Many people decide to bring chickens into their home because it is a great project to enjoy with their family. It can help to teach your children how to be a bit more responsible, brings the family the opportunity to hang out and bond together, and can even provide you with some fresh eggs and meat that are way cheaper than what you can find at the store.
While these are all great reasons to get started on raising chickens in your backyard, it is also popular to raise these chickens in order to make some money. There are many different ways that your chickens can help you to make some extra money on the side, even if you have a tiny backyard, as long as you are willing to put in the time and the effort.
Selling the Eggs
One of the easiest things that you can do to make money from your new chicken farm is to sell the eggs. Even a few hens are going to be able to lay quite a few eggs and you may find that with a whole flock, you are not able to keep up with all of the eggs that are being produced. Whether you keep a few for yourself or you want to make a complete profit from all the eggs that come out of your chickens, you will find this is a relatively easy way to make some money.
First you will need to determine how many chickens that you will like to have. Keep in mind that each chicken is going to lay an egg every 1 to 2 days. This means with a flock of 15 hens, you could end up with more than 100 eggs each week if they are really getting to work. For the relatively low cost of getting started and for how much people are willing to pay for farm fresh eggs, you may be able to turn a tidy profit after the coop is all set up.
Of course, the more hens you have around, the more eggs you will be able to sell. But you have to keep in mind the amount of room that is available in your backyard. The hens will not produce well if you keep too many in one place and you may need to separate out the flocks into different coops. If you have a large farm, you may be able to keep quite a few chickens in the area, but for smaller backyards, you will be stuck with just a few hens.
Sell the Baby Chickens
Having your own hens can have many benefits. One is that when you add in the rooster, you can often get fertilized eggs that will grow into little baby chickens. Of course, you can choose to eat these fertilized eggs, but if you are looking for another source of income, it may be wise to consider letting these fertilized eggs become hatched. There are a lot of small scale farmers who would love to have these baby chicks to star their own backyard chicken farms and you could be the one to provide this to them.
This can sometimes be done slowly. For example you may start out having a few chickens in your backyard to get some fresh eggs or to have as a family pet and then later on decide to fertilize some of the eggs and let them hatch. Even a few chickens every other month or so can turn a nice profit without a ton of work on your part.
You will need to bring in an incubator to help with this process. This can help to keep the eggs nice and warm, even if the mother hen doesn’t want to sit on them all day long; though you should make sure to go through and allow a brooding hen to do the work if possible. You can then decide to keep a few of the chicks to replenish some of your aging flock or to sell them off by word of mouth or at flea markets. Remember that you are only going to need one rooster for every ten or so hens so it can be really affordable.
Raising for Meat
There is nothing better than the taste of fresh off the farm chicken meat, and if you are raising chickens in your own backyard, this can be a daily reality for you. There are a lot of backyard farmers who will simply keep the meat for themselves. This allows them the opportunity to have fresh meat for a fraction of the cost that they get at the grocery store any time that they want. But if you are looking for a way to make some extra money, raising the chickens and then selling them as fresh meat can be a great option.
There are quite a few people out there who are willing to pay good prices for free range chicken. If you raised your chickens outside and allowed them to wander most of the day and come and go as they pleased, even if they were limited to a single area, you have free range chicken. Even those who aren’t into the whole free range idea will love the idea of having fresh chicken available to them all of the time.
Before you sell the chickens for meat though, make sure to check out the local laws in your area. There are some areas that are pretty lax on these kinds of things but others are really strict and can place a lot of limitations on what you are allowed to do. If you talk to your local agricultural extension agent as well as the county health department, you will get a good idea on the rules and what you need to do in order to sell the chicken meat.
If you are selling chicken meat for a profit, you need to make sure that you keep the flock up. One choice is to continue purchasing birds and maturing them before butchering, but this is going to add to your overall cost. A better option is to allow fertilized eggs to hatch and then allow these chickens to grow up to be butchered. You can keep a few hens back each season to replace the aging birds and never have to spend more to bring more chickens into the flock.
Now this is one of the ideas that a lot of people are not going to think about when they first get started with raising chickens, but you can actually make some money simply by saving the composted manure that your chickens are leaving all over the place. The bedding and manure that are already found in the chicken coop, and which may take you some time to clean up, can often be sold to local gardeners to help them get better fruits and vegetables. It doesn’t have to take a lot of your time and will turn around a little extra money each month.
Before getting started on this process, you may want to read up a bit to learn how to take care of the manure. The composting process does not have to be difficult and since you are already removing all of this from the chicken coop in the first place, you already have a good start. Learn how to go through the composting process to get the best results and to sell a superior product to your customers.
Write About Your Experience
If you have been doing the backyard chicken raising, or any self-sustaining lifestyle, you may be able to make a profit writing about it or sharing your knowledge with others. There are quite a few people who are interested in learning how to live off the grid or at least save some money by growing a good garden and taking care of chickens by themselves. They would love to get this information first hand from someone who has done all the work and knows how to make it all fit together. If you have a knack for speaking to other people or you like to write, this could be a good career choice for you.
While most people get into the idea of raising chickens in their backyards because it is easy and affordable and provides them with tasty eggs and meat while bonding with their families, there is nothing wrong with taking some time to learn how to make money from all this work. Whether you want to turn this into a full time job or just add a little extra income to your life, raising chickens can be a great way to add to your income!