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The day has finally come.
You’ve brought home your flock of backyard chickens!
While that’s all well and good – and frankly, there’s nothing quite like the joy of raising chickens – you can’t deny the fact that chickens are downright expensive.
Luckily, there are some ways you can cut the costs associated with raising a flock. You can also recoup some of your expenses by implementing these money-making ideas on your small farm.
The good news?
Most of them can be implemented as soon as you are ready to get started – no elaborate business proposals, overhead, or bank financing required.
Now that’s a good business model!
1. Sell eggs
The easiest – and most common – method of making money from your chickens is to sell their eggs. While some people choose to raise chickens just for meat, egg-laying chickens are arguably some of the most popular breeds around. Chances are, if you are raising chickens and looking to make some extra money in doing so, you raise your chickens (at least partially) for eggs.
Selling eggs to friends, neighbors, or even strangers is a great way to make some extra cash. Just make sure you can keep up with the demand!
Use an egg collection chart to keep track of which hens are productive and when they are laying. You can also track how often you are selling eggs to customers, as well as your overhead expenses like food and medication.
2. Sell hatching eggs
If you raise hens throughout the year or plan on having chickens for sale in the spring, you might want to consider putting hatching eggs for sale. When you raise certain valuable breeds, like Silkie chickens or other show breeds, you can fetch a pretty penny for their offspring.
Many people like to hatch their own eggs, rather than purchasing them from a chicken hatchery. While chicks purchased from a hatchery are often less expensive than hatching eggs (once you consider the expenses involved in raising them to maturity), there is nothing quite like the experience of hatching your own eggs.
I get that!
You don’t have to raise high-profile breeds, either – most chicken eggs will be highly sought-after commodities and you can raise just about any kind of chicken eggs for sale.
3. Sell baby chicks
Got baby chicks for sale? You’ll likely be one of the most popular houses on your block. Everybody loves baby chicks, and you can make a good amount of cash by hatching your own eggs.
The best part about this is that, once you recoup the cost of the incubator you will need to purchase, there is virtually no overhead. Sure, there is a small amount of electricity and the feed and housing for the hens and rooster, but if you are planning on raising chickens for egg production, you probably already have these in the budget anyway.
Incubating chicks is easy, and once you’ve learned more about the mistakes you can make (and how to fix them), you’ll be able to incubate several batches of chicks every year – all with maximum profitability.
Just make sure you invest in a high-quality incubator and remember to inform your customers that you probably won’t be able to sex day-old chicks. Remember, too, that most states have regulations regarding how many chicks must be sold together when customers buy baby chicks.
4. Sell pullets or laying hens
Layer chickens are some of the most valuable individuals on a farm and if you have laying hens for sale, you can expect to make a pretty pen from them. While meat chickens for sale can fetch a pretty decent price, chicken breeds that are designed for egg production will be very easy to sell.
Just remember to charge enough to compensate for the expenses incurred by feeding and housing them until they grow to laying age – we usually charge a minimum of $1 per week for birds past day-old chick stage.
5. Sell chicken-rearing equipment
We all know how much equipment there is involved in raising chickens! If you have a cool DIY solution (such as this innovative feeding system here), you might want to consider selling some of your inventions.
Not everybody has the skill set – or the time – necessary to dedicate to building high-capacity chicken waterers, innovative roost bars, roll-away nest boxes, open-access chicken feeders, heated chicken waterers, or whatever other accessories your production or pet chickens might need. Consider hiring out some of your talents to those in need.
6. Build chicken coops (or sell chicken coop plans!)
Poultry housing is tough to come by, particularly if you are looking to save a few bucks. Offering your services in building a chicken coop or chicken tractor is a great way to earn some income, particularly if you’re handy with a hammer and a nail. Alternatively, you could draw up backyard chicken coop plans for others who are thinking of building a chicken coop, or you could even advertise chicken runs for sale.
If you’re skilled with your hands, this is an easy way to make several hundred dollars – and it’s something you could easily knock out in a day or two.
7. Make your own chicken feed
Raising backyard chickens can get expensive – especially if you are feeding your chickens a strict, regulated diet and purchasing organic feed. However, chicken farming can be made less expensive (and healthier!) by making your own chicken feed.
Have a recipe you want to share? Consider selling the recipe (or bagged feed) to locals in your area who are looking for a similar blend for their flock. For example, each year I make several trays of suet cakes out of rendered pig lard, sunflower seeds, and chicken scratch. The chickens eat them up within minutes!
8. Write chicken-rearing advice
Have some expertise to share? Even if you don’t consider yourself an expert, there are likely hundreds of people out there who can benefit from your special brand of chicken keeping wisdom. Consider penning an eBook or even writing articles.
You don’t have to start your own blog – websites like Upwork and Problogger often post jobs with clients desperate for people who know how to write about certain tasks. Yes, even raising chickens!
9. Sell meat
You can raise just about any kind of chicken for meat, but for best results, you’ll want to pick a breed that is marketed as either a broiler or a dual-purpose breed. Fast-growing birds like Cornish Crosses grow rapidly – you will be able to sell them in a short amount of time, maximizing your profits while decreasing your feed and housing expenses.
However, if you choose to raise a meat bird of this variety, remember that you will need to keep abreast (no pun intended) of how quickly they are growing and your desired butcher date. They can easily grow too large too quickly and will die as a result.
When you butcher your own chickens, make sure you are in compliance with all local and USDA regulations regarding meat sales, and make sure you have good refrigeration units to keep up with your sales.
10. Sell chicken feathers and fertilizer
Regardless of whether you choose to clip your chickens’ wings (often a necessity to prevent them from fleeing the coop), you will likely find chicken feathers all over your acreage at some point or another. Don’t let this go to waste! Many people purchase chicken feathers to be used in arts, crafts, and other projects.
Plus, let’s not overlook the magical power of chicken poop – it’s a great fertilizer! Ask around, and you’ll likely find tons of people who want to buy this excellent, nitrogen-rich fertilizer for their gardens. You may not even have to deliver it!
And that’s all there is to it! Make sure you follow us on Instagram (@jrpiercefamilyfarm) and Pinterest (J&R Pierce Family Farm) for regular updates and photos! We’d also love it if you’d subscribe to our email newsletter, where we will offer regular updates, discounts, and information on all the latest homesteading information. Thanks for reading!