Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Building a Small Business and Killing Some Trees

As many of you know (and our new readers will soon learn), we've recently joined the ranks of "backyard chicken farmers".  I mentioned my initial desire to have about six chickens in order to provide enough eggs for us and the immediate family.  Well, the hubby and the Dad decided if six was a good amount then NINETEEN would be a GREAT amount of chickens to have.  Men!

Well, all of this has led to a MAJOR over-abundance of eggs and the addition of "farm fresh eggs" to the things that we are starting to sell here at MoonCat Farms.  I am trying to get completely organized and making sure that everything is legal and by-the-book.  One of the first things I started looking into is insurance coverage

It is amazing how much information is out there and just how uninformed I am!  I had no idea the different types of insurance I could or can't get for our little operation.  The green things we grow are covered in one area and the birds are a completely different ball game.  I've learned things I could never have imagined ~ or wanted to imagine knowing.  So for instance, do you know that along with credit scores there are also insurance scores?  (I found an informative guide to insurance score in case you didn't and would like to.)  Needless to say, I'm doing more homework than anything else right now.

I've been filling out so much paperwork lately that I'm afraid I'm responsible for at least two trees being killed.  I've always known that agricultural pursuits are highly regulated, but OMGosh!  I have permantly cramped hands from filling out forms in duplicate and triplicate..blah blah blah... I'm nowhere near done either.  Still have banking to go...

On a good note, we have happy chickens who are happily producing lovely eggs.  LOTS and LOTS of eggs.

Have a great Wednesday my friends.


  1. Hey Jules
    Insurance scores-yep. When Ron and I ran our Tree and firewood service. it was the 2nd highest score because of DANGER(taking down trees and use of chain saws) Our Business liability ins. was very expensive.

    We have had chickens and have sold the eggs for years, as do several other folks in the area. We never put a sign out(there are a few people in our town that have little signs out), we sold by word of mouth to hubby's co-workers, mine (when I was working) friends, shared them with family, and I even bartered 2 dozen a month for the $5 fee at a monthly scrapbook crop.

    BECAUSE, at least here in NJ, you have to have the board of health come in, and check everything once a month or e/o month or something, can't remember now, you have to "Candle" the eggs and so on and so forth, we always initially started out each flock with about 25-30 hens, and I always liked having a rooster, because usually in every flock of hens you would end up with one or more "brooder" hens, hens that wanted to "sit" so that way we would hopefully grow our own new flock, or replace our own when some died or were killed etc.

    Initially we thought once they reached 3 we would butcher them just for ourselves, we got everything together one day, and we just couldn't do it. (Because they usually stop laying 3-5 years, which is also their life-expectancy) so we would just let them live out their natural lives and when we got down to under 5 hens, we would order a new flock of one day olds. We like Marti's poultry...check them out on the web.

    Chickens don't start laying til they are about 5 months old or so, the eggs hatch in approx. 21 days. If they absorb enough light a chicken will lay an egg every day or at the very least e/o day. (which is why if you want egg production all year, you need to put a light in their coop-60 watts is ok, if it(coop) is at least 4 x 4 x 5 to about 6 x 6 x 8 approx, after that use a 75 watt bulb)

    we really miss having them, but a jack russell in the neighborhood killed 90% of our flock 2 years ago (among other neighbors chickens) and then the dog vanished last winter so we were going to get new hens this spring summer, but our son moved home with his dog, which chases everything that moves, so we didn't. Personally I think if we train him, like we trained our Sheppard when she was alive, he might leave them alone, hubby is not so sure.

    oh, and I do not know what the going rate is out there but I know if you go the actual egg farms in my county they are upwards of $3 a dozen for brown eggs. Before our flock dwindled so low, we sold ours for $1.50 a dozen, and never did we have an issue getting rid of them, in fact we usually had to turn someone away.

    You might want to think about doing it under the table so to speak like we did. we weren't trying to "make a business" out of it, it paid for the feed, maintenance, new flocks, and put some $ in our pockets. but if you are going to try to grow this into a very large Egg business, then yes there will be lots of headaches...the paperwork is only part of it.

    Good luck,

  2. I grew up eating eggs from a local chicken farmer. Is that what it's called? A raiser of chickens and their eggs! Wish I were closer! Lovely looking eggs, Jules!

  3. I'm glad there's someone else besides me that says, "Men!" I'm always saying it. Like the time my son and I carefully painted the deck blue and white and my husband came along with the paint sprayer-sprayed the house and left white specks all over the blue parts of the deck. "Men!"

  4. Hi Lovely Ladies,

    The eggs are fantastic! And I was thrilled to see on the news tonite that they are saying the eggs today are much healthier than they were 10 years ago. The doctor on the show said that 1 egg a day is perfectly fine. Yay..

    Susan, we are already trading eggs for stuff, so we might just continue that practice and drop the rest of it. I don't want to do a real large scale operation anyway. Who knows at this's making my head hurt :)

    Nancy, I guess they're called chicken farmers - that's what I've always heard around here :) I wish you were closer too - you'd have all the eggs that you & the Herbal Husband could devour..


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