While homesteading is a satisfying life, earning money from your endeavors can be hard. Selling eggs from your homestead is an easy way to help with costs and offset the expenses of the homestead.
By Guest Contributor Erica Nygaard
When I started homesteading, I did not decide to homestead because I wanted to make money. I homesteaded because I wanted to live a simpler life and provide for myself by producing my own food. After trying to unsuccessfully garden for a few years, I figured out what I was doing wrong. With the garden going strong, I wanted to continue on the homesteading journey.
To me, the next logical step was to get egg-laying chickens. Being a rookie chicken owner, I ordered fifteen brown egg laying chicks in a variety of breeds. They came in the mail, I picked them up as soon as the post office called, and we got them set up in their place. We lost about five of them within a week. I went to the local feed store and purchased six more chicks.
They grew and we eagerly awaited the day they would start earning their keep. Finally, after five months, they started producing eggs. At first, I didn’t think about selling eggs except as a distant possibility. We were eating them as fast as they were producing them. Then we started getting 15-16 eggs a day. We had eggs stashed everywhere!
Find Your Sales Path
I started to ask my family and friends if they were interested in purchasing eggs. I knew I could sell eggs in Iowa. In Iowa, a producer can sell eggs directly to the consumer without a permit or license. If a producer sells to a grocery store or a food manufacturer, then a permit or license is needed. Different states have different rules, but most states follow this guideline.
Selling eggs from your homestead is more than likely not going to produce a profit. If you figure the costs of your inputs such as the cost of feed, labor for chores, and start-up costs, you could probably charge $7-8 a dozen for fresh farm eggs. If you are like me and free range your chickens, you might be able to charge more or less depending on your inputs.
However, that price will probably be a deterrent. Most people will not pay $7-8 a dozen for any kind of chicken eggs. Free range or not, that price is not reasonable for most people. Most homesteaders are looking to get rid of their extra eggs and prices need to be reasonable for that to happen. In my area, a fair amount of people raise their own chickens for eggs which means I have competition for customers. I sell eggs for $2 a dozen. That price is more than the grocery store regular white or brown eggs, but less than the organic, cage-free, free-range eggs sold in the grocery store. In different areas of the country, you may be able to charge more per dozen because of your customer base and demand.
Establish a Customer Base
After deciding how much you want to sell your eggs for, establishing a customer base would be a good idea. You want to know who your customers are, when they will need eggs, and how many eggs they will purchase at one time. Having a customer base gives you a good idea of how many eggs you need to have on hand for them and provides you with consistent income.
You will have a few more decisions to make after establishing your prices and your customers. Some of your decisions will be:
- Will you refrigerate your eggs or not? We do just for food safety reasons, but that is not what all producers will do.
- Will you wash the eggs before selling them or not? We do not wash the eggs so the bloom will preserve the eggs longer. However, you can wash them before you sell them if your customers want them washed or if you feel better having them washed. We are upfront with our customers about not washing them before they buy them.
- Will you deliver the eggs, have people come to your home, or sell them at a farmers market? We deliver the eggs most of the time. The customers appreciate having them delivered to them. We also take them to work with us to sell to co-workers. You can also sell them at a farmers market if their rules allow for this.
- Will you buy new egg cartons or reuse egg cartons from the grocery store? We reuse egg cartons from the grocery store. I have family and friends who save them for me to reuse. The new cartons are nice, but you will have more input costs for selling eggs.
Profit from Selling Eggs on the Homestead
To be honest, selling eggs on the homestead is probably not going to be a profitable venture. You will be able to offset the cost of the feed which is great. You can have younger children in charge of the chicken chores and have them sell the eggs to earn a little extra money.
While homesteading is a satisfying life, earning money from the homestead is a good way to help offset the costs of the homestead. Selling eggs is an easy way to help with the cost of the homestead.
Erica Nygaard lives in North Central Iowa on a rural acreage with her partner, Rob. They raise children, chickens, pets, and a garden and are always trying new ideas and things in order to make the homestead better and make the garden successful. She is the main writer and creator at Living Life in Rural Iowa where she talks about prepping, homesteading, sustainable living, and frugal living. When she is not doing all of that and working a full-time job, Erica likes to read, organize, play on the water, cook, and learn new things. Come visit her at www.livinglifeinruraliowa.com