The route to becoming a chicken farmer…
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