Starting Your Small Poultry Business

You’re just short of two years before retiring. But you want to remain active while also continuing to earn an income. Part of your plan includes buying a farm property in Medford, Jackson County, Oregon. You want to use the property as your retirement place but also as a place where you can manage a small enterprise. You’ve already begun talks with contractors, like commercial landscaping services, plumbing companies, and even security companies to take care of the renovation of the main house plus other works that need to be done in the homestead.

You love animals, and you want to start a small poultry business. What are the things you need to know before venturing into this business? Here are a few considerations:

An Overview of the Poultry Industry

What’s remarkable about the poultry industry is how production has become more and more efficient over the past few decades. Locally based production has evolved into a nationwide supply and delivery system. It remains to be one of the highly successful sectors in American agriculture. Iowa leads in chicken production with nearly 68 million in 2017. Indiana (42.02M), Ohio (39.62M), Pennsylvania (33.67M), and Georgia (29.09M) round up the top five.

Raising Chickens

Jim Lewis, a reporter for an online magazine, writes that in 2018, chicken consumption jumped to 92 pounds per person from 79.2 in 2009. Consumption is likely to continue its upward trend, so you might be on the right track. Here are a few more ideas you need to consider.

  1. Broilers or Layers? You need to decide on the type of farming you’re going to do. For meat, you need to raise broilers. If you want the business of selling eggs, you would need to farm layers. Both entail activities other than farming the chickens. You need to incubate the eggs, raise the chicks, and process the meat.  Note that while there are entrepreneurs that engage in both businesses simultaneously, this is less of a norm than doing it separately.
  2. Other birds? If you’re managing a relatively small farm, then you can maybe consider farming more than chicken. But don’t go beyond two or three types of bird.  Duck, goose, quail, and turkey are also options. Pick a breed that will meet the goals that you’ve set for the business. Rhode Island Red and Hamburg, for example, are good layers.
  3. Gain knowledge. If you don’t have any background in agriculture or farming, it’s a good idea to study and learn the craft of raising poultry. You can look up online courses or go through associations like the US Poultry and Egg Association to inquire about training on poultry raising.
  4. Funding and equipment. Whether it’s done on a smaller scale or big commercial scale, you would require a significant amount of money. Factor this into your decision-making process and be prepared to get a loan or find a partner who can help finance your operation. The cost will build up, especially if you start thinking of the equipment that you need to get, like the lighting system, incubators, feeders, etc.
  5. Hire the right people. You need help from professionals who are already skilled and knowledgeable about what they are doing. Whether it’s your front office taking in orders from customers or your operation line cleaning chickens, you need to hire the right professionals.

These are five key ideas that you can work on to start your business. You need to draft your business plan, which should take into account how you intend to handle the marketing of your business.

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