I'm going to be tracking how much feed and other inputs it takes to raise a batch of heritage roosters and a batch of cornish cross, straight run.
Determine the cost of raising heritage roosters and compare that cost to raising cornish cross. I want to know exactly what the cost basis is for each type of bird, to be able to price them appropriately for retail sale.
Here's what I'm going to do:
1) all the chicks will be handled identically at all points in their life. Same food, same bedding, same setup, same lights, same temperature.
2) chicks are selected randomly 3 days after arrival. This allows chicks that have some problem (birth defect or travel stress) to die before I start tracking their food. So the first three days of food for both sets of chicks isn't counted, but I'm going to guess it's an ounce or so of food per chick.
3) I purchased these chicks at retail from a major hatchery, anonymously. They didn't know I'd be doing this, and I have no connection to the hatchery.
4) out of an order of 200 heritage roosters and 100 cornish cross I'll be raising 40 of each type. the other 220 chicks will be brooded seperately, but I won't be tracking their feed input. They will act as a control. I'll compare those birds to the ones in the study to make sure that the results there are similar to the studied birds.
5) The roosters are presumed all male, but there may be females due to hatchery mis-sexing. The cornish cross are straight-run, with a random number of male and female. Males of either breed will tend to be larger than females.
6) the roosters are a random selection of breeds, purchased from the hatchery as "all heavy", . I'll include several different varieties in the study so I can compare rhode island red vs cornish, or buff orpington vs cornish.
7) All food given to each batch of chickens will be weighed at each feeding and tracked. I'm feeding a non-medicated organic chick starter, "nature smart", 20% protein crumble, free-choice. I'll weigh the feed put into the brooder. Some of that feed is wasted by the chicks. That's just part of the feed consumption, so I'm not going to try to track feed waste vs utilization in this study.
8) I'll post results once a week for the next 8 weeks, and then every month thereafter for the heritage bird batch.
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