Why are meat chickens the perfect small farm livestock animal? Let me answer that question by telling you a little bit about our experience here at New Terra Farm (some of this may sound familiar.)
We bought New Terra Farm in the summer of 2000; the farm was our dream come true, and we were thrilled and delighted with our new country life.
We didn't have much of an idea of what we wanted, but we knew some things we DIDN'T want to do:
And of course, our other limitation was the fact we were new farmers, and just didn't have enough knowledge for many farm enterprises.
So, was there anything we COULD do? Well, if you've surfed around this site you may know we started a CSA market garden that was pretty successful; in fact we won an award from the Premier of Ontario. The model we developed became known as Bootstrap Market Gardening
That was a good start, but we wanted to expand our farm business; our goal was to actually make a living on our little place, doing something we loved and not doing anything harmful to our land.
We had decided when we bought the place that 'exotic' stuff was not for us; for example, we didn't know much about emu's, and we sure didn't eat it.
In the end we decided we would raise basic foodstuffs that everybody was familiar with; we would just try to raise them better! This means we would stick to our principles of raising the animals humanely, organically, and sustainably.
We figured, if we couldn't sell it, at least we could eat it!
So, that led us to try raising meat chickens on pasture. We had done some research and it seemed like there were good reasons to give this a try:
So, we found a supplier for chicks and organic grain, bought some equipment, built a 'chicken tractor' and set out hopefully to fill our freezer with some great food.
Unfortunately, that first batch didn't turn out so good. We lost quite a few baby chicks to something we learned later was called 'pasty butt'. Some of the chicks developed a condition where they couldn't walk very well, and so couldn't get to feed and water. And we lost some birds in our 'chicken tractor' out in the field.
The birds didn't get as big as we would have liked, either.
This was discouraging to say the least, and we also felt guilty that these little birds were paying the price for our inexperience. In fact we came close to giving up on the idea.
But we decided to stick with it, and try another batch. We did more research, visited with and talked to other organic chicken growers, and improved our methods. The next batch did a LOT better, and we decided we would keep going.
Now after more than 10 years of raising chickens for meat, and continuously improving our methods, we regularly get more than 98% of our birds successfully to 'market weight'. Our freezer is full of great, organic, free-range chicken, and we sell all we can grow at a premium price.
And, (just like with Bootstrap Market Gardening) we decided to write a book about our experiences, to help other new farmers in the same position.
I've already mentioned the need to minimize losses if you want to be successful raising chickens for meat. So what's the rest of the secret to profitably raising meat birds?
Let me answer that by asking you couple questions: Would you start any business without a plan? You wouldn't start a business without knowing how (and how much it will cost) to start it, right?
You wouldn't start a business without some idea of the cashflow you can generate, and therefore the money you could make to justify your time and effort, right?
And you wouldn't (or certainly shouldn't) start a business without knowing how and where to find customers.
So, if you want raising chickens to make you a profit, you have to treat it as a business and figure out the answers to those questions!
By this I mean you have to figure out how to plan, market and manage your little 'chicken ranch' if you expect to get paid back for your time and money invested.
You can take advantage of our hard-won experience in raising meat birds on our small farm, get 'How to Raise Meat Chickens' and start learning how to create a great small business on your small farm.
Over the last eight years we have learned a lot about pastured poultry. I sell all the birds I can raise at a price I set to make a profit (and we've had a lot of chicken dinners, too!)
We show you step by step how to plan, market and manage your flock to make a profit. AND we show you step by step how to care for your birds to keep them healthy and steadily growing.
Why should you raise meat chickens our way?
* What breed of chickens should you raise
* Planning: How many chickens should you start with
* Chicken raising production schedule
* Marketing: How to sell your chickens
* Management: Where to raise your birds
* Production: Finding and buying day-old chicks
* Equipment and supplies you will need
* Finding an organic feed supplier
* Caring for your baby chicks
* Troubleshooting your chicks
* Setting up your Coop
* Setting up your electric fence
* Caring for your birds in the field
* Troubleshooting your birds in the field
* Harvesting your birds
* Chicken Economics – Costs and profits of raising meat chickens
* Equipment Costs (fixed costs)
* Chicks, feed, supplies (variable costs)
* Calculating your profit
* What can you sell your birds for?
*Expanding your business
The New Terra Farm Movable Coop Plan Book
We chose a different approach when building our portable coop. We used much lighter framing, and a tarp roof to shelter the birds. The tarp is quite a bit larger than the coop, and can be secured to provide shade and shelter when the birds are outside the coop.
In the picture below is the coop we use to raise 200-300 meat birds each year on the farm. We raise them in batches of 100, and do 2 or 3 batches each year, depending on how busy we are with other stuff.
I did not include wheels on my design; I use a hand-truck (dolly) to move it quite easily to fresh ground each week. This takes about a minute.
When I want to move it to a whole new field (which I do once a year) me and a couple friends lift the whole thing up and put it on my hay wagon. A smaller version could be moved in the back of a pick-up or on a trailer. You also get plans to build my heated Broody Boxes to raise your baby chicks safe and secure.
Broody Box with day-old chicks at New Terra Farm
Here are some comments from recent purchasers of 'How to Raise Meat Chickens'; these are people just like you who want to start a small farm flock:
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"Very clearly written and thorough" - Steve G.
"Fantastic reading, and it'll be really helpful when we start up our farm! - Katie W.
"Very well written. It seems that you have that gift of being able to transpose your thoughts onto paper with ease and simplicity" - Stephen W.
I read your meat chicken book and really wished I had it last year. It has already caused me to re-think and re-design next years plan. - Sherri, Dunville, ON
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I'm going to stop there, because I'm blushing!
Oh, yeah, i mentioned another special bonus book. Here it is: How to Raise Pigs on Pasture.
Here's what's in the bonus book:
"Pigs on pasture" is the actual record of the system we have used successfully for 10 years to raise delicious pastured pork. All the instructions, the photos, and the examples used are from right here at New Terra Farm - no theories, just practical pig-raising advice.
Let me give you just one more incentive; you wouldn't buy ANY product without a money-back guarantee, right?
So, here's my personal guarantee: buy 'How to Raise Meat Chickens' and the bonuses study it for up to one full year. If you aren't absolutely excited and already planning your own small farm flock, or are unsatisfied for any reason, I'll return your payment, no questions asked.
By the way, you won't find anybody else anywhere offering a full one-year money-back guarantee.
So why am I making this offer? Because I want to make sure you have enough time to actually USE my book to raise your own flock of free-range birds.
I'm pretty sure you will be excited and delighted with what you learn, so I have no worries about offering this unequaled warranty.
If you've looked around my website, you know that my mission is to grow farmers as well as food. I believe we desperately need more small family farms, providing good natural food to our communities.
Because of that mission, I try to keep the price of my books down to a level just about anyone can afford. So, you can get my 'How to Raise Meat Chickens Bonus Pack' for just $9.97.
Consider this: if you don't buy my practical guide to starting and raising your own small farm flock , where will you get this information?
Final point: as I said before I believe you will be delighted and excited with the information you receive, so I even assume all the risk for you. You have no risk at all because of my personal guarantee.
YES! I want How to Raise Meat Chickens to learn how Start-up, Market and Manage my own successful small farm flock, even if I'm starting with little experience or resources.
I want the plans to build the Movable Coop and Broody Boxes to keep my chickens safe and secure.
I understand I will be able to download 'How to Raise Meat Chickens' and the 'Movable Coop Plan Book' and the BONUS BOOK Pigs on Pasture immediately after purchase, no waiting for a physical book to be shipped.
I understand I have a full year to get started, and that I can return the book for a full refund if I am not satisfied!
How to Raise Meat Chickens Bonus Pack $9.97.
The How to Raise Chickens book and the Movable Coop Plans are e-books. When your purchase is complete you will be taken to a secure site to download them. You can get started farming right away, no waiting for a physical book to be shipped.