Can You Sell Your Farm Fresh Eggs?
Selling fresh eggs from your laying hens is the quintessential homestead dream. All you need to do is put a ‘Farm Fresh Eggs For Sale’ sign out in the front yard and you’ll start raking in the big bucks, right? Anything is possible! But before you invest in extra chickens and a gross of cartons, let’s get all your ‘ducks’ in a row.
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Before Selling Your Farm Fresh Eggs
The first step is to research your state regulations regarding home egg sales. Some states require certain conditions for the sale of fresh eggs from your home. Here are some examples of rules you may need to follow:
- Cartons must be new
- Cartons must be marked with date eggs were laid
- Cartons must be labeled with your name and address
- Cartons must be labeled ‘ungraded’
- Eggs must be washed and candled
- Eggs must be refrigerated and sold within a certain period of time
- Eggs must be sold directly from your home, or…
- Eggs must be kept in a refrigerated unit if sold off site
- There may be limits to the number of eggs you may sell
- You may need a permit
This is just a sampling of potential regulations. Not all states have strict regulations and you might be lucky enough to live in one of them. On the other hand, if there are regulations, adhere to them to avoid paying a fine. To find out more about selling farm fresh eggs in your state, check out Egg Laws by State.
Important Note: Make sure you are up to date on the definition of free range, organic, and pasture raised and don’t make false, misleading, or unlawful claims when you sell eggs.
You should also check with the health department to determine if there are additional rules enforced at the local level. The county Extension Office may have helpful information for small farmers and backyard chicken keepers hoping to sell fresh eggs.
Now I’m Ready to Sell Farm Fresh Eggs, Right?
You checked the regulations and they don’t seem too daunting, so what is the next step? You need to check into the local competition and going price for farm fresh eggs! Travel around the area and make notes, check local ads and farmers markets, ask around and get the answers to these questions:
- Is your local market flooded with backyard chicken keepers?
- What do they charge for their eggs?
- Are they selling eggs of the same quality as yours?
- Are their eggs available consistently?
- Is there a solid customer base?
If other people in the area are selling farm fresh eggs, stop and check out their wares. If possible, ask questions about how well their eggs sell, if they sell eggs all year, how long they have been selling, and whether they have ever had a visit from the health department.
Make a few observations…Are they selling white eggs and you have multi-colored eggs? Are their hens cooped up all day and yours are free range? (If so, your eggs should have a deeper orange yolk, a definite selling point!) Do you feel that their eggs are well priced?
How to Set a Price for Your Farm Fresh Eggs
This is one of the most difficult parts of selling eggs from your flock. There are a lot of points to consider when pricing a perishable product, including:
- How much did it cost to produce a dozen eggs?
- What is the going price in your area?
- Does demand outpace availability?
- How high does your profit margin need to be?
If you are selling a product that is superior to other farm fresh eggs for sale in your area, you may be able to charge a higher price. This will depend on what your potential customers are looking for. Some people are more concerned with price than quality. Hopefully you checked into this before raising hundreds of laying hens!
If it costs more to produce a dozen eggs than people in your area are willing to pay, you have a choice…do you scale back on production or do you sell the eggs in a more lucrative market? If you need to transport and sell eggs at a farmers market in a nearby city, add in the cost of gas and renting a space to your price. At this point you need to also consider how much time it takes to raise and sell the eggs and decide if the final price reflects your total investment.
The Struggle is Real!
In my own humble experience, I was not able to charge enough to cover the cost of raising the hens and feeding them. There were times when I had so many eggs that I was giving them away and other times when our family went without. In the future I will only keep enough hens to supply my own family with eggs.
If you find yourself in the same situation, perhaps you can put a ‘Happy Hens for Sale’ sign in your front yard and reduce the size of your flock!
Ready, Set, Sell
Now you’ve come up with a realistic and profitable price and you’re ready to put up that Farm Fresh Eggs for Sale sign! If you live on a busy road your eggs may sell like hotcakes. If not, try putting an ad on Craigslist, selling at nearby farmers markets, or selling to coworkers. Can you sell to gourmet restaurants and specialty grocers? If so, you need to start a business and have eggs available consistently, or they may look elsewhere.
If all you really want to do is unload the extra eggs stacking up in your refrigerator, the easiest solution is to check with friends and family. They may be happy to buy or barter goods in return for your fresh eggs. Many backyard chicken keepers give the extra eggs to a food pantry or neighbors.
Maybe selling fresh eggs sounds like more work than you bargained for but, if you sell enough, it may be worth the effort. Just don’t go into the egg business with a get rich quick mindset…and, whatever you do, don’t put all your eggs in one basket!
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In addition to writing for her own websites, Lisa has contributed articles to The Prepper Project and Homestead.org.
The author lives outside of Chicago with her husband, son, 2 dogs, 1 cat, and a variety of poultry.