Organic chicken farming can be a profitable business for a small farm. Raising meat birds organically, on pasture, is both environmentally sound and animal-friendly.
The advantages of organic chicken as a livestock animal for your small farm are many:
Meat chickens are a quick turnaround: in 8-10 weeks you can raise day-old chicks to roaster size. This means a quick return on your investment. You can also do more than one batch of birds a year.
Meat chickens are space-efficient: you don't need a lot of land to raise some chickens, even on pasture. A batch of 100 birds can be confined in about 1/4 of an acre without harming the land.
Meat chickens are time-efficient: caring for pastured poultry should only take about 20 minutes a day. This leaves time for other farm activities.
Organic free-range chicken is a premium product: if you have ever looked at the price of organic chicken in the stores, you will see they are charging a hefty price. This means you have a good margin for profit for your own birds.
And of course, free-range organic chicken is delicious! You can fill your own freezer with healthy, great-tasting meat.
In the picture above, you can see another approach to organic chicken farming.
My friends Ryan and Monica at Merrifield Farm in Jasper, Ontario raise grass-fed organic chicken using a large movable shelter and electric mesh fencing to provide a chicken yard. They raise several thousand birds a year. You can see more about Merrifield Farms here
The key to successful (i.e. profitable) organic chicken farming is minimizing your losses. You need to get at least 95% of the chicks you start with to market. This means you need to properly care for the little chicks by keeping them warm, dry and adequately nourished.
And you need to keep the big birds on pasture safe from predators.
We use portable coops and electric mesh fencing to create temporary pens, which we move regularly. When done right, organic chicken farming can actually improve your fields and gardens.
If you are successful in this, you can achieve a profit of 60% to 70% on each batch you do. If you live in an area with enough snow-free days, you could raise three batches each year. This could potentially give you a 200% return (3 x 70%) on your initial investment.
If you have a small property, whether 25 acres, 5 acres, or even less than 1 acre, organic chicken farming can put meat in your freezer and money in your wallet.
I don't know if he invented the 'chicken tractor', but Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms certainly made the most of the idea.
He and his family raise thousands of birds a year on pasture in movable chicken pens i.e. chicken tractors. Joel has a fleet of that are moved to frsh ground on a daily basis. The result is healthy, happy birds and steadily-improving pasture
For the last 20 years or so, we have raising all our meat chickens and turkeys on pasture. This is the latest edition of How to Raise Meat Chickens, now with TWO bonus chicken coop plans:
The consumer demand for fresh local organic food has never been higher. Bad news on the supply chain is good news for local growers.
Get my free Organic Market Gardener Start-up Guide and see if this is the right time to launch your CSA market garden business. Download it here.
You can download more free reports here, only from New Terra Farm
Based on 20+ years of gardening and farming experience, I wrote some books that show you practical approaches to gardening and raising small livestock. If you want to fill your freezer and cold storage with your own healthy, nutritious food, and provide some real food security for your family, it might be worth a look here.
I just put together two special book deals:
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