How to get started?

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by Sjora, Jul 25, 2008.

  1. Sjora

    Sjora New Egg

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    Jul 25, 2008
    Hello! I am a teenage FFA member and I have been sucessfully selling eggs to neighbors etc. Recently, several people have been asking me if we have broilers for sale. I found a good book at the library (Pastured Poultry Profits by Joel Salatin). They use the moveable pen method which would work great for us as we have plenty of pasture land. Has anyone else had sucess using this method? I am wondering too about marketing and selling the broilers. I figured it out on paper and it was not that much of a profit with feed costs etc. being so high, but in the book they say by being on pasture land the chickens eat far less feed. Any ideas out there on being successful? Any input would be greatly appreciated!
    Thomas
     
  2. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    SW Wisconsin
    I've read that book and contemplated it myself. It's worth a try. Start small and build a customer base. The birds really have to be watched closely. Even out on pasture after a day they will be wallering in manure so the pens should really be moved twice a day. The heat, rain, and predators can all do damage. Their ration intake is lower when supplemented with pasture, but I doubt you could characterize it as "far less". Profit depends upon what you charge after taking into account the inputs. Also, you have to realize Joel Salatin farms outside a large urban area and his customers are folks from the city with money to afford "value added" food. Producers in rural areas who have tried his system have trouble with direct marketing to the consumer because most in rural areas have neither the money nor inclination to pay $2.50 to $4.00 a pound for chicken. They instead market and deliver birds to natural food stores or restaurants.

    That being said, don't let it scare you off, give it a shot with 25, 50, or a 100 birds. You'll sell a few to family, friends, and neighbors and what doesn't sell still feeds your family.
     
  3. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

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    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    Try reading Michael Pollan's book called "The Omnivore's Dilemma". There's a section in there about pastured chickens. Maybe you could even contact the farm profiled in the book for suggestions.

    Good luck!
     
  4. blue90292

    blue90292 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 30, 2007
    Rosharon, TX
    most people sell their birds processed for $3.00 to $3.50 per pound per bird and the birds are usually in the 4-5 pound range making them $12.00 at the lowest and $17.50 at the highest. see if you can still make a profit with that price per bird then ask those people asking you about broilers if they are willing to pay that. if so, get a non-refundable deposit of say $6 from each person, buy your birds and you're on your way.

    make sure before you get that deposit, there are chicks available. many threads on here have hatchery names where you can get chicks from. meyers is probably the cheapest at less than a $1 a bird. i would start with cornish and later maybe add the rangers.

    keep reading the posts on this section and you'll probably get alot of your questions answered and welcome to the board!
     
  5. AnthonyT

    AnthonyT Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 26, 2008
    Franklin, KY
    I just got my first batch of broilers to raise for sale myself. It took a lot of research to get to this point. If you already have a farm you can most likey scrounge up everything you need to make pens and brooder acommidations. Feeders can be made for free from 5 gallon buckets. The cost of building pens and feed will be your biggest cost. As far as selling goes, don't price them below $2.50/lb dressed or you will not make enough per bird to make it worthwhile. I found that at $2.50/lb they sold very quickly. Also pre-sell them so you know they are sold before you even start. I had all my orders in before I even reserved chicks! The biggest mistake you can make when growing anything is to grow it and then try to sell it. Always make sure it is sold first. Here are some things I have found out:

    1. Cost can be cut tremendously if you are good at scavenging materials.
    2. A good feed mill will save you a ton of money and work with you on mixing a feed that YOU want.
    3. You make your money in the brooder. If the chicks have a rough first few weeks they will not preform well later.
    4. Get the chicks into natural light and on grass quickly, within the first week at least for a little each day (some may disagree with this). Whether it is the light, fresh bugs and greens, fresh air or all of the above it really seems to help them.
    5. Money can be made doing this but it by no means a quick trip to riches.

    Out of my 100 color range broilers I pre-sold 80, 8 went to land rent for where I keep my chickens and the rest are a reserve in case something happens and some die or get killed. Whatever is left over 88 at the end I am keeping for my freezer. All said the 80 that were sold should pay for the pen, feed, processing and a few misc expenses with a few bucks left over.
     
  6. Colored Egg Farmer

    Colored Egg Farmer Chicken overload

    Yea start out small. work up a customer base and the word will go out that you sell meat chickens.

    Here is a true example on how I started.

    I started out small with 15 chickens. Demand for my eggs was so high I had 25 chickens by the end of the year. Demand continued to grow so finally I decided to dive right it and buy 650.

    Right now they are just starting laying but the whole 17 weeks I had customers always asking for eggs.

    Good luck and nice to see another FFA member. I'm a 4-H member.

    O and [​IMG]
     
  7. UncleHoot

    UncleHoot Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 22, 2007
    St. Johns, Michigan
    I'm doing pretty much what you describe, but it's only a hobby. I live in a very rural area, and even convincing my customers to pay $2.00/lb for chicken takes a little work. Having said that, I do have a handful of customers who are more than happy to pay it. They LOVE my chicken, and their experience is the best type of advertising.

    I've only got one pen for meat chickens (the other is for my layers) which I made out of PVC for a total cost of about $250. At some point, I'd like to put up detailed instructions for this (my redesigned version), since it's so easy to build, and so easy to move. Anyway, you can probably build something cheaper yourself.

    Kudo's if you do the processing yourself. As Salatin points out in his book, that's really where the money is at. I'm paying $2.00/chicken right now, and from what I've heard, that's about as cheap as it gets.

    I did a break-down of costs and posted it on here: https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=65880 Some of these costs are fixed per bird, and others will go down as the number of birds goes up. Don't count on the pastured birds eating any less just because they are on pasture, however. In fact, my experience has been that they actually eat a bit more as compared to my neighbors' non-pastured chickens.

    So, the key to marketing, imho, is to advertise them as "Home Grown" "Pastured" "Grass-fed" or something along those lines. I hope this works out for you, and I hope I haven't said anything discouraging. PPP makes it sound pretty easy, and for the most part, it is! Unfortunately, making a profit is perhaps the most difficult part, but I believe it can certainly be done.
     

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