Making a PROFIT from your chickens!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by cchardwick, Sep 25, 2012.

  1. cchardwick

    cchardwick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2009
    My Coop
    OK, lets talk about really managing your flock, and that is how to support it financially. I've been going in the hole a lot these past few years and it's mainly because I have three llamas that protect my chickens from bears and mountain lions. They do a great job of protecting the flock but it costs me over $1,000 in hay to feed the llamas! Add to that the chicken food and I'm up over $1,300 a year for a flock of 20 chickens.

    So these past few weeks I've been brainstorming different ways to make this more profitable, at least to the break even point. I thought I'd share some of my ideas here since I shared them at work and people gave me some great ideas I had never thought of before.

    • Raising Chicks ($48 per dozen eggs): I recently bought a high end incubator for $700, an RCom 20 Pro with USB. I decided to raise some chicks and sell them for extra $$. On my very first batch of eggs I decided to post an ad to sell the chicks and on the first day I had two people wanting my chicks! Now I'm working on a waiting list. I just ordered another incubator, an RCom 50 Pro for about $850. While this is a huge initial investment I believe that it will pay off in the long run. Assuming a 90% hatch rate and selling at $4 a bird I'll be making $252 every three weeks! Assuming my birds won't lay in the four coldest months that's $2,016 a year! That alone turns my losses into profits. And selling the birds before they hatch reduces my costs to zero since I can sell them shortly after they hatch, no food needed!
    • Selling Hatching Eggs ($15 per dozen). These seem to sell pretty good on E-bay, even with the $15 shipping charge added.
    • Selling Eggs to Eat ($3 per dozen): This is probably my biggest seller right now. I give free eggs away at work to get everyone hooked, then get three bucks a dozen!
    • Selling chicken manure: I've seen chicken manure sold on the internet for gardens. I don't think it's a huge money maker but it would generate some revenue. I haven't tried selling this yet.
    • Selling llama manure: Llama manure is as 'hot' as chicken manure and needs good composting before it can be used. But I do see it for sale on the internet so here is a source of revenue.
    • Selling llama fur: I don't shear my llamas because of the extreme cold up here in the mountains in the winters, but this could be a potential source of revenue. I do consider my llamas as part of my flock as my chickens wouldn't survive without them.
    • Selling old chickens: I can sell my 'old' chickens for $7 - $10 each at my yard sale! This generates more revenue than trying to butcher chickens. I can sell an old hen for ten bucks and go to the grocery store and buy whole chickens for five bucks each ready to cook!
    • Selling Rooster Feathers: A guy at work told me about this, the feathers on the back of the rooster in the 'saddle' are used for tying flies for fly fishing and can sell as much as $50 for one rooster!

    If you have any other clever ideas to generate revenue please post them!
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
  2. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    I suggest raising the price of your eating eggs. Mine go for $4 a dozen and I don't give away free eggs. My parents pay $5 ;)

    I would sell chicks for $5 a chick. $4 for a mixed chick at a day old. That's the going rate around here. Depending on the breed, you can get higher.

    I am really not a fan of mass market produced chicken. Why not get them from a reputable local farmer? Sell your older hens and use your roosters for meat. Roosters usually don't sell well at all.
  3. theemon

    theemon Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 23, 2012
    Great thread, I would also sell ur chicks at 5$.
  4. MamaRudey

    MamaRudey Chillin' With My Peeps

    Old hens sell on Craigslist for $15-$20 within the day here. ;) $5 a chick for regular breeds, $4 for barnyard and $10-$12 for heritage or rare breed chicks here. Hatching eggs are around $20-$50 depending on breed.
  5. maggiemo

    maggiemo Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 1, 2012
    Front Range Colorado
    I'm in Colorado and sell my eggs for $5 a dozen. Where are you? What kind for chickens do you have?
  6. Mac14

    Mac14 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 21, 2012
    Northern California
    I sell my organic eggs for $4 a dozen.
  7. cchardwick

    cchardwick Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 21, 2009
    My Coop
    I work in Boulder but live in Bailey CO and make the long commute every day. My chickens are Rhode Island Reds. Most of my eating eggs I just give away. I plan on making most of my money selling hatching eggs and hatching them out myself and selling the chicks. I'm probably going to pull the lightest and pointiest ones for eating and use the rest for hatching.
  8. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    You probably won't like this but I'd get rid of 2 of the llamas. They're your big expense. One can watch over that many birds easily. You're not going to sell $650 of llama poo a year to offset the feed cost.
  9. what did I do

    what did I do Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 10, 2012
    You need to increase the size of your flock to 50 or 75 hens. You need to sell your eggs! Do not give eggs away. Feed out the roosters and butcher them. I bet you could sell roosters for meat in Colorado.

    50 to 75hens would cost a little more but you might as well give those lamas something to do. Stop by the local grocer to see what kinds of food they toss. If there is anything you can feed your chickens take it. See what other kinds of feed are available and cheeper that you could add to your chickens diet.

    Some people might be willing to save and freeze their vegetable pellings for you.
  10. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I honestly don't believe a small flock of birds can support the llamas either. "Breaking even" is hard, very hard to do on the birds. If a small flock keeper can sell enough hatching eggs and table eggs to break even on the cost of the birds, total cost, including bedding, electricity for all aspects, incubation equipment, feed and other equipment and purchases, then that is an admirable goal in itself.

    Some of us, who've been at this for many years, aim for getting our own household eggs and meat covered and consider that our small profit for all the labor involved.

    Best regards

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