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Farm Marketing and Profits from a Natural perspective

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by loanwizard, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. Why do people have Chickens?

    Many here have them as ornamental pets. That is a wonderful thing because I believe that chickens are beautiful quirky birds.

    Others serve that market.

    Some raise them to strict standards of the breed searching for the perfect genetics and creating the perfect bird of a particular breed, which is fascinating and takes a lot of time and knowledge. Kudos to you.

    Some raise them as a sustainable source of food, both egg and meat as well as beneficial creatures to the small homestead type farm.

    What I would like to discuss, is a sharing of ideas to help others as well as myself solidify and maybe even expand their ideas on marketing my favorite bird.

    I am first and foremost an entrepreneur. I have a used car lot, am a landlord, an apprentice auctioneer and a farmer. I have dabbled in many things, yet there are a few different things I/we can do to maximize the potential while still enjoying my birds.

    Subject- Brood hens vs Incubation.

    I have 80 layers more or less. I also raise meat birds (Freedom Rangers) in season. I don't know or have access to the genetics so to the Freedom Rangers so I have a nice big trailer built for brooding and transporting chickens and hogs replete with removeable tarp top, hooks for heat lamps, water buckets with nipples and a side door for easy access. So for me, incubation is relatively streamlined.

    I have toyed with the idea of changing, or tweaking my chicken system geared more to profit.

    Currently I have a hodgepodge of free ranged birds, some purebred, but hatchery birds, not heritage, or "fashionable" birds, and a bunch of hybrid 3,4,5 way plus crosses, that lay eggs.

    I also raise the meat birds, and I raise heritage breed hogs. I am not certified organic, but I use no chemicals on the farm other than Sevin dust for fleas for the dogs. That said, I use regular feed, not non GMO.

    Currently I market my eggs on Craigslist and Facebook. I live 80 miles from a city, where I grew up.
    I get $2.00 per dozen and basically it pays for my gas to and from. I consider it a loss leader to introduce my other products. It is my belief that it is easier to upsell current buyers than to find new.

    I have started to rethink my process though recently. I have thought about redoing my flock to a heritage breed. They still lay eggs and those eggs as a purebred heritage breed are much more valuable as hatching eggs and if I incubate, the chicks are more valuable but in the end they are still chickens.

    Now to the subject of broody hen's. If I have several different breeds, how do I keep them separate, yet maintain the free range status? If I could keep the Buckeyes with the Buckeyes and the RIR with the RIR, I wouldn't have a problem. My issue is, the Buckeye Roo doesn't know that he is only supposed to cover in his own breed.


  2. armorfirelady

    armorfirelady Songster

    Jun 14, 2012
    Hamburg, NY
    My Coop
    I have chickens for the eggs. If they need to be culled then they will be food. I only have a small backyard flock. I try & do things as cheap as possible for them.

    I just started selling my extra eggs. I charge $3/dozen for my eggs $2.50 if they bring me an egg carton. I advertise on craig's list, facebook & a website http://www.localhens.com/

    It takes me about a week to get a dozen eggs to sell.....but that's because I always make sure i have a half dozen for our house & being winter they are laying less. Come spring I should have at lest 2 dozen per week.

    I obviously am not supporting my hens by their eggs but I hope to at least pay their feed/bedding with the $$ once laying increases and I get a few more hens
  3. atmaclean

    atmaclean Songster

    May 21, 2012
    Belews Creek, NC
    I keep chickens to give me eggs and to sell mostly to friends and co-workers. Right now, I get about 15-18 eggs/day and sell most all of them to folks I know for $3/dozen. I feel like I am selling them really cheap. I know how well my chickens are fed and I know they are better quality that anything that could be purchased at the store. I think that a lot of what I do is educate people about the benefits of buying eggs from healthy, happy chickens. Those who get eggs from me rarely ever go back to the grocery store eggs. The Eggland's Best eggs sell for $3.49 at the grocery store! I sell mine for less than that - people are getting a steal (IMHO). Not to mention the fact that my eggs come in a beautiful variety of colors [​IMG]

  4. stonykill

    stonykill Crowing

    Sep 16, 2010
    Canaan Ny
    Nice thread Shawn.

    Like many I started out with a few birds, 7 in my case. Now I have over 80 and maintain at least an average of 50 to 60 birds a year. I started out wanting fresh eggs.

    I'm an entrepreneur also . Self employed since 04 doing various things to earn a living. Part of it has become farming.

    I get $3 a dozen for chicken eggs and $4 a dozen for duck eggs.

    My reason for having chickens has turned into more of a homestead / self sustaining flock. I don't really make any money with the chickens, but the egg /chick/ pullet sales pay for the food yearly with a little left over. Plus a lot of meat in the freezer.

    Now onto your subject of broody hens. And keeping them hatching only their breed. While maintaining a free range flock. That requires a few breeding pens. A handful of birds that will never free range if you are going to have various breeds. For instance I have 2 Sumatra breeding pens. When a free range sumatra hen goes broody she will get eggs from a breeding pen, this way I know they are pure. It is the only way I know of to do it. A handful of birds will not be able to free range.
  5. stonykill

    stonykill Crowing

    Sep 16, 2010
    Canaan Ny
    I mainly use broody's. But every year I incubate in early to mid March. It is still cold here and the broody season really kicks in in April. I like to incubate some for 2 reasons. The pullets will lay all the following winter, and the roosters will be in the freezer by Thanksgiving at the latest. These incubated eggs will either be mutts for the egg laying flock and freezer or pure Sumatra's to sell, keep and send extra roosters to freezer camp. So I find incubating handy. I know I will have pullets of laying age for the following winter. I know I'll have meat in the freezer. And I always manage to sell some chicks. This all goes a long way to the feed being free.
  6. Did you pick Sumatras for any particular reason? If you had to start over would you pick them again or perhaps a more profitable bird?
  7. Another question. Are your Sumatra's the "Best of the Breed" or more toward hatchery quality, or somewhere in between?
  8. stonykill

    stonykill Crowing

    Sep 16, 2010
    Canaan Ny
    I didn't pick Sumatra's. They picked me. I was offered a flock of 30 for free. That is how I got into them. Would I chose them again. Absolutely.

    Ok, here is where I will offend some. I think the SOP and showing is harmful to breeds. I think showing is stupid. I look at it this way, birds vary and a few humans stood around and decided these were the "perfect" ones. And that is all anyone breeds for. I have absolutely no use for SOP.

    With that said, some of my Sumatra's are perfect show quality birds. That only matters to someone who buys chicks from me and looks at my birds. Some of them aren't "SOP" but are some of the best birds.

    Now for the disclaimer. If you or anyone reading this shows birds or breeds to SOP I am happy for you and do not hold it against you. I raise my birds for my reasons and have my own personal beliefs for my own flock. I will repeat. I am not knocking, putting down or otherwise picking on anyone who shows birds. My opinion is mine.
  9. stonykill

    stonykill Crowing

    Sep 16, 2010
    Canaan Ny
    so Shawn I guess my question for you is what is your current subject to change long term plan?

    Mine is to continue to work towards a self sufficient flock. Self reproducing. Largely self feeding. With enough eggs to feed 2 family's and to market. Large garden plots to be re instituted.
  10. That is a good way to start. We sound very similar in perspective. I am not an SOP person either although I applaud those that do.

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