How to make money well in the chicken business
Of all the livestock we raise, making money with chickens may be the most efficient income generated per square foot. Ever since Farmer and I started raising livestock, we have had chickens.
I love hearing them cackle.
I love gathering fresh eggs. I love watching them forage on green pastures.
Right now we have 7 happy, healthy hens. But when we sold meat at farmers markets, we had a flock of layers. Although we no longer need quite so many, I am eager to grow our flock again.
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I began stalking Facebook chicken boards and online chicken forums. I attended local chicken auctions. And talked to a neighboring farmer who sells farm animals to ethnic markets. Next, I put together all of the possible ways I could make money with chickens. To see what it would take to make a profit, I created an Excel spreadsheet outlining my expected egg production, life of an option costs, and where and how I planned to generate income.
When all the dust settled, I had discovered there are really only nine ways to make money with chickens.
How Many Chickens Do You Need To Make A Profit
Making Money with Chickens 1. Eating Eggs The first and most obvious way to make money with chickens is to sell eggs for eating. This allowed us to make a profit once we subtracted out our cost for labor, birds, and feed.
However, it is unlikely I will get that price locally from family, friends, and neighbors. It is exceptionally hard to make a profit at this price point.
The Best Way How To Profit From Your Chickens
To calculate your feed cost, first calculate the per pound cost of feed. So you see, it is very hard to make money with chickens just by selling eating eggs. That said, selling fresh eggs is a great way to bring in additional income when your chickens are at peak production.
Helpful hint: Check with the feed store where you buy your chicken feed. Many will offer to sell your eggs for free. Hatching Eggs I was amazed at how much money people make selling hatching eggs. If this is one way you plan to make money with chickens, you will need to invest in purebred birds from the start. See why I recommend homesteaders raise purebred animals.
How to Make Extra Income from Keeping Chickens (with Pictures)
You are going to want to find high quality birds that are in demand by chicken enthusiasts. Whether you are buying hatching eggs or selling them, be sure you understand the breed you have chosen. This is the best resource for understanding what your breed should look like and how much it should weigh. A word of caution for both buying and selling eggs. They remind me a lot of puppy mills.
The industry is full of poor quality stock because people buy a dozen eggs, hatch out 4 birds, and start advertising show quality chickens from proven genetics.
Although the genetics were once proven, the birds and the new breeder are not.
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If you decide to sell hatching eggs, I recommend purchasing a few dozen from various breeders. Then use the experience you gain to determine which are the best methods for selling, shipping, and packaging your eggs.
Making Money with Chickens
And selling day old chicks is another way you can make money with chickens. To get top dollar, just like with hatching eggs, it is important to start with high quality purebred birds. One piece of advice here. I personally recommend choosing breeds that you can not tell the sex at hatching.
It is much easier to sell straight run chicks at higher prices.
If you choose an auto-sexing breed, you will need to decide what you will do with the extra roosters, which are in less less demand. If you decide to sell day old chicks you will also need to decide if you are going to sell them locally or ship to buyers.
To sell locally you can either advertise them on Facebook and through other online sale sites or you can start building relationships with local feed stores and agricultural vendors to carry your chicks. Pullets It is very hard to grow out pullets in a cost effective manner.
Even so, I believe every purebred breeder should have pullets available to buyers.
Save Money Raising Chickens
As a breeder you will be growing out additional birds to 1 improve your flock, and 2 replace older birds. But this does not mean that every pullet you grow out will make the cut to be part of your flock.
Many backyard chicken enthusiast jump at the opportunity to purchase young birds that are ready to lay eggs. Remember, not everyone wants to raise chicks, as it is an expensive endeavor with a definite learning curve. So why not offer these birds to potential buyers while improving your flock.
On average a chicken will eat 20 pounds of feed to get to 20 weeks or 4 months of age. From our example above we know that our cost per pound of feed. This is the opportunity cost you lost by choosing to raise the bird.
Those numbers vary from breeder to breeder much like feed and price per chick. If you are unsure of your additional costs add a few dollars to make up for it. On average, any group of chicks we grow out will be half females and half males.
So for me to cover my feed costs, I will need to get more for my pullets.
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Roosters Just like your pullets, you will want to grow out roosters to improve your flock. However, unlike hens, you only need one rooster per ten hens. That means you will have an ample supply of roosters to harvest, eat, or sell. I am very fortunate that I have a local farmer who will take every rooster I can supply. This makes growing out chicks more feasible because I have a ready market for all my extra males.
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Posting that you have roosters for sale in local advertisements is a great way to move these extra birds. Or harvest them yourself and put them in the freezer. Although you will not get much for each rooster, remember every little bit adds to the bottomline.
And if you priced your pullets appropriately, you should be able to make up for this binary options where to really make money with the females. Cull Hens When a hen has outlived her productive life, it is time to move her out of the hen house.
I know there are many who keep older birds because they grow attached to their chickens.
Whether you sell eggs, meat, live chickens, fertilizer or all four, the money coming in can be worth the time spent.
But if you are truly looking to make money from chickens, you need to decide if your chickens are pets or a vital part of your homesteading enterprise. We keep our birds for no more than three years. As with cull roosters, you really only have two chooses. You can harvest the birds to eat or sell them to someone else.
Keep in mind, because we choose to turn over our layers fairly young, they have a higher value to others as layers. If we were to keep them until they were 6 or 7 years old, they would not only be less productive, but we would have to sell them for less money.
Freezer Birds In almost all livestock related enterprises, I am a fan of adding value. Typically if I can add value to a product, I can sell it for more. For example, you can sell ground beef at one price. But make homemade chili, put it in quarts, and you can sell that same pound of beef for more. That same philosophy, however, does not apply as easily to dual purpose laying hens and roosters. I can almost always sell my live three year old hen for more than I can sell a whole freezer bird.
Because even good dual purpose breeds lack meat and older birds are tough. If this is any area you wish to explore, I recommend purchasing breeds such as Cornish Cross or Freedom Rangers.
Click here for more information regarding on farm slaughter and inspection requirements. Manure I highly recommend the deep litter method of raising chickens.
This allows me to clean out my coop once or twice a year. I then compost my litter and apply it to my garden.
Depending on the how to make money well in the chicken business of birds you have, this may be another way to make money with chickens. I use chicken litter on my garden every year and know there are other gardeners who would take advantage of this if they could.
Left unattended, chicken litter compost will be ready to use as fertilizer in months. If how to make money well in the chicken business turn your pile occasionally, your waiting time is reduced to just months.
Feathers Chicken feathers can be used to make jewelry, pillows, ornaments, and home decor. In addition, neck hackle and saddle area feathers are used to make fly fishing lures. If you are interested in making money with chicken feathers, I encourage you to do additional research.
Summary As you can see, there are several ways to make money with chickens. And for the most part many of them go hand and hand while establishing and maintain a purebred flock. How do you make money with your chickens? Leave me a comment below. Also, leave a comment if you are interest in seeing the Excel spreadsheet I use to project my annual flock income. Other Posts You Might Like:.