Two questions in once, how much do you feed and how to make money feeding organic?

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by jennyg, Mar 21, 2015.

  1. jennyg

    jennyg Chirping

    Apr 2, 2014
    Haleiwa, HI
    I started selling my eggs this week, the ones that I usually just give away.
    I feed organic layer pellets and have 6 hens (3 pullets who still eat starter feed)
    I use one 50 lbs bag a month which has costs me $35 and I get about 5 eggs a day sometimes less sometimes 6 ... So 150 eggs a month TOPS, so I pay $2.80 for a dozen eggs and I sell them for $5 a dozen, I also spent $6 on hay each month.

    How much do you feed you hens? We also feed scraps and free range a little daily, used to 5-6 hours but less now that much husband build a huge cage!

    Second question, how do y'all make money selling eggs? We just bought acrage in Florida, and will move there in about 5 years and plan on a mini farm, but I just can't see it profiting financially?
  2. 1muttsfan

    1muttsfan Free Ranging

    Mar 26, 2011
    Upper Peninsula Michigan
    Good for you that you are starting to charge for your eggs. Your efforts should be rewarded. It can be difficult to make money selling eggs with a small operation. You really need to develop a market for your organic eggs, to make them worth paying a premium for. Keep in mind that to label eggs Organic there are very specific requirements for feeding and housing. You may instead tell your buyers that you feed only organic feed, and that your birds are allowed to free range daily.

    While I don't make money with my birds, they do pay for their own feed, and I get to eat fresh, wholesome eggs, as well as enjoy keeping them without extra cost.
  3. chixmaidservice

    chixmaidservice Chirping

    Oct 13, 2013
    I currently have 29 glossy hens and am recouping my feed costs @ $2.00/ dozen. This means my "profit" is free eggs for myself that I know were humanely produced using a "top shelf" layer crumble w/ extra omega3 and all the produce discards I can mine out of our local grocery. I only sell to trusted friends and coworkers so am under the radar for business expenses/ regulations.I also free range on my two acre fenced back yard, so that helps cut feed costs, as does the grocery produce and household left-overs during winter months. My hens consume a 50 # bag in about a week, (but they are being assisted by wild birds and squirrels that can circumvent my fencing and netting) if they are confined to the coop, when they can go out to free range, I get an extra 1-2 days out of a bag. I am in northeastern Ohio and paying $14.00 / 50#. Hope these facts can help you.
  4. jennyg

    jennyg Chirping

    Apr 2, 2014
    Haleiwa, HI
    I'm selling to people from my husbands work, and i did tell them organic fed free range backyard hens, and unwashed eggs.
  5. jennyg

    jennyg Chirping

    Apr 2, 2014
    Haleiwa, HI
    $14 for organic feed? wow! that is less than half! yes, i also sell for to co workers etc. but HI is so much less strict about selling eggs etc.
  6. Chris09

    Chris09 Circle (M) Ranch

    Jun 1, 2009
    In the U.S. Organic fall under USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) not state. That means all states has to meet the same standard.
    If your caught selling a product labeled "Organic" and your not certified you can receive a hefty fine.
  7. As an old farmer to a want-to-be young farmer I thought that this article for America's Newspaper of Record, the New York Times may help you.

    Here is a clip from the above NYT article.
    ".... Ninety-one percent of all farm households rely on multiple sources of income. Health care, paying for our kids’ college, preparing for retirement? Not happening. With the overwhelming majority of American farmers operating at a loss — the median farm income was negative $1,453 in 2012 — farmers can barely keep the chickens fed and the lights on...."

    Don't let this discourage you but you're looking at needing to develop alternative sources of revenue if you wish to be a "small" farmer. If I could have earned a living and raised a family by "small" farming I would not have left commercial farming 50 years ago. The ugly truth is that the USDA attempted to help out the small farmer and the USDA helped them right out of farming and off the land. One of my friends a 5th generation farmer is leaving truck farming because the federal rules have become too odious.

    For instance if he drops a bushel of onions, now he can't pick them back up and sell them because they came into contact with the soil, never mind that onions grow in dirt!
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2015
    1 person likes this.
  8. dheltzel

    dheltzel Crowing

    Nov 30, 2013
    Pottstown, PA
    Absolutely true! I believe every small farm operation (and all new ones) ask themselves every day if it's really worth going on, it's so discouraging. The main reason many continue to farm is because they don't want to go "flip burgers" at the local fast food joint for minimum wage, though it would be a significant pay raise if they did.

    People are farmers because they love the life and love what they raise. it is a proud heritage here in America and real shame that small farms are not better supported by their neighbors.

    My advice - start small to conserve your start up capital, find a niche that others aren't serving, treat every customer like they are your friend (they are, even if some are royal pains - you have regular friends like that too).

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