Selling Mixed Breed Chicks

Madie'sOddFlock

Songster
Apr 17, 2018
409
677
191
Maine
I've seen all over the place that selling mixed breed chicks doesn't work very well because someone can find them anywhere for dirt cheap. But this February I want to start hatching my own chicks, and I've noticed people don't seem to care what breed they've got so long as it's pretty(especially if it's the kids picking). I have a blrw roo and a buff orpington roo with blrw, orpington, riw, and brown leghorn hens. I won't be breeding the brown leghorns(basically I'll be incubating brown eggs and selling white eggs). So I'm breeding for looks more than a name(which should be relatively obvious). And of course, the chicks won't fit to any breed standard. Any lacing in the mixes will be incomplete, most of the hens should come out double laced, etc.
Do you think anyone would buy for normal prices? An almost laying pullet sells for about $10 here and chicks anywhere from $2-4, if not more. I'll be selling mostly at Tractor Supply swaps and bringing leftovers to auction, plus family friends here and there, at least until I get the business up off its feet.
Any ideas? I'm trying to get all of the logistics down before I start breeding. It's my first year with chickens. Any help would be great, of course.
Oh, and if you or anyone you know is in the central Maine area(or south) - I'll be going to Augusta and Rockland swaps plus Palmyra - and looking for chickens... let me know, and I can keep you updated.
Thank you,
Madie
 
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wamtazlady

Crowing
7 Years
Jul 18, 2013
1,707
2,127
306
Kalispell MT
I think it's great that you are attempting to start your own business. I know there is a market for chicks as my neighbor sells them. Being close to swaps will help you sell them. However, I worry about you actually making a profit. First there is the cost of the incubator. Then you have the cost of a brooder to keep your chicks warm. There is also the cost of the feed for the roosters and hens and gas to get to the swaps. The last time I sold mixed breed pullets that were just beginning to lay, I got $20 for 5 pullets. Took 2 weeks of advertising to sell them. Apparently most people buy their chicks at the feed store around here.
 

Madie'sOddFlock

Songster
Apr 17, 2018
409
677
191
Maine
I think it's great that you are attempting to start your own business. I know there is a market for chicks as my neighbor sells them. Being close to swaps will help you sell them. However, I worry about you actually making a profit. First there is the cost of the incubator. Then you have the cost of a brooder to keep your chicks warm. There is also the cost of the feed for the roosters and hens and gas to get to the swaps. The last time I sold mixed breed pullets that were just beginning to lay, I got $20 for 5 pullets. Took 2 weeks of advertising to sell them. Apparently most people buy their chicks at the feed store around here.
Thank you. I'm looking for minimal profit as of now just to get my name known and I'll work my way up once I'm past working with the reputation of my aunt(who's well known around the swaps and manages one of them). For now, it's just a simple economics lesson.
And I'm also aware that right now(especially going down south) I'm not making a profit at all after gas. but I am working on that, and still have a few months of figuring things out before I'm ready.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
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Nov 27, 2012
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If at all possible, I would build separate housing so you can breed pure breeds(if the cocks and hens are actually pure breeds). They will be much easier to sell.

Separate them out 4 weeks before gathering eggs for hatching,
that's how long it takes to fully clear semen from non target cock.

It may be hard to get many fertile eggs during February in Maine,
even if you are are using supplemental lighting.

Do you have a plan for the ~50% cockerels that will hatch?
 

Mosey2003

Crowing
5 Years
Apr 13, 2016
3,041
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North-Central IL
You have to plan on basically being stuck with everything you set. Then, anything you sell is a happy accident. Personally, I butcher extras, so I'm fine. But if you can't keep the number you hatch and you NEED to sell, you're gonna have more stress. We seem to have a lot of people that hatch in my area, selling chicks is rarely a surefire prospect for me. I couldn't sell homebred sexlinks AT ALL, I ended up selling them to a friend after a few weeks of no interest. I managed to sell about a dozen purebred Barred Rocks, but it was hit and miss.
 

ChickenLeg

Crowing
9 Years
Feb 15, 2012
1,399
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My best profits were ameraucana bantams and east egger bantams. Sold in pairs and trios, at $20-30 a pair, $30-50 a trio. Had some people drive from 150 miles to get the real deal. Bantams eat less and I let all the extra rooster free range until predators got them or sold 5 for around $20 to people for insect control. Bantams in my opinion have the best profit margin, less feed, less space, sell for almost as much as LF if you have quality. Best of luck. Cochin bantams and silkie bantams are also have good turn around
 

Madie'sOddFlock

Songster
Apr 17, 2018
409
677
191
Maine
Do you have a plan for the ~50% cockerels that will hatch?
I plan on bringing cockerels that I can't sell to auction where I can get $5 a piece for a big full grown rooster, or about $1-2 per box of 2-6 chicks. the chicks also go for more in spring at auction so I may be able to get $5-6 a box... so I can still profit if I bring them by about week 2 or 3.
 

Folly's place

Enabler
9 Years
Sep 13, 2011
23,178
38,227
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southern Michigan
You aren't going to make a profit at those prices, given the heat, feed, bedding, and not counting housing or time. I generally raise more chicks than I keep, and sell some at auction, and through other contacts. Some pay for themselves, and some don't. I don't see it as a great money-making project, and am happy to break even or get slightly ahead.
As aart said, purebreds sell better, and good looking birds sell best. It's about your local market too, and developing a good reputation, and having that freezer!
Mary
 

chickendreams24

Crowing
5 Years
Jul 30, 2015
3,399
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Wisconsin, USA
Yeah it's hard to say how you'll do since so much depends on the breeds and pure breeds are definitely more likely to sell. That being said beautiful mixes do sell somewhat too. It's all about supply and demand.

I have sold point of lay pullets nearly 2 years ago now for 25-40$ which was amazing. Pure bred silkie chicks for 5-8$ usually but it's all hit or miss. I usually aim to sell mixes for 3-4$ each as day olds.

That being said it can be hard not being able to sex them sexlinks and autosexing breeds can really help with that.

Usually after about June my large fowl birds don't sell as well. Pures will still sell somewhat but mixes not so much. Silkies seem to sell any time for the most part in my area but I stop hatching them in the fall for sure.

All of my birds run together in a big flock and I separate them for breeding.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Nov 27, 2012
96,768
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SW Michigan
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I plan on bringing cockerels that I can't sell to auction where I can get $5 a piece for a big full grown rooster, or about $1-2 per box of 2-6 chicks. the chicks also go for more in spring at auction so I may be able to get $5-6 a box... so I can still profit if I bring them by about week 2 or 3.
Well, having an action nearby definitely gives you an 'out' if need be.
'Profit' remains to be seen.....but at least you can get rid of them.
 

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