When first starting your small farm, it can be difficult to know which are the best farm animals to raise to make a profit.
Even if your farm is just a side hobby, you want it to be profitable. If nothing else, it should at least carry itself and not drag you into debt.
Almost any animal, if you have the land for it, and manage them well, can turn a profit for you.
However, for a small farm, especially if it’s only a couple of acres, raising animals for profit can be hard,
The most profitable animal farming for small farms is chickens. Not necessarily laying hens. Turning a profitable egg farming business is a bit harder.
Meat Birds are the most profitable animal to farm for a small homestead.
They require little space, and the demand for farm-raised chicken is huge. More and more people are wanting to know where and how their food is raised.
Chickens are fun. They have such an interesting character that I could watch them all day.
My husband and I grew up in a culture where raising our own chickens for meat was a way of life, and I’ve helped with butchering them for many years.
While it’s not all fun and games, chickens are fun. When you open the door in the morning, their cheerful looks and clucks as they run outside make it all worth it.
One year we had 30+ layers and learned a lot about what it meant to keep laying hens. We have also for the last five years raised our own broilers.
There is no better experience than just doing it and learning as you go.
There are things to consider, however. You should always check the regulations of your area before deciding on purchasing animals.
Some districts allow a couple of chickens in urban areas, and while that might be enough to support your own family, a profitable chicken business will require more space than that.
While laying hens are one way to make money on a small farm, raising meat birds (also called broilers) is another.
Even if you don’t have a barn, these birds can be raised from chick to table in 8-12 weeks, depending on your preference.
Once you receive the chicks, they need to be kept in a temperature-regulated place for the first couple of weeks. After that, you can start letting them out during the day and onto the grass.
Grass Fed Chickens The Way To Go.
When considering chicken as a profitable farming enterprise, you need to go into specialty areas, such as raising grass-fed chicken.
As more and more people are becoming conscious of food health, the demand continues to grow. Grass-fed chicken vs. grain-fed chicken in taste is incomparable.
These bring a better price and are raised in a better way, without using extreme caging and feeding methods.
Layers are also a profitable animal to farm. Free Range eggs are in high demand because they taste so much better than those bought from the store.
I remember the first time we had to buy eggs from the store after buying them from a local farmer. I was disgusted.
While they are perfectly fine to eat, they do not have the great taste that a free-range egg does.
More and more people are realizing this and the demand for grass-fed and free-range eggs is growing. A great way to raise laying hens is in egg mobiles.
Things To Consider Before Buying Chickens
As with any smart business decision, you need to consider the costs of starting and keeping a chicken enterprise.
With chickens, there are several more things to consider including a processing plant, an egg station, as well as the demand and local proximity to a population that will support your farm.
With Broilers, how will you butcher them?
Is there a local processing plant that will handle that for you?
Also, what are your laws and regulations regarding selling on the farm? Check into these before you make any big decisions.
In Canada, you are allowed to sell eggs to locals without an official egg station, but if you wish to supply the local grocery stores with eggs, then you need to have a designated egg station, where the eggs get washed, graded, and packed.
What is your local demand? Things to consider are the populations that will support your venture, as well as how saturated the market.
In the area that we live in, there are 3 Egg farmers within a 5-mile radius, so the supply exceeds the demand. However, if you live close to an urban center, usually the demand will be more than supply.
Other Benefits of Chickens
Chicken manure is one of the richest sources of nitrogen you can get. It is very strong in nitrogen and can burn your plants so when incorporating into your garden, only add a little once a year.
I am always thrilled when I see chickens eating bugs and other pesty insects. They love them, and that keeps my garden vegetables safer.
While you do want to protect your garden from your chickens while it is growing, letting them loose on it after you have harvested everything is a great idea.
They will eat insects that are in your soil as well as self fertilize the soil. Animal Integration can really benefit the health of the soil in your garden.
Raising chickens can be a great profitable venture for your hobby farm, but it also brings a lot of other benefits. Animals bring joy to people, and taking care of them is a responsibility that helps us to grow as people.