ATTRA - The National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

"I am new to the production of hen's eggs. You should choose day-old chicks or more mature hens."

In addition to traditional day-old chicks, are offering chickens from 17 to 22 weeks of age (closer to the age of egg production). These have spent more time in the hatchery, the cost is higher because of the cost of food, space and transportation cost. Chickens can cost between $ 1- $ 3, more mature hens can cost between $ 17 and $ 20. The purchase of chicks and raising them until they produce eggs has several advantages: lower starting cost, lower financial risk, and more adaptability.

Knowing that every situation on the farm is different, raising chicks until the time of putting eggs will generally be more economically efficient. The cost of food in the hatchery will be higher than on the farm, depending on the origin. The additive cost of a mature grower causes more risk economically for a producer wanting to produce eggs as a viable company. Predator attacks and diseases can be more costly when the cost to start is higher.

Although some hatcheries start their birds in pasture, most do not. The transition to a new pasture environment is more difficult for older birds with habits developed in another context. When chicks are introduced to pasture from the beginning, they become more comfortable with the conditions in which they will live for the long term. USDA's organic NOP regulations require that poultry or edible poultry products must be from birds that have been under organic management continuously since the second day of life. If a producer wants to be certified, he must maintain organic conditions for new chicks, or buy chickens from a producer who maintains his organic certification.

These publications examine some of the risk factors for new poultry producers. They talk about animal management including, equipment, nutrition, predator control, processing and much more.

Are you a beginner farmer? Do you want to expand your markets? Do you want to add sheep, goats or birds to your operation? The resources on this page will help you develop a business plan, marketing plan and provide you with information and worksheets to help you meet agricultural objectives. Many of these resources have been developed as narrated presentations. To listen to them on your computer, click on the title and wait for the presentation to load on your computer. If you want to download them for later use, it may take a little time because the files are large. There are also a number of marketing advice sheets. Select the topics that interest you to get started.

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