In need of chicken breeding business advice!!

Discussion in 'Hobbies' started by Venevee, Jan 27, 2017.

  1. Venevee

    Venevee Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 12, 2016
    Hello,

    I plan on starting my own breeding business in the spring. I'm going to specifically breed d'Uccles, d'Anvers and buff Orpingtons. I live in Iowa, and I have set up a website so I can receive orders and ship chicks all around the US. I'm excited to start my business, but I'm also nervous, mostly because I'm diving into this without anyone to help me through it. Does anyone on here have their own business and would be willing to share some advice that they wish they had when starting their business? Any tips would be greatly appreciated!

    P.S
    I'm also stressing out about the fact that my order for chicks this spring is going to be around 50 chicks, and I need more pens and coop set ups! Any advice on the cheapest way to set up breeding runs to keep all of them would be excellent! Thank-you!
     
  2. junebuggena

    junebuggena Chicken Obsessed

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    Get a good cabinet incubator and get NCIP certified.
    You'll need a coop and run for each breed and variety. How profitable this venture will be depends on quite a lot. Are you going to be using hatchery birds as breeding stock? Or are you sourcing from reputable breeders with quality birds?
    If you want your chicks to worth more than a buck or two, you'll need to be breeding from show quality stock. They only way to be certain of having show quality breeding stock is to purchase adult birds. If you are starting with hatchery stock chicks, you are facing an uphill battle. The hatcheries that you ordered from are your direct competition.
    Don't try to cheap out when building your housing for the birds. Protecting them from predation should be your number one priority. That means covered runs and no chicken wire.
     
  3. Weehopper

    Weehopper Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would recommend that, before you order any [​IMG] chicks, you do your research, and get your coops built. Then, start thinking about chicks or, better yet, breeding trios. You will want to study bloodlines and such.
    Good luck to you. I hope you have success.
     
  4. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I can't help you with the "business" end of things. I keep mine strictly hobby. I don't want to make it a business.

    You mention shipping chicks. Have you looked into what that entails? Boxes, bedding, etc? Are you NPIP certified, or going to be?

    With three breeds, why 50 chicks? Do you plan on keeping that many adults? Your bantams I'm guessing are coming straight run. What do you plan to do with the cockerels that don't cut it for breeding? Or any hens that don't have a place in the breeding pen? That's always a chance when starting with chicks.

    Do you have experience incubating and hatching? Do you have an incubator? What are your hatch rates?

    My best advice is to start small. Plan for a max of 2 males and 6ish females of each breed. With your level, you can probably run everyone together, or if your males don't tolerate each other you can split into trios. Or, breeding pens with one male and all the females and run a bachelor pad, just keeping the extras as backup breeders in case anything happens to your first choice.

    50 chicks is going to take a ton of brooder space, let along coop space when they're bigger. Do you have facilities for that?

    I'm just thinking you're diving into something you're not really ready for, unless there's a lot more info we don't have. Again, start small. If you're getting chicks this spring, you're not really going to be offering chicks for sale until late fall, at the very earliest. next spring will be your target time of sales.
     
  5. Venevee

    Venevee Out Of The Brooder

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    Thanks for the advice, and I have decided to cut down on the number of chicks. I plan on having at least one rooster and three hens, five max. I already have a Mille Fleur d'Uccle rooster and two hens, so I plan on breeding them in the spring and hatching their offspring in some homemade incubators. I've never hatched my own babies in a incubator, but I have done some research on how to make incubators and what do to. I'm defiantly going to use this first year as a trial and error, and focus more on selling next spring once I've gained more experience with hatching. And I do plan on getting NPIP certified.

    I have built a nursery pen that can hold up to about 45 chicks, and then a larger pen for when they are about four weeks old. I also have a main coop that can hold up to 40 chickens, I have 19 in there right now. I plan on fixing up another coop in the spring to keep roosters in, and we are also going to make breeding pens to separate the breeding pairs into.
     
  6. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Okay, sounds like you have a decent start.

    My first year was spent on the learning curve of incubating and brooding so many chicks. I wound up with a home made cabinet incubator, and it's worked well for me. I use a stryobator for a hatcher, and big galvanized livestock troughs for brooding. I then move to grow out pens outdoors, I can run a heat lamp there if I need to supplement at night for a while depending on weather and/or age of chicks.

    I think doing the bantams might be a good thing, from the point of selling chicks. Hatcheries rarely sex bantams, so you're not going to be competing with them. That's one of my issues, I have several feed stores that sell sexed pullets. Unless I breed sex links, I have to sell straight run and most folks don't want that. I have to offer something the feed stores don't. Your bantams should fit the bill nicely there. The Orpingtons may be a harder sell, straight run is just not as easy to get folks to buy.

    So, sounds like you have an exciting year ahead! Lots of baby chicks, lots to learn, probably more to build (isn't there always more to build [​IMG]). I'd also learn your local market, not just depending on selling day old chicks via mail. I find there's a great market for started pullets, either at the 6-8 week mark or at point of lay. course, you need the space to raise them to that point, and the feed, etc. But at that point you can guarantee gender for the most part, they don't need to be brooded, and for the point of lay, everyone wants to get eggs sooner, right?
     

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