Are you experiencing the heavy cost of supporting your feathered freeloaders? For many backyard chicken keepers, the idea of selling farm-fresh eggs to offset the costs of chicken feed and other expenses sounds appealing. However, the reality is that selling farm fresh eggs can be challenging. In this blog post, we will explore the ups and downs of selling eggs, including the oversaturated market, difficulties in finding buyers, price negotiations, and the alternative that we’ve found to make those freeloaders pay for themselves!
The Oversaturated Market
Selling farm-fresh eggs has become increasingly popular, leading to a saturated market in many areas. With numerous backyard chicken keepers and local farmers selling eggs, finding a consistent customer base can be challenging. It requires significant effort to stand out and attract buyers amidst the competition. In our area, backyard chicken keepers are having to lower their egg prices to $3 a dozen in order to make a sale, because people who own chickens are everywhere these days! Chickens are THE most popular livestock for country folk and even city folk.
Constant Outreach Efforts
Successfully selling eggs often involves regular communication with potential buyers. This may include making social media posts, advertising through local channels, or contacting individuals directly. The need for continuous outreach can be time-consuming and demanding, requiring persistence and dedication. Even if you have a list of regular customers. You will still need to track them down and set a time for pickup or delivery. If you live far out, you will run into the issue of people not wanting to drive to pick up the eggs, which means that you will have an additional gas expense if you choose to deliver. At the end of the day, you may end up needing to reach out and practically beg people to take your extra eggs.
Challenges in Price Negotiations
Setting a fair price for farm-fresh eggs can be a contentious issue. Despite offering reasonable prices, some customers may still expect lower rates (this applies to friends and family too), leading to negotiations and potential dissatisfaction. It’s essential to educate buyers about the value of fresh, high-quality eggs and the care that goes into raising the hens responsible for them. Your chickens are healthier and happier than commercially raised chickens. The ethics and the high-quality behind chicken raising should be something that people consider, but very few people do in our experience, as they’re always trying to get the cheapest deal.
Misunderstandings About Egg Quality
One challenge that we’ve run into is customers’ lack of understanding about certain natural variations in eggs. Meat spots, for example, (the small spots or strands of blood found occasionally in eggs) are typically caused by the rupture of tiny blood vessels during the egg’s formation. Even after explaining what they are, some customers (who are not familiar with chickens) may get upset about finding them in their farm fresh eggs (I’ll save my rant for how far humans have gotten from understanding where their food comes from).
What many of them don’t understand is that store bought eggs don’t have meat spots because the farms that sell to stores commercially have a massive setup and candle their eggs before selling. The eggs with meat spots get tossed. That’s hard to do with colored or dark brown eggs. It’s even hard to do with eggs that have a thicker shell because your chickens are eating gooooood. And tossing a completely good egg is absolutely ludicrous.
Exploring an Alternative: Selling Hatching Eggs
If you have a rooster, selling hatching eggs can be a potentially lucrative alternative to selling eating eggs. Hatching eggs, particularly from desirable purebred or rare breed chickens, can command higher prices. For mixed breeds, a price range of $15 per dozen and up can be reasonable, while in-demand pure breeds can be sold for $30 per dozen and higher, depending on the breed. Would you prefer to sell a dozen eggs for $5, or $30? Yeah…we thought so 😉
We’ve gone a step further and also sell chicks in the spring. But purchasing incubators can get expensive and hatching them out at the correct temp and humidity is a learning curve, so that might be something to aim for down the road if you’re just starting your journey of chicken raising.
NPIP Certification and Nationwide Shipping
Obtaining National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP) certification can further enhance the value of hatching eggs. NPIP certification ensures that the flock is free from certain diseases, giving buyers added confidence in purchasing eggs for hatching. With certification, sellers can expand their customer base by shipping hatching eggs nationwide, increasing the potential for higher sales and profitability.
The first time someone quoted me $90 for a dozen hatching eggs, I about fainted. However, she owns a NPIP certified farm with amazing reviews. And her chickens are not hatchery quality. She put the time, money, and effort into raising and breeding her birds who came from other NPIP certified farms. The health and longevity of her birds is apparent. Especially when comparing them to chickens that come from the local feed store.
Selling farm-fresh eggs is the most thought of strategy for offsetting the costs of chicken feed, but it is not without its challenges. The oversaturated market, constant outreach efforts, pricing negotiations, and customer misunderstandings about egg quality are hurdles to navigate and by the time you calculate your time and effort, the hassle isn’t worth a few bucks here and there. However, for those with roosters, exploring the alternative of selling hatching eggs can be a more profitable venture, especially for desirable purebred or rare breed chickens. By setting reasonable prices, educating buyers, and moving into hatching egg sales, chicken keepers can increase their chances of turning their egg-selling endeavors into a successful and rewarding venture, allowing those feathered freeloaders to start paying for themselves!