I am doing for a profit and I LOVE my girls but I would like to/need to make some money this summer. Thanks in advance for your help.
If you were going to sell the chickens at about 28 weeks locally in a fairly Urban area, would you go with good layers or with some of the more exotic and hard to find breeds?
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at 28 weeks you've got a considerable investment in each hen already and it's hard to get a decent price to make it real profitable, they are usually worth far more selling their eggs then the individual birds, at least in this area. you might wanna go to an auction in your area and see what people are buying and how much they are willing to pay. around here laying age hens of most types bring 15-20 bucks each and if they are white, Leghorn, Wyandotte or otherwise they'll only bring about a buck each because people have the mentality they are from a commercial chicken house and aren't worth anything. good for the knowledgeable buyer, not so good for the seller.
Personally, it profit was my goal, I'd go for commercial meat birds and time their culling age for festive periods. As Jetcat says, the investment in selling point of lay hens is considerable and the returns negligible.
I would imagine that to successfully sell exotics would mean getting into showing your birds well before you are likely to get top dollar for your birds. This would take years.
Rare & exotic markets are fickle as well. Right now, I'd say Svart Hona, Ayam Cemani, & Orust Hona are the most desired rare breeds but you can't really plan long term marketing on those. Just a couple of years ago, they were $5k for a pair - now they run around $100 for a good quality straight run chick, which is a lot (and profitable). However, it wasn't that long ago that Cream Legbar chicks were selling for the $100+/chick, and today - you can get a decent quality straight run chick for around $7 if you check local breeders and craigslist often (hatcheries selling them for around $20). Point is - everyone gets on that train.
I'd look into a laying breed that has great food conversion - like a leghorn, campine, etc where you could church out eggs without a feed bill that puts you in the red. Honestly, I don't know that the chicken business has much profit in it (at least that I can see) - I think there are many who try, rare breeds and such - but for the bulk of us, I think anything we sell (chicks, eggs, hatching eggs, etc) is just something that helps alleviate the cost of our chicken addictions.
I have between $500-700 in my coop
Maybe $50-100 in "stuff" (feeders, waterers, heating sources, bedding, started feed, etc)
Around $100-150 in chickens (2 Olive eggers, 2 cream legbar, 1 orpington, 1 hamburgh, 4 sumatra bantams, 3 leghorn bantams) from Ideal poultry & My Pet Chicken
$100 in shipped hatching eggs (that looks like it may yield 4 chicks - Svart Hona)
$60 in future hatching eggs (+ $25 gas to go pick them up)
for a total of $800 (low end, Im sure I have more than that) - around $1200 (high end, it's probably closer to 900-1000)
That's for basically day old chicks and enough feed to get them through a month or 2. It'll be another 4-5 months before they lay their first egg. I may recoup some of that by selling off extra roosters (from the bantam straight run and hatches) but that's going to be a minimum gain - even so I'll take $100 (generous prediction). I'm still at or over $1,000
If I can sell my Svart Hona chicks or hatching eggs, say $25-50/chick and same per (x) amount of eggs by then. I'd have to sell between 20-40 to get back to $1,000 in 6 months (longer as I wait for eggs to come in or hatch). By then I'd of spent more on feed (possibly medications or other accessories)
This all coming from someone who basically bought chickens for: 1.) Pets 2.) My kid's 4-H 3.) Eggs, so I didn't go into this as a business mindset. If I can make a few bucks on eating eggs from the barnyard mix at the Farmers Market - I'd be thrilled. I bought and am hatching Svart Hona & Orust for pleasure, if I can ever sell a few - also great. Realistically, I don't see a profitable margin (although there has to be one somewhere since there are plenty of hatcheries to be found - if you find one, let me know!) ;)
Good points made Owen. I sell eggs and it does cover their food bill - thats it. It would take probably another 10 years before i would break even if i take coop etc into account.
I saw an advertisement today that was interesting enough (sort of) on this topic. A guy selling made-to-order chicken tractor coops as his primary item, but offered chicks along with them (hatched on demand - evidently whilst building the coop) which I thought was clever enough - sort of a chicken starter package that would allow you to get a portion of your chicken money up front by way of deposits and such. Limited market I'm sure - how many people want new chicken coops versus people just wanting chickens? Still... maybe not a terrible approach if you're just looking for extra cash. That being said, I haven't put a ton of thought in it past being interested in the concept of the advertisement - so who knows if it's smart or not? ;)