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If you are looking into the chicken farming profit potential you are likely wanting to make an income from your backyard farm am I right? Maybe you have a dream lingering in your mind and you’re not sure if it could be true.
Let me first make it clear that I am not talking about huge operations like poultry farmers. I am going to cover how you can make money from a small backyard poultry production.
I am here to tell you that if you think through the process and find different ways to make an income you can make money from literally anything on your backyard farm. There has been a huge spike in small and backyard farming in recent years for good reason.
People want to learn how to be more self-sustaining and I get that.
BUT! I want you to think about it differently. Not only know how to provide food for your own family but also how to generate income and get your expenses paid for.
Benefits of Chicken Farming
- Chicken farming can be very profitable with high-profit margins.
- Big or small you can use your backyard chicken farm as a way to make an income. the size truly does not matter because it’s all it the numbers.
- You will have fresh eggs and meat right outside your backdoor and if you play your cards right you can sell enough to have your eggs and meat for free.
- The poultry industry is always in high demand.
- It will give you and your family something to focus on outdoors and spend less screen time.
Main Costs Of Your Backyard Chicken Farming Business
Like anything you can do it as cheaply or as expensive as you want to. You can choose to spend thousands on a chicken coop or you can make one with scrap materials you have around the garage.
Here are the main costs you will have getting started with your chicken farm.
- Feed Cost – This depends on the breed you decide to raise but the average cost to feed one bird per year is $40.
- Chicken Coop Or Chicken Tractors – You may already have a chicken house but you need to be able to have a way to separate your birds if you have different breeds. You are going to get more money for your chickens if you can sell them as purebreds. Chicken tractors are a great way to separate them.
- Day-Old Chicks – This is not an every year thing but if you are getting started you can expect to pay about $5-$8 per bird if you are buying chicks from a hatchery. Even more, if you buy them from a breeder.
- Incubator – These can be as low cost as $50 or as expensive as you want to go. Just be aware that if you buy a low-quality incubator this will affect the hatch rate of your eggs.
- Occasional Illness Treatment – This is largely based on keeping a healthy flock but you do need to assume that you will have to do the occasional DIY treatment if a bird has an injury or gets sick.
Let’s dive into the profit potential for chicken farmers.
There are a lot of ways you could go about it so I will break it down into income for egg laying chicken business and meat production. Then some general income ideas at the end. Cool?
Egg Production Profit Potential
You are going to have a much better profit margin if you go this route. Here is a list of income ideas and what you can expect to get for each item.
Farm Fresh Eggs ($3-$7 a Dozen)
This is going to depend on what you do to increase the preserved value of your eggs. Think about what your customer cares about and what they are willing to pay for.
Here is an example of what people will often pay more for.
- Starting Price – $2.50
- Free range eggs – $3.00
- Organic eggs – $4-$4.50
- Non-GMO – $5
- Your custom egg carton and not a reused one from the store. $6
- (this one is a marketing tactic and you have to know your customer to be able to show them the type of content they want.) Having a connection to your birds and poultry operation through social media. $7
Do you see what I mean by increasing the preserved value?
These are going to be the things you can do to increase the amount you charge for your eggs.
Let’s look at the profit potential for a flock of 10 hens and you are getting $4 a dozen for eggs Only
You always want to UNDER estimate the number of products you will have (in this case eggs) because if you have more eggs great. But if you overestimate and operate off of that number then you will be in the red when it comes to expenses.
Let’s Do Some Quick Math
- 10 hens = 8 eggs a day
- 8 eggs a day x 7 days = 56 eggs a week
- 56 eggs a week x 4 weeks = 224 eggs a month
- 224 eggs divided by 12 eggs per dozen = 18 dozen (and a little extra)
- 18 dozen x $4 = $72 a month
- $72 a month x 12 months = $864
You will make $864 in revenue.
Now let’s look at expenses.
I had said before that it costs $40 a year to feed one chicken and you have ten chickens. So your feed expenses are $400 for the year. But let’s add another $50 for additional costs and say $450 to be safe.
$864 – $450 = $414 in profit. That’s nearly a 50% profit margin. Not bad at all.
Let’s look at the profit potential for some of these other income streams.
- Newborn chick – $4-$30+ a chick depending on the breed. (I am not joking look at this site.)
- Hatching or fertile eggs – $10-$25 for half a dozen
- 2-3 month-old chickens – $20-$50 depending on the breed.
- Breeding Pairs – $80-$125 depending on the breed, age, and quality.
I am going to be straight-up honest with you. Unless you build a huge reputation and a market for your special way of doing things the profit margins are not quite as good if you choose to go this route. The broiler farms can mass produce, have their own processing plant, and manufacture their own poultry feed sometimes.
The only reason I would suggest you sell market birds is if you are already raising your own chickens for meat and you want to sell enough to cover the costs.
- Live Broiler Chickens – You can have this available for people who may not want to raise them but want a fresh chicken for a special holiday.
- Ready-to-eat/frozen chicken meat – Current market price at the grocery store for regular chicken breast is $3.29 a pound and as much as $7 a pound for organic. A whole bird is much less at $1.79 for Tyson but an Amish country chicken is $3.29 a pound. So you could assume you could charge about $3 a pound per processed weight. If you get a live broiler to 9 pounds live weight you can expect them to weigh about 6 pounds after being processed. You are looking at about $18 per bird.
Here are some important tips to help you raise broilers.
- Get them to butcher weight at 9 weeks of age. – After that point, their feed-to-meat ratio goes way down.
- Find THE HIGHEST percentage in protein feed you can find. You want over 30% if you can find it. when I was in 4-H raising meat birds and market turkeys this was the difference between a turkey weighing 14-15 pounds at 14 weeks or a turnkey weighing in at over 30 pounds.
- Make sure they stay warm enough so they don’t put any energy into staying warm and all that feed goes into growing. But don’t cook them either then they won’t want to eat. It’s a fine balance.
If you want more feed optimization tips like this read this post about raising broilers.
Other Poultry Products
- Feathers – $12 for 30-50 – People will buy these for jewelry or fly fishing lures.
- Manure – Tractor supply has a bag of chicken manure for sale for about $8 for four pounds so you can charge at minimum $2 a pound.
- Chicken swings – $12 – $25 each.
- Make Nesting boxes – $20-$100 depending on the materials and if you sell them in a stack.
- Chicken saddle covers – to protect the hen’s backs from the roosters mounting often.
- Care Ebooks and guides – $9-$27 to help educate people about your unique way of doing things on your farm.
How To Choose Your Income Streams
There are a few ways you can go about this and ultimately it’s going to depend on how much effort you want to put into it.
If you want to have the process be easy then stick with just selling eggs and maybe hatching eggs.
But if you want to make as much income as you can then need to start with the highest-income products WHILE still being careful of profit margins.
When you start raising birds to be out of the “chick stage” so you can charge more you need to be careful of feed consumption. Your birds will quickly eat into your profits if you end up keeping them for too long.
Make Over 2k with The Same Flock But You Hatch your own chicks and sell eggs
Let’s go back to the same 10-hen flock example.
Let’s say you chose to hatch out a few months’ worth of eggs that were laid.
You have 112 eggs in the incubator and let’s say you have a good hatch rate of 80% which means about 90 eggs hatch.
Let’s say that you are amazing at raising chickens and you only lose a few you will have about 85 chicks reach the pullet or cockerel stage.
Assuming you can sell all of them but choose to sell at a lower price so they move fast. 85 x $20 is $1700!
- 112 eggs divided by 12 eggs per dozen = 9 dozen (and a little extra) So you take the 9 dozen out of the total amount you would have sold for egg income.
- 224 Dozen – 9 dozen leaves you with 215 dozen eggs you can still sell ON TOP of the $1700
- 215 x $4 = $860
- $860 + 1700
You also have the eggs you sold leaving you with over 2,500 in revenue. Not bad for a small flock of chickens right?
Now we still have to look at the expenses.
The laying hens still cost you the same amount of money. $400 a year. Now we have to add how much it costs to feed those young chickens to be old enough to sell. This is a ballpark from past experience but it takes about 1 bag of feed to get 3 chickens to the 12-week point give or take.
You would need about 29 bags of feed to get all 85 chicks to 12 weeks old.
29 x $16 per 50-pound bag of feed is $464. So your expenses total are $864 with the same size flock leaving you with over 1500 profit. Takes you from a 50% profit margin only selling eggs to a 72% profit margin. Pretty cool hu?
Now the one thing I would recommend is spreading out those 85 chicks across the summer if you have a smaller backyard. Because that many chickens is A LOT to deal with. Trust me.
This will probably be the hardest part of having a chicken farm but it is a necessary piece of the pie if you want to have a successful small business.
Here are some of the best ways to market your poultry farming business.
You need to choose one method of getting new people to find your business and one method of nurturing them and building trust with your potential customers.
Choose A Short-Term Marketing Strategy
A short-term strategy is promoting your farm on a platform that gets you new eyeballs quickly.
A platform like Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, or a Youtube channel where you post youtube shorts is going to be the easiest way to quickly market your business. Choose ONE of these platforms to invest your time in for the first year of your business.
Create A Posting Schedule
This needs to be at a level where you can be consistent. Don’t overthink it. If it is Monday, Wednesday, or Friday awesome.
If you can only publish once a week then do that. Post every weekday? Even better.
Just be aware that the person who posts once a week is not going to see the growth that the person posting five times a week will see.
Chose your posting schedule and convince yourself why you like those reasons.
How To Know When You Are Ready For A Long-Term Strategy
This should only come after you know for sure you plan to stick with your farm business.
A long-term strategy is creating a website and the other marketing tactics that come with it.
All of these things are great and will create stability in your business but you need to be ready to stick with it for the long hull because having a website isn’t free. Getting found in search is one of the key ways I get customers for my rabbitry.
Backyard Farm Business Plan
Creating a poultry business plan does not have to be scary or over complicated. Here is all you really need to have a profitable business.
- One way to get new people to know about your poultry farm business.
- One way to nurture people and build trust.
- And one core thing to sell.
That’s it. It doesn’t have to be complicated. And if I am being completely honest you should let it be easy.
I have a one-page document that I give my students of the profitable backyard farm playbook. This is your farm business map to help you stay focused on your goals and to help keep you from getting sidetracked.
- Core Income Generator
- Minimum Sale Price
- Number needed to cover cost
- Primary Sales Season
- Secondary Income Generator
- Minimum Sale Price
- Number needed to cover cost
- Primary Sales Season
- Monthly Budget Allotment Total
- Amount For Expenses
- Amount For Growth or Improvements
- My #1 place to market my products
- My Posting Schedule
- My secondary Platform
- My Posting Schedule
- Primary Customer Demagrafic:
- Things they care about in regard to what I sell.
- My Marketing topics
- Top things I want to improve on to get more customers or have a better customer experience.
This is going to be a good way to keep track of your goals in your farm business and make sure you are generating at minimum enough money to cover your costs.
Start slow and be willing to adapt as you see something not working. Whether it is in the customer relations side of the business or if you can come up with a better process to streamline your work on the farm.
It takes time to build a successful farm business but it is completely worth the effort. Remember that you have a human brain and human brains get things wrong sometimes. So if it takes longer than you thought that’s ok.
Keep taking it one step at a time and build your poultry business as you go.
Is your backyard farm costing way more than you thought?
If you are tired of your backyard farm literally eating away at all your extra cash, check out the Productive and Profitable Backyard Farmer’s Club.
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