How I make $1,000 a month from 15 chickens! (2023)

Chickens can be expensive. Even if you don't count the coop, the feed and bedding are monthly expenses that add up a lot! I decided a long time ago to have a no freeloaders policy and I make all my chickens earn their keep. I've tried many different ways to make money from my chickens but the most profitable way just fell into my lap!

How I make $1,000 a month from 15 chickens! (1)

When I started raising chickens, I decided to hatch the chicks from eggs I ordered from a breeder. When word got out that I had hatched chicks, I started getting calls from people who wanted to buy my chicks. As soon as my chickens were full grown, I hatched their eggs!

The calls kept coming and I kept hatching. Over the years I've had as many as 90 chickens and as few as six. I've realized that by setting things up the right way I can make up to $1,000 a month on as few as 15 chickens.

Of course you could sell eating eggs, feathers and even chicken poop to make money from your chickens. I'm not knocking that at all, because it is a good way to make extra money. In my opinion though, the best way to make money off by breeding chickens for profit.

Now, I'm sure you thought of that. In fact I'm pretty sure you're sitting there now saying "well yeah, but I can't make $1,000 selling chicks!" I promise you though, that you can do it. You just have to follow the money.

My calculations today are going to focus on 15 chickens because I realize that even when I had 90 I was making most of my money 15 chickens, which are two of my breeding groups. Let's say each of those breeding groups had six or seven hens and one rooster. That equals up to our 15 chickens.

If every hen laid an average of 5 eggs a week, that would equal out to 65 eggs (on the low side, most 1-2 year old hens will lay 6 eggs a week). Since you have one rooster to each set of hens you should have a high rate of fertility. Take those 65 eggs and multiply it by the four weeks in a month, and now we have 260 eggs.

Now take that thousand dollars that we want to make. Divide that by those 260 eggs and you get $3.85 each. So if you hatch all those eggs and sell each chick for that amount, you'll make $1,000 a month. Unfortunately it's not quite that simple, you have to take into consideration hatch rates which may cut into your profit.

I don't expect a 100% hatch rate, so I choose to sell chicks for $5 each. Using this number I have to sell 50 chicks a week to make my thousand dollars a month. Remember, we're getting at least 65 eggs a week out of 13 hens, which makes hatching 50 chicks a very feasible number.

Also, trying to sell 50 chicks of 1 breed is harder than trying to sell 25 chicks each from 2 different breeds. Large quantities of 1 breed over-saturates your market quickly. You could even break this down further into 3 breeding groups if your market isn't strong enough to support the sales of chicks from 2.

How I make $1,000 a month from 15 chickens! (2)

Breeding chicks for profit

Now this is what I mean by follow the money: The key to selling chicks for $5 or more per chick, is to have the right breeds for your area. It also helps to have good quality specimens of those breeds. Show quality or breeder quality preferably.

Nobody is going to pay you $3 more for a chick they can get at the feed store for $2, but if you have something that's a step above that (or just hard to find) they will pay more!

Quality matters when selling chicks

For example, my silkies all came from breeders with very good reputations. I may have paid a little more per bird initially, (and by a little more....I mean a few dollars) but it pays off in the long run. My silkies are all beautiful, fluffy and are a very good representation​ of the breed.

These birds are exactly what people are looking for when they decide they want silkies. This is why people will pay extra, your birds are exactly what they want! You simply figure out what they want in your area and you produce it, and customers will pay what you ask.

How I make $1,000 a month from 15 chickens! (3)

Another one of my flocks are the French black copper Marans. Marans are an interesting breed because they're mainly desired for their egg color. When breeding them I do like to avoid certain problems that they get with their feather coloring, because I try to stay true to the breed.

Mostly though I'm breeding for dark eggs which is simple enough.

Raising chickens that represent their breed perfectly is also a great way to get 4H traffic. Parents of kids that are learning chicken raising and showing will often look for high quality chicks to start with.

Set yourself apart from the competition

The easiest of all my flocks are guinea fowl. There's no show quality and there's no pet quality, they're pretty much all the same which makes it really, really easy. I have seven colors and they all run together. What makes my guinea keets more in demand is that I have 7 colors!

Everybody has the standard pearl color. I'm the only one in the area with multiple colors.

I did start out with just the pearl guinea fowl. In the last few years as other people also started selling keets I added the colors to make mine different and set me apart from other poultry breeders. It's important to adapt as the local market changes, people will copy you when they see your success!

Choose a breed to sell based on your location

For guinea fowl it helps if you live in a heavily tick populated area like I do here in Western Pennsylvania. Guineas are well known for their appetite for insects, especially ticks. Deer ticks in this area spread lyme disease which can be spread to people and pets causing them to become very sick. I simply saw the demand and started supplying it.

With guineas all I do is collect the eggs and hatch them. Guinea fowl are a perfect bird to make money on because people will lose them since the foolish things like to sleep outside! The same people will be back every year because they need more guineas to take care of the bugs.

The only downside of guineas is that you need a higher male to female ratio. You'll need at least 1 male to every 2 females. The upside though is that they hardly eat any feed unless it's the dead of winter!

How I make $1,000 a month from 15 chickens! (4)

Now those are just the reasons why these flocks work for me. You may have people in your area that are absolutely nuts for Polish chickens. I did really well with call ducks for awhile. If that's what's going to be most profitable chickens for you to raise, then I suggest that's what you get into...if you're trying to make money in poultry farming.

Do not hatch eggs from a commercial hatchery!

This is the quickest way to ruin your reputation! Hatchery's sell a lot of chicks and it just makes sense that they are not as particular when it comes to choosing which chickens to breed. They go for quantity over quality, and that's everyone knows this. But if you sell poor quality chickens, there is no reason for people to come to you. Here is a hatchery quality silkie and a breeder quality silkie.

How I make $1,000 a month from 15 chickens! (5)

See the difference? If you're trying to establish yourself as a breeder and you sell subpar chicks, people will never come back and they'll spread the word that your chicks aren't breeder quality. Plus, you'll spend so much money on eggs that you won't make money anyway! I know starting your own breeder quality flock is going to take longer than buying hatching eggs, but you'll be glad you did and proud of your quality!

You need to look at your incubator as prime real estate

You only have so many spaces a month for eggs, you need to put the most profitable eggs possible in those spaces. High quality and rare breeds generally can fetch the highest prices, but don't overlook ornamentals or alternatives like chukars or button quail if there's a demand for them locally.

As long as you stick to that 50 chicks a week that you can get $5 each from, you will make your thousand dollars a month.

Obviously you're going to need an incubator. I happen to have two cabinet incubators from Brinsea that I absolutely love. I can rely on them completely and they are the 'set it and forget it' type. I've seen a lot of people have good results with the Sportsman also.

I highly recommend that you sell straight run chicks. You want to avoid sex-links and other breeds that can be sexed at sight on hatch. Yes, you will lose a few sales because you can't provide all pullets. However you lose even more money if you have to raise all the cockerels because nobody bought them.

Most of my breeds cannot be sexed at hatch by the average person. I didn't do that intentionally but I am really glad it worked out that way. If by some chance I have chicks that don't sell and they grow out for a few months I then sell the pullets for $10 and either give the cockerels away or take them to auction. Sometimes I grow them out for meat, depending on how many I have.

To minimize your expenses you're going to want the chicks out of your house the day after they hatch. If you get stuck raising chicks for weeks then you're going to put feed, electric and time into them. Not only is that costing you money but your time is valuable also. You need a method for selling your chicks and preferably you will have people waiting on each hatch.

Where to promote your poultry business

Here are just a few of the places I've promoted/sold chicks that have worked for me:

  • Facebook
  • Craigslist
  • Write a Blog (that is the very reason this blog started)
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • Poultry swaps
  • Poultry auctions
  • Putting signs up at feed stores, pet stores and veterinarian offices
  • Hanging business cards on community bulletin boards
  • Word of mouth.

Facebook is tricky right now but I recommend a 'like page' so people that buy from you can follow the page on Facebook. There are a lot of local poultry swap groups on Facebook. I suggest you find some local groups as they always post when and where different poultry swaps and chicken based events are being held. Many allow you to advertise your chicks for sale. Here's what to expect at a poultry swap.

You can make good money selling chicks at auction, but poultry auctions can be hit or miss. I've gotten $15 each for Roosters that the next week fetched $2. I've gotten $30 each for adult guineas in January and $10 in July when people should need them more.

I've had beautiful show quality silkies go for $3 and an ok quality Silkie of the same age go for $10 on the same day. I've had chicks fetch $30 for a box of 5 and the next week I got $5 for a box of 10.

You really never know what you're going to get for anything you take there. Selling chickens at auction is different every time depending who's there to buy, what they're looking for and what else is there to sell.

The great part about poultry auctions though, is that many of them run year round. So those are an excellent option for slower months and you won't have much competition then either.

If you live in the southern half of the country, you can probably sell that amount of chicks almost year round. If your hatching more than you are selling though, you may want to slow down on hatching and supplement your chick income with some of these other ideas...

Other ways to make money from your chickens

Sell eggs.

Sell and ship hatching eggs. The demand for chicks is lower here in the winter and I can still get 3-4 dollars per egg in online egg auctions. I use both chicken sites and Ebay to sell hatching eggs. The difference here is you're selling all the eggs, not just the ones that hatch. Which is why I set my per egg price lower.

Sell feathers.

If you have a breed with pretty feathers you can sell feathers online. I pick dropped feathers up all the time. Every chicken that passes on gets the hackle, tail and saddle feathers clipped. I wash them and sell them online for craft projects, hair clips and fly fishing. Guinea feathers are great for this too.

Ebay and Etsy both allow feather sales.Check out these feathers at Cabela's for fly fishing to see what I mean.

Learn more about making money raising chickens

Want to know more about making money with your chickens? I wrote a book with every single detail you could possibly need about creating a chick/egg/feather selling business!

You can buy the book on Amazonin print or for Kindle and learn absolutely everything there is to know about making money from chickens! It's basically a step by step business plan for making money with chickens.

I did want to mention that breeding chickens is not as easy as get good stock and toss them together....however, in the interest of not making this post take 20 minutes to read I did summarize that part quite a bit.

When you decide on a certain breed, I suggest you research it thoroughly and purchase good quality stock from a few different breeders. There is a ton of information online about breeding chickens and I'm sure you'll find any information you need!

Want more posts on selling chicks? Click here for my other posts on selling chicks and eggs!


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