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Milk/eggs/meat business

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
We will be on our land in a few weeks (!) and I am trying to gather as much info as I can before I don't have time to.

#1--Getting a Jersey cow--Do you think I could find enough people to buy 40 gallons of milk per week?(Keep 1-2 gallons for ourselves)
#2--Chickens--Want to sell 20 dozen eggs per week
#3--Lambs--Sell the meat of 1-2 lambs per year
(Extra blackberries too)

According to the research I have done...If I could do just these 3 things then it would make our house payment and dh and I would be able to OWN our home in 7-8 years (Paying double payemnts)! Plus eat organic/free-range! This is VERY exciting to me...Our town has maybe 2,000 people (or less). 20 minutes from a town/city with 30,000 I believe.

Please give me any advice/experiences

Thanks a million! Jennifer
post #2 of 8
We sell pork, eggs, and cordwood and excess produce.

A few things to think about first.

Is our land suited to what you want to do? Have you ever done any of this before? Do you know how many chickens you'll need to get teh 20 dozen eggs you anticipate selling? WHERE are you selling? If it's at farmer's markets, have you found them, checked them out? If it's a farm stand, is there already one there? Is there good traffic?

Farm fresh eggs, esp organic free range ones, are selling quite well right now. But it's taken me all winter to get mine to start sellling. ($2.50 a dozen)

Have you figured in teh cost of feed, of buying the animals and caring for them till they produce? Of getting the cow ...hmm I don't remember the word, but preggers would do. Of caring for the sheep year round and any vet bills, etc?

Where you live will determine how well your milk sells. If it's legal. How many cows does it take to get THAT much milk!?

I strongly recommend pigs for quick turn over, easy care and easy to sell. Relatives and friends were quite willing to have us raise them a 1/2 pig for a price set at butchering time (twice what it cost us, so ours was free. Buy a half pig, pay for a whole) They're ready to go in 6 months so you aren't forced to keep them too long. (they also do a great job of clearing, turning over and fertilizing plots of land for gardens!)

Try McMurrays Hatchery for chicks. (online at http://www.mcmurraryhatchery.com ) I get day olds. Buy ONE rooster. Be prepared to eat any extras if you get any. THey will just fight to the eventual death later anyway!

If you're willing to spend lots of time SELLING you might do ok. I like the raising part, not the selling part, which I have to work on. Getting pepole to buy in advance, like with our pigs, sure makes it simpler.

Expect it to take a bit to get going. Take on one thing at a time! The library has tons of great books. http://www.thepigsite.com has pig info.

YOu might actually do better making CHEESE with all that milk!!! I dont' think you'd have the same issues with raw milk, legally. I'd be interestedd enough to drive a few miles to try it, so others might be too.

Blackberries sell REALLY well!

Good luck! Let me know how the lamb goes. I've been thinking about those too. Meat birds (chikens) are next for us though.
post #3 of 8
We raise broilers and hens for eggs and have recently added two dairy goats and an asst. of other poultry, ducks,turkeys,geese ect.

Someone gave me very good advice once. "Start off producing as much as your family can use and then, expand in order to sell."

Now I can't say I've always followed that advice but that doesn't make it any less wise

When you have a lot of milk at your disposal you will use MUCH more than one or two gallons a week. cheese,cheese,cheese
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by crissei

Someone gave me very good advice once. "Start off producing as much as your family can use and then, expand in order to sell."
That is what I was thinking....
CHICKENS-We eat lots of free range eggs (I want to start with chickens because they don't seem super high maitence)

MILK-my son drink goats and that is costing us a $$$$. DH and I like cow's milk products but we don't need 6 gallons per day!!! I would have to sell the extra...in CA raw milk is legal.I think the cow would be the biggest undertaking of all....

BERRIES- I want to grow tons because we love those too and they are so expensive and I figured extras would sell easily/frezze well.

LAMBS-we like that meat and I like that they are smaller animals.

I want to sell mostly so we at least make our food free to us. Then I was reading about how you could make some money and that would help us a lot...I do not expect to egt rich at all

Everyone in my fmaily is an euntrepenur so it is in my blood to make a business out of whatever I am doing!

I guess I will to start small and work my way up. (I don't want to be stressed out either...the point of moving was to slow down!) My grandma raised her kids on a small family farm...but there were 6 kids and they were poor so I think they ate most of their products from it (mikl, meats, eggs, veggies)!! I know I can get help learning from her...She loves that we are moving to property and even wants to buy us a dairy goat as a gift!

I have been reading like crazy from the library...luckily they are stocked with lots of farming books!! I have also been reading homesteadingtoday.com....The farmer's market about 20 minutes form our house gets lots of traffic so maybe I will look into that more...I have a huge extended family and my mom has tons of friends so maybe they will be interested too...

Thanks and kerep the good help coming!! Jennifer
post #5 of 8
Why not buy a milk goat? Around here goat milk sells for a good amount, as does goat cheese and soap. They are cheaper to buy and keep than a cow as well.
post #6 of 8
And if you feed goats a lot of molasses and sweet feeds, I've heard you can get a really sweet milk. In fact, I've had it a few times where, NO ONE in the family knew it waasn't cow's milk.
post #7 of 8
I think there is a "loophole" in the raw milk law... I heard that if you sell the raw milk under a "shares in a cow" system then the customers are part owners and it is different though I am sure that this could vary in different regions.

Dairy animals are challenging as they have such an unflexible schedule for when you must milk them, and you need a good way to process and store the milk. When we had goats (in my childhood), it seemed like the biggest chore was straining the milk through a particle strainer and cleaning the strainer again for every milking.

Chickens are relatively easy, if you have a sturdy breed and healthy environment (worry about neighbors' dogs though!) they seem to take care of themselves pretty well.

What I have seen around here is that people tend to sell organic meat and eggs privately to people they know, and that lets them act as retailer but it also depends on making the connections with folks who are interested. Local free range eggs are a product that is easier to get into a grocery or health food store than the others, and here there is a co-op of farmers that sell local eggs under one name in the stores.

Financially, I think you should just know that you can still feel secure if you make less than expected and have the necessities covered by other means.
post #8 of 8
hmmm....lots of good thoughts here.

you may not get 6 gallons of milk a day. we have a jersey/holstein cross which generally produces more milk than a straight jersey and we would probably only get 4-5 gallons a day if we milked her out (we have the calf on her still and only milk once a day and let the calf on afterward so we don't milk her out)... and like someone else said--will you be raising a jersey heifer, buying a bred heifer or a milk cow? if you are buying a bred heifer or milk cow it will be pretty expensive. but if you raise a calf up it will be a while till she is a milk cow

as for filtering stuff. i've found it easier to deal with the milk equipment than i thought it would be. we milk by hand through a few layers of cheesecloth into a stainless steel container that is easy to clean, then filter it through a stainless steel filter with disposable filters that we got at lehmans.com... into wide mouth mason jars that are easy to clean and sterilize also. finding room in the fridge is the issue for us

how much land do you have? is there good pasture area for the cow?

we can sell our extra eggs to neighbors, friends and our co-op will buy them for $2.00/dozen...

but you'll need quite a few birds for 20 dozen a week. to get 35 eggs a day, you'll want 45-50 birds, i'd think... and even if they are free-range-compost-eating birds, they'll go through a lot of layermash or feed too.

what has worked well for us is to start by growing/raising as much as we need for the year (which has taken us more than three years to learn/figure out) and then sell extra...slowly adding to what we do to have more extra to sell.

but i think it's great if you are going to jump right in-- wish you luck!
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