Need your advice

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by mike, Apr 11, 2006.

  1. mike

    mike Well-Known Member

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    We would like to start a small business from our home, we currently rent 40 acres, we have horses and chickens. We sell our extra eggs but not much in demand as we live in a rural area. We plan on breeding our 3 mares this year for foals to sell next year. I have expanded the garden this year as I would like to start a small CSA. We will also be getting two pigs this year to butcher this fall. Would like to get a couple of feeder cows but may have to wait. Should I be thinking about goats for milk? What about sheep? What else could we do to build a business? What are somethings that have worked for you? Thanks.
     
  2. terri46355

    terri46355 Well-Known Member

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    Not to be a pessimist, but selling foals will not make you much money. Most people want a well broke horse for very little money and don't want to mess around training a young horse. With all the Premarin babies out there, you can't get much for a foal unless you have a very expensive breed that wealthy people want and can afford to have trained (Friesian, Warmblood, etc.)

    If you want to raise a foal, it is a rewarding endeavor. Just be prepared to sell it for $500 or less, or keep it and train it yourself. I had the idea that my well bred Morgan mare would make her offspring worth a lot, but I found out the hard way that no one wants the babies.

    The upside to my raising the colt is that I know him, he trust me, and he is easy to train. I started him on a cart when he was 2 and now I am riding him. I wouldn't be so brave with a foal I bought from someone else.

    Good luck!
     

  3. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Mike, forget horses for profit. Unless you are an expert AND have the political connections, it is a loosing proposition. Enjoy them if you wish, but they are money pits. I'm employed full time now, so I don't do this anymore, but I used to make darn good money for about 3 months a year cleaning chimneys. A few hundred dollars worth of equipment, and a truck or van big enough to carry ladders, and you are all set. I usually quit advertising at the end of December. Most calls after that date were folks who put off calling until they had a real mess. Don't be afraid to talk to area farmers. Often you can pick up a days work driving a tractor, or baling hay. If you are artst, atend a few craft sales and see what sells good, you might get some ideas on things you could make and sell. Don't forget to market your produce and eggs as value added items. Don't just sell eggs out of your driveway, instead market "organic, free range" eggs in town. Same with the veggies. Snow plowing or shoveling might be an option.

    Good luck
     
  4. Obser

    Obser "Mobile Homesteaders"

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    My wife and I have made good money building picnic tables for campgrounds, parks and individuals. We have an economical, sturdy and appealing design that we will happily share with others.

    A month ago we made one as a gift for friends. Materials cost us less than $60 and the table usually sells for about double that wholesale. That one took us two hours to build because we were a little "rusty", but when really "rolling" we can make one in about an hour.

    We've had orders for thirty at a time and have built some for one of the large building supply stores. They also sell well to individuals. Minimal tools and equipment and simple woodworking skills are all that is required.
     
  5. SFM in KY

    SFM in KY Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Well ... I am going to be the "voice of unreason" here ... depending on the breed of horse and a few other things, including blind, dumb luck ... you can at least get the horses to pay their own expenses and at best make a profit.

    I raise ponies now and they have been paying their own way plus some ... the warmbloods/ sporthorses did as well when I raised them.

    You do have to know what you are doing, know how to keep some of the costs down, and how to market ... and as I said, the breed and your location can make a big difference as well, but it doesn't have to cost you money at least. I've been in the horse "business" off and on most of my life and at least have learned a lot of the mistakes not to make.

    I also do artwork, just started that back up again after some years of not working at it, and I think it is going to be a little more lucrative than it was for me before. Pre-Internet most of the time the best I could do was pretty much break even, figuring in the cost of framing the artwork, show expenses, printing costs and so on. From what I've seen so far, I think the technological advances both for printing options and for marketing may allow the artwork to produce more of a profit.

    I've known a number of people that made some outside income from a variety of projects ... wood decorator items, small farm implements, dog training, leatherwork ... big variety of things. I even knew one lady that had a fairly successful part time business who "catered" ranch brandings ... she showed up with a "modern" chuckwagon ... a small trailer she'd converted ... and cooked for big branding and hay crews.
     
  6. mike

    mike Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the help. I have a well breed arab, I understand horses are hit and miss. We do keep our cost down with them, would be nice to break even. I intend to put more focus on a small CSA with baked goods, soaps and such. But I am interested in getting a dairy cow or goat, Ithink the goat would be better but we have never had goats milk :shrug: . Again thank for your thoughts. :)
     
  7. dezeeuwgoats

    dezeeuwgoats Well-Known Member

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    Check out the local laws about selling milk - each state is different. It is illegal to sell raw milk in Arizona for anything other than pet use - it goes for $10 a gallon here.

    niki