How to Make Extra Income from Keeping Chickens

Four Parts:Creating a small hen farm on your propertyBuying the hensFeeding the chickensRunning profitable egg sales from your small hen farm

Chickens are great hobby animals, especially on a farm. They can be kept for eggs, meat, breeding or for show. You can even have chickens in the city, and earn a little extra money!

Part 1
Creating a small hen farm on your property

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    Make sure you know your area's laws about keeping chickens if you live in an urban or built-up area. Often you are not allowed to keep more than six chickens, and most places you cannot have roosters. This is for the sake of your neighbors (and your reputation). Contact your local authority before buying any hens.
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    Consider if your property is suitable for keeping chickens once you know how many your allowed to have. If you rent, would the owner be happy with you keeping chickens? Do you have a nice garden that you don't want chickens scratching around in? Do you have adequate space for the chickens to roam about in? Do you mind chicken poop in the garden and underfoot?
    • It's your choice whether you want your chickens to free-range (live on grass) or not. If you do let them free-range you must build a predator and escape proof enclosure for them but if you don't want them to free-range you must purchase or build a bigger chicken coop or purchase or build a chicken coop with a run.
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    Provide a decently sized yard for your chickens to scratch around in. Put chicken wire around the yard and make it high enough to keep them in. Chickens, especially young ones, can fly away. However, you can prevent this by clipping their wings.
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    Build or purchase a hen house. Hens need to be safe at night, asleep within some sort of suitable hen house. You can either build one or purchase it ready made. If building, decide where to build the cage. The hen house height can be 7 feet (2.1 m), with small slabs for the chickens to jump (for fun) and also for having rest.
    • Ensure that it is warm and draft free but well ventilated as well. It should also provide shelter from the weather such as rain, hail, snow and harsh winds. A well ventilated coop can prevent frost bite and respiratory disorders which is why ventilation is very important.
    • Provide nesting spots, such as wooden boxes filled with straw. This is where your chickens will lay their eggs or brood and it will also be the place where you will be collecting the eggs so place the nesting boxes in an easy to get to spot.
    • Provide perches for roosting and sleeping on. Most chickens like roosting above the ground which is why its good to place some perches for your chickens.
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    Add bedding to the coop and nest boxes. A common choice for bedding is wood shavings, pine needles or straw whilst you should use straw or hay for the nest boxes bedding.

Part 2
Buying the hens

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    Buy chickens 45 days to 2 months old. Chickens began laying eggs from the fourth month to 2 years of age. You'll get approximately one egg per hen every two days in the first year, and it will begin to taper off in the second year.
    • After two years, hens can be sold for meat for additional income. They can also be fed a finisher feed which has a high level of protein and should be fed to chickens before slaughter.
    • You can purchase pullets which are young female hens that do not lay eggs yet. They can be bought from farms, breeders or online.
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    Select chickens that provide eggs people are likely to want. Country and natural varieties tend to be popular. You will also want a chicken breed that are good egg layers such as leghorns and rhode island reds.

Part 3
Feeding the chickens

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    Consider what you will be able to afford to feed your chickens. This means feeding the chickens well without eating into the profitability of your income-seeking venture. When choosing food at a budget price, always look for ways to reduce the food cost without compromising the chickens' health and the egg quality. A lack of appropriate nutrients can cause disease in chickens, so do not skimp on that aspect.
    • If you want to promote your egg layers, feed them crushed egg shells or crushed oyster shells, these turn their eggs into the best they can be. They should also be fed this is their egg shells are soft.
    • Chicks thrive on wheat, corn, or a special chick starter feed.
    • See if it's possible to get scraps from restaurants in your area for free, chickens love scraps and they can eat just about anything besides from avocado, alcohol, salty treats and never feed them uncooked egg as they will learn to eat their own eggs that they lay.
    • Consider growing suitable food for the chickens if your land is large enough.
    • Decide whether you can feed the chickens daily or will you need to use automated feeders.
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    Make sure you know how and where to obtain feed before obtaining the chickens. Look for discounts and special deals to keep costs low. Ask what deals are provided for buying in bulk.
    • If buying in bulk, you'll need a secure and dry storage spot. You might also benefit from placing the feed in plastic containers or something alike. Rats and mice can chew through cardboard and the bags you get feed with and they will eat the feed.
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    Provide a suitable water container. You can purchase water feeders which are great especially if you are keeping chicks. The hens must have access to fresh and clean water at all times and you might have to refill the containers at least once a day.

Part 4
Running profitable egg sales from your small hen farm

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    Find out the price of eggs locally. What you are offering is free-range at a minimum, so compare like with like. If you're going one step further and raising the chickens in an organic garden solely on organic food to create organic eggs, this will put the price up, but you need to make all these things clear and verify as required by any by-laws.
    • Make your price cheaper than that of the shops. About $2.00 - $2.50 for a dozen is good (this will vary on your location in the world). It may seem cheap, but if you want to make business, you have to make it worth it for your customers.
    • To price, don't forget to include feed cost or else you end up making a loss.
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    Find out how eggs are distributed in your area. Can you make use of the same distribution network or do you need to use other means? If the latter, what sort of ways do you intend to sell? It might be door-to-door, from your gate, through the internet, etc. Again, know the local laws with respect to the sales process.
    • Try bakeries, local stores, cooperatives, supermarkets that like stocking local produce, etc.
    • To advertise, simply tell your neighbors about your chickens. They will probably be quite willing to buy eggs from you.
    • If all else fails, you can sell your eggs to your local butcher. Almost all butchers will sell eggs from locals.
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    Collect eggs daily. You should collect the eggs once a day and twice during summer or when it's hot outside, this is to be sure you get the eggs fresh. Store the eggs properly, they can be stored without refrigeration for up to 4 to 5 days, provided it's not hot.
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    Sell quickly. The sooner the eggs are out, the better and the fresher they are for the customer.


  • You may want help to build your chicken house.
  • Be sure to regularly remove the eggs from the coop and just wipe them down; washing eggs can remove an invisible layer of film that actually preserves the eggs.
  • Chickens like food scraps. They love food scraps.
  • Always, always, always have plenty of clean water in the water bowl. Chickens die if they are dehydrated.
  • Give hens medicines as needed.
  • Keep the chicken house clean. Clean weekly and remove the sawdust on the floor every 6 months and do a thorough wash down.
  • Chickens take a while to start laying, maybe a few weeks and a pullets first egg normally turns unusual at first, this is normal.
  • Make sure you know where to buy chickens. You can look very silly having a chicken house in the yard with no chickens, and no idea where to get them.


  • If a chicken is stressed, traumatized, or malnourished it will not lay.
  • You may notice some chickens being bullied by the others. This is called the "pecking order". If a chicken is at the bottom of the line, there is not much you can do about it. Pay a little more attention to it, and if it is being seriously injured by the other chickens, remove it from them.
  • Roosters sometimes chase you and attack you with their 'spurs' at the back of their legs. This is him defending himself and protecting other hens which is a good thing for when you have a lot of predators in your area. You can trim or remove the spurs, it is your choice.

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Categories: Chickens | Farming