Do you make a living off of raising chickens?

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by SquirrelGirl, Oct 13, 2009.

  1. Chicken Family

    Chicken Family Hatching

    Mar 20, 2012
    We are a small family farm in southwest missouri, and we make pretty decent money off of our calves. I actually buy bottle calves from time to time, and after all my expenses I put into them in a six month time period, I still have enough to put into our personal account.

  2. Kaitie09

    Kaitie09 Songster

    May 28, 2009
    South Central, PA
    I am close to paying for feed from selling my eggs. The water comes from a well, and we get their bedding for free. So the birds are close to free as I think it will get. Only took 10 years...
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2012
  3. Johnnycompost

    Johnnycompost Hatching

    Feb 3, 2013
    As in any venture no one portion is going to be the golden egg. My chickens however stopped being a negative venture as soon as they could scratch the ground. I divided them into three groups and put them into Chicken tractors in the garden. There I got tillage as I didn't have time fertilizer as I didn't spend money and insecticide as they snatched bugs grubs as they worked. Now they are in the hen house for the winter and we are blessed with eggs now and again. Once they are out in the spring a lot of them will be moved to the portable coop to lay eggs scratch out and spread the horse manure piles and eat bugs. In the summer time I really cut back on the feed as they are out and do a much better job of foraging but I do keep water in front of them 24/7. As I run a very diversified operation in the UP Michigan I found that with four teams of draft horses, 3 and a half acre market garden 40 acres of hay, giving hay rides and sleigh rides, and logging with my horses, every bit contributes a little and the end result is a lot more than most. I don't buy much fertilizer and I research many unorthodox ways of doing things and for the most part it has been a success. My gut feeling is that I could maintain a laying flock of 500 hens and never leave the farm
  4. chickened

    chickened Crowing

    Oct 2, 2010
    western Oregon
    1000.00 divided by 160 hrs (full time ) .625 an hour some would say that is not making money.
  5. SaddleFeathers

    SaddleFeathers Hatching

    Jul 6, 2015
    I bought my first 6 pullets a year ago. That turned into 10, then 20, and now I have 17 laying hens and 17, 3 month old chicks (about 8 of which are roosters, if not, more.) Chicken Math is a real thing. Anyway, I have been researching this as well. Wouldn't it be neat if we could all just quit our day jobs and raise chickens?? :) Though it IS possible, it is not very probable. A friend of mine worked out the math and figures she would have to have 1,000 laying hens in order to make a living with just chickens. That may or may not be true. Start up costs for that many birds would be very high, it would take a while to re-'coop' your costs. And can you imagine collecting that many eggs everyday? They would produce upwards of 800 eggs each DAY. In fact, start up costs for a small backyard flock is pretty high as it is:
    Shed: $400
    Birds: $3 each as pullets or $15 each as laying age hens
    Feed: $15-$30 per 50 lb bag
    Oyster shell: $8
    Grit: $8
    Treats, toys, perches, wood and fencing for an outdoor run area, etc.
    My first year, I bought pullets. They will just be a financial drain your first year. Expect that. They START laying when the weather gets cold. Supplement light and they may lay more often, but if you live somewhere cold like I do, the eggs will freeze half the time and need to be discarded, or become fun frozen puppy treats. I have been tracking my "profits" from the birds. I averaged a loss of about $60 per month the first year. Now that it is summer time they are laying more often and I have slowly built up my customer base. I make one delivery per week and sell to family and friends as well. April I profited $34, May I had a loss of $8 and June I profited $12. This is egg sales - cost of feed, I did not include any of my hours for labor cost. But this also includes 1/2 a flock of young, non laying babies. I sell my eggs for $3/dozen and re-use cartons that people save for me. My birds are not on organic feed and a 50 lbs bag costs me $15 to $17.

    Lot's of random numbers up there. All the advice I have been given, everyone says "don't quit your day job". It's a fun hobby, but it doesn't pay the bills. If you're interested in farming, add a variety and figure out what sells the best. Or if you are just interested in chickens, hatch and sell chicks, sell feathers when they molt, sell their poop as fertilizer-it's actually one of the best fertilizers you can get. Think about adding meat birds, sell hatching eggs, build and sell chicken tractors or poultry waterers (I made a few last fall and they sold pretty well). Save money where ever you can. Free range or pasture raise your laying hens. I feed about 1/3rd what I normally would when they were cooped up and in their run this winter. Now they find their own food and eat bugs and grass and stuff. We live on a very busy road and lots of wild life around our place but have not lost any to getting run over by a car or eaten by a predator (yet). They have been going out every day for about 3 months. It is definitely a risk, but they seem happier, and so does my wallet. Also, older hens and roosters are good for making soups. I hope that is not offensive, but if you are looking to make chicken raising into a business, the sad reality is that they get butchered when they drop in production. Saves you a little money on your grocery bills, so even though it may not be $ in your pocket, they do have a value you should take into account. If my family eats a dozen eggs I count that as $3 "income". If we eat a bird, that's $10 "income" or other value.

    Hope that helps a little bit. If someone figures out how to make a living off raising chickens, I want to know too! :)
  6. SaddleFeathers

    SaddleFeathers Hatching

    Jul 6, 2015
    I collect about 8 dozen per week. (17 laying hens) Sell them for $3/dozen and spend about $20 a week on feed as they also free range. Profits should be about $4/week not including my time, electricity, start up, etc.
  7. JohnMC

    JohnMC Hatching

    Nov 13, 2015
    Hello all,
    Small time chicks. Farmer here. And the simple answer is Yes. You can make a living of raising chickens. But there is no secret just facts.
    Firstly the market you have to chose what market you wan to target. Eggs/young hens/fertilized eggs etc,
    I chose to target the egg market. I currently have 20 hens that 100% free range and between march-November the cost me 0$ they forge for all there food. They have around 40 acres to wander on.
    I currently get 3.50/doz and sell every egg I get. So between. March-nov I make 100% profit typically I'll make 50$ or so a week.
    And when I do need food I grow it for roughly 0.10/pound.
    So in the long run My hens cost me 0$ and I make about 70% profit.
    I've ran the numbers with 200 hens I would make just about 350 a week excluding food.
    So why couldn't I make a living off hens? I see no reason why not.
    rossi.chicks likes this.
  8. Madisan

    Madisan Songster

    Jun 5, 2015
    There is an older guy in the town next to mine that makes his living by raising chickens full time. Him and his wife do it together. It took them about 20 years to get where they are now and he has some beautiful chickens. He has rare breeds, common breeds, almost anything you could probably think of .. Lol. I've actually gotten a lot of my chickens from him. He has so many different coops it's crazy, but he also has tons of land. And he also raises turkeys and peacocks as well.

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