I’ve been doing some more thinking about our chicken layer enterprise today. I’ve had the last year to see what is involved in the enterprise, work wise and cost.
I think someone as efficient as me can be running the egg enterprise and double production and still only be working about 10-12hrs a week, not counting deliveries. That includes moving the Egg Mobile every day, moving fences twice a week, and sorting out eggs from 600 hens. I’m really seeing that the only way to make a large enough profit with eggs to be profitable is to do scale. Because the profit margin is so slim, that you have to make the amount of time you’re putting in into a much larger number or eggs being produced to balance everything out.
I can double production right now, and only add around 20-30% more labor into the equation. Which is why I’m looking to up production by early next Spring. I’m also seriously considering trying to do mostly wholesale accounts for the eggs. If I can get a good enough price on the eggs than it’s worth it. To have just a couple of drop offs for eggs and be done with everything saves so much time from selling retail. I don’t want to stop selling retail eggs to our existing customers, but I might not push as much in other places if I was selling 90% wholesale.
I’m looking at the farm and looking for ways to ‘lean’ it. How to make it more efficient. Cut out the things that are inefficient in order to make more profit, rather than just trying to sell more product in order to up numbers. I’d love to hire someone to be doing more of the labor next year. Either on the production chore side of things with the farm, or on the delivery side of things.
I like egg production for a number of reasons. Reason one is that it’s so easy to sell them—especially through wholesale accounts. Two, the regulation is much less than meat, and so you’re not running into as much red tape all the time or having trouble sleeping at night because you’re worried you’ll get a fine. It’s a year-round enterprise which makes it harder than some, but it’s not as labor intensive as broilers, if you are doing farm processing of the chicken. I really think I can make this enterprise work and pay for it’s self with scale.