You have a hobby farm and are thinking you want to raise animals for profit.
You start googling livestock breeds then before you know it you are on Craigs List or search to find the closest breeders. You want to take home everything.
Sceerrttttt…. Back the truck up…🚚
You need to be very choosy and take into consideration the land, facility, and supplies you have at your disposal before you bring animals home.
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To create a consistent income, you need to be strategic in every aspect of your business. Yes, I said business. Because if your goal is to make any amount of money on our hobby farm you have to think about it as a business.
I want to help you lay the groundwork so you can start your business off right and create consistent income on your hobby farm.
What You Need To Think About FIRST Before You Buy Your Animals
What Is Your Hobby Farm Capacity
Whether it’s land, barn space, or housing capability you need to figure all that out first. One huge mistake is people decide they want farm animals and just go out and get them without any thought at all. Then they end up in over their head and have no focus what so ever.
Let’s start with land. Family Growing Pains has some great info on the land it takes per animal.
No matter what animal you pick to raise, they all require room to browse, shelter, and fencing. So, how much land you have determines what animals you can keep on your homestead.
Here is the recommended space needed per animal.
Chickens: 2-3 square feet inside of the coop and 8-10 square feet in an outside run.
- Pigs: 12 to 14 sows per acre
- Sheep: 1/2 an acre per animal
- Goats: 1/2 an acre per animal
- Dairy and Beef Cattle: 1-2 acres per animal
There is also one very big thing that people forget.
Amount of Care Required
It’s easy to end up with hours of work and have no life other than feeding and caring for animals. Which is fine if that’s what you like. BUT that also leaves you with a very busy life.
Do you have the time to raise animals? Chickens require a daily investment of time, but not as much as other livestock. So be thoughtful about the type of animals you get.
If you work a separate job, you really need to take into consideration how much time you truly have to devote to livestock. The more that you have, the more it takes to feed, water, and care for them each and every day.
Some livestock requires less time and maintenance than others.
Best Tips To Having A Profitable Hobby Farm
Its not all about buying animals and soon buyers will follow. You need to develop a reputation. It the little things. Starting with the way you present yourself all the way to the mindset you have around your hobby farm if you want it to be profitable.
Keep It Tidy On Your Hobby Farm
Making your property look nice does not mean that you have to spend a lot of money. Your barns and sheds do not have to be professionally designed and manicured. It is not necessary to have the newest equipment.
When people come to pick up an animal or come to learn about the animals you have. The buyer just wants to see a clean, well-kept living area for the animals.
Pro tip: walk the path that your visitors will walk from the time they park to the time they pick up their animal and leave. Look around for trash that might be laying around that is easy to miss.
Keeping the property clean and presentable will go a long way to making a good impression on buyers. If they are impressed when they come to visit they are more likely to recommend you to others. Simply keeping the trash picked up and animal waste under control will be one of the best things you can do to make a good first impression.
Wondering if it’s possible to make an income on your hobby farm? Grab my free hobby farm income ideas guide here.
Know About Your Animal On Your Hobby Farm
Many people feel like they don’t know anything when they buy their first few animals. As a breeder, you will be asked ssssoooo many questions and that’s ok. I still ask questions of other people because I like to hear other breeder’s opinions.
If you are able to answer most of their questions they will feel like you put their mind at ease. Whatever you do, DO NOT make something up. If they hear something down the road that contradicts what you said and if they were talking to someone your name will come up. Unless that person is of great character and doesn’t name drop. You don’t want to miss lead someone and that get around. Protect your reputation.
Just say you don’t know but will find the answer for them. I have had rabbits for over 20 years and I still don’t know a thing about litter training a rabbit. It is not something I do so I can’t speak to that topic.
If they find out that what you said was not one-hundred percent on point. You have immediately lost their trust. He or she certainly will not recommend you to someone else.
I cannot express how important this is to get the word out about what you are trying to do! Word of mouth will get you a sale far quicker than any other form of advertising or posting on social media.
Be Honest In Your Dealings
The statement “honesty is the best policy” is true even in the animal world. Be willing to tell someone if the breed does not sound right for them will impress that person more then you will ever know.
If an animal just does not sound like a good fit for their family tell them so. A family who is looking to buy a pet for their small child or someone who is a bit more timed should not purchase a large high-strung breed. Whether that is a cat, dog, rabbit, goat, or horse it does not matter.
Safety of the buyer should always come first. If the people insist that they want the animal, go ahead with the sale. You will walk away with a clear mind because you told them what they were getting into.
Now if you think they will cause harm to the animal I would have on your website, sales posts, and anywhere else that you reserve the right to decline a sale.
Set Honest Pricing
If an animal is not worth the price you normally sell your animal for, lower the price. Every breeder will have a few babies that come from their best stock that just are not quite what they should be.
But also don’t sell yourself short. If your animal is not even to the age of leaving its mother and someone is asking for a discount. Don’t except. You can make that call you know… Some people will ask for a discount but that is what they do all the time no matter what. It is no reflection on you or them.
Always be respectful of someone’s budget. Ask someone what the price range is they would like to stay within and only show them the ones that fit what they are looking for. Don’t force them to buy something they really can’t afford. The buyer will respect you for that.
If someone has contacted you about buying an animal, respond back as quickly as you can. I know many breeders who have lost business because the word has gotten around that they don’t respond to emails for months or they never return phone calls.
You might not be able to get to it right away but when you have ten free minutes send a quick email. Most phone calls will take less than 10 minutes. So ask when a good time would be to call them back.
Now I also have “office hours” listed on the rabbitry page to help people understand that I might not answer back on a weekend or after a certain hour at night. We all have lives family that is our first priority so don’t let your business take over.
Present Yourself Well If You Want To Raise Animals For Profit
If you want to raise animals for profit and not just for kicks and giggles you need to present yourself in a good light. Not just your property.
This might sound a little over the top but the way you present yourself is going to dictate the willingness of people to pay more for what you have.
Instead of meeting people smelling like a manure pile and looking like you just rolled out of bed. Be showed, have on clean clothes, and at least look groomed. It doesn’t mean you have to have on your Sunday best. Just a clean pair of jeans and a T-shirt will do.
Your attitude will go a long way as well. If you don’t show interest in the person and at least be willing to answer their questions you won’t appear friendly. That makes a HUGE, HUGE, DID I SAY HUGE difference.
The Number Isn’t Everything
If I don’t drive anything else home let this point be it.
Remember, you don’t need to have a large number of breeding stock to be successful. This is across the board for dogs, sheep, goats, poultry rabbits or any other type of animal.
I have met several breeders who have a lot of nice animals but they struggle to keep up. They are not able to share on social or build awareness so they lose sales.
Now don’t get me wrong, having a large number of animals isn’t bad if you can keep up. But don’t get so far in over your head you resent what you are doing.
My point is not to discount the breeders with smaller numbers and don’t feel like you have to increase your numbers to prove your animal’s value.
Get Creative When Buying Supplies For Your Hobby Farm
There is no need for the most expensive equipment or update something because a bigger and better version came out. There are many different ways to get the job done without paying the high price.
Keeping up with the newest thing will burn through your profits quicker than you know.
Check-in other departments. Just because an item was not in the right section for your animal does not mean you cannot find something that might work in another department. For large breed dogs look in the horse department for combs and brushes. Most of the time they are much less than dog grooming supplies and the larger brushes will help you get the job done much faster.
For large rabbits look for dog water bowls that are inexpensive and have some flex to them. In the cold weather, the frozen water blows will pop the ice out like an ice cube tray.
I am loving to use and stand up to the abuse of rabbits throwing them around the cage.
The dollar store is a wonderful place to look for inexpensive tools that will do just as well as the ten dollar item at the animal supply store.
Don’t want to forget this information? Save it to your favorite Pinterest board with the image below so you can find it later.
Bonus Tip For Selling Animals – Above and Beyond For Your Customer
Create a customer experience that makes them so surprised and awed that they come back to you again and again. They will tell their friends and acquaintances they here who are looking for what you offer.
One fun way that I always get raised eyebrows is having an automated waiting list and a calendar so they can schedule their visit so we don’t have to go back and forth trying to set a time that works for them.
And the best part about it is the tool is free!
- Around Christmas time I like to send Christmas cards to all of the buyers from the past year. Anything you can do to encourage people to recommend you to others will go a long way.
- Have thank-you cards prewritten if you don’t have time to write them as the buyers come. You can also put 2 or 3 business cards in the thank you card. This makes it easy for them to recommend you to others as well as making it seem like you care and are not looking to get rid of them after you have their money.
- Just be open and talk with them. If you don’t rush them they will not feel pressured and have buyer’s remorse down the road.
What do you raise? Id love to hear about it. Tell me in the comments below.