Making Money Selling Chicks

Discussion in 'Chicken Breeders & Hatcheries' started by I Love Layers, Dec 26, 2016.

  1. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Crowing

    Apr 25, 2015
    North Dakota
    I'm hoping to get the following breeds between January and March 2017,

    Black Copper Maran Not sure yer

    Cream Legbar 2 dozen hatching eggs

    Minorca. 20 pullets 1 cockerel

    Naked Neck 20 pullets 1 cockerel

    My mom was making a big deal about me getting a rooster for each breed. I was trying to explain to her how I would sell chicks in the spring etc, and it that way I could have a 100% efficient laying flock all year also.
    So I'm hoping you guys can help shed some light on the statistics or what you've found out.

    I have 1 sale in the spring where pullets go to $10+ each and chicks around $5. Other then that I would sell privately.

    First I have to become NPIP certified which will happen in April or so I hope.

    I only have a 20 egg bator right now... So hoping a can find a cheap one.
    I'm also looking for ideas on what I can use for brooders. I would love another coop for that but my dads being a stickler on that...

    Any suggestions or ideas/
  2. Im going to follow along on this thread.

    I have one large mutt coop...where all the mixed breeds go. Along with that i have different breeding pens for the purebreds. I have frizzles coming, a male and a female breeding pair this Thursday, and soon im going to be ordering in dozens of purebred hatching eggs.Im going to follow along on your progress, but im sorry that i cannot help. The bator is busy with eggs right now, but after the chick hatches, i will be setting a dozen Quail eggs of my own, hopefully Frizzle eggs, and a dozen mutt eggs....

  3. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Crowing

    Apr 25, 2015
    North Dakota
    I wish you luck!
    What kind of bator do you have? I need a bigger one asap
  4. Hi. [​IMG]

    Do you have a plan for all the boys and chicks you don't sell?

    IMO, it's hard to get more than 75% laying efficiency. So if I want 12 eggs a day I will have 16 hens. But with plans of replacing out some with new layers every year to make up for diminished egg laying from aging at year 3.

    I would sell pullets age 16 weeks plus for more like $20.

    But will you house each breed separate? Housing is my huge expense.

    And if you are serious about breeding anything of quality you will need to start with more than 1 boy and select for the best qualities. Some may have the wrong colored legs, split wing, sprigs or other faults that make them undesirable breeders which includes their attitude. And I suggest this is true for the girls as well.

    My biggest recommendation would be start smaller and give yourself room to grow into your goal. Maybe focus on getting right with 1 breed first. Oh, and mama heating pad instead of a heat lamp! As well as brooding outdoors in your coop!

    You should ensure that the cream legbars you get have been selected to maintain their auto sexing ability or it defeats their purpose.

    Why do you need so many pullets? It doesn't take that much to hatch a few chicks. And if you have a 20-1 ratio, I am unsure of how your fertility will be. Not all hens will be mated.
    MrsChicky55 likes this.
  5. [​IMG]

    Great information, like always!
    MrsChicky55 likes this.
  6. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Crowing

    Apr 25, 2015
    North Dakota
    I'm not breeding to the SOP or for show quality just for production.
    My plan is to keep the roosters separate all year, I have cages for them. And then in the spring I will AI the hens to them. That way I don't have to worry as much about fertility and knowing they were bred to the correct bird. That's until I can get better facilities at least.

    I have someone who will actually come to our place and butcher everything I don't want, or will keep them in their barn til they want to butcher them.

    I want that amount of pullets so that in breeding season I also have egg production along with hatching eggs.

    I'm hoping I can build separate enclosures for everything but my dads fighting me on that.
  7. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Songster

    Jul 18, 2013
    As others have stated, it would be much easier to start from one breed and then when you have that one down add another as you are able. There is nothing worse than starting too big and becoming overwhelmed.
    You will definitely need a larger incubator, much larger, and you might want to spend some time researching what people in your area want. I assume you will not be shipping?
    Depending on where you keep the chicks, that could use up space. If you have all different breeds you will have to keep them separate.
    The cream legbars are sexable at hatch but the others, will you be selling as straight run or wait until they are old enough to be sexed?
    There are lots of things to think about and plan for including how much money you are going to need for the project.
  8. @I Love Layers How many birds do you currently have? And how much previous experience?

    Couple of things for you to consider....

    None of your birds will be laying for the first 5-6 month. That equals zero efficiency and a whole lot of mouths to feed. You will never get 100% anyways because I don't yet know of a bird that lays 7 days a week.

    Raising a few chicks is much different than raising large batches. Things like cocci are much harder to control. Illness spreads fast and can wipe out much if not all of your flock. Dealing with sick birds can take the joy out of chicken keeping very fast.

    All of your birds will molt during winter #2! It would be better to get half this year and half next year so all your birds don't quit laying at the same time. That won't be good for keeping yourself or your customers supplied. Some people replace their 3 year old birds with chicks each year so they always have 1 group that won't be molting, and the 3rd year because that is when production tends to fall off.

    North Dakota seems like it gets really cold? Is Naked Neck Turken really suited to that environment? I think they are cool and would like to get one. But most everybody I know thinks they are down right ugly.

    If you are having your chicks shipped, I would be surprised if you get 100% survival rate. Also, even with sexed chicks would be surprised if a few weren't extra males.

    If you get only half now, you can see how your plan will work out, if you are able to build a customer base. And half your birds would be producing to help cover the cost of keeping them plus the new free loaders. It will also give you time to work on expanding your housing, which I promise will take longer than you think because things come up. Also, learning what does and doesn't work FOR YOU.... I have made so many adjustment to my set up, like ramp location, roost height, door opening size, poo removal tools, pasture management practices. What sounds good in theory or on paper doesn't always translate to real life.

    It really isn't fair for you to expect your parents to carry that bill If you are trying to start a business, you should do it the responsible way! Which is starting small, building equity, then expanding. I can tell you are excited! Chicken math got me this year to. I am spending $100 a month just on feed for 48 birds. (I guess size of breed may make some difference) That doesn't include bedding, medical treatments, pest management, housing, or treats, a quarantine space . Of course as a parent, I will be happy to help my daughter get started.... but with an effective plan.

    If you are selling chicks and eggs, do your parents need something special on their home owners insurance? Will there come a point at which you have to report your income to the IRS? If so, you will want to keep all of your receipts and record of your expenses so you can deduct them. You may not get to that point, but I'm at least mentioning it so you are aware.

    Another thing... I NEVER hatch young pullet eggs because there are glitches their reproductive system is still working out. And I wouldn't hatch them until they reached the correct size for their breed standard. Which likely wouldn't be for about two months or so after start of laying. Even though you don't breed to SOP, who wants a BCM with a big white tail? So you will still need to meet breed standards to a point. Or if you hatch from tiny eggs they will never reach their potential full size and therefor won't lay as large of eggs or produce a good carcass which both defeats the point of production. I don't know if you have local feed stores.... but they sell their chicks sexed all day long for under $4.... might be hard to sell straight run for $5 especially depending on how your local market is. Someone here sells Ameraucana, and everyone in town knows where you got them and often already have some. My town is around 8,000. But at some point people have already got all the birds they can support, which is why I figure you are getting NPIP, so you can ship...

    You are getting NPIP which is awesome! It shows you do have an intent to do things properly. [​IMG]

    Also, since you will have layers, chicks, and roosters... I suggest an all flock type feed. If you feed roosters too much calcium long term as in layer (4%) it can cause kidney issues as well as decreased life span. For chicks it can stunt growth as well as causing kidney complications. I use Purina Flock Raiser because I have a mixed age and gender flock. The 20% protein is good for growing because that is what feathers are made of. 16% protein (layer) is the bare minimum to support a hen. If you feed treats it diminishes it even farther. I provide oyster shell on the side for layers, which is the only extra ingredient in layer ration. This way you also don't need chick starter which is often medicated. Some people use it but it only fights cocci and often isn't enough to keep it at bay. Especially with a flock the size you are talking wouldn't surprise me if you still need to buy Corid (amprollium) to treat for cocci.

    So even though layer feed is cheaper it has less protein and more calcium. The calcium is cheaper than protein. I prefer mine on the side.

    I hope you can understand that I am speaking with some experience (including chicken math [​IMG] and business) and with all my heart think you should down scale your year 1 plans! Not because I am a dream killer, but rather to help the dream carry on instead of becoming a rapid nightmare.

    One more thing... or two, I love FF check out the link in my signature line. People swear they save at least 30% on their feed bill (I'm not sure because mine are all growing out and kept adding more). But the difference in how the poo looks and smells was the convincing factor for me. The last would be, I highly recommend Mama Heating Pad and raising out doors in their coop. We taped together large boxes for brooders. They worked fine and were basically free except the tape.

    Sounds like your parents are for you not against you! You should discuss all this with them and seriously consider it before jumping in. We all have things we want but we have to work our way there. I highly doubt that you would regret scaling back for year one. Money for housing and feed doesn't make itself. And let's not forget the commitment on your part. Who will be caring for them when you are ill or want to go away for the weekend with a friend? Or for the week with your family?

    Will you be free ranging? What size is the housing that you have already?

    Yes, I have put a lot of time and though into this! I thought it was important to try and help you succeed. Best wishes for an appropriate decision and for a happy healthy flock! [​IMG]
  9. I Love Layers

    I Love Layers Crowing

    Apr 25, 2015
    North Dakota
    I currently only have 44. I've had 63 and 10 ducks before though, and I count ducks as 2 chickens cause they're so messy.
    I'm hoping to build facilities this spring for breeders so that I can maintain a laying flock also. I have a book that explains when to get new chicks and when to replace layers. I think they start declining at a year and 3 months if I am correct. I will then hatch out chicks accordingly for myself to have a good production flock all year around.
    I have been assured that Naked Necks with do very well in our climate and if anything my mom can knit them sweaters[​IMG].
    I have neighbors who have already told me they will butcher any males I've got, they will even pay $5 a piece.
    I have been saving up for quite a few years. My parents haven't carried a single bill for me except for the first 3 feed bags for my birds, I got started pullets.
    I started keeping a book just in case like you said. I usually say cash only at the moment but as I get bigger I understand people will want to pay in checks.
    Yep I'm aware of that feed stores sell them cheaper, which was my biggest concern but I've got people who want to buy from me and are willing to pay the extra I'm hoping the cream legbars and bcms will help with that as I planning on charging less then the only other person in the state who sells them.
    The chicks will be kept separate. Along with roosters.
    I'm planning on keeping roosters in here. I currently use it for cochins

    I don't leave the house ever[​IMG]. I get away for 2 days in the summer. In which my grandparents take care of the birds. They're both fit and its like a vacation of there ranch for them. I'm planning on using nipple water systems on 5 gallon buckets so that will make watering easier, and PVC feeding.
    And I don't go anywhere with friends, as bad as it sound I never leave. I'm content staying out here in the country.
    I still take care of them when I'm ill. My dad does offer. There was only one time when I let him but that was because I had a 104 temp and had gone to school and had a volleyball game the night before while I had the fever so I was really sick...

    I think I will be free ranging. The coop has enough room in it for the birds.


    I plan on remaking that shelf into something for chicks. I want it to be laying down with a concrete pad under part of it for the chicks at night. I may extend it a little way.
  10. DancingWthDucks

    DancingWthDucks Songster

    Feb 21, 2016
    Cumbria, UK
    For brooders I use indoor rabbit cages which I would recommend for your set up- they are plastic (making them easy to disinfect between batches of chicks), stackable, and you can buy them online at reasonable prices.


    Cream Legbars would be a good breed to start off with as they are auto-sexing and people are attracted to their blue egg laying abilities.

    Good luck on your project!
    MrsChicky55 likes this.

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