Friday, December 10, 2010

this is your brain on homesteading

This is a store-bought $9.93 "natural" chicken. This is a $1.75 home-grown, farm-harvested chicken.
Any Questions?

39 Comments:

Blogger Jamie @ Woodside Gardens said...

I need to show this to my husband. He doesn't want chickens *yet.

December 10, 2010 at 11:06 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

my only question is.........how much did it cost in grain to feed your whopper? Just sayin'.

December 10, 2010 at 11:09 PM  
Blogger Kyler and Sylvia said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

December 10, 2010 at 11:12 PM  
Blogger Kyler and Sylvia said...

One question: how many weeks old were the chickens?

December 10, 2010 at 11:14 PM  
Blogger Gelfling said...

Steph- yes, but did the girl pay her way in eggs while getting nice and plump?

December 10, 2010 at 11:14 PM  
Blogger Heather said...

Steph- couldn't have been all that much $. Feed is fairly inexpensive and broilers don't usually hang out that long from what I understand...if it was less than $20, it's still a win. That bird is easily twice the size of the store bought version! Good lord it's HUGE! (nice job jenna!)

December 10, 2010 at 11:15 PM  
Blogger The Sprouting Acorn said...

hey jenna…
what breed of chicken was that? that's a whopper! larger than the buffs we put in the freezer, for sure. was considering getting the cornish x's this fall, but waited too late and don't want to have chicks in the dead of winter… maybe next spring. :)

December 10, 2010 at 11:17 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

it's a store bought chicken I bought tonight, and a photo of the bird I harvested in October and cooked a week ago or so. One I bought, the other I bought as a chick, raised here with the other 30 birds, and harvested. I pay 10.00 a month to feed 25-20 chickens.

December 10, 2010 at 11:21 PM  
Blogger Misha said...

Love it!

December 11, 2010 at 12:35 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

Well done! We just have layers ... but I couldn't imagine buying eggs at the store after having my own "farm" raised. Feed is a bit more expensive about $13.00 a bag but still worth it. We sell about two to three dozen eggs a week/every other week at about $3.00 a dozen. Doesn't pay for the birds in total but sure is worth it. Still eggs left over for egg salad, omelets, pop over pancakes... yum!

December 11, 2010 at 12:56 AM  
Blogger * Mandy * said...

Brilliant

December 11, 2010 at 1:00 AM  
Blogger Tora Consolo said...

Yum, I can almost smell the deliciousness!!!

December 11, 2010 at 1:10 AM  
Blogger Aisha said...

that is totally wicked!! Loving it, uhhh i can't wait til I can do chickens, will be picking up your book soon.
BB

December 11, 2010 at 2:27 AM  
Blogger doglady said...

If you feed organic grain, it is a lot more money. You have to decide if it is worth the extra. I raised some jumbo cornish Xs this fall and they are truly disgusting birds. They eat, drink, poo and sit down to sleep in it and wake up to do it all again. It is almost impossible to keep their quarters clean. Because they grow so fast, hatch to table in 6-8 weeks, they are prone to physical problems including congestive heart failure. I had one have a heart attack in front of me. When I butchered it a huge amount of fluid came out. Next year, I am going to raise something that grows a little more slowly, not prone to physical problems and hopefully more interested in foraging.

December 11, 2010 at 6:08 AM  
Blogger ward said...

We have six layers and buy our (surprisingly) locally produced, organic feed (it just is what it is) up the street for $11 for a 50 lb. bag. The six birds and the guinea go through that in about a month (quicker in the winter because we feed them more.) But then, we get eggs and poop for the investment.

If you buy broilers you get them as chicks @ less that $5 per. They eat much less than the layers and you only need to feed them for 6 - 8 weeks. Since the broilers never make it to the laying stage, they don't "pay you back" in eggs. However, the two of us can eat one bird for two main course dinners and then a couple of soup dinners, not to mention giving the dog one a nice snack per bird. All in all, its a great deal.

If you calculate the "entertainment" you get from "working" your coop, it brings the cost down ever more because your "leisure time" is your "bread labor" time. Thus, you are almost eating for free.

(Sorry for the long post.)
Peace.

December 11, 2010 at 6:53 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Yeah, I've got a question. What was the difference in cooking times? That homegrown bird is gorgeous!

December 11, 2010 at 7:13 AM  
Blogger Justine said...

It just makes sense.

December 11, 2010 at 7:17 AM  
Blogger Pam said...

Priceless! ... ;-)

December 11, 2010 at 7:24 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

doglady, my experience was totally different. My cornish rocks here all did well free ranging, stay totally white, and were great foraging around the farm. They went through an akward period when I kept them confined, but once they could run around the farm, they were able to excersize and buid up those legs and hearts and not one died of any sort of heart failure. I ate most, the fox got some, but two more of these whoppers are in the coop still, white and healthy with beautiful fanning tails and pretty crows.

I also didn't feed them Organic grain. This bird here was over 8 months old and the breast was white, soft, and moist. Not at all stewbird stuff. The leg meat was dark though, and only stew able.

December 11, 2010 at 7:29 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

kate: ha!

top one was two hours, bottom one should have been three!

December 11, 2010 at 7:30 AM  
Blogger doglady said...

I got my chicks in September. I got 30 and within a couple of days 10 had died. A bunch more died as they matured and couldn't walk or their hearts gave out. They came from MO and had gone past their yolk time by a few hours and were weak. I was told by an organic grower to put molasses in the first water and they'll perk up. Wish I'd known. Once they were feathered, there was a chicken door for them to go out into a yard with nice greenery growing. The last weekend of their lives two birds ventured out and one had green grass in her gizzard. I wouldn't try to do meat birds in the fall again. These were Jumbo Cornish crosses which become roasting size in 8 weeks. I have read the way to prevent some of the physical problems is to withhold food for 12 hours and then let them eat for 12 hours. A friend from UP Michigan said she locks her birds outside with their food and water. She said they stay cleaner and they do forage some. Jenna, I think you had nicer birds than a lot of us. Everyone I talk to says they are nasty to raise. All of their type at the slaughter house were dirty too although the ladies in the cutting room said I had nice birds.

December 11, 2010 at 8:17 AM  
Blogger doglady said...

Ward, I don't know where you are from but the reality is Maine is at the end of the food chain and we pay dearly for goods trucked in. My local feed store is selling organic grain from PA. There are at least 2 middlemen in ME before I take it home. My turkey grower was $44/50#. You are so lucky to have an organic grain produced near you.

December 11, 2010 at 8:24 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

I had a similar revelation with eggs. It's amazing to see first hand the discrepancies between even the highest quality store-bought items and those you can make or raise with your own two hands.

December 11, 2010 at 8:31 AM  
Blogger kayxyz said...

Excellent comparison. Thanks for taking the time to make the point. One variable left out is the transportation cost: how much petroleum went into trucking the store-bought chicken around the roads in New England? Just asking a rhetorical question and no answer needed.

December 11, 2010 at 9:39 AM  
Blogger treehuggers kitchen said...

I literally laughed-out-loud for a long time when I saw these pics. Don't know why, but it struck me as extremely humorous. Love the irony. Keep up the good work, Jenna. :)

December 11, 2010 at 9:48 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

I don't care how much it costs. I would much rather eat a bird I raised myself that get one from the store. But none of mine have ever gotten that humongous. I bet you had more than a few meals off that guy.

December 11, 2010 at 11:40 AM  
Blogger ward said...

Doglady - We're in NC. We are lucky. It would be such a drag to have so many hands in the food chain.

December 11, 2010 at 12:52 PM  
Blogger Sarah Rachelle said...

Holy chickens, batman!
Haha. I love that! "This is your brain on homesteading." heehee. That explains a lot about me then.

December 11, 2010 at 2:31 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Amen Kris!

December 11, 2010 at 2:59 PM  
Blogger katiegirl said...

I raise broilers and there's no way I can raise a bird for $1.75. I've got a buck in the chick (and that's if I get an order of 100 or more), plus shipping...so right away that's at least $1.15 per chick. I don't feed mine heavily, and still with them free-ranging and eating grain I've got at least around $5-$6 depending on how long I keep them. Usually I try to process them by at least 10 weeks at the very latest. I do still have 7 stragglers that were too small on processing day, and now they're monsters.

My chickens eat a ton...even with free-ranging. I have around 30-40 birds and they go through probably close to 75 lbs a week. I'd say I get at least 300 lbs per month, at around $9 per bag.

Our eggs and meat cost more than store bought, no question....but it's still worth every penny.

December 11, 2010 at 5:36 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Wow! That's a huge chick! Usually, they are tiny, yellow and fluffy. :) tee hee hee

December 11, 2010 at 5:56 PM  
Blogger Odd Ducks Farm said...

I have to agree with Kris. Raising and eating my own chickens (and their eggs) is not only a financial choice for us, it is a philosophical choice as well. When the country was all a'twitter about the egg contamination earlier in the year we were happily eating our eggs without fear.

December 11, 2010 at 7:16 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

I was talking about what I paid for the chick, 1.75 and what I paid for the chicken from the store, 9.93.

I didn't include the money or my time to raise it. I'm sure it cost more to raise my broilers than 9 dollars, but as many had said, eating your own animals isn't about saving money as much as it is about eating quality food. I don't care if that is a twenty dollar chicken in the end. He tasted amazing!

I save money not doing things, so I am happy to spend it to create others.

December 11, 2010 at 11:00 PM  
OpenID peihome said...

Oh yeah! I laughed when I saw one of your birds overhanging your wee little roasting pan!

Nothing better than homegrown. We raised a few meat birds this year for the first time (we usually eat our dual-purpose Rhode Island Reds). We had no problem with the meat birds free-ranging. They stayed healthy and happy until 'the end.'

December 12, 2010 at 10:56 AM  
Blogger The Bunny Girl said...

yet again I am inspired by the community. I have foubd a recipe for feed and I plan on growing my own. I also would like to free range my birds so that they get most of their food from the surroundings and suppliment with a homegrown organic feed.My end goal is have heritage breeds that will be hardy and to be able to start my own chicks. Similar to Nature's Harmony Farm. :) I am grateful to everyone of your readers Jenna as they bring so much info to the table!

December 12, 2010 at 2:43 PM  
Blogger *jean* said...

woweee!! everyone should have chickens! right by the victory garden.

December 12, 2010 at 8:37 PM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

its interesting to read the reasons individuals raise their own birds (mean/eggs)...so far, cost and health/quality of the meat, have been mentioned, but treatment of the birds has not which is surprising.

for me its not about the cost, nor is it really about the quality of the meat (i don't know anyone that's been killed by a grocery store chicken...or even a McChicken)...but the lifestyle i provide my birds. they interact with their own, have fresh food/water, and have space to move. regardless of how much they weigh, the amount of eggs they produce, of the dollar amount i invest, knowing i have social, happy, healthy, and safe birds makes it worth my while. i view my chickens as employees and take care of them for the services they provide me.

December 13, 2010 at 9:32 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Meredith I agree with you 100%, money is a side-issue, the real reason behind my backyard flock is so that I know the eggs and drumsticks are from happy animals who live life the way a chicken was supposed to.

December 13, 2010 at 9:34 AM  
OpenID slowfoodsmama.com said...

We raised cornish x in the backyard last year, held back a bit on the feed so they didn't eat themselves to death. They got so big I was afraid of them! We called them our Pterodactyls and everyone thought it was a turkey when we served it for Christmas.

We worked it out and our birds cost 4 bucks to raise and feed.

November 17, 2012 at 11:42 PM  

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