Well, Justin and I made a small step today. A small, but important step. We have just invested in our first livestock, Jumbo Coturnix Quail.
We’re actually investing in more than that. Around this time of year there is no way to buy fully grown quail, but we want to supply our own eggs for the winter. That means we’ll have to order hatching eggs and that requires equipment that we can’t afford. So we decided that we’re going to build an incubator from scratch and a brooder. We’re also going to be building their cage from scratch as well. I’ve already got most of it worked out and it should work beautifully. I’m ordering extra eggs as well to make sure we get the amount of hens we really want. If we have any extra, we’ll probably put them in the freezer.
The Quail Master Plan
The quails are dual purpose. First, they produce eggs that are considered a “superfood” and are a delicacy. Cha-ching. They are also an edible delicacy. Cha-ching again.
We are choosing quails because they take up a lot less room than other poultry, they lay eggs rather quickly, they require very little investment and they don’t eat their weight in food three times a day. They are economical and small-scale, a great livestock choice for our first attempt. Because they are economical, we will have the possibility of making a profit off them as well, which is always a plus when trying to run a homestead without a job. (I’m working on making money myself instead of relying on Justin)
So, my plan is to have around 12 hens and 3 males. This ensures that each group (4 females, 1 male) kicks out decently fertile eggs. At any time I can swipe a dozen eggs and begin incubating again with our homemade incubator. I can easily grow meat birds and replace my hens as needed. These birds sell for $2.50-$5 each. Chances are I will be selling mine around the $3 mark. Each bird averages about 5-6oz, so they aren’t very big. I have yet to choose if I will raise them on organic feed, which will affect the price slightly.
On top of that, each hen lays roughly 5 eggs a week. With 12 hens, that’s 5 dozen eggs a week (60 eggs). We probably won’t be able to eat all that, but we might be able to sell them. Quail eggs usually sell for $4 a dozen. I may even drop it to $3 a dozen. If I can sell them all I can make $60 a month on eggs, which is about $40 in profit after their feed, probably more. That’s a heck of a lot better than chicken eggs. When the farmer’s market comes around again next summer I will be able to sell the eggs for sure and I may even be able to sell off a few birds while I’m at it.
If we sold everything (we won’t, we’ll keep some eggs for ourselves) our little batch of 12 hens could easily make $650 in a year. Justin and I, if we like it, plan on expanding the operation as well. With the farm stand included next year, I think we can make a decent profit our first year. Or at least make a profit, which is half the battle.
Now we know this lifestyle isn’t all about money, but we do need to figure out some way to bring some extra cash in. This idea seemed like it would benefit us health-wise and financially. Once I get some people hooked on the eggs, I don’t think I’ll have any troubles selling them. At our farmer’s market, no one who brings eggs EVER walks away with extras. I’ll just have to educate people on the health properties of quail eggs!
I’m pretty excited about these little guys! Here’s to a prosperous and fun idea! Cheers.
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