Why Heritage Chicken and Imported Breeds are so Expensive

Every day we are receiving a number of private messages asking if we have available chicken and even eggs for sale. Like most breeders, our supply is extremely limited and we always tell them that we don’t have any available birds to release (depending on the timing).

Some people even asking us, “pabili po ng manok, yong mura lang basta pure breed,” or “baka naman po may pang-out kayo pabahagi naman basta yong mura lang.”

Although it is normal to bargain, inquiries from desperate people like these seem don’t add up.

We all know how difficult it is to find available free-range chicken for sale, especially pure heritage breeds, and mentioning “cheap” and “pure breed” in one sentence doesn’t make any sense at all. Some of these people are even looking for months already without any success and still contacting breeders with the same approach without realizing that the reason why they can’t find one is that aside from limited supply, there is no cheap.

Although there is no standard price for chicks and breeders, for people like us who monitor the price, quality breeds do come with a handsome cost.

Take for instance the most popular Rhode Island Red. Yes, there are many people who are raising RIR but more than half of these are Production Type with day-old chicks costing around ₱130 to ₱180, while Dark Mahogany RIR costs around ₱230 to ₱250. For many people, especially the newbies, ₱130 for a day old chick is already expensive, but for people who know the quality of these chicken, ₱250 for rare Dark mahogany is still a bargain.

The price always depends on the seller and if the buyer is interested. It does not make any sense to ask then complain if you think the price is too expensive. It may be expensive to you but for some people, it’s still affordable so the best thing to do to avoid offending the seller is to back out if you can’t afford it. Don’t force him to sell his chicken to you because if you don’t buy it, many people will.

A pair of these adult Black Jersey Giant can fetch up to ₱10,000 (image credit Wikimedia Commons)

“Expensive” is a subjective term but we will take a look at why many people think the price of heritage chicken is expensive

1. My nephew who has a farm in Silang, Cavite invested more than ₱60,000 to buy fertilized eggs from the US. He paid $625 to FedEx and another $560 for the cost of 230 eggs of different heritage breeds. Out of 330 eggs, only 97 hatched and became chicks. That would give him  $11.9 expenses per chick or around ₱500. After six months when the chickens become adults and produce the new generation of chicks, he sells the first generation chicks from ₱180 to ₱260 depending on the breed. Do you think it’s expensive considering the time and money he invested in?

2. Another friend from Kabankalan, Negros Occidental visited 3 provinces here in Luzon just to get what he thought were pure breeds only to realize later that he was conned. Finally, after more than a year of collecting birds from different sources, he managed to select the best breeders. These selected breeders became the foundation of all of his chicken today. He is not selling cheap and neither expensive as well. Do you think he deserves to ask the right price which for many is considered to be expensive? He has all the right to ask whatever he wants because he invested not only money but time to build his flock.

Raising heritage chicken is an investment and if you don’t want to commit, don’t start. Investment not only in money but also in time. The price always depends on the seller because we do not know the history of their breeds and how they manage to get those birds they owned. If you find it difficult to find chicken to buy now, how much more during the time that these breeders were still starting? 

Although not all breeders and sellers experienced what the 2 above had experienced, anyone is still entitled to ask the price they think their chicken deserves.

Even us, until now, we are still looking for some birds from time to time to augment our existing stocks and to cross but if we think the price is not for us, we politely decline. We never complain.

If you have a plan to raise heritage chicken but you have a tight budget, we suggest you start with crosses or hybrids like Dominant CZ, Sasso, Kabir, Hubbard, and other imported chickens that costs lower than heritage pure breeds like Rhode Island Red, Black Australorp, Barred Plymouth Rock, etc. If you force yourself to get pure breed but have a lower budget, you may end up getting Production Reds which later you may regret because you thought it was RIR.

We all know that quality and cheap does not always come together. 

To those who are looking to buy heritage breeds, good luck!

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