I try to roast them whole, so that I can take advantage of the whole bird. Once we are done with Sunday dinner, I pick off the rest of the meat, put it in a storage container to use for dinners later in the week and freeze the carcass for broth.
I don't like to waste food, and I find it much more cost effective to can my own broth for future use. Store bought broth can be a couple bucks a can,
So I decided to do some math... I purchased the birds from Murray McMurray's and spent $97.33, including shipping for 25 birds. This came up to $3.89 per bird, what it would have cost me to purchase them from a local supplier or farm.
In the 9 weeks that I had the meat birds I purchased 10 bags of feed at $18.00 a bag. I had 25 birds including the meat birds, this came up to .72 cents a bird per bag. Each bird cost me approximately $7.20 to feed. (We will gather that the meat birds ate a larger share of this, but I am not going to try to calculate how much more...)
Cost of bedding was another $9.00 a bale and I purchased five bales of shavings. This would come up to $1.80 a bird.
In total is cost me $12.89 a bird. At this price it was still cheaper than buying a organic bird from my local Co-op!
I have chicken livers in the freezer to make pâté, as well as, gizzards, hearts and feet in order to get the most bang for my buck. I use the carcasses for broth and I can get one or two more dinners from the left overs. The other week it was chicken enchiladas.
When I have two or three carcasses in the freezer I make broth and can it. I use the broth for gravies, pastas and soup base. It tastes better than the store bought stuff and, again, it is cheaper.
The broth isn't all that exciting, veggies and chicken bones. I keep onion skins and carrot peelings in a bag in the freezer and use that in making my broth. Throw in some celery and today I found a great deal on leeks, so I threw those in too.
Bring to a boil then drop it to a simmer for an hour or two. Strain it with cheesecloth and can it. With broths you do have to pressure can them and process them according to the canner instructions. I processed my cans at 10lbs for twenty minutes.
I now have a dozen pint cans of broth for use ready to go on my larder shelf. When you take into consideration that some stores carry chicken broth for $1.50 a can, I find that canning it myself is cost effective.