So you’re ready to start selling eggs from your backyard homestead. I have simple tips to help guide you in the beginning!
Are you tired of eating eggs? Are you giving eggs to friends and family? Are you less excited about gathering the daily eggs? If any or all of those apply to you then you may have more laying hens than you really need. Some might suggest you sell off your precious girls…but not me! I say it is time to consider selling your eggs for a profit; or at least to cover your chicken expenses.
Selling Eggs from Your Backyard Homestead
Tip #1 – Know your laws
Egg laws are different from state to state. You’ll need to be sure to check the regulations for your particular area and comply with them. You don’t want to risk fines, not worth it.
You can see a comprehensive list of each states laws governing selling eggs on the National Egg Regulatory Officials website – NERO.
Tip #2 – Decide how much you’re going to sell
It would be good to have an average weekly egg count. Knowing your average and your personal use will let you determine how many eggs you’ll have to sell each week. Generally you’ll want to sell by the half for full dozen.
Tip #3 – Packaging your eggs
You have a few options when it comes to packaging your eggs; but again be sure you comply with the regulations for your state. First, you can put your eggs in containers similar to those you find in stores. You could also ask your buyers to bring their own containers or offer a discount if they do. Tip #4 – What to call your eggs
When you are selling eggs you need to know egg terminology. Hens ca be cage-free – still contained in a specific area. Or free-range – given nearly limitless access to plants, bugs, dirt, etc. Then you have to consider the feed offered. What about organic? Soy free? You’ll need to decide where your eggs fit in. Remember your hens are not free-ranging chickens just because they are not in a cage or small coop. The pricing of your eggs can vary a great deal, depending on the options you offer.
Tip #5 – Pricing
In Phoenix I have seen organic, free-range, soy-free eggs go for $7-$8 a dozen at our Farmer’s Market; and they sold out. But you’ll need to do some market research. Start with your local stores, farmer’s markets and then check ads on Craigslist or local Facebook groups. Make sure you’re pricing with the market. But remember if you’re offering a superior product you can charge more, but you’ll need to back that up with the reasoning. Before I had hens of my own I would often get mine from a local farmer who had an album with pictures of her yard. It showed her hen’s free-ranging and she had a empty bag of feed available so I could see the ingredients and quality.
Tip #6 – Finding your customers
Start with those you know. Put an offer out on your Facebook or Instagram with what you have available. You might consider a Craigslist ad or putting up a flyer in a local community area. If you have a lot of eggs you might consider renting space at a local farmer’s market – but you will need to adjust your prices to cover your expenses.
Tip #7 – Growing your business
So what do you do if selling eggs is taking off and your hens can’t keep up? Well you can limit your orders and keep a waiting list for future clients if someone decides to stop buying. You can always consider adding girls to your flock – but weigh out the profit to expense and time for care. Or you could set up hens with friends who would like eggs in payment for caring for a few chickens in their space; they get their set amount of eggs for the work and you get the rest to sell.
Tip #8 – Secret flocks aren’t the best for selling eggs
If your flock is on the down low you really need to consider the implications of starting an egg business. How nosy are your neighbors? Are they going to notice you carrying eggs out of your house or more people visiting to pick eggs up? Don’t add more hens in to your stealth flock to accommodate orders; that is a perfect way to lose them all. Just saying…
All in all selling eggs from your backyard homestead can be a great way to supplement your income. It is perfect for covering the expenses of a small flock! Just remember to do all you can to comply with the laws and regulations that your state and the FDA have set up regarding egg sales. Best of luck to you in your venture and happy hens!