|Black's Bay Farm
Glenn & Judy Black, Owners & Farmers
Phone +1 (705)-377-4039
|Small flock, free range, & pastured poultry (chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys), goats (milk & meat), and LGD's (Livestock Guardian Dogs).|
The following describes why and how BBay Farm determined its retail poultry pricing policy, and our current retail prices.
Black's Bay Farm was started so as to produce safe, nutritious, affordable, locally produced food for our local community.
Here is some background information on the major factors affecting the price of our chickens.
Animal Feed Prices
For chickens, the cost of the animal feed is generally 60% of the total cost to raise chickens. It is the largest factor in setting the price of chicken for consumers.
Our poultry feeds cost us as high as $18.00 per 25 kg bag ($720 per tonne), which is 70% more than what the mega chicken factories pay;
We continue to seek new, innovate methods to achieve higher feed efficiencies (eg. FCR, Feed Conversion Ratios), and lower feed costs (eg. $/tonne purchased).
Our farm is off-grid, where we generate electricity via a wind turbine, solar PV panels, and solar water heating panels. Those in Ontario are justified in complaining about the high cost of electricity, but off-grid power is still far more expensive; with a full life cycle cost of about $1.00 per kW-hr (4 times more expensive than on-grid electricity). We have backup generators for when our green power system is insufficient or off-line, at a full life cycle of $2.00 per kW-hr; even more expensive than the wind & solar power. We use locally grown firewood for supplemental heating of our farm house, which has doubled in price during the last 10 years.
There is no natural gas supply available in our region. During the winter, and for the first 2 weeks of a chick's life, we must use propane as a heating energy source for our animals. Propane is one of the most expensive energy supplies, about the same as the $/kW-hr price of grid electricity.
This means that we must use innovative, traditional (pre-electrification), or alternative approaches to farming. For example, we use a hand vacuum pump to milk one goat at a time, rather than a large automated high energy milking system.
CAFO vs. Pastured Poultry
We understand that our price for free range, pastured poultry is more expensive than the CAFO chicken available in your neighbourhood grocery store.
We suggest there is no comparison between free range, pastured poultry, and what is typically produced by CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) chicken factories.
CAFO chicken factories were designed to produce the lowest cost chicken, regardless of the consequences on taste, human food nutritional value, human health, health risks from antibiotic resistance and meat contaminated with bacteria, environmental impact, or sustainability. The lower prices in grocery stores come with significant risks and consequences. For more on these CAFO issues, see:
Retail Grocery Store Prices
Grocery store sale prices happen every so often, and the stores will sometimes use cheap chicken as bait to attract customers to the store.
Unfortunately, chicken can only be stored for 5 days when fresh, or 3 months when frozen. In addition, you have limited freezer space.
We have to eat healthy every day; not just when the store decides to honor us with a special price.
Regular grocery store price databases are available. See SFPFC's Ontario Retail Chicken Price Database or Statistics Canada's report on retail chicken prices . Statistics Canada data is a weighted average price of fresh whole chicken, boneless skinless breast meat, and chicken legs. The weighting applied is based on the relative quantity sold for each of these 3 cuts of chicken. As of Dec. 2015, this weighted average retail price for chickens calculated by Statistics Canada was $7.70 per kg.
Poultry Prices at BBay Farm
|Poultry Prices at
Black's Bay Farm,
Providence Bay, Manitoulin Island, Ontario Canada
|Bird||Weight (Min. - Max.)||Price|
|Chicken, Whiterock||2.0 - 4.3||4.5 - 9.5||9.90||4.50|
|Duck, Rouen & Peking||1.7 - 3.5||3.7 - 7.7||13.20||6.00|
|Goose, Emden||3.6 - 7.0||8.0 - 15.0||17.60||8.00|
|Turkey, Std. Commercial White||6.4 - 13.6||14.0 - 30.0||7.60||3.45|
We currently sell our chickens for $4.50 per pound ($9.90 per kg). Based on the average Canadian price for CAFO chicken, pastured poultry has a premium price 28.6% higher than CAFO chicken. We suggest that pastured poultry is well worth that premium price.
By buying direct from the farmer, we cut out all the Middlemen, thereby making the chicken more affordable.
Ontario's Artisanal Chicken
We used to operate under the Small Flock Exemption for the Supply Management System. That limited us to raising a maximum of 300 meat chickens per year; enough to feed about 4 families for a year.
As of Dec. 2015, we were accepted under the Artisanal Chicken Program by Chicken Farmers of Ontario. Under Artisanal Chicken, we can now raise a maximum of 3,000 chickens per year at a standard weight of 2.2 kg. each. According to Statistics Canada, the average Canadian consumes 31.2 kg/person/year. At 2.2 kg per chicken, and 25% evisceration loss (eg. feed, head, guts, feathers, etc.), each Artisanal chicken farmer can produce enough chicken for 159 people for a year.
We therefore have a very limited resource in the chicken we are permitted to grow.
Supply & demand in Free Market Systems
Supply Management is a monopoly; the exact opposite of a free market system. The Chicken Supply Management System in Ontario is run by and for the 1,440 multi-millionaire CAFO chicken factory farmers. There are about 16,000 small flock chicken farmers in Ontario. Therefore, the Supply Management system in Ontario is run by and for a small minority, just 8.25% of all chicken farmers in Ontario.
However, under a free market systems, price is often an effective tool for efficient allocation of a limited resouce throughout a designated market. That typically means raising or lowering the price until supply and demand quantities balance (eg. if we can't sell all we are permitted to produce, we should lower our price until we have sold all of our chickens).
In addition, BBay Farm:
Supporting our Local Food Bank
In order to balance the BBay Farm Mission with our economic and political constraints, we have decided to donate 10% of our gross sales income (cash and/or chicken meat equivalent) to our local Food Bank. Therefore, the people who buy our chicken and eggs will help fund affordable food for those who can least afford it. In that way, we can use free market price discovery to balance our limited supply to the local consumer demand, while helping make affordable food available to our local community.
Other Costs & Logistical Challenges
As a small flock/Artisanal Chicken producer, we have the following costs and logistical challenges:
All of this (and more) adds to the significant cost of poultry production.
In spite of these and other challenges, we believe there is sufficient benefit for you to justify the price and additional effort to purchase our pasture-raised birds.