[Market-farming] pastured poultry

Beth Spaugh lists at rhomestead.com
Fri Apr 20 21:36:45 EDT 2007


First, I second the other two responses.

2. Join the American Pastured Poultry Producers Association at the $50 level
and get access to a great listserv monitored by many experienced folks, some
smalltime producers and several relatively large-scale producers. The
website has the various state regs on it (look under resources).

3. In New York we can process up to 1000 chickens on farm and sell directly
to the consumer. Three years ago I did 800 over the summer/fall and cut
back. I got them all sold, but it was stressful. Am going back up to 100
chicks every three weeks this year, which will be 800. But I am adding a
second market and changing my pricing so a couple of stores can be "delivery
points". I will have price tiers so a person can order/prepay for a certain
price bird. Have done chicks a month apart until last year, which works, but
they tend to be quite big by week 12. Three weeks apart seems to work well
for us.

4. My size (800 broilers, 300 layers) is an awkward size from a feed
standpoint. I am not big enough for bulk feed which would be more
economical, but really too big for bagged feed (which is expensive). I am
fortunate to have a good summer market with lots of city folks who are used
to paying high prices for fresh, free-range meat. Some of my customers will
take frozen, but at least half insist on fresh never frozen.

5. Get them out on pasture as soon as you can - by the end of the third
week. They seem much more active if they get out younger. And use a hatchery
that supports pastured poultry and supplies strains that do well on pasture
- Moyers Chicks and Hoover's Hatchery are two that I am pleased with. 

6. As the others said, do not even dream of starting with 500 birds at a
time. Banish that thought. First year, maybe do one batch of 100 for
yourself and friends/test market.

Beth Spaugh
Rehoboth Homestead
Peru NY

-----Original Message-----
From: roxann [mailto:roxann at ancientearthwisdom.com] 
Sent: Friday, April 20, 2007 1:05 PM
To: market-farming at lists.ibiblio.org
Subject: [Market-farming] pastured poultry

Now I have a different question. Maybe this isn't the right list because it
seems to be only gardening questions lately, but I would like to explore the
possibility of growing out broilers for local buyers. Does everyone process
their own chickens on-site, or are there processors that will do small
batches for a farmer? I'm thinking I will not want to do more than 500 birds
at a time. Also, what kinds of regulations are involved with raising that
quantity of chickens on a 10-20 acre pasture? There won't be the typical
chicken houses like the Tyson growers use.

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