So, you want to start an egg CSA? Feeling overwhelmed? How do I start an egg CSA? How many hens should I have? How doe I hatch enough birds? What kind of birds should I get? How will I keep chickens? What kind of infrastructure do I need? How…
In the next series of articles I will attempt to answer some of the biggest questions about operating an egg CSA.
Raising chickens is a lot of work in itself, but making money on eggs is VERY difficult. Here are some initial questions you should ask yourself and my thoughts on them in my initial post.
Do you have a small farm and you are adding an egg CSA?
There are several reasons why having a running farm will make an egg CSA more profitable for you:
- Existing employees can maintain your hen house, collect and clean eggs and package eggs for market.
- Existing employees also become part of the story of your eggs and can relate this to customers at market
- You have an existing customer base to purchase eggs at market.
- Not everyone sells farm fresh eggs and they can draw NEW buyers to your booth at market.
- Customers can sign up for your egg CSA, pick up at market and buy other needed produce from your booth.
- THE BIGGEST PLUS to having a market farm is that an egg CSA is not your sole source of income!
Will you only be selling eggs as your cash crop?
If you are only planning on selling eggs as your cash crop you will need A LOT of capital to initiate your business. Because selling eggs is a numbers game you need a lot to make a living, or even make it worth it!
In order to make a living solely from selling eggs, you will need:
- Housing for enough chickens to make the number of eggs to turn the profit you need to live on.
- A reliable feed source at wholesale prices.
- A safe place to store feed for a month or more at a time that is safe from rodents.
- 1 nest for every 4 birds.
- A full time employee to tend the birds, clean the coops, rotate pasture, deal with sick animals, collect eggs, clean and process eggs to the standards of your state.
- Preferably an egg washing machine.
- If you are on pasture you will need to work out how you will refresh pasture and move your birds on to tew pasture.
- A licence to sell eggs
- A place to store eggs (preferably a walk in cooler or 2) One for dirty eggs and one for clean.
- A reliable delivery truck.
- Several stores to carry your eggs.
- A good way of tracking invoices, sales and expenses
- More chickens and more employees than you are thinking!
In my next article I will discuss the basic equipment needed for keeping hens. This will be an overview of the basics of chicken keeping.