In the past couple of weeks, we are receiving a number of questions through phone and social media asking why Rhode Island Red (RIR), Barred Plymouth Rock (BPR), and Black Australorp (BA) chicks are very expensive and it is always hard to explain via phone or through private messages on Facebook. So, in this article, we are going to explain in detail why the price of heritage chicken breeds is too high compared to those native breeds and hybrids like Kabir, SASSO, Hubbard, Dominant CZ, and others.
Before we continue, the current price of RIR dark mahogany (non-show type) day-old chicks in Luzon is around ₱230.00 to ₱280.00, while the production type RIR is from ₱130 to ₱150 (Dominant Red). Black Australorp is around ₱150 to ₱180 while Barred Rock is around ₱150 on average.
For beginners, these prices would raise eyebrows but for long-time breeders who are looking to expand their flock, these prices are reasonable adding to the scarcity of the supply.
The Source: Heritage Breed vs Hybrids
When we say heritage breeds, these include Rhode Island Reds (RIR), Barred Plymouth Rock (BPR), Black Australorp (BA), Jersey Giant (JG), Blue/Buff Orpington, Sussex, Brahma, Ayam Cemani, Wyandottes, Copper Marans, Ameraucana, and other pure heritage breeds. On the other hand, hybrids include Dominant CZ, Hubbard, Kabir, SASSO, Dekalb, Production Red, and other commercial crossbreds.
Although heritage breeds and crossbreds both came from outside the Philippines, the way on how they are brought here is totally different.
Heritage breeds are brought here by different people individually while hybrids are brought through their company. Companies like Dominant CZ, Hubbard, Cobb-Vantress, and others have authorized distributors in the Philippines allowing customers to buy the chicks at a lower cost.
Heritage breeds, however, someone needs a huge amount of money to bring a heritage chicken or hatching eggs to the Philippines either by hand carry or through shipping.
Let’s take for example the current price of Black Australorp fertilized eggs in most American Hatcheries.
- $3.76 – the cost of 1 egg
- $225.6 – the cost of 2 trays of eggs
- $300 – FedEx shipping
The total cost in Peso is ₱25,304
Now, when the eggs are coming from the US and undergo shipping, one is lucky enough to achieve a 40% hatching success rate. Let’s assume we get a 40% hatching rate and have 24 chicks. So, each chick would cost ₱1.043.
After 6 to 7 months, these chicks will turn into adults and lay eggs and become chicks. Since the initial capital is big, it is normal that the breeder would charge higher in order to recover his investment. If he can have 10 hens and each hen would give him 10 chicks for a total of 100 chicks, by selling each chick ₱250, he is still short considering the electricity and feeds he spent from incubation to 6 months. He will need 2 to 3 more egg-laying cycles to recover his investment and make a profit while spending money on feeds and vaccination.
When someone buys chicks from him for ₱250 each, that someone would sell the same price after 6 to 7 months. The cycle will go on and on and we cannot expect the price to go lower unless there will be a mix of breeds that has a very low value.
The Law of Supply and Demand
In connection with the above explanation; that no big corporations mass produce or mass import heritage breeds, the supply is always low. The only source is small backyard farmers and they can’t really catch up with the ever-increasing demand. When supply is low and demand is high, only people with money can afford to buy.