Chickens as a business?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by CARS, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. CARS

    CARS Chillin' With My Peeps

    This year I have been keeping track of every pound of feed, every dozen eggs laid and sold, every chick purchased, etc.

    I really want my birds to sustain themselves (me to break even).

    Does anyone run their small flock as a business? Do you keep everything separate and report your profit/loss??

    If so, can you elaborate on what works for you and pass on some tips/ideas?
     
  2. Jena

    Jena The Welsh Witch

    Nov 2, 2008
    Cardiff
    My chickens are not a business, but they keep themselves very nicely.

    I think you would have to also include costs of your set up etc, I started because I wanted to become as sustainable as possible with regard to food. Also I really liked the idea of having the chickens in the garden.

    I already had a small Playhose that I had bought for the dog but he didn;t like it, so I converted that for the chickens and I built a run, helped by my son. Cost me in total less than £20.

    I have 4 girls and I bought a huge bag of layers pellets when I bought them, and it lasted forever really, cost £6. Now I have been ill for a while and do not drive at the moment so I buy their food in the local market, I could buy cheaper but could not carry it on the bus.

    My girls lay every day, and I sell eggs to friends and neighbours.

    On average I probably sell £3-4 worth of eggs a week, and their food for the week costs me £2. So as a little business it is very successful.

    So if you have more, just multiply it out....lol.... I do give them lots of treats, but that does not cost more than £1 a week or it is food I have here anyway. Local shops sell off veggies thatare out of date and I use them.

    The dog is much more expensive. lol.....
     
  3. PeeperKeeper

    PeeperKeeper Chillin' With My Peeps

    No. Haven't been able to keep up with it. Figured I lost a lot when the chicks came down with coryza last year, They wll probably never recoop the cost.
    But I sure learned a lot!
    I'dd be real curious on how you come out. Keep us posted! [​IMG]
     
  4. Chickenmaven

    Chickenmaven Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 6, 2009
    Michigan
    Our girls give us about 32 doz. eggs per month. We sell them for $2.50 a doz., so that's $80 worth of eggs. We sell the eggs, eat alot of eggs & give some away. I see the give aways as a value to me, a cost similar to buying a thank you card. My feed costs are about $40 month. (We feed alot of household scraps...)
    So, we are coming out ahead - now. This might eventually recoup our upfront costs of feeding "freeloaders" for months; who knows? [​IMG]

    Something we BYCers often fail to track is our time. "Time is money." To me, this is a hobby & if I can break even - rock on. I would never advocate making this a job. There are easier ways to make a buck, IMHO.
     
  5. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    We keep a spread sheet of birds sold, eggs sold, feed. For selling it's broken down by breed and what was sold. The feed is kept track of by pen. Last year we turned a profit for the year, and so far this year we are doing better. [​IMG] We do spend alot of time at it, when you have a few hundred birds it does take some time. One thing we haven't really been able to keep track of very well is what we take for our own use.

    Steve in NC
     
  6. CARS

    CARS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Tell me about it. But, I have never lost a bird or egg because of our dog. (unless they "fly the coop". Then me and Jewels (our golden retriever) have an agreement. I look at her, she lowers her head to the ground begging for forgiveness, and I tell her the hen was just where she wasn't suppose to be.


    Thanks for the input. Keep it coming. I don't want to make it "profitable', just try to make a go at making the girls pay for themselves. (without counting my time. This is a hobby. I just want to see what others are doing as far a book keeping and reporting.
     
  7. cockadoodle

    cockadoodle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 20, 2009
    Denver
    My dad and his family operated an egg laying operation with 50,000 birds, 4 people did almost all of the work. They did ok.... but were far from rich, he's in his mid 60's now and hasn't touched a chicken in 40+ years. The amount of work... feed, manure, vet costs and I'll say again Work, turned him into a bitter person when it comes to chickens today. Thats not to say that this happens to everyone that farms on that scale, or even most, but it's a big risk. It is possible to make chickens a business, for sure. But for me personally, that would turn a fun hobby into a smaller form of the 'evil companies' out there that I am trying to get away from to begin with. To be competitive and profitable, you'll be faced with many decisions that have to be made for the sake of profit after a while, it will be a crappy job instead of a fun hobby. Seriously, just my opinion. There is a major difference between breaking even, and paying for your mortgage, healthcare, equipment and kids college.

    ~Mark
     
  8. 100chihuahuas

    100chihuahuas Out Of The Brooder

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    Apr 7, 2009
    I treat my flock as if it were a business! But I don't regard it so, I always try to keep in mind that they are a fun hobby, and not a business to live from.
    In my part of AK, a dozen farm-fresh eggs sell for $4/dozen, sometimes $5 which is a great prive but food up here runs at like, $24 for 50lbs!
    I am close to breaking even after only almosta year of my chickens laying, mostly because I spent so little on their setup.
    My goal is to get enough profit to comfortably buy one of those fancy electronic incubators, which runs near $500, and sell off my styrofoam eyesore [​IMG]
     
  9. Jena

    Jena The Welsh Witch

    Nov 2, 2008
    Cardiff
    Quote:Tell me about it. But, I have never lost a bird or egg because of our dog. (unless they "fly the coop". Then me and Jewels (our golden retriever) have an agreement. I look at her, she lowers her head to the ground begging for forgiveness, and I tell her the hen was just where she wasn't suppose to be.


    Thanks for the input. Keep it coming. I don't want to make it "profitable', just try to make a go at making the girls pay for themselves. (without counting my time. This is a hobby. I just want to see what others are doing as far a book keeping and reporting.

    Hi Cars,

    We have a similar arrangement, my dog has not killed anything, Thank God. I think he would be more hurt than me if he did, but he is expensive. But he has the dropped head guilty look down to a fine art.

    I know he also has a financial value as nobody would come near me or my house without him letting me know, and scaring them rigid.

    My chickens, really do keep themselves, I keep a jar in my kitchen with Egg money, and I buy all their treats out if that, and I am strict....lol....
    Because I have not been working I could not do this any other way.

    To me, I get to eat as many eggs as I like, and they are far more healthy and nutritious that anything I can get in the supermarket, and my customers feel the same. I am encouraged to get out in the garden a lot more and I am growing a large number of Vegetables this year, with the assistance of the compost pile from the girls. I am staying active, despite arthritis and a lot of pain, I have cut down drastically in garbage collected, and I feel better for my efforts.

    What price can you put on that? But even in the harsh light of a balance sheet, my girls are even paying for their large bag of wood shavings per month. They are truely covering their costs. Infact they are richer than me right now. lol.....

    Good Luck. [​IMG]
     
  10. Jena

    Jena The Welsh Witch

    Nov 2, 2008
    Cardiff
    Quote:Very good post Mark.

    It is true, the attitudes of the "Bottomline" on a balance sheet being more important than your soul is key.

    One of the reasons we are all keeping chickens in our back yards is to avoid the battery farm eggs and all that goes with it.

    It is so easy to find that enough is not really ENOUGH, and in the hunt for profit bad chocies are made that can make you very bitter.

    I really do agree with you and it is about making your hobby sustainable rather than profitable. either that or like me just trying to maintain your independence in a very small way.
     

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