Taking the big step - poultry farming questions


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jul 24, 2009
Lansing MI
I've raised BR and RIR backyard hens for a while, and I've started getting an interest in full-time poultry (and other) farming. A family that my parents know well lives on a farm in Indiana, raising sheep, pigs, ducks, and beef cattle, and I'm probably going to take a week off sometime to head down there and 'intern' with them. I work at a library, so I've read Joel Salatin's "Pastured Poultry Profits" and "You Can Farm", but I don't want to start an enterprise based on just his input (the family I mentioned thinks of him as a bit of a charlatan).
My parents are going to be retiring in a few years, and they intend to move out to the country in Pennsylvania or nearby. I mentioned my interest in farming to them, and they're planning on buying some pasture land to retire to, with the intention that I will move in when I'm ready to run the farm. I plan to raise pastured broilers, either in tractors or rotating electric fence grazing areas with a mobile coop, pastured laying hens, and potentially beef or sheep on the rotating pasture model.
Has anyone got any advice on this sort of thing - pasture farming as sole income? Any tricks or pitfalls that I should be aware of? Thanks in advance.


9 Years
Feb 16, 2010
Sweet Home, OR
Farming is a tough job. You pretty much have two choices

a) used materials, decent fences, nothing you really are going to ooh and aah about
b) new materials, pretty setups, something that looks like it came out of a magazine

Choice a is ugly, b is too expensive to ever be profitable.

HOWEVER I think that if you do your job marketing, and especially if you built a butcher/cooler unit, you could sell finished product and come out well.


11 Years
Aug 19, 2008
Above post could not have said it better!! My experience with poultry... Finished product sales WAY better, quicker and higher!! Good luck!!

Mrs. K

Free Ranging
12 Years
Nov 12, 2009
western South Dakota
It is a very tricky business, and it is a business. There is a big difference between a hobby and enough animals to support your self. It will be a great deal of work. The predator factor and or weather can break you quick. Getting good employees can be difficult. You have to consider feed, buildings, what you will do with the manure, what you will do with waste products, how you will treat sick animals and dispose of dead animals. How much veterinarian skills can you learn and do yourself. Also, many zoning issues are in effect for farming.

I agree with the post above, if you start out, do not go fancy, always overestimate your expenses, and underestimate your income, if you can get that to balance, then you have a chance. Too many people overestimate their income, underestimate their expenses. It can be very tough, if you are doing all the physical work, and expected to do the marketing of the produce too. That takes more time than most think. You need to think the marketing carefully, but more important, go and see similar to what you have in mind enterprises. There are often hidden problems that one never even considered.

It can be very rewarding, it helps huge if you can work with neighbors or others. And strongly consider other farmer's advice, they do know, they have tried. Often times, new people come in, and think everyone is trying to talk them out of it. The thing is, is it is easy to lose a lot of money in agriculture.

However, that said, I have been in agriculture all my life, some years we are rich in money, and some years we are broke in money, but always we are wealthy in life.

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