my new VERY exciting oportunity long but in need of opinions please :)

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by AHappychick, May 11, 2009.

  1. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

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    Dec 16, 2008
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    I recently met a woman who has a huge amount of land in a very elite neighborhood who was looking to replace some hens that she had lost. She raises everything organicalls which is how she found me. She is looking for an animal caretaker of sorts and after speaking for a while we discussed me taking care of them for her in return for having space to keep my chickens as well. I live in a no chicken area so this is why an opportunity like this is so great.

    She also had a bee keeper but he is very sick and can no longer do it and would like someone else to take over.

    After going over there and seing it all first hand (wow the property is amazing!!!)

    I came up with this rough plan and would love opinions it is an e-mail to her Please keep in mind my prices reflect the higher cost of crtified organic feed and my time, an average laying hen sells for $30-$40 here so I charged $50 for ones that have only been raised using organic methods.

    What I would provide:

    I thought about your egg situation and came up with this: Immediately I can provide 10 hens (my personal flock) all of laying age all raised on organic feed only, value $500 or ($50 per bird). On average I get 9 eggs daily from them but there will be days of all 10 laying I can also provide you with what ever juveniles that you may want as well.

    I could come every other day for 2 hours or approximately 6-14 hours a week depending on the season (willing to come every day when required) in order to provide the following services

    1- poultry care checking and dealing with all health related issues, processing when necessary, and general care with feed and nutrition.

    2- Care of Guinea fowl as well as restocking the flock when wanted and necessary.

    3- Hatching whatever birds needed and providing care and housing for them until such time as they are ready to go into outside coops

    4- Vaccinating all poultry as needed (specifically for Mareks disease when day old chicks) This will not effect their organic status but can save a great deal of time and money as well as chicken lives.

    5- Acting as bee keeper collection of honey, processing and general care of hive. (although this may have to begin later seeing as it may be too lat in the season to acquire the bees, but I will see.)

    6- Providing any vegetable, fruit, or general plant information and seed collection as needed. Can help with the thought process of beneficial plants for family as well as raising any seedling needed.

    7- Help with designing predator safe environment for which chickens can free range safely.

    8- Providing care of any livestock that might be acquired over time such as sheep, cows, etc.

    9- Hatch turkey eggs or raising day old poults (baby turkeys) at my home until of age to go outdoors for both flock protection, pets, and if you like (I know I would) thanksgiving dinner
    You can choose your favorites that will be pardoned and live out their lives with the flock, and the extras can be processed I will handle all details so that you may not have to worry or stress. after asking around for eggs it is best I think to try to purchase day olds from a hatchery which may prove easier since many types of turkey are hard to breed and the eggs are scarce and there is no guarantee and we are in a time crunch. whatever breed you like should work out well although keep in mind they will not be predator safe until 2/3 of full size so it may be beneficial to get at least one breed that matures quickly such as the Broad Breasted Bronze Turkey

    here are some hatcheries
    http://www.cacklehatchery.com/turkeypage.html#br

    http://www.strombergschickens.com/stock/turkeys.php



    10- I raise quail so I can provide both, eggs, meat and even your own flock if you wanted one.

    In return for these services:

    1- A coop with 6 separate pens and runs would have to be build with my design for easy maintenance and egg collection (the exterior an be matched to your homestead of course) The entire structure would have to be minimum 35 feet long by 10 feet wide and 6 feet tall. 6 pens each 5 x 8 with an additional 5 x 10 run. The entire thing must be enclosed these birds will not be allowed to free range. An average of 5 x 10 birds will be house in each. Complete blue prints can be provided.

    2- Until such time that I am getting enough eggs from the breeders I will need 2 dozen eggs a week from the flock I am giving you which would be 2 days worth of collection. by the end of the summer my purue breeds will all be laying and I will be able to collect those for both selling and eating purposes.

    3- The laying hens will be part of the deal and will then belong to you, but the breeding birds in the pens will remain my property and can be removed at anytime (although I dont see myself being able to move for many years)

    4- Food will need to be provided although a great deal can be supplemented by compost, table scraps and free ranging there will still need to be a delivery of feed monthly from Bennies.That would consist of the feed for chicks, juvenile as well as adult chickens , baby turkey and then later adult turkey feed, oyster shell for egg strength and calcium and grit. He will also be able to provide organic feed for any other livestock you wish to acquire.

    4- If you like I can also provide a duck pen with beautiful Runner ducks which I have been raising for eggs. I have built them a house and a pool that has its own base with a drainage system so all I would need would be to build an enclosure around it if you come to my home you can see how I have fenced in a part of my stream which provides them a swimming area and fresh water making them virtually maintenance free. I could then provide your family with duck eggs which are the best for baking a pastries and a chef secret. [​IMG]




    As for predator protection I do have ideas.

    First is a big turkey (Tom) but since I will have to hatch many there will be a small flock that will be trimmed down later. Here is the post where I got the idea

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=135002&p=1

    You can make sculptures that provide shelter for a quick dash for cover for the chickens, no one would ever need to know their function being as they would be works of art. Or we could just build ones like the free range farms do in addition to confining them to a free range area that has more shrubs and such for hiding. Guineas are the best watch dogs so if we housed them together they might hang around the chickens and sound the alarm for them.

    fencing in a larger area and getting avian netting. Could be cool but probably overkill here are some links though if you are interested. http://www.pacificnettingproducts.com/game-bird-netting.html

    http://www.redden-net.com/overhead-netting.cfm

    http://texnetusa.com/Agricultural Nets.htm

    lastly we could put up a tall flag pole with string/rope/ribbon coming out over an area (think of a mayfair pole) with the ribbons extending over a large area, this would act like netting and the hawks will not penetrate, this too could be done in an artistic fashion.

    Something must be done though because it is very difficult to find hens that have been raised organically available for sale and it would take me 5 months to hatch new ones and raise them to laying age. In addition it is very costly to keep replacing them and frankly the hawks have plenty of food and dont need free chicken dinners lol.


    As far as the sex of the guinea fowl on Wed do not let them out so that afternoon I can go into the coop and take a look at them.

    Also was your rooster killed as well? what birds do you have left? I know you still have the broody white orpington but who else remains?

    Well that's about all I can think of for now, please let me know what you think. Also I would love to have you come to my home one day soon in order to see how I have things set up and see the new chicks and juveniles.

    Sincerely,
    Susan
     
  2. Suellyn

    Suellyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi, I am writing this response to your post from the perspective of a paid "Animal Care Professional"... I have been a full-time Zookeeper/Animal Trainer in the Mammal Dept of a major Zoo for 15+ yrs, altho am currently taking a couple years off to be home with my 2 young daughters. [​IMG]

    First of all, wow, very cool opportunity, and VERY comprehensive/well thought out response/plan!! I think the situation could be very mutualy beneficial, but here are a couple things that popped into my head:

    * I don't want to sound like a "gold digger" AT ALL; any type of animal care is a profession of the heart, anyone going into it with the intent of getting rich is going to be SORELY dissapointed [​IMG] [​IMG] and disillusioned, *HOWEVER* I do feel that you are underestimating the value of the services you are offering to provide...

    You are taking on responsibilities that include everything from animal caretaker (bird, mammal, AND insect), with a "collection" that has very open-ended potential for growth, to horticultural consultant, to design/general contractor, to Vet Tech duties, to predator control, to processing duties, incubation services, etc., etc... and that does not even cover it al!!!!

    You are asking for very, VERY little in return. Which is very cool, obviously you are "in it" for all the right reasons!!!

    *BUT* I do think that you should be FAIRLY compensated in some way for all of the valuable services (plus time & travel) you are offering to provide. This could be in the form of money, or increasing the value/size of your flock, or whatever works for you & your personal situation/dreams.

    Again, I am *not* suggesting "going for the jugular" here... But I do feel you are underestimating the value of your offer; all that you are offering is probably "second nature" to you, you love it anyway, so "no biggie"... and in a way YOU'RE RIGHT... ain't NOTHIN' like doin somethin you love... feels like "cheating" to be compensated for it! But truly, as long as you are fair about it, it is well deserved/earned. Animal caretaking is so fun & rewarding in and of itself, but *TRULY*, not everyone can do it (or do it WELL), and it is a very valuable service, that will positively impact this person's life, that you are offering.

    Just my 2 cents worth to think about. [​IMG]
     
  3. simplyscrambled

    simplyscrambled Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 29, 2009
    I agree with AHappychick~ both about it being a wonderful opportunity and thinking you should ask for a monthly stipend of some sort.

    If I had land, you'd be a dream come true!
     
  4. StrawberryHouseMouse

    StrawberryHouseMouse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 23, 2009
    Cleveland, Tennessee
    I am shocked at the price you put on hens. We pay no more then around $8 a hen here. Im buying some from a friend I made here on BYC for $4 each. And these that Im buying are SQ stock Ameraucanas that lay blue eggs. $50 a hen!?!?!?! wow.. just wow.
     
  5. Suellyn

    Suellyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Ooop... another couple of thoughts... ( I am taking a "BYC Break" from house work [​IMG] ):

    - The health-related/veterinary stuff: I'm sure you can deal with the majority, but maybe consider a local "Veterinarian Backup" plan, to be used at the owner's discretion & expense (when advised by you), in case of something bizzarre or emergent.

    - Planned re-evaluation of job duties & compensation... Annually?? Based on further aquisition of animals??? Whatever makes sense...

    PS: Wow, I wish you had been local & looking for an "exotic animal internship" or animal behavior/caretaking resume-building experience... [​IMG]
     
  6. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

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    Dec 16, 2008
    westchester
    Quote:well lets see a dozen organic eggs from my local gorcery is $6.35 my feed is $28 a 50 lbd bag for Natures Best organic, it is all about where you live and the cost of living. The average home in my town is $779,000 last time I checked with taxes at 2.79% of 100% assesment. If I sold for that price I would be in the poor house. Now chicks are a different story they start a $4 and go up from there. I would gladly move if I could but for reasons beyond my control I am stuck here for at least 3 more years. BTW I am right outside NYC
     
  7. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

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    Dec 16, 2008
    westchester
    ok so what if I say that after a certain amounts of months (maybe 6) I would also be compensated financially, but what on earth do I charge???? I am very bad at this.

    Thanks guys these ideas were just what I was looking for [​IMG]
     
  8. Suellyn

    Suellyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Nov 7, 2008
    SouthWestern PA
    Quote:Your price on organically raised, well cared for "point of lay" (and beyond) hens/eggs is probably quite fair for your area.

    As far as what to charge for services, I am really bad at it, too... I tend to feel guilty about being compensated for something I am good at/like to do, also!!! Hence my "identifying" with your post... sorry!!!

    Maybe research different animal care professionals in your area; Zookeepers, Dog Trainers, etc., etc.,.. Figure in local "cost of living", gas, travel, etc., and come up with a reasonable figure?? In any case, I would try to make arrangements for "further evaluation" as you progress. Again, I think the goal should be recogition of your expertise/value, without "breaking the bank" or price gouging, which you are OBVIOUSLY not trying for!!!!

    Sorry if I am not more specific/helpful [​IMG] ... I am an ex-Zookeeper/Veterinary Technician married to a Cop, with everything I *NEED*, but not nesc everything I *WANT*, and I have a hard time playing "hardball" with numbers....

    But you are skilled & "worth it", so don't jeopardize your chances, but don't sell yourself short...

    Sorry if not very specific/helpful!! [​IMG]

    - Suellen
     

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