Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The 2013 plan: Chickens

Our basic chicken product is a live, adult chicken sold at the farm gate.  We do provide a stainless steel counter/sink, running water and propane as well as plucking equipment to folks who do want to process their own birds, but we don't do any processing ourselves. 

I originally started the farm with the idea that I'd be doing pastured poultry and selling processed birds.   Over the years we discovered we could sell live birds at the farm gate for $15 each,  and that meant no processing cost for us of any sort.

No WSDA license, either.  Here's your live chicken.  So the economics are pretty compelling:  We either hatch our own birds from eggs laid here, or we buy heritage rooster chicks for $0.75 each, put $4.25 of feed and labor into them to bring them to adult status, and sell them for $15

The chickens do eat quite a bit of the produce, and we cut the labor costs down by feeding them efficiently.  One large feeder feeds a couple of hundred birds at a time, and a 5 gallon rubber bowl waters them.  We brood them in batches of 250 at a time. 

Chickens are a great introduction product, and sell consistently every week.    We don't make much money off of chickens (last year our net profit was $12,500), but we find that we sell other products (beef, pork) to chicken buyers pretty consistenly.  it gets folks to the farm and keeps them coming back.   

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