Going to start a hatchery in a few years.

Discussion in 'Chicken Breeders & Hatcheries' started by chickenlover54, Jan 5, 2016.

  1. chickenlover54

    chickenlover54 Henely Hatchery

    May 20, 2009
    Northern Illinois
    Enola(my phone autocorrected to Ebola lol!), I would love to have experienced chicken lovers work at my hatchery. I plan to have no employees right off the bat but I will need some after the first year or so! Coincidentally, my mother retires the same year I want to open the hatchery, and she is a great office worker, so I will have her assistance.
  2. dheltzel

    dheltzel Overrun With Chickens

    Nov 30, 2013
    Pottstown, PA
    Bantams are not going to make money. Bantam breeders keep them for fun and showing. If you show a lot and have really good results, you can command a good price - for a few birds, but there is not much market for bantams in bulk quantities. People aren't using them for egg production, and certainly not for meat production. That leaves the pet market, and the number of people who are allowed to have chickens and want bantams is far less than the number of customers you will need to sustain a business.

    I know about this first hand because I hatch and sell locally. For every person looking for a bantam (always cochins or silkies) there were 50 looking for LF laying pullet chicks. I have both bantam cochins and silkies, but did not hatch any all of last year, it was simply not worth it, I can make more money in much less time with LF. And the few people that contacted me asking to have chicks shipped? Zero wanted bantams. If you don't need to care about turning a profit and are counting your labor as free, then go with whatever you like, bantams or LF, but if you want to have any chance of making money, skip them (and all specialty fowl - ducks, gamebirds, turkeys, quail) and focus on a few really popular LF breeds.
  3. MeepBeep

    MeepBeep Chillin' With My Peeps

    IMO if you are starting out and want to turn a profit your best bet is to focus on 'rare' but desirable and trendy breeds, the stuff other hatcheries don't regularly offer... IMO trying to go head to head with big hatcheries for the top 20 breeds is just not worth the effort, sure you can offer those breeds but I would offer them in limited numbers initially unless you see a demand for more year after year... You are likely to find a better return on profit offering less varieties then more initially as it allows you to focus on those niches and secure a customer base...

    As said the market for bantams is limited, and although they take up less space I'm betting the return on profit per square foot of space will be higher with standards...

    And when I say 'rare' I don't necessarily mean top dollar expensive breeds just ones you don't see to often at the big hatcheries or ones that big hatcheries charge stupid prices for...
  4. enola

    enola Overrun With Chickens

    I used to hatch chicks and sell the in spring and summer. My biggest sellers were sex links, EE, Rhode Island reds and barred rocks.
  5. chickenlover54

    chickenlover54 Henely Hatchery

    May 20, 2009
    Northern Illinois
    Hatcheries that produce LF for egg production are a dime a dozen though. I need to find a niche market and there is no way there isn't one for bantams. If you go on eBay there is a wide variety of hatching eggs and you will notice the ones with bids and a good price tag are bantams. I'm not saying you don't have a relevant point, but across the country there are tens of thousands of bantam owners. Also, check out the Ideal Poultry thread. A ton of the chickens pictured there are bantams. When I raised chickens before, I had mainly bantams and they sold extremely well.
  6. chickenlover54

    chickenlover54 Henely Hatchery

    May 20, 2009
    Northern Illinois
    Yes, I agree that the profit per bird will be less with bantams. I'm only exploring the idea.
  7. chickenlover54

    chickenlover54 Henely Hatchery

    May 20, 2009
    Northern Illinois
    If no bantams, the issue is choosing the best 36 breeds/varieties of LF. That will be difficult when there are 100's of breeds and dozens of colors of most breeds. Stressful just thinking about it. Lol
  8. GodofPecking

    GodofPecking Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2015
    it's a bit like growing parsley for the vegetable market, bantams are the mascots of a chicken flock rather than the main components. I've got a bantam rooster who keeps the hens happy enough when I can't let out my full size terrorist rooster, and some other special smaller size chooks, but it's really just the one bantam.
  9. Dogue

    Dogue Out Of The Brooder

    May 6, 2014
    Ideal Poultry has more bantams than any other hatchery, and they're "the largest supplier of backyard poultry in the USA".
    However, they regularly have sales where they are practically begging (an email daily or twice a day to subscribers) people to buy bantams at prices as low as $1.30 each.
    So, it seems to me that an up and comer would have a hard time competing with them. They're already established. They have a ton of varieties. They have insanely low prices.

    I think you'd have to offer something that isn't being offered. For example, I never see showgirl silkies at hatcheries, or frizzled silkies, or tiny seramas.
    I'd order from a hatchery that offered those. You can also differentiate yourself in other ways... using artificial lighting/heating, etc. to trick birds into thinking the season is one it is not, and thus you might be able to offer things like turkey poults in the winter, etc.

    I don't think I could run a hatchery because inherently you're going to be left with a huge surplus of male chicks, or just chicks in general, and your only option is to kill them.
  10. chickenlover54

    chickenlover54 Henely Hatchery

    May 20, 2009
    Northern Illinois
    I will have artificial lighting for the birds to lay virtually every day year round, or to maximize it to the highest extent. And yes, I will have extra males. I do plan to sell them at very low prices online. I also have a few connections in the area of people that raise meat chickens all natural, and generally don't get Cornish rocks. So hopefully they would purchase them for dirt cheap prices. And I would be able to kill them if need be. That is a good idea, I could have mostly standards and a few odd/rare bantams that are generally unavailable at other hatcheries. Showgirls, frizzled silkies, and regular silkies would all sell well. I wouldn't have a TON of them so I think I'd be able to sell a few hundred a week.

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