decided to try out Dark
for our first broiler experiment since they are supposed to be good
foragers and very predator resistant. It turned out that predator
resistance wasn’t really necessary in our instance, and our
seemed to be lackadaisical foragers. The meat will be a bit
better for us than storebought since the chickens did consume some
greenery and insects, but we clearly spent more than we would have on
grocery store meat, or on raising Cornish Crosses.
Here are the stats on
the 12 week old birds, which averaged a mere 2.25
pounds dressed weight apiece:
|Expenditure||Price per bird|
|Feed (~14 pounds per bird)||$3.64|
|Price per pound||$2.51|
Big producers focus on
the feed to meat conversion ratio, which in our
case was about 6:1. This is double the average for Cornish Cross
broilers, meaning that our chickens actually consumed twice as much
grain as a similarly sized Cornish Cross would have. That’s the
precise opposite of the goal of our forest pasture experiment, so we’ll
be moving on to a different breed next year.
Meanwhile, we still have
two thirds of the cockerels bulking up for another month or two.
I’ll let you know if their figures are any different, and how the 12
week old birds compare in taste to older birds. Stay tuned!
waterer kept the
cockerels amused, and we’ve never seen any real aggression beyond
I ran across your site in a search for alternative chicken rations (soy and corn free). Thank you for doing the due diligence with the birds and the feed. We have been using the slow growing broilers for about 3 years now and your articles give insight into some of our problem areas. It is shocking the amount of feed they need. We just kept buying it but since we purchased a grinder/mixer of our own we are more aware of what we are using and the amount. I look forward to any updates on your project.
A shipping error recently left me with black broilers, uugh, but time is of the essence so we will see what we can do with them.
Thanks again ~ Gina
Gina — We’ve actually swapped over to Black Australorps for our broilers. They result in a carcass that looks nothing like what people expect from a broiler, but they’re relatively efficient and do great on pasture. I still haven’t matched the industry standard for feed:meat, but the meat is delicious!