|Written by jmarwayne|
How To Make Money Raising Meat Chickens
Raising meat chickens is a relatively easy way to get started in livestock production for profit. Chickens are small, do not require large barns or facilities, and have an excellent feed conversion ratio. This means you can raise a large number of meat chickens in a small space and without spending a great deal of money on feed. There is always a market for fresh, quality homegrown chicken, and they are easier to market than an entire hog or a side of beef. If you are raising meat chickens for your own use, here are some ways to expand your operation and make money raising meat chickens.
Step 1: When the chicks are approximately 4-5 weeks old, market them as Cornish game hens. A Cornish game hen is about 11/2 pounds dressed, meaning they are butchered at about 3 to 4 pounds live weight. At this point your feed inputs are very low giving you a greater profit.
Step 2: Check your state and local agriculture laws to see if you can sell chickens you butcher yourself. Some states allow you to butcher and sell a limited number of chickens without a permit. If you have the ability and the equipment, you can sell dressed and frozen chicken off your farm or at a farmers market and expand your customer base.
Step 3: If you raise your chickens naturally or organically, seek a contract with a restaurant or small meat market. There is a growing demand for local and organic meat, especially in upscale restaurants and gourmet food stores.
Step 4: Post flyers in feed stores and local establishments. Take orders for chickens and bring the birds to the processor. You can deliver the finished product and collect your payment, which is usually a per-pound price, plus the cost of processing.
Step 5: Find a processor that does custom processing such as ground chicken or chicken sausage. These specialty items offer another opportunity to make money.
Step 6: Another way to make money is to sell the live chickens at a livestock auction. Healthy vigorous birds will almost always bring a good price. Many people prefer to butcher their own, but have no interest in raising them. In certain parts of the country, buyers look for live chickens to resell at farmerâ€™s markets.
Step 7: Raise some chickens to 10 or 12 weeks. If properly cared for, meat chickens can reach a live weight of 11-12 pounds which will result in a 7-8 pound roasting chicken. Some customers like to roast a large chicken rather than a turkey. While they do cost more to feed to this weight, the added price per pound is much higher.
Tips: Be sure to check and follow all local laws and regulations regarding keeping, processing, and labeling poultry.
Warning: A live weight of 11-12 pounds is the point of diminishing returns. At this point the chickens will not get any larger, and will begin to develop problems due to their excessive weight. Keeping meat chickens past 10 weeks requires special care. Do not overfeed them and be sure to keep them in a cool and well- ventilated area.