The route to be­com­ing a chicken farmer…

Your Chickens - - Ask Our Experts -

QI have de­cided that I would like to be a chicken farmer when I’m older. I’m 11 and at the mo­ment I have 22 chick­ens and have hatched 18 chicks in my in­cu­ba­tor. I sell a few eggs to my friends, but I would like to know how I can ex­pand my lit­tle busi­ness and ad­ver­tise it.

AAnne Perdeaux says: Well done: you have all the mak­ings of an eggen­trepreneur. If you didn’t see my ar­ti­cle on sell­ing eggs in the July is­sue of Your Chick­ens, you will find it on the web­site. You should also check out the DE­FRA web­site (www.gov.uk/guid­ance/ eggs-trade-reg­u­la­tions). Click on ‘Egg-pro­duc­tion site: reg­is­tra­tion’ and fol­low the link to the guid­ance doc­u­ment. This has lots of use­ful in­for­ma­tion and ad­vice, even if you are only sell­ing on a small scale. The rules are straight­for­ward. Ba­si­cally, with less than 350 birds at your premises, you can sell eggs di­rect to cus­tomers for their own use.

Al­though you only need to la­bel egg boxes if sell­ing at a market, it would be a good idea to buy some la­bels and de­sign your own logo. This gives your prod­uct an iden­tity and the logo can ap­pear on any pub­lic­ity you do. In­clude your name and ad­dress, a best­be­fore date (max­i­mum 28 days af­ter lay­ing) and ad­vice on keep­ing the eggs chilled af­ter pur­chase. You can’t use the terms ‘free-range’ or ‘or­ganic’ un­less you meet the of­fi­cial stan­dards, or grade them as ‘small’, ‘medium’, or ‘large’, so use your imag­i­na­tion to come up with some­thing dif­fer­ent.

Prob­a­bly the best (and cheap­est) way of ad­ver­tis­ing is through word of mouth. Maybe your friends’ par­ents could tell their friends about the lovely eggs you sup­ply? Your own rel­a­tives could also spread the word that you are open for busi­ness. If you are able to sell from your house, a board at the end of the drive may at­tract pass­ing trade. Some sell­ers leave eggs with an hon­esty box on a ta­ble for peo­ple to help them­selves. This saves you be­ing dis­turbed, but mak­ing money does de­pend on peo­ple be­ing trust­wor­thy.

Hav­ing at­tracted cus­tomers, you will need to keep sup­plies reg­u­lar. Make sure that you have new hens com­ing into lay in the au­tumn as your older birds start to take a break. Hy­brid hens are usu­ally best for win­ter lay­ing, al­though there are some pure breeds that will keep go­ing over the cold months.

Good luck with your new busi­ness.

Some sell­ers leave eggs with an hon­esty box on a ta­ble for peo­ple to help them­selves

You only need to la­bel egg boxes if sell­ing at a market, but nev­er­the­less it is a good idea to buy some la­bels and de­sign a unique logo

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