starting a small backyard egg business and free ranging questions

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by bock, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. bock

    bock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2008
    Northern CA
    I have a friend who lives about 10 miles from my house that sells about three dozen eggs a day for $3 a dozen. I thought it would be a good idea to get in on the business but add duck and bantam eggs in the mix too. I already have 1 7.5 year old EE who lays a big green every other day, a 1 year old Red Star who lays a big brown egg every day, a 1 year old Jap. and one cochin bantam who lay one small white egg every other day, and 1 6 month old BO and RIR that lay one bantam sized egg ([​IMG] ) every day. I can get 11 more chickens so I can hopefully get a dozen eggs a day. Do you think that would be enough chickens to get a dozen eggs a day? I also have 9 young duck hens, but only 2 lay so far. My ducks and geese free range on the pond during the day, but I am not allowed to let my chickens out. My dad gets mad because they poop on the pavement, and kick the wood chips everywhere. We have about 0.5 acres fenced off with grass, plants, trees, and wood chips. Then we have 3.5 acres fenced off for a horse, but we no longer have one. And finally we have 1 acre of pond and the land surrounding it. I was thinking that if there was a way to keep them from slipping through the wholes and flying over the fence then they could free range in the horse pasture. My only worry is predators, such as hawks and coyotes during the day. They would be locked in the pen they currently stay all day at night. My other option is to expand their cage, but even then, it is in the sun most of the day and is rather small. What do you guys think about free ranging? I also have a question about multiple roosters. I have one OEG bantam roo right now, but I really want my standard hens' eggs to be fertilized too. I have had my heart set on a BO rooster, but I am worried he would injure/kill my bantam roo. Would they fight, or would they just work it out and get along? I am also wondering how much to sell the eggs for. does $3 for a dozen standard chicken eggs, $4 for a dozen duck eggs, and $2.50 for a dozen bantam eggs sound good? I already know I have several interested neighbors. If demand gets too high, then I could just hatch more chickens, if I can get a standard roo. I was also wondering what breeds I should get. I want high egg production and a variety of egg colors. I was thinking,= RIR's, BO's, White leghorns, Black Austrolops, Barred Rocks, and Whidottes (spelt that wrong). What breeds would be best to fit my needs? Thank you! I might come up with more questions later, sorry! [​IMG]
  2. Buster2nz

    Buster2nz Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 10, 2010
    New Zealand
    Hi Bock, I'm new to this, so bear with me please.[​IMG] I actually live in New Zealand, and we don't have the preditors you have, only hawks and they don't seem to be a bother at the moment anyway, touch wood:/

    I too have started out in the egg business last year with 1 Campine Rooster and 2 Campine Hens, i then added 2 more Hens which were half Campine half mixed breeds. I now have a year later 43 birds, 23 Hens and 20 Roosters!!![​IMG]

    I have mine free rangeing, but shut them up at night in their Hen house after they roost. Our season has started and the 1st week of August i got 48 eggs, 2nd week 54 eggs, 3rd week 77 eggs and with 2 days still to go i have as of today 52 eggs.

    With 23 Hens i thought i might get them laying 15 eggs a day, but that doesn't seem to be the case. From Sunday to Saturday the tallies go a bit like the following:- 9,14,8,13,9,12 & 12. As you can see they are up and down each day, the most in one day so far has been the 14 eggs. I think you should average a Hen to lay 5 eggs a week, that will help you with your figures. Its still early days, and hopefully mine will increase and i might get to my 15 a day, fingers crossed [​IMG]

    I have read that the Hyliner which i have brought 4 of them, are great layers, they are at the top of the charts for how many a year they lay, and for the least amount of food required. Having said that, my Dad said you must always feed hens well, so i have plenty on demand for them and don't hold back in that area. Hyliners are from a Road Island Red Rooster and a white Dellaware Hen, (hope i spelt that right)[​IMG]
    Mine are real darlings, great nature, very friendly letting me touch them and they follow me when i go out side. They lay a brown egg one of them is laying a jumbo size egg already, but the other 3 are laying about a size 6 on average.

    Out of my 20 Roosters, the first 2 hatched turned out to be the Mafia and wanted to take out Le Roy my first Campine Rooster. So i had to put them in a separate cage. the rest of the 18 Roosters, have grown up with Le Roy and not tried to fight with him to take over. They are all getting along, they have their odd squabbles, but nothing that causes concern. So in answer to your question about your Roosters, i think it depends on the nature of the birds and you have to trial it out, you will know real quick if its a problem, stand and watch them and see how they go and be ready to jump in if you think its getting out of hand.

    I have just brought an incubator that incubates & hatches 88 eggs, yes i'm getting serious:)

    I'm really enjoying having them, i just have the problem of the Roosters, i need someone to tell me how to cull these birds as nicely as possible. Its going to be heart breaking for me, cos they have grown up to be beautiful birds, i wish i could just let them carry on.

    Well i hope that helps with some of your questions and hopefully someone else can advise you further.
  3. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    If you are mainly interested in egg production then I would go with one of the sexlinked hybrids like red stars, comets, black sex links, ...every hatchery calls it something different, just depends on where you get the chicks from. I ordered ISA browns from Townline Hatchery in MI and am very happy with things so far this year. You could throw in a few easter eggers from your local feed store for green eggs if your egg customers want diversity. And if you want white eggs there are all types of leghorn/leghorn crosses available.

    And since your original batch of sexlinks will not breed true (you cannot sex them on day of hatch by color as it only works for the first generation) then you could keep an RIR roo and some delawares or Rhode Island Whites to breed your own sexlinks from year to year, and the white hens would still be increasing your daily egg production for sales when you aren't collecting the eggs for incubating.
  4. bock

    bock Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 10, 2008
    Northern CA
    Thank you everyone! I think I will free-range my standard hens and rooster and make a bantam pen for my two bantam hens and rooster. I think it would be best to keep the roosters seperate from each other. [​IMG] I like the idea of having an RIR rooster, but aren't they one of the more aggressive breeds? And, what is a good price for a dozen eggs? Oh, Buster2nz, you have TONS of chickens! [​IMG] Anyways thanks again for all the advice!

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by