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Getting Into the Heritage Poultry Business

Running a poultry business requires more than good product: marketing is essential to success, and with heritage poultry breeds supply and demand realities may pose challenges.

| October 2014

  • Pheasant
    Pheasants can bring high prices in a small poultry business, but the marketing must be top-notch to build a customer base for these specialty birds.
    Photo by Fotolia/Soru Epotok
  • Beyond the Chicken
    In "Beyond the Chicken," renowned author and poultry keeper Kelly Klober offers a wealth of information for aspiring poultry keepers looking for something other than chickens, whether water fowl or land, game birds or highly domesticated breeds.
    Cover courtesy Acres U.S.A.

  • Pheasant
  • Beyond the Chicken

While producing and selling chickens and eggs may remain the most common American poultry venture, Kelly Klober invites readers to explore the possibilities of other poultry varieties in Beyond the Chicken (Acres U.S.A., 2014). Practical advice interspersed with humorous personal anecdotes guides poultry producers through the process of creating or expanding an alternative poultry venture, raising and caring for each type of bird discussed and building a customer base in local markets. The following excerpt is from Chapter 7, “Restoration and Marketing: Reaching and Educating Consumers.”

You can purchase this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Beyond the Chicken.

Developing a Poultry Business Plan

Before us now are opportunities in poultry keeping and production that, frankly, I thought would never be seen again in my lifetime. They aren’t falling from the sky like big fluffy snowflakes, but they are being found by those with the creativity and initiative to make more of them than a momentary interest in the new or faddish.

American agriculture is diffusing into many different directions, including a new/old group of true family farmers and smallholders building on local food and farming traditions yet finding new outlets for their production. Many of them are now focusing beyond the recent boom in interest in brown eggs and range broilers and are seeking new courses beyond these already possibly maturing pursuits.

Americans are not going to stop consuming such historically important staples of their diet as the egg, chicken, and turkey. Ask the emu and ostrich people, the few that are left, if there were any cracks to be found in that trinity. However, looking beyond that troika and by working with and around its edges, many producers are coming to believe that alternative poultry species and systems of production will lead to a future that those with ostriches and emu did not find.

There is a very real need now for a better marketing infrastructure to aid in the advancement of all poultry, from heirloom broilers to guinea fowl. At this moment I am aware of just one publication providing anything in the way of detailed market reporting, and this only for a handful of poultry auctions in southeast Pennsylvania.

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