It’s almost Thanksgiving, which means we are all going to be buying a turkey soon. Before we know it, the big box stores are going to be advertising their 99¢ per pound turkeys. I’m also getting ready to advertise my turkeys but guess what. they aren’t going to be 99¢ per pound. Not even close.
Did you know that Walmart WILL NOT make any money on their turkeys, they will actually lose money? Bigger businesses use deals like that to get consumers into their store. Who can beat a really cheap turkey at Thanksgiving, right? After they get you in to buy their turkey, you also go ahead and pick up all of the other things that you need for your meal: side dishes, rolls, desserts, drinks… You’ll probably pick up some Fall decorations, paper products, maybe a new casserole dish to show off your oyster dressing. This is how they make money. They can give the turkey away because they are making enough profit on everything else that they sold you.
Why do I share this? Because when consumers look at Walmarts turkey price and then they look at mine, they can’t fathom why I would mark mine up so high. The problem is that my turkeys aren’t marked up. My price covers my costs. I don’t have anything other than meat to sell to my customers, so I have to cover my cost with each item.
Pricing is probably the least favorite part of my job. I don’t want our product to be too expensive for anyone. I don’t want our customers to be crunched for cash if they choose to buy from us. I certainly don’t want others to think that we are price gouging.
Here is a look at what it costs me to raise ONE turkey
I purchase 1 day old turkeys for $3 a piece. A larger producer may be able to buy the turkeys cheaper because they buy at a larger quantity. I only raise 30 turkeys because that’s what I can handle right now.
It takes about 65 pounds of feed to grow out a turkey. My feed costs are about $30 per turkey. I choose to feed my turkeys the highest quality non-GMO feed. I can’t find it locally, so I have to have it delivered from Ohio.
Processing a turkey costs approximately $23.50 EACH! If I were raising a larger quantity, my processing fees would go down and so would my gas expense. I can’t do that because: 1. turkeys are labor intensive and I have cows, pigs, chickens, kids and a husband to take care of. 2. I would have to buy more mobile shelters which are very expensive.
My processor is 3 hours away. I have to drive the turkeys there and then go back a few days later and pick them up. My gas cost is a little over $200. So that would be about $7 per turkey. We have all of our processing done at a USDA inspected facility. Unfortunately there aren’t many around anymore that process poultry. This is why I travel so far.
At this point 1 turkey costs me approximately $63.50. This doesn’t include paying myself for any work.
It takes 4 months to raise a turkey. I go feed, water, and move them every day. The whole process takes me probably an hour. So I will have 120 hours of care in for the entire flock or about 4 hours per turkey.
The farmer down the road may have turkeys for sale at a lesser price that I do.
There could be many reasons for this.
Maybe they can get their feed for less than I can because they use different ingredients.
Maybe they process their birds themselves or at a facility closer closer.
Maybe it’s just a hobby for them and they aren’t counting the raising of their turkeys as a business.
There also could be a farmer down the road that charges more than I do.
There could be many reasons for this.
Maybe they use an even more expensive feed than I do.
Maybe they are raising a smaller flock than I am.
Maybe they have to hire someone to transport their birds to the processor for them because they don’t have a trailer.
There’s many factors that go into pricing. There is also pricing for every individuals needs out there. You just have to determine what your priorities are for that turkey (or anything for that matter).
Is it price?
Is it taste?
Is it knowing who raised it?
Is it convenience?
If you ever have any questions about our farm or meats, please feel free to reach out.