Selling naturally grown free range chickens

Roberta_z5(Z4/5 IL)February 27, 2006

Any ideas of how to market these guys? We give them Certified Organic feed and after they are out of the brooder, they are free in their yards to scratch for bugs, eat grass and be real chickens. We are getting 200 day old Cornish X's in another week or so.

Our first effort at this was last summer when we got 50 of the little guys. At 6 weeks, we had them processed and had no problem selling them (at $2.79 per #) because a local newspaper did a story on us. We want to do a total of 2000 this spring/summer/fall and need some ideas on marketing. We are in Morrison, Il. and not near any large populations. We were amazed that people actually drove 30 miles out in no-where land to find us to buy the ones we had, but I wonder if we are going to have problems getting large numbers of people to do that?

The chickens really do taste wonderful and are moist and tender. Compared to what you get in the grocery store, these are a real treat, but how do you get that across to people? (I am convinced that happy chickens are just plain tasty!) BTW, we are only allowed to sell them from our farm.

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Local Harvest matches farmers with consumers. Link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Local Harvest

    Bookmark   February 28, 2006 at 10:42AM
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ohiorganic(5/6 SW Ohio)

I sell mine for $3.99 a pound for whole fryers/roasters. I am lucky to be close to a small state inspected processor so I do not have to do the killing and bagging myself and these people do a really nice job so the finished product looks just like people expect.And because they are state inspected I can sell these birds anywhere, not just off of the farm.

In the past I would take them to the farmers' market and sell them there and generally could get rid of 150 to 200 a season. Last year I took orders and sold out in a couple of days.

I agree that pastured chicken is the best in the world


    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 9:11AM
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Roberta_z5(Z4/5 IL)

Thanks Robin for the Local Harvest site. We are now a part of that. Also, Ohioorganic thanks for the response. I thought we were too expensive at $2.79 per pound!!! We also have ours processed at a State Inspected facility that is about 15 minutes from us. Their packaging looks pretty bad, though. We bring them home in coolers and package them ourselves in Cryovac shrink wrap bags. You just dip them (bird included) in very hot water for a few seconds and you have a vacuum-packed bird.

Our birds are now three weeks old and in another week we will put them outdoors in their hoop house and yard. Out of the 200, three of them died (we have no idea why) but all look very healthy and are practicing their pecking order. Very fun to watch. We have had a problem keeping the outdoor brooder warm though and I don't look forward to seeing our electric bill!

Here is a link that might be useful: Rock Creek Gardens

    Bookmark   March 23, 2006 at 1:34PM
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ohiorganic(5/6 SW Ohio)

A farm I get an occassional email from in CT sells their pastured chicken for $5 a pound. I believe places like Whole Foods charge around $6 a pound for whole pastured chicken. And iff you eat a factory farmed chicken after eating your own for a while you too will see the value in a $5 a pound chicken (I am seriously thinking about riasing my price to that this year-it has been 5 years since I increased chicken prices and both the cost of feed and the cost of peeps has gone up quite a bit over that time)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2006 at 7:52AM
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A local farmer here raises them and brings them to NYC (about 200 miles from here) every so often he gets 7.00 per # he says it is worth the trip for the extra cash and to get rid of them all a once.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2006 at 8:48PM
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JASdesign(Z4 SD)

I was thinking of doing this. I can get the birds processed at a nearby facility. What requirements are needed for selling at the market. Do you need refrigeration or just a cooler? Thanks.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2006 at 10:20PM
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ohiorganic(5/6 SW Ohio)

You need to contact your state dept of Ag and Health dept as well as your local market to see what the requirements are. Some places require a freezer, some require a cooler and some will not allow such sales at all.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2006 at 7:52AM
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snappybob(SaTexas Zone 8)

I went to the farmers market in Austin, Tx last weekend and their was a lady selling organic free range chickens out of cooler for $5 per pound. I though that was pretty expensive but she sold out completely in about an hour and a half. WOW!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 3:35PM
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