- The meat is flavorful and firm, but not tough. run chicks gives a range of carcass sizes at butchering time because the cockerels grow Slow-growing birds are the key to Label faster. Most pastured poultry producers are Rouge production — birds grow to 5 pounds glad to have some variance in size, because live weight in 12 weeks. In comparison, thePage 4 ATTRA Meat Chicken Breeds for Pastured Production
    • fast-growing broilers (Cornish cross) of the Redbro is a Hubbard product that is cur-conventional industry reach 5 pounds in six rently available in the United States throughto seven weeks. The slow growth allows the parent stock that is imported from France.organs, muscles and bones to grow in har- It is not slow-growing but rather a medium-mony. The carcass is generally more elon- growing broiler. It grows out in nine to 10gated, with a smaller breast and larger legs weeks. Jerry Srednicki at Yankee Chicks inthan conventional carcasses. Connecticut ships day-old chicks.Using slow-growing genetics and the low- For contact information for all of the abovedensity Label Rouge production system also producers, see the Further resources section.means distinct health advantages. Ascites, Importing live birds and hatching eggs fromleg problems and sudden death are minimal, other countries is not a simple task, but thoseand birds have good immunity. Mortality who are interested in pursuing this approachwas found to be 0 percent in slow-growing can learn more by visiting the Web site ofLabel Rouge birds, while fast-growing birds the USDA Import and Export Center, www.were found to have a mortality rate of 11 aphis.usda.gov/import_export/index.shtml.percent (Lewis et al., 1997). In Europe, slow-growing strains are mainly supplied by the There is also some interest in standardbreeding companies SASSO (www.sasso.fr) American heritage chicken breeds for gour-and Hubbard (www.hubbardbreeders.com). met poultry production. Unlike hybrids,They do not sell the actual meat chicks, but standard breeds breed true and the offspringonly the parents. However, many pastured are like the parents. In general, however,poultry producers have hatching capabilities. heritage breeds have not yet been selected for meat production for many years, andMore information on Label Rouge can be the carcass may be very small at 12 weeks.found in ATTRA’s publication Label Rouge: Through careful breeding selection of stan-Pasture-Based Poultry Production in France, dard breeds it is possible to increase the qual-available online at http://attra.ncat.org/ ities desired in a meat bird, such as growthattra-pub/PDF/labelrouge.pdf. rate and weight gain in later generations.Joyce Foods, Inc. is a U.S. producer of poul- Plymouth Rock, Delaware, New Hampshire,try from the same slow-growing genetics Wyandotte and Naked Neck are breeds thatas used in France’s Label Rouge program. may give the most positive results in such aJoyce Foods, located in North Carolina, has breeding regime (Ussery, 2009). The Ameri-provided the slow growing broiler chicks to can Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC)small producers in the past. compiles a heritage livestock breeders direc- tory each year and makes it available toSome of the proven European genetics are members. See the Further resources sectionavailable from J.M. Hatchery, a small year- for contact information.round hatchery located in Lancaster County,Pennsylvania. The hatchery offers medium- Turkeys are native to the Americas, andand slow-growing birds that are adapted for there are several slow-growing breeds avail-outdoor production and a gourmet mar- able. These are naturally-mating turkeys andket. These breeds are noted to grow to 4- do not require artificial insemination. Some5 pounds live weight in nine to 11 weeks, have ties to the regions in which they werewhich is slightly quicker than the 12-week developed (for example, the Bourbon Redstandard used in the Label Rouge program. is from Kentucky, and the Narragansett is from Massachusetts). Good Shepherd Tur-The S & G Poultry Company (formerly key Ranch, Inc., raises five heritage turkeyRainbow Breeder Company) is developing breeds, and sells hatching eggs as well assimilar genetics and offers day-old chicks final turkey products. Reese has also selectedor parents. Their colored broilers grow out standard chickens for good meat qualities,between eight and 11 weeks. including the Barred Rock, New Hampshirewww.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 5
    • and Jersey Giant. The Standard Bred Poultry Marketing Institute is based at Reese’s farm. The market you select may dictate your Sandhill Preservation Center, a producer of choice of bird. If there are other poultry heritage poultry and seeds, provides day-old producers in your area, growing a different chicks from a large assortment of heritage variety may be a way to distinguish yourself poultry including turkeys and chickens, as and create a niche market. well as geese, ducks and guineas. Does the market have price constraints? Matt John at Shady Lane Poultry is selecting Different birds will require different costs standard breeds for high-quality egg produc- to produce and this results ultimately in tion as well as dual purpose. a different cost to the consumer. See the Pastured poultry budget comparison in the For contact information for these producers, Further resources section for a comparison see the Further resources section. budget example. If you currently raise and market Cornish Considerations crosses, it will be important to consider your The main consideration for pastured poultry consumers’ reactions if you decide to move producers raising the fast-growing Cornish away from this breed. Slow-growing broilers cross is the choice of hatchery, which was tend to have a slightly different body shape, discussed earlier. The variety in other meat more of an elongated breast as compared to birds makes the decision a little more diffi- broad. Yield may also differ between fast- cult. Producers can use their priorities to help and slow-growing birds. Typically, slow- make choices best suited for them. The follow- growing birds will have smaller breast yield ing considerations may help guide producers’ and larger wing and leg yield compared to decisions on the breed and hatchery most fast-growing birds. Dressed weight to live appropriate for their production system. weight yield may also be smaller in slower- growing varieties. The colored pin feathers of Lifestyle a colored broiler, if not plucked completely, The Cornish cross are bred for a particu- will be more obvious on the dressed carcass lar environment that large vertically inte- than that of a white-feathered broiler. grated companies created in order to grow It may be helpful to speak to your market the large number of birds needed to meet to get an idea of their wants and needs. One demand. This fast-growing hybrid was not way to learn the opinions of your customers meant for pasture, although many producers is to develop a survey. Restaurants may be use this breed and are very successful. Some less flexible in the physical change of product, may argue that the choice of slower-growing and an open conversation about the new pro- genetics can greatly benefit the welfare of a posed product can be worthwhile. In addition bird on pasture. to the possible changes in the appearance of There is a growing interest raising of heritage the bird, it is important to discuss changes breeds in order to conserve genetic diversity. in other qualities such as taste and livability. Raising dual-purpose standard breeds gives Since slow-growing birds are harvested closer one the advantage of egg and meat produc- to their sexual maturity, the meat is known tion as well as the ability to produce stock. to have more flavor. Slower-growing birds are As discussed earlier, standard breeds may also less susceptible to the problems associated be difficult to market or make a profit with with the Cornish cross and better acclimated compared to the meat hybrids, but there to pasture production, which can be trans- may be the opportunity for a gourmet niche lated to increased animal welfare. market using standard breeds. Flocks can be used for egg production and roosters, culls Production budget and older hens can be marketed for meat or Slower-growing birds demand greater input, live sale. which increases cost of production. ThePage 6 ATTRA Meat Chicken Breeds for Pastured Production
    • longer grow-out requires more labor and system as your own. Th is may determinemore feed. Feed conversion, the amount of how hardy the birds will be in your produc-feed needed to produce 1 pound of gain, tion system. While most large hatcheriesincreases as you move away from the fast- do not raise their own parent stock or raisegrowing varieties. See the Pastured poultry them in climate-controlled environments, itbudget comparison in the Further resources still may be worthwhile to contact hatcheriessection for comparison budget example. in your region and inquire about how their stock is raised. The distance of the hatchery toSystem the farm may also affect the amount of ship-Slow-growing varieties and standard breeds ping stress put on the birds through deliv-take greater advantage of the opportunity to ery. Deciding first on a hatchery or regionexercise and forage in a range system compared of hatcheries narrows the choices of breeds,to fast- and even medium-growing birds. Fast- which may help in the decision process.growing birds may be more suited to a pas-tured pen system because they often remain Quotasedentary and close to the food source. Depending on the desired bird weight, the grow-out periods can vary considerablyLocation between breeds. This is an important factorDepending on the location of the farm and when determining the number of birds to betype of production system, birds may be grown per season. Slower growth rates resultexposed to environmental extremes that in fewer birds per season with a fixed num-could be a stressor and a risk in production. ber of pens. More pens may need to be builtThe location of a hatchery may be a priority or the season extended earlier and/or laterin the decision making, particularly if the in order to sustain the production numbersparent stock is raised in a similar production achieved with the Cornish cross.ReferencesLewis, P. D., G. C. Perry, L. J. Farmer, and R. L. S. FeathersitePatterson. 1997. Responses of two genotypes of chicken www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKPoultryPage.to the diets and stocking densities typical of UK and html#Chickens“Label Rouge” systems. I. Performance, behaviour and Provides color photos and descriptions of many poultrycarcass composition. Meat Science. 45:501–516. breedsUssery, Harvey. 2009. Sunday-Dinner Chicken: www.feathersite.com/Poultry/BRKHatcheries.htmlAlternatives to the Cornish Cross. Backyard Poultry. This site also includes a link to hatcheries, organized by stateAccessed July 2009. http://backyardpoultrymag.com/ Beyond Cornish crossesissues/4/4-2/alternatives_to_the_cornish_cross.html. Moyer’s ChicksNote: This publication was originally compiled by Skip 266 E. Paletown Rd.Polson for Heifer International’s North America Program. Quakertown, PA 18951Partial financial assistance for its preparation was pro- (215) 536-3155vided through a grant to Heifer Project International from www.moyerschicks.comthe USDA’s Southern Region Sustainable Agriculture, Moyer’s Chicks offers a K-22 Red Broiler that grows to 5Research and Education (SARE) program (project number pounds live weight in about eight weeks.LS 99-105). MT-DI Poultry Farm 1209 S. Catherine Rd.Further resources Altoona, PA 16602Genetics and commercial availability of Cornish and (814) 942-7024other meat breed birds mtdifarm@yahoo.comwww.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 7
    • Contact: George Dibert Yankee Chicks, Inc/Hall Brothers Hatchery MT-DI Poultry Farm offers a Red Cross and Off -White PO Box 1026 (Rosambro) Cross that grow to 5 pounds live weight in about Norwich, CT 06360 eight weeks. The parent stock is raised in day-range production. (860) 608-1389Noll’s Poultry Farm (860) 889-6351 FAXKleinfeltersville, PA 17039 Contact: Jerry Srednicki(717) 949-3560(717) 949-3722 FAX American heritage breeds The Noll family is working to make medium-growing American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) genetics more widely available in North America. Henry PO Box 477 Noll offers a Silver Cross and Red Cross that grow to 5 Pittsboro, NC 27312 pounds live weight in about eight to nine weeks. (919) 542-5704 (919) 545-0022 FAXLabel Rouge www.albc-usa.orgJoyce Foods, Inc.4787 Kinnamon Road Good Shepherd Turkey Ranch, Inc.Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27103 3441 Mustang, Tampa, KS 67483(336) 766-9900 (785) 227-5149(336) 766-9009 FAX (316) 462-0604 FAXinfo@joycefoods.com brahmabrahma@hotmail.comwww.joycefoods.com Contact: Frank ReeseJ.M. Hatchery178 Lowry Rd. Sandhill Preservation CenterNew Holland, PA 17557 1878 230th St.(717) 354-5950 Calamus, IA 52729(717) 354-0728 FAX (563) 246-2299www.jmhatchery.com Shady Lane PoultryS & G Poultry PO Box 612PO Box 2363 Columbus, IN 47201Clanton, AL 35046 (812) 603-7722(205) 280-3771 info@shadylanepoultry.comContact: Danny Eiland Contact: Matt Johnwww.sandgpoultry.com www.shadylanepoultry.comAppendix I: Pastured Poultry Budget ComparisonThe financial projections used in these documents, enterprise. The economic and business environmentand the assumptions on which they are based, should varies tremendously from region to region, and whatbe used only as guidelines and estimates. In the bud- works in one area may not work in another. Coop-get example, the business is operating at full produc- erative Extension Service specialists, bankers andtion capacity. Most businesses require up to five years accountants can all help in developing the necessaryto achieve profitability and good market exposure. It is fi nancial statements. Remember, the sustainability ofvitally important that each potential business develop any enterprise is based on its ability to produce andits own set of financial statements before starting an sell a product consistently at a profit.Page 8 ATTRA Meat Chicken Breeds for Pastured Production
    • Fast- and slow-growing meat chicken breed budget comparison for pastured production withon-farm processing.Enterprise budget # of birds lbs. per bird 999 4.5 Fast Slow Your estimatePrice per pound $3.25 $3.5IncomeSell 999 birds $1,4610.38 $1,5734.25ExpensesFixedBrooder house $320 $320Processing building $320 $320Processing equipment $157.86 $157.86Pens $160 $200Composter $50 $50Waterers/feeders $100 $120Brooder $17.86 $17.86Dolly (to move pens) $20 $20CertificationTotal fixed expenses $1,145.72 $1,205.72VariableChicks $1,350 $1,185Bags and staples $177.82 $177.82Wood chips $150 $150Utilities $20 $20Feed $4,406 $4,826Marketing $400 $400Labor (production) $2,639 $3,959Labor (processing) $1,392 $1,566Liability insurance (rider on $250 $250Farm Policy)Pasture rent per acre $30 $30Miscellaneous $400 $400Total variable expenses $11,215.07 $12,963.32Total expenses $12,360.79 $14,169.04Net income $2,249.585 $1,565.21www.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 9
    • Basic assumptions - Fast Slow (differences) Seasonal production (only in spring, summer and fall) 4 batches per year 3 batches per year Each batch is 313 birds in 4 pens Each batch is 370 birds in 5 pens Birds placed each year: 1,250 1,110 Grow out period of 8 weeks 12 weeks Birds eat 15 lbs. of feed each 18.5 lbs. of feed/bird Feed costs $470 per ton No bulk feed storage 15% death loss 5% death loss 5.08% processing loss (including home birds) Dressed weight of 4.5 pounds per bird, without giblets Price is $3.25/lb $3.50/lb Birds for sale each year: 999 Birds are direct marketed to customers; no labels Offal and feathers are composted in a covered, 3-bin system Labor is based on pens and servicing them, but also includes pen construction, brooding, feed-mixing, etc. Labor valued at min. wage ($7.25/hour) All assets fully depreciated over life span with no residual valueBudget detailsBrooder house: $5,000-2% salvage value = $4,900/20 year life = $245 per year Interest = $5,000/2 x 3 = $75 per year Depreciation + interest = $320 per yearProcessing building: $5,000-2% salvage value = $4,900/20 year life = $245 per year Interest = $5,000/2 x 3 = $75 per year Depreciation + interest = $320 per yearProcessing equipment: $1000/7-year life = $142.86 Interest = $1,000/2 x 3% = $15 Depreciation + interest = $157.86Pens: FAST: $200 per pen, 5-year life, 4 pens; $200 x 4/5 = $160 SLOW: $200 per pen, 5-year life, 5 pens; $200 x 5/5 = $200Composter: $500, includes labor and materials, 10-year life; $500/10 = $50 per yearWaterers/feeders: FAST: $60 per pen/brooder x 4 pens + 1 brooder, 3 year life; $300/3 = $100 per year. SLOW: $60 per pen/brooder x 5 pens +1 brooder, 3 year life; $360/3 = $120 per year.Brooder: $125 for gas brooder, 7 year life; $125/7 = $17.86 per yearDolly to move pens: $20Chicks: FAST: $1 per chick x 1,250 chicks needed, $25 per shipment/batch x 4 shipments; 1250+100 = $1,350 SLOW: $1 per chick x 1110 chicks needed, $25 per shipment/batch x 3 shipments; 1110+75 = $1,185.Bags and staples: $0.018 per staple, $0.16 per bag; $0.178 x 999 saleable birds = $177.82Wood chips (for brooder and composter): $150 per yearPage 10 ATTRA Meat Chicken Breeds for Pastured Production
    • Utilities (estimated cost): $20 per yearFeed: FAST: $470 per ton - 1,250 birds x 15 lb. each/2,000 lb. x $470 per ton = $4,406.25 SLOW: $470 per ton - 1,110 birds x 18.5 lb. each/2,000 lb. x $470 per ton = $4,825.73Marketing (printing, postage, advertising, phone, travel, fees, etc.): $400 per yearLabor (production): FAST: .5 hour per day in brooder, 14 days = 7 hour brooder labor, .5 hour per pen per day in field, 4 pens, 42 days in field = 84 hours field labor. 91 total labor hours x 4 batches = 364 x $7.25/hour = $2,639 SLOW: .5 hour per day in brooder, 14 days = 7 hour brooder labor, .5 hour per pen per day in field, 5 pens, 70 days in field = 175 hours. 182 hours total x 3 batches = 546 hours x 7.25/hour = 3,958.5Labor (processing): FAST: 12 hours x 4 people x 4 batches/year x $7.25/hour = $1,392 per year SLOW: 12 hours x 6 people x 3 batches/year x $7.25/hour = $1,566Liability Insurance: $500,000 coverage = $250/yearPasture rent for one acre: $30Miscellaneous (cleaning supplies, LP, repairs, ice): $400 per yearNoteswww.attra.ncat.org ATTRA Page 11
    • Meat Chicken Breeds for Pastured Production By Anne Fanatico, NCAT Agriculture Specialist Updated by Betsy Conner, NCAT Research Specialist © 2010 NCAT Holly Michels, Editor Amy Smith, Production This publication is available on the Web at: www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/meatchicken.html or www.attra.ncat.org/attra-pub/PDF/meatchicken.pdf IP256 Slot 257 Version 030910Page 12 ATTRA