With billions of chicken raised each year around the world, a chicken farm can be a profitable venture. While most successful farms are concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFO), many small farms operate as equitable businesses. Regardless, starting a chicken farm comes with governmental and procedural hurdles.
Write a business plan and construct blueprints. Your city and county officials will likely request to see a copy of your farm's plans before granting you a permit to open. A business plan should include financials, a budget, working capital report and expansion and production projections. Your blueprints will allow officials to see where your buildings will be sited and how far your chicken farm will be from residential property and commercial businesses. Contact a CPA if you have business plan questions. An architect or civil engineer can help you with your blueprints.
Obtain a special use permit to operate your farm. Depending on the laws in your area and the size of your farm, you will likely need a special use permit to operate a chicken farm on your property. Furnish your mayor and county board chairperson with a copy of your business plan and blueprints. You may be required to have your operation voted on at a city council or county board meeting before you receive a special use permit.
Site your chicken farm according to laws and regulations in your area. Most states have specific rules farmers are required to follow. For example, in Florida, chickens raised on commercial farms must be housed in cages. Almost all states and local governments also have manure disposal laws. Most manure laws require a minimum of approximately one acre per 1,000 birds for manure disposal. Obtain these regulations from your state's department of agriculture or city and county government before you and your contractor begin constructing your farm.
Buy your chickens. Fertile and healthy laying hens will begin producing eggs as soon as they become familiar with their surroundings. If you have a large operation and significant budget, you may also purchase peeps (chicks). However, the most cost-effective way to begin is to start by purchasing laying hens from local farmers (see Resources).Select the proper number of roosters. For the best results, about one rooster for every 8 to 20 hens is recommended.
Never operate without governmental approval.