Selling and marketing your birds

Discussion in 'Meat Birds ETC' started by anthonyjames, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. anthonyjames

    anthonyjames Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2009
    Port Washington, WI
    When most of you started raising meat birds I am assuming it was on a small scale? 100 for your first round and then moving upwards.

    Did anyone have a plan or idea on how to sell the birds? What steps did you take?

    I am looking at getting my first 100 meat birds next spring, 6 Turkeys (1 for me) and quail 100 to start for meat and eggs. I would love to hear any advice from people and hopefully I can make a couple of $$ along the way.

    Main reason to do it to teach my kids where their food comes from and the bonding that can be had with them and still eat them.

    Thanks for any incoming input.
  2. bibliophile birds

    bibliophile birds Chillin' With My Peeps

    i'm just getting started, so i can't really speak long term. what will be my laying flock will be 10 weeks tomorrow and i'm getting heritage meaties in March or April. i'm going to be using the Salatin method (you can read about it in Pastured Poultry Profits by Joel Salatin). my goal is to process around 200 birds (mostly chickens but a couple turkeys too) next year.

    as for marketing and selling, i'm lucky to have a big family and lots of family friends who have already signed up to be customers. come February, i'll be asking people to order their first batch of birds. The plan is to order a batch of 100 or so in March/April to be processed in June/July and then order another batch in May/June to be processed in August/September. customers will then be responsible for the # of birds they ordered. if you don't want to be inspected by the government, you have to market them as live birds and process them for free. most people will understand this.

    also, look into information about CSAs (community supported agriculture). people pay up front with the understanding that they are sharing the risk with you. they get a % of whatever is raised/grown rather than a particular number of birds. this is a good way to get people personally involved with your project as well as lowering your personal upfront costs. lots of people who buy into CSAs want to come and help out from time to time, which could be a good thing (or not, depending).

    i've set up a website (right now it's just a blog) that will hopefully generate more business for the following year. the goal is to have most of the return customers ordering through the website. new customers will still have to call in, because i'm only accepting people who are dedicated enough to wait 3-4 months for their birds to be ready. the last thing you want is to raise a bunch of birds for people who won't ever bother to show up and pay for them. the 2nd year, i'm also planning on ordering a small number of extras to try to sell at the Farmer's Market to generate even more business, but this will be a small % of our activity.

    it's a really exciting thing once you jump in with both feet! i'm having a great time figuring out all the logistics and really can't wait till February. it'll finally be real then and not just something i'm talking about. good luck!
  3. Brunty_Farms

    Brunty_Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2007
    Well... LOL... I only started with 15 meat birds. Frankly it was too many as I could only process about 8 of them and I gave the other 4 or so away live to a farmer down the street!

    I had no idea who I was going to sell them too... I just knew I wanted to sell them. I sold my first 5 to a local buisness owner, than I called him up to do a follow up to see how his birds tasted. Here to find out, he used them as a main dish to a party that he had over the fourth of July. He said " well, Jeff I have 80 chickens sold for you if you want the order" He knew my goals and what I was trying to accomplish. Being only 15 I was in shock... but I gladly accepted the order.

    Called up my local hatchery and ordered 100 meat birds for the first time. I ended up getting 85 or so to market weight and I processed my first batch of birds. It was a success and it was a hit. Before I knew it I had orders coming in almost weekly. I did probably a batch of 100 about 3 times a year for a few years.

    Now 8 years later... we do 200 every two weeks, and it's still not enough. We are booked about 5 weeks in advance all summer. I actually have 300 growing in a barn as we speak to help take the pressure off of the demand for the first processing date in April.

    The best advice I can give you is start small and take your time. Honestly I think 100 is too many, especially if your going to do quail and turkeys. Personally, I would stick to 25-50 chickens and the 6 turkeys. Save the quail for another year.

    Start with one species at a time, if you do multiple ones it is very hard to stay on track. It's very easy to get overwhelmed if your not carefull. I think that if you understand this you will do fine. If this is your first time doing meat chickens or quail.... make it a successfull one. Because if something seriously goes wrong your not out a lot of money.

    Learn from every mistake... you will make many. Good Luck...
  4. bishopschickens

    bishopschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2008
    Cumberland, VA
    We had thought about doing them but not much of a market around here for them. Tyson gives away a ton of chickens that fall out of trucks or other problems. We did have a few at one time but everyone would roll their eyes at $5-10 per birds. This certainly is not everywhere but I know for us it just wasnt worth it.

  5. petrelline

    petrelline Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 13, 2009
    Los Gatos, CA
    100 is small scale? I have 25 growing out now, with most of of them pre-sold to friends and family based entirely on casual mentions at dinner parties. I'm not really planning to ramp up much beyond word of mouth, which next year probably means batches of 25 at a time. It's just me doing the work, and part-time at that, so this is what I'm comfortable with right now. I'm not small scale, I'm *micro* scale. [​IMG]
  6. anthonyjames

    anthonyjames Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 22, 2009
    Port Washington, WI
    bibliophile birds,

    I actually have 2 books from Salatin on order. The one you mentioned and another. Seeing as I am on an acre I started doing egg chickens for my family this year with 24 birds. Figured I would give eggs away. And I did give some away but sold the others in 1/2 dozen packs to people here at work. I would sell them for 1.50 and they provided egg cartons.

    Also forgot to mention that I have found a local processor that is state inspected that will process for me at 1.75 a bird up to 4 lbs and after that he will charge me 2.25 a bird. He will bag for me and I will take and weigh and sale/freeze.

    From what I read about the quail they take up little to know room. I have a pen I am building right now that is 12 x 5 x 3 and can house about 50 comfortably from what I have seen. Then I will keep a few separate for breeding when I get set up in their own pens. All others I plan to process for meat for our house and maybe sell 1 or 2.

    The quail I would do myself as I would with the few turkeys as well.

    Then beyond that I have access to a farm that has 40 acres and they are willing to let me use about an acre at no charge to raise some turkeys and more chickens if I'd like. So I figured like anything I do. All in or not in. So I am jumping and holding on tight.


    As always you are a wealth of info. I would love to see what your turkey pens look like so I can visualize how they are built, covered/netted and so fourth.
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2009
  7. jaku

    jaku Chillin' With My Peeps

    My main advice is that if you're just starting out, 100 birds is WAY too many, especially if you're processing yourself. I'd start with 25. Even if you have the room and if you've raised layers before, I wouldn't start with that many.
  8. bigredfeather

    bigredfeather Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 1, 2008
    Yorkshire, Ohio
    Although your ambition is in the right place, I would agree with the others in that you should start a bit smaller. I started with 25, then 50, and finally to 100. I am still hesitant to go any higher until I have more customers. A hundred meaties can be a lot of work and stress your first try. You may consider selling or giving away some of your dressed birds to a few people, and let them know you may be selling them in the future. If they like them, they will be likely to order some on your next batch, and you will have an idea of how big to go the second time around.

    Goodluck with your endevor!

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