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When raising poultry what costs versus income can one expect?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Fancie, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. Fancie

    Fancie Songster

    Oct 31, 2008
    When raising poultry what costs versus income can one expect? About how much food do the consume? How much should I expect to pay for caging and equipment to start each pair or trio? How much can I expect to get in return? What are the best breeds to get into with a good "payback" per bird when it comes to raising chicks, started adults, and fertile eggs (I am currently raising silkies). please note I'm not looking for them as an income source, but to help 'give back" from the feed and care I provide so that I can expand and invest in more and better equipment.
  2. KingsCalls

    KingsCalls Songster

    Oct 22, 2007
    New Market,Tn.
    Costs getting started can be very high(if you use all new materials) or low(if you collect free or cheap materials to use) So, it's all in how you choose to start out. As far as the best breed to make money with goes..............this to depends on how you wish to aproach it. 1..you could raise rare breeds that not very many have but, want and sell chicks, fertile eggs or started birds and probably do okay. 2....you could raise a high egg laying breed and sell chicks, fertile eggs, eatting eggs or started birds.(leghorns, sex-links , etc...) 3....you could raise meat birds (eat a lot of feed) and sell live birds or slaughtered birds. They're probably more choices besides these but, unless you are going at this on a very large scale don't expect to cover all of your feed costs except for certain times of the year. Oh, you could free range(letting them forage for most of their feed during the day and putting them up at night and save some on feed costs. for eggs (eatting)..........leghorns or sex-links
    fertile to sell...........welsummers,orpingtons,silkies,buckeyes,
    chanteclers, RIR, and birds in new colors
    like blue laced red wyndottes, blue rocks,
    blue orpingtons, blue jersey giants and a
    few others
    chicks or started birds.....any of the one's mentioned above,
    game fowl or whatever happens be be
    the hot item when you begin
    I'm sure I've left some bird out and I'm sure someone will let us know!
  3. jvls1942

    jvls1942 Crowing 9 Years

    Oct 16, 2008
    You most likelly will not come out ahead in the $$$$$$$ department., just like most of us..

    raising for meat is costly especially if you do not raise your own feed.. and then if you figure in the equipment to raise the feed, you probably won't come out ahead again..

    Then there is the factor of time -to- butcher.. If something comes up,,and something always does,, at butchering time, you will put it off until you can get at it.. all this time you will be feeding the birds with little or no added weight gain.. (sustainance feeding)

    What you are paying for is quality.
    Better meat, better eggs, that's it..

    You could get into exotic type birds and sell a pretty rooster for hundreds of dollars.. this is also a tough market..

    you can feed your birds directly on the ground and run water into a puddle in the yard or you can get automatic feeder and waterers or anything in between.. you choose how you want to go..

    and it won't be long before you will want to start hatching your own eggs... this is a whole nuther chapter is spending..LOL

  4. Chicken Woman

    Chicken Woman Incredible Egg

    Oct 16, 2008
    By the time you build a house-pen,get feeders, waterers,nesting boxes,brooder,incubator,feed,and the list goes on and on ! I really don't think many of us break even but we do ensure that we are eating healthy eggs and chicken. They have become pets for me and so much fun to raise. Cheap hobby ? NO Fun ? YES
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Well, if you're currently raising silkies then don't you already pretty much know how much food they consume and what the basic feeder/waterer/etc stuff costs? [​IMG] Standard sized breeds will eat a bit more than silkies, but it depends on the breed. Cages/pens you can make yourself out of scrounged wire and wood, for virtually free, or you can spend a couple hundred on per cage, or anything in between depending on your tastes and budget.

    Some people do make income, or at least defray most expenses, by selling eggs or started birds. However to have a possibility of doing this, you really need to a) already have the facilities in place, b) have a considerable amount of experience in raising chickens and not just dealing with but *preventing* all the various problems that can arise; and c) either you need to have spent time getting 'into' the chicken world so that you know the right people and groups of people and they know you (and the quality of your stock), or be an exceptionally gifted "demon marketer" [​IMG]

    If you want more and better equipment, you are FAR FAR better off (more likely to get it rather than accidentally losing money instead, and will get it sooner rather than five or fifteen years from now) working a little overtime, or selling Avon or Pampered Chef or whatever, or writing some little magazine articles, or something of that nature.

    The difficulty with trying to make money with livestock is that they require fairly extensive startup costs (unless you already have a good big coop set i[, which you seem not to); they require ongoing input of money (food) whether or not they're making you any income, as opposed to inventory that can just sit quietly on a shelf; and they are much more prone than normal inanimate merchandise to depreciate suddenly -- and they don't necessarily just depreciate to zero (i.e. die), they can depreciate to a NEGATIVE value (i.e. cost you a buncha money in vet or treatment costs or infecting your other birds) before dying.

    If you already are all set up, and want to have a go at making (or at least not losing) money breeding chickens, that is one thing; or if you are not set up for it yet but will regard it as a fun hobby not an 'investment' likely to return itself later on; but I fear that going in from sort of square 1 and trying to make money (even if spent back on chicken stuff) breeding and selling rare-breed chickens is not very likely to do whatcha want it to.

    Sorry, JMHO, good luck,

  6. Quote:It seems I can't open a newspaper these days without reading about multiple food recalls. Whether its e-coli in the meat or the multiple stories coming out of China about melamine poisoning, I have become very cautious about the nation's food supply.

    And don't even get me started about all the hormones and antibiotics coming up everywhere.

    Check out this article in the NYT Sunday Magazine. Its an open letter to the next "Farmer in Chief." Its long but very interesting.


    For me and mine, its all about securing safe food sources, either grow your own or some other local source.

  7. Fancie

    Fancie Songster

    Oct 31, 2008
    Quote:Thank you, I value your opinion, honestly thou I couldn't tell you how much food they consume (when they are out I just buy more) or how much I have put into my birds, I guess I'll have to start keeping better track. I know I have yet to get anything out of them, eggs, money, or meat... But this is my first year with them, and so far I have had bad luck, trail and error ect. and beings it close to winter I am waiting on next year. I think I was more curious, I guess, if the breeders I see (on ebay, eggbid and the like) are hobbiests or if they gain from it. I wouldn't mind growing my flock, but know I personally only have so much I can put into them, but if I spend $1 in seed and get $.50 back... that is $.50 more for my hobby.

    I see a lot of you have large collections of birds and I was seeing if they put a big ding in your pocket book... or they pretty much substain themselves....

    Plus I day dream alot.
  8. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm 10 Years

    Nov 18, 2007
    My Coop
    I agree with the other posts. There is no average cost. It depends on how you go about it. Coop cost, if you don't already have a coop. Even if you have a coop, most will renovate to some degree. How many birds are you feeding? How many eggs are you getting? Are they meat birds, dual purpose or layers?

    My first birds, dual purpose standards. My husband brought some chick’s home in a box. I had nothing to put them in. I went out and bought a brooder, brooder lamp and bulb, 5# bag of feed, feeder, waterer. Which came to around $100. The next week I bought a 50# bag of feed. We procrastinated about a coop. The chicks were 4weeks old I went out and bought some lumber after sketching out a design and dimensions, of the coop, the roosts, the nest boxes. The materials including another feeder and waterer came to around $1000.+. Including materials to build a covered run off the coop. Excluding the labor, the time it took us to build it. I think it took us about a week to build. We primed and painted with primer and paint we had left over from another project. My second coop cost $650. and it's not finished yet. Currently it is a nursery coop, no nest boxes. We still have to build the run and do more work inside, but it is usable. We have 5 week old chick's in it now. I bought another waterer and feeder. Plans are in the works for another coop as we are almost maxed out in our main coop.

    I'm sure many do it much cheaper and some pay much more.
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2008
  9. mjdtexan

    mjdtexan Songster

    Sep 30, 2008
    I am about $130 into it and my birds are a week old. I built my own brooder but had to purchase lamps and bulbs, wire for lamps, switch boxes, switches. That cost does include getting 20 birds to my doorstep and 50lbs of feed and two huge bags of pine chips. It also includes the electrolytes that I occasionally give the birds. We have grand ideas about selling a few eggs but the reality of it is there are only 20 birds. Lets say that each bird gives me 5 eggs a week. 5 x 20 = 100 eggs a week. 100 eggs a week x 4.33 weeks in a month = 433 eggs a month. 433 eggs a month x 12 months in a year = 5196 eggs in a year. Thats in a perfect year. We probably consume 1 dozen to 1 &1/2 dozen eggs a week, maybe. Gonna have to spuce up the ole egg recipes.

    The chicken coop is gonna run me about $250 for it and wire to protect the birds. The upside is when you replinish your bird population you already have your stuff if you build it big to begin with.

    Good Luck and may you become a millionaire. Maybe I can get some of your wealth.
  10. NYREDS

    NYREDS Crowing

    Jan 14, 2008
    Lots of cost, not much income [​IMG]

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