How to make money with chickens, even a small backyard flock. A good laying hen basically pays her keep by laying wonderfully nutritious eggs (we love them!). But there are other ways that you can help supplement your income or hobby farm upkeep by keeping chickens. Depending on your space all or some of these ideas will work to make money with chickens. And if you do it right it won’t take much more work on your part either.
How to Make Money with Chickens
When making my list of options for making money with your chickens, I did it from easiest options to the ones that take more work or money. Something to note, as well; you can convert most of these ideas to make money with your quail as well. Check my article on raising quail for more information.
Now if you are just interested selling your surplus eggs to consumers, I wrote an entire article on this subject separately. Check out – Selling Eggs from Your Backyard.
The next way your laying hens can bring in a profit to your hobby farm is fertile eggs for hatching. If you’re lucky enough to be able to keep a rooster in your flock…well he’ll do the hard work for you. Many homesteaders want to incubate and hatch their own chickens but are unable or unwilling to keep a rooster. You’ll be able to sell fresh hatching eggs to this crowd. It will help to have one breed of chickens so that you get purebred eggs but you can sell a barnyard mix too. I have purchased both purebred and mixed eggs, because we are unable to have a rooster right now. Fertile eggs from purebred chickens will get a high price, especially if they are a rare breed. You’ll just need to collect your eggs regularly and keep safe storage practices.
Selling day old chicks is another great way to make money with chickens. You have very little expense invested into to the chicks at this point and your incubator, if automatic, will do most of the work as well. It is a good idea to check for an interested market before you set your eggs. Some interested buys will be other homesteaders, farmers, feed and farm supply stores. A free ad on Craigslist might move them very quickly if you, again, have purebred chicks to offer. If you do not know how to sex chicks you can sell them as straight-run, which means they can be either hens or roos. You can hatch eggs in less than 30 days. You may want to consider having multiple incubators starting a week apart for consistent income.
Your next option for a chicken income is raising pullets. Pullets are hens under the age of one and near their laying time or already laying. Many backyard homesteaders don’t want to raise chicks due to space or the equipment needed. While others just don’t want to wait months to start getting eggs. These customers will be willing to pay more for a confirmed hen that is laying or about to start laying eggs. I have seen pullets going for $15 – $35 here in Phoenix depending on age and breed. Your time and expense should be taken in consideration when deciding on price and if this is the right income avenue for you. You’ll need a considerable amount of space.
There are a few different options when you’re talking about selling meat birds. If you are planning to sell them processed and ready to eat you will need to check your area’s laws regarding meat processing and selling. But even if you aren’t able to process them yourself for sale, you may be able to get them all professionally processed and packaged for sale. However this can be cost prohibitive, so do your research before you buy birds. The other option is to raise a flock of birds specifically to sell to others to process themselves. If a local homesteader / farmer doesn’t have the space to raise meat birds in addition to their laying hens but they are willing to do their own butchering they’ll give you a good price. It is important to consider breed, feed, free-ranging etc. All these considerations can change the price you can ask for a full grown chicken. Many raise the Cornish Cross meat birds of their fast growing nature (less time for you) while others would prefer to purchase heirloom breeds.
Bonus Ways to Make Money with Chickens
- Chicken Poo – many who compost will be willing to pay for a bag of chicken poo to add to their bins.
- Chicken Feathers – make crafts and jewelry with your chicken feathers to sell or sell them to those who want them for their crafts.
There you have it, 7 ways to make money with chickens. Hope this helps to get you started!