Well it costs money and time to care for and raise chickens. Local farmers are usually not running chicken farms. I do not cram 5,000 birds into a small space. I usually raise about 50 birds every 3 months. My birds free-range as much as possible. Yes, I do suffer losses from the hawks that don't seem to mind eating local birds. I don't buy grain/feed in huge quantities so my cost is higher. Over the last year the cost of grain has increased significantly. It takes time to keep a clean coop and provide fresh water every day so that my birds stay healthy. Fresh bedding is costly as well. It takes money and effort to build fences to keep out the coy dogs and coyotes that pass in the night. My birds do not stay locked up in a coop. They have access to the outdoors and I ensure they get out because I feed them outside as much as possible. So, if they want to eat they have to get outdoors and get some sunshine and fresh air.
It is not cheap to eat healthy. Big chicken farms feed their birds antibiotics and hormones and keep them medicated because they have to to ensure that the birds live long enough to be kicked around and abused on their way to the slaughterhouse. I don't know how many of you have watched the documentary movie Food, Inc., but you should. It will give you a better idea of how your food is treated and why supermarkets charge $.99 - 1.29 per pound.
I personally enjoy the fact that my birds do not take a chlorine bath at any time during the process. I enjoy that they have been well-cared for and treated humanely until the end. I don't necessarily enjoy processing the birds, but it is the only way I can ensure my birds are the healthiest I can feed my family. My bottom line... I raise the healthiest birds I can. Know the people who grow your food and support your local farmer instead of the big chicken factories. Now selling my chickens at $1.29 per pound is just "crazy".