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Raising animal for profit. What do you raise and sell?

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#1 Alexandra

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 08:59 AM

Our family has about 15 acres. I would love to have a family project to raise and sell some sort of farm animal. I would like to start researching this but wondered if there are any Well-Trained Hobby Farmers on the board who would like to share what they raise and sell.
Thanks for any thought on this.
Alexandra

#2 Jackie in NE

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 09:31 AM

Gosh, there are many, many options here. Can you give us more information about the 15 acres? Is it fenced? Is it grassland, or forest, or rocky? What is your climate like? Is there shelter on the land? Would you be willing to build a shelter? How/where would you sell the product?

We've done just about everything.....eggs, meat chickens, rabbits, sheep, cattle...

You could also do goats, ducks, turkeys, etc.

You need to think about where you're going to sell the animals, and how you're going to transport them. (Otherwise you just end up with very expensive pets.) Also, how will you feed them, and what are you able/willing to spend on feed. (Grains are very expensive right now.)

My dc have raised many animals through 4-H, and it is a something they REALLY love. We've always made it very clear what will happen to the animal at the end of its life. But I've seen a lot of families have a huge problem with that part of it.

So, these are just a few things to consider....

HTH, Jackie

#3 TwinMominTX

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 10:25 AM

I'd suggest talking with your local cooperative extension agent. Making money by raising animals can be quite variable and will often depend on your particular geographical area. Feed prices (on all animal feed) have gone up considerably in the past several months and have made some animals (that heavily rely on feed to get to market weights) much much less profitable than even last year!

Jackie mentioned many good ideas to consider and your cooperative extension agent will be a great resource on helping you figure out the very best animals given local market considerations, land use comparisons, etc. etc. etc.

Good luck. Be sure to let us know what you guys figure out!

#4 Alexandra

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 10:31 AM

and the land is mostly grassy. It is fenced with barbed wire. I also have a forested area on my property that is thick with mature elm.
Thanks for feedback

#5 motherofjoy

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 11:31 AM

When you count in what it costs to prepare an area for a certain kind of livestock or pet animal, feed, vet bills, equipment, and time, it's hard to make much of a profit on any kind of livestock, unless you're doing it in large quantities. The best profit margin on any type of livestock has always been hogs, because their rate of gain (the percentage of weight they gain per pound of feed) is highest. A weaner pig bought in Feb at less than 30 pounds can weigh 300 pounds in August. All kinds of feed, from pet food to hay, has gone up. For hogs, you can save costs on feed if you have access to day old veggies and bread. To really raise a quality animal, be it a puppy or a steer, and make top dollar, you have to spend more than you think. Sometimes you do better raising chickens and selling the eggs, or a cow and doing milk shares, but it depends on your local market.

#6 TwinMominTX

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 11:44 AM

Me too! You can start your research by googling terms like land use or grazing animals in central Texas (or your specific county). Many times you'll be able to find information on how many acres will serve whatever particular type of animal you're interested in raising - for instance (2 units of cow, 3.5 units of goats, etc. etc.)

Off the top of my head, I do know that currently meat goats are going for approximately $1.50 per pound. Free range eggs are generally $3.00 per dozen and a gallon of milk is $6.00.

If I was interested in making a profit from raising animals (besides horses - which is what I currently do) I would consider the following:

miniature donkeys - this would require a larger outlay of cash to get started, but they sell like hotcakes around here. You'd want to research bloodlines and know something about showing to find out what is currently "in" in terms of show donkeys. I do know that the shorter is better for resale purposes. Donkey's aren't as stupid as horses and you'd maybe probably be ok with barbed wire fencing, but barbed wire isn't good for anything stupid/flighty or show quality.

chickens/turkeys - this is what I'd probably be interested in most for me personally. I love keeping chickens, but to make money I think you'd need to raise both meat and laying chickens. This would require some outlay in terms of coops and predator proofing, but purchasing the animals isn't so costly. You will also want to figure out the most cost effective way to butcher the animals - this might mean devision/building a plucker and doing it yourself or finding a processing facility in your area. The only thing stopping me is that I can purchase an already butchered whole chicken for something like $4 at my local grocery store. It'd be hard to do it cheaper, but granted what costs $4 isn't organic or free range. I haven't done any math or research, but turkey's might be a better investment?

goats - probably the easiest in terms of care. Goats are generally sturdy. Meat goats are in fairly high demand around here for cabrito, but again rising costs of feed have made the price per pound pretty low. From what I understand, it would be hard to raise a goat to market weight around here without supplemental feed. My friend has a few fiber goats - specifically Angorra goats and she's found that the hair can fetch a pretty good price on places like eBay and the like. From what I understand, the younger the goat the better the fiber so you would have to figure out some way to cull the herd periodically to get rid of the older goats.

dairy cow - we have some friends that sell milk for $6 per gallon. I know virtually nothing about them, but do know that you'd probably have to provide supplemental feed/hay in this area. Your land like won't be able to support them adequately otherwise.

pig - again I don't know much, but we recently purchase a whole sow dressed out at 85 lbs for less than $100.

miniature horses - like donkeys, the smaller the better. You'd probably need to do something different with fencing and your land probably won't be able to support them without supplemental feed/hay.

horses - I don't recommend. The market for horses is HORRIBLE right now. Papered, decently trained, horses are going for virtually nothing right now.

#7 CactusPair

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 01:15 PM

Well, you could start a non-profit animal sanctuary and education center and invite visitors to pay small donations. Or an agility dog training center. Or a therapy horse or dog facility....:) The well-tamed heart has a nice ring to it, imo.:001_smile:

If I had land, funds, and gumption these are a few of my favorite things that I'd be considering.

Just my 2 pennies thrown from the other side of the barnyard fence:001_smile:

#8 Country Mouse

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 01:38 PM

You could get dairy goats and make soap and cheese to sell along with the milk. You do need good fencing, though, and barbed wire wouldn't work.



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