Continuing with the weekend series of ways to enter an ag business, or what ever I called a couple weeks ago...
Poultry farming is for lack of a better word, a very odd duck of an occupation. Most will immediately think chickens, but also think about ducks, geese and turkeys.
In my opinion ducks and geese have little agricultural virtues other than they love to eat slugs. They just have little commercial value. Most people who want to eat goose or duck will go hunting for them.
Chickens and turkeys are excellent tasting when they come from a small farm and are allowed to free range and eat things other than what comes in a feed bag.
If you’ve ever cracked a free-range egg next to a store bought egg you will immediately see the difference. The store bought egg has a pale yellow yolk and the free range egg yolk is very bright orange and it almost has a hint of green in it. You won’t make a fortune with an egg stand but it could pay some of the bills.
White chickens lay white eggs and chickens of color lay brown eggs and Aricondas lay blue eggs. You don’t need a rooster for egg production unless you want fertile eggs.
I’ve found that the nicest hens are Barred Rock and RI Reds. Bantams are cute and small and colorful, but they love to fly. They produce small eggs, but they are great brooders. They will sit on any egg until it hatches.
Local free range turkeys can draw some good funds, but you need to decide if you are of the temperament that will allow you to slaughter and dress an animal
Store bought roasters are very inexpensive, but since your chickens are well cared for and are not confined to cages or buildings filled with thousands of chickens your price can be higher for the value added aspect. Same goes for turkeys. It is becoming more to people that they know where their food comes from.
Do keep in mind that on the brain power scale for poultry, ducks and geese are the smartest, chicken are in the mid range and turkeys barely have any brains at all. I have heard stories that turkeys have been caught in a rain storm and look up with their mouths open and have drowned.
Fenced yards are required for poultry. Predation is high from raccoons, coyotes and hawks. Some people with poultry have cages that roll. This way you can roll your birds to a new location every couple of days so they can have fresh greens to eat.
All poultry needs shelter. When building a shelter make it easy to clean. Their manure needs to be composted before it can be used on a garden.