Breeding Ducks/Chickens for selling

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fenris
Tom Good
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Breeding Ducks/Chickens for selling

Post: #278699 fenris
Sat May 03, 2014 5:53 pm

Hi,

I don't post often but have read these forums on and off for a few years. Just wanted to post to seek out the thoughts of those more experienced than I...

I have recently acquired a couple of ducklings and added to my gang of chickens (taking us up to a grand total of five chickens!) and started thinking about whether there is potential to make any money from breeding and selling these creatures. Not a lot of money! Just to bring in a little extra cash. Mainly because I am at a loose end and we have a bit of land here, lots of space and vegetation. So I have time and resources, just lacking information, being new to keeping poultry (had chickens about a year now). I have not bred from our chickens yet, but one of the youngsters is a cockerel.

Is it possible to make any money from breeding chickens or ducks? I have no idea what the demand is. And I would have massive amounts to learn of course, but that's what the internet is for. I have lots of time and enthusiasm!

Any thoughts most welcome :icon_smile:

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diggernotdreamer
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Re: Breeding Ducks/Chickens for selling

Post: #278700 diggernotdreamer
Sat May 03, 2014 6:25 pm

Well, for starters, you need to good pens for the mothers and chicks to be in. They need to be excluded from the other chickens or they will be killed by them, and they need to be kept safe against rats, mink, foxes, dogs, cats, hawks, magpies etc. Do you want to specialise in a particular breed or is it just cross bred hens you have. You will need an unrelated cockerel. On the whole, most people who would want some hens would only want laying hens, not cockerels, at least half or sometimes more of a hatch can be made up of cockerels, so you have to reconcile yourself to having a lot of what people do not want, maybe you would want to kill and eat them yourselves. Most people would not have the facilities to take in very young chickens, preferring to get point of lay hens, so you could be feeding them for about 5 or 6 months before they were salable. Have you looked in your local paper or Freeads to see what is going on, how many adverts, what are they charging. There was a bit of a fad with people getting Eglu's but they quickly realised that 300 odd quid spent on a fancy hen house was more than the few eggs they would get or go down the local organic farm and buy a dozen. And remember, a chicken or duck is for it's life, they are a 24/7 365 days a year commitment, there are more people I would not allow to have hens and ducks because of the appalling conditions they would be kept in, but that is me, I don't want my free range birds going to live in squalor and cramped conditions.

fredc
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Re: Breeding Ducks/Chickens for selling

Post: #278882 fredc
Sun May 04, 2014 10:06 am

Yes there is money to be made in breeding poultry and many people do. You have to learn a lot and invest a lot though, easier to just sell the eggs.

Hens are born in debt and they die in debt.

fenris
Tom Good
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Re: Breeding Ducks/Chickens for selling

Post: #278889 fenris
Sun May 04, 2014 1:39 pm

Thankyou. I have no real ideas about specific breeds etc, as I suppose that would be decided by what people want - I am very much at the beginning of thinking about this! At present our birds are a mixed bunch. As for their circumstances, we have so much space that it would be easy to create seperate pen areas for young birds, and can easily make seperate and secure housing for them. I think we are well situated to try something like this, it's more a question of whether it's worth trying and whether I can learn fast enough!

fredc
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Re: Breeding Ducks/Chickens for selling

Post: #279144 fredc
Mon May 05, 2014 9:46 am

Even if you don't make much money it's very rewarding just watching the chicks hatch and grow, I love it.

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diggernotdreamer
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Re: Breeding Ducks/Chickens for selling

Post: #279145 diggernotdreamer
Mon May 05, 2014 10:37 am

One of my bantams has just hatched out two ducklings behind a bag of wood in the barn. I checked them about a hour after they had hatched and one had come out from under the hen and died. I had this happen with a bantam chick last year, and since learning CPR put my training into practice, with the aid of the toaster I warmed the duckling, rubbing its chest and doing little compressions, opening the bill and gently blowing in, after 10 minutes, it came back to life and spent the night in the airing cupboard in a box of alpaca fibre on top of a hot water bottle. Put it back under the mum early this morning and all is well. Another crisis averted. Have to say, bantam rearing ducklings in a new one on me, don't know what will happen when they jump in the water bowl. I did have a tiny bantam hatch out some full size chicks and after a few weeks a massive punch up ensued and I had to bring them indoors, they had got too big to sit under the poor wee thing and she wanted them out of her life. Happily, these are call ducklings so they are quite little.

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Re: Breeding Ducks/Chickens for selling

Post: #279146 tosca
Mon May 05, 2014 10:47 am

fredc wrote:Even if you don't make much money it's very rewarding just watching the chicks hatch and grow, I love it.


I agree, it is rewarding and we have done it for a year now. But we are seriously thinking of making the latest hatch the last. We have rare Bulgarian chooks which are lovely, but small for a dual purpose breed which is why they nearly died out. We have had no trouble selling them, though two cockerels went for nothing.

But...we are well set up here with quite a few vermin proof brick houses and as we are at home, two dogs on patrol so set up costs were small. No matter how big your plot, fox and other vermin proof fencing is expensive, as is chick proof base to the fence. You would need a good market to recoup your costs. Good reliable incubators and a nursery are other expenses, and the chicks need to have heat for six weeks before they get their full feathers (we are lucky as we have good warm weather here, but they still have heat at night)

And although we enjoy it, we will only hatch chicks under a broody from now. My 'misfits' are separate to the pure bred Shumen, I have 6 ex batts, two backyard whatever's (one of which has four Shumen chicks) one very pretty shumen and one with twisted feet. As well as these there are currently three maran chicks a couple of months old and twelve shumen chicks between eight weeks and three weeks with another dozen or so hatching. All these live together in the day and the chicks retire to the nursery with five goslings at night, in age pens, the broody is still in charge of the misfits and will not settle anywhere with her babies other than in the corner of the house. We have never had a problem integrating the chicks in to the flock even when the cockerel is with them, that is not always the case, he is a very nice boy.

The problems? Three incubators, two new ones had problems and an old one is fine, but we have a lot of power cuts here which has taken it's toll and we have lost a lot of almost full term chicks. We have bought in two dozen araucana eggs and only two were fertile, these were from a very respected breeder and he has refunded, but it is time and worry. We had twelve dutch and twelve maran eggs, a series of power cuts and lost all but the three marans, which we were hatching because we had been asked for some.

We have found homes for as many as we needed from this year and last, but have lost on rearing and egg losses. The marans and two shumen are going tomorrow and there is a waiting list for shumens, but most want them at five months, pol. And no cockerel (why bother with pure bred?) but luckily a lot are happy to have younger as space is not usually a problem out here.

Sorry, I just wrote a book on a beginners guide to heartbreak. But there are rewards too. But no monetary ones.

tosca
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Re: Breeding Ducks/Chickens for selling

Post: #279147 tosca
Mon May 05, 2014 10:49 am

diggernotdreamer wrote:One of my bantams has just hatched out two ducklings behind a bag of wood in the barn. I checked them about a hour after they had hatched and one had come out from under the hen and died. I had this happen with a bantam chick last year, and since learning CPR put my training into practice, with the aid of the toaster I warmed the duckling, rubbing its chest and doing little compressions, opening the bill and gently blowing in, after 10 minutes, it came back to life and spent the night in the airing cupboard in a box of alpaca fibre on top of a hot water bottle. Put it back under the mum early this morning and all is well. Another crisis averted. Have to say, bantam rearing ducklings in a new one on me, don't know what will happen when they jump in the water bowl. I did have a tiny bantam hatch out some full size chicks and after a few weeks a massive punch up ensued and I had to bring them indoors, they had got too big to sit under the poor wee thing and she wanted them out of her life. Happily, these are call ducklings so they are quite little.


Awww, good on you, I hope the ducklings do well.

fenris
Tom Good
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Re: Breeding Ducks/Chickens for selling

Post: #279170 fenris
Tue May 06, 2014 3:34 pm

what a lucky duckling :iconbiggrin:

sorry to hear about those problems, tosca. what bad luck!

i'll see how i get on with my youngsters and then reassess. I am pleased with the progress of my young chickens who seem to be getting very bold and hold their own against the matriarch/dictator of the pen. and the two ducklings are growing at an alarming rate. they have started to make a lot of sneezing-type noises, is this normal or a sign of cold? they are in an outbuilding with a heat-pad type thing in a nest of straw/rushes. i was also wondering how i should introduce them to the chicken run once they are old enough to live outside - there is more than enough space for everyone so i thought bullying should not be too much of an issue after they've got accustomed to one another, is this naive? i was intending to keep the ducklings in a small pen inside the chicken run once they are large enough, so acclimatise them to being outside, and let the chickens know what's coming! and at some stage later let the ducks out. the ducks would have their own seperate housing for the nights.

good or bad plan?

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Re: Breeding Ducks/Chickens for selling

Post: #279205 123sologne
Thu May 08, 2014 8:24 pm

fredc wrote:Yes there is money to be made in breeding poultry and many people do. You have to learn a lot and invest a lot though, easier to just sell the eggs.

Hens are born in debt and they die in debt.



Totally agrees with you about just selling the eggs. Way easier. We started last year with 4 hens, just to have eggs for ourselves. I ended up giving some to people around in exchange of other things and then someone asked me to buy some. I am now heading to 8 hens and will be selling up to 3 dozen eggs a week. Not much money to be made at this point, but it will pay for some of our shopping... And duck eggs are more expensive and if you have geese, the eggs are even more expensive. :thumbright:


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