Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to Make Money with Chickens



Chickens Make Money!
Learn four easy ways to make money with chickens in your own backyard. Chickens are one of the easiest farm animals to raise. They have a very small start up cost and they generate a tangible product, fresh eggs and meat, that everyone enjoys.

things you'll need:
• Baby Chicks
• Chicken Coop
• Egg Incubator
• Laying Boxes
• Egg Cartons
• Chicken Feed

1. Making money with chickens isn't difficult. They are easy to care for and their products are easy to market. In fact, raising a few dozen chickens in your backyard is a great way to supplement your income, enjoy fresh eggs and meat, and run your own small business.

The basic business plan for making money with chickens involves you purchasing baby chickens from a hatchery and raising them until they are either laying eggs or ready to butcher for meat. You can also profit by selling baby chickens and composted chicken manure. Once you choose which type of plan you would like to try, you can decide how many and what type of baby chicks to order from the hatchery.
Raising baby chicks is not difficult, however the finer details cannot be explained within the context of this how to guide. Therefore, refer to one of the many books available about raising poultry for more details on that process.

2. One way to make money raising chickens is to have a flock of laying hens.
To begin, estimate the amount of space that you have for raising chickens. Figure at least 2 square feet per hen, to prevent overcrowding. The amount of space that you have, as well as the number of eggs that you think you will be able to sell, can help you decide how many laying hens you will need.

Next, gather your materials and build a chicken coop in your backyard. Chicken coop plans are freely available on the internet or in many books from the library. The chicken coop can be as simple or as fancy as you like, however you must remember that the coop needs to be able to protect your flock from predators.

Also, locate plans and materials for laying boxes. Build one laying box for every 3 to 4 hens. Install the laying boxes in your chicken coop.

Order pullets (baby hens) from the hatchery and raise them to laying age. It takes about four to five months for chickens to start laying eggs. Also, figure that your hens will lay about four to six eggs per week per hen depending on nutrition, age, and time of year.

Once your chickens begin egg production, egg cartons can be purchased in bulk and you can market your eggs in your local area. Remember that eggs must be sold as "ungraded" and you must label the cartons with your name and address.
Further research into small scale egg production can help you understand both the requirements and regulations that you will need to follow.

3. Another way to earn from chickens is to hatch baby chicks and sell them to other small scale farmers.

Many small scale chicken farmers, gradually begin to hatch their own baby chicks each year using their fertilized eggs and an incubator. This helps them to renew their laying flock and selling chicks can also provide an alternative source of income. Just by adding one rooster to your flock for every 10 hens, you can produce fertilized eggs that are ready for incubation and hatching. Baby chicks can be sold by word of mouth, at flea markets and trade days, or with an ad in the local paper.
You will need to perform further research on incubating and hatching baby chicks. Many resources are available via the internet or through your local library.

4. A third way to profit from a small chicken flock is to raise chickens for meat.
Fresh chicken is an excellent product to offer for sale. Many customers are looking to purchase chicken that was raised using a free range method. You can supply this growing market for fresh chicken by buying baby broiler chicks from the hatchery and raising them to maturity. The methods for raising broilers for meat differs from raising chickens for eggs, so further research is required. Once the broilers are ready for butcher, they must be processed or you must contract with a local butcher that is able to process your flock.

Selling homegrown meat is a regulated process and the rules vary from lax to very strict. Be sure to contact your local agricultural extension agent and county health department to find out what the rules are for your area.

5. Finally, another way to make money from chickens is to sell their composted manure to local gardeners.

Collect chicken manure and bedding from your chicken coop on a regular basis and establish a composting program for your flock's waste. The finished product can be sold to local gardeners as an excellent fertilizer for their vegetable plants.

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