Chickens And Record Keeping: Tips From Sugar Creek Farm

October 7, 2014

Chickens and Record Keeping; The folks over at Sugar Creek Farm simplify things for you.

I told you in my last chicken post that chickens are tyrants to work for. Not only do I have to keep their schedules, there are also records to keep. Tyrants, I tell you!

I need new bosses.

Or better jokes.

But, if you’re going to keep chickens for profit, then you’ll eventually need to figure out whether or not you’re actually making a profit. If you’re not, it’s like our accountant like to tell us…. “You know you’re just supplementing other peopel’s grocery bills, right?”

I like to use a spreadsheet. This is just a tool we use for decision making We use QuickBooks for the record keeping we actually base our tax returns on. Some of the numbers in the spreadsheet (I like feed costs) come from Quick Books. Here’s an example of what I use with some made up numbers.


What you can’t see are the formulas behind some of the cells. The death loss is calculated as (B3-B4)/B3.

The feed consumption and cost per head are calculated using specifics from another area of the spreadsheet:

chart 2

So feed consumption per head is the Total Pounds divided by Chickens Processed, and feed cost per head is the Total Feed Cost divided by Chickens Processed. These numbers are useful because improving them improves your profit per bird.

Then you have Variable Costs. These included the costs of purchasing the chicks; the cost of the feed (which can be pulled directly from the Total Feed Cost Cell)l round-trip mileage to the hatchery and processor, calculated at the IRS mileage rate for the current year; processing costs; and the cost of other miscellaneous supplies. I usually break out the miscellaneous costs of to the side like this:

chart 3

Then pull that total directly into the “Bedding and Misc Supplies” line item in the first picture. Divide Total Variable Costs by Chickens Processsed to get Variable Cost/Head.

Then there are fixed costs that are spread out over the life of the asset. Furthermore, I divide each year’s cost for that asset between the number of batches I’m doing that year. I just made a best guess as to how many years to depreciate these costs for each asset, and I keep track of what year I’m on in the spreadsheet. Continue here………..

Be sure to “like” Sugar Creek Farm on Facebook to keep up to date on what’s going on around their farm!

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