Upstate NY

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Cygnet, Sep 11, 2004.

  1. Cygnet

    Cygnet Guest

    Can someone give me the scoop on Upstate NY for a homestead? Not to make a living on, but as a side business, raising chickens for sale.

    I'm an Arizona native. I'm seriously not fond of cold weather but there's a really wonderful guy involved who I've known for about ten years and we're in the light discussion stage of who moves where. I suppose I could hibernate next to a space heater for several months out of the year ... he's worth freezing my butt off for. *grin*

    Area would be Rochester/Penn Yan should I move to join him in a few years. (And my guy's clueless about livestock stuff, he just vaguely knows there are "fixer uppper farms" in the area.)

    I have a flock of about fifty chickens -- I have NO problem selling chickens here in AZ, and in fact, have far greater demand than I can produce. I do not intend to sell eggs -- I do intend to make a sideline business selling chicks and started pullets. I have marans and ameracaunas plus I'm expirimenting with cochins and buff catalanas.

    So I need to know what the market is like in New York for chickens -- specifically the marans and easter eggers. I can get easily $1.50 a chick, $12-15 a laying hen, and $7 a butcher rooster.

    Can I approach those prices in New York? My chickens are *nice* utility birds and are always sold in top condition. (I've got the cochins for the pet market, but the marans, easter-eggers and catalanas were chosen specifically to have a dual-purpose bird in each egg color, white, brown, and green.)

    What are the land prices like? I'd need several acres, a house of reasonable size, and preferably a good sized barn that's structurally sound and dry. I am handy and can fix a lot of things myself (plumbing, electrical, light basic carpentry if it doesn't have to be pretty, etc.) so a "fixer upper" farm would be fine.

    Predator issues? Out here, the only predators are dog packs and coyotes and I deal with them with electric fencing and guard dogs of my own. Do I need to worry about large predators?

    What about *work*? I absolutely have to have GOOD health insurance as I have some serious health issues that need $$$ health care and right now I have top health insurance. (This move will only be pulled off if I can land a good job with good health insurance BEFORE moving.) I do inbound customer service for a health insurance company right now, which pays a living wage.

    Anything else I should know? Area politics? Pitfalls and minefields I should be aware of? Attitudes towards raising chickens in general?

    (Who is seriously none too sure about the weather, but figures she'll give a good faith effort at finding out the possibilities.)
  2. boxwoods

    boxwoods Well-Known Member

    Oct 6, 2003
    Central New York
    Well, first of all, that area is in the snow belt. You are talking, when it snows in December, that snow is still on the ground in april

    prices of chicks in the feed stores are $3-$5 bucks around me in quanities of 6 or more.

    You will need a full time winter coop to keep them in. No such thing as free range at that time of year.

  3. UpstateNY

    UpstateNY Active Member

    Aug 3, 2004
    Upstate NY binghamton area
    I a near Binghamton. Some of my favorite days of the year are going out on clear frosty mornings when the snow crunches under your feet. Sitting by the fire under a blanket, reading and watching the snow pile up. I hate winter. The problem is it stays that way every day day in and day out for months. My fingers freeze while doing chores, spill some water on yourself or get a bare hand wet while working!!! wet fingers instanty freeze onto anything metal. Every morning and night. It is a trade off. Years ago 5 out of 7 days a week I went out and had invigorating, hardy thoughts and enjoyed myself. As time goes on that ratio is dropping. I still love the good days enough to put up with the bad but.... geez West Virginia is sounding nice.
    I hope you like Taxes. NY has never seen a tax or a law it did not like. If any state in the union comes up with a new regulation or a tax then NY feels obligated to quickly pass one of their own. We are the highest taxed and regulated state in the union and proud of it. I pay $2800 a year on 5 acres (that is local school taxes) my friend in PA. 8 miles away pays $260 a year on 8 acres.
    Good news about NY. Our roads while they take a beating in winter are better constructed, better maintained and kept cleared more then in PA. We have outstanding schools and the best state university system in the union (only California comes close). We do not have hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados or dire doughts. We have hunting, fishing, museums, parks (the largest state park system in the union), wonderful summers, hills and trees and green.
    As for prices on the chickens I do not know. I have chickens but I buy on the cheap. Last year we bought a total of 57 straight run chicks. We paid 50 cents a peice for the barred rocks and 30 cents a piece for the mixed ones. I only see sale barn prices, but they run a $1-2ish for hens and maybe up to $5 for top roosters. These are sale barn prices and do not reflect the total picture. You may be able to establish a customer base and do well. I am going to the sale barn tomorrow with my culls from the 57, about 25-30 birds. I am hoping for 50 cents or better on each and if they went for a $1 I will be very happy. These are young roosters, small birds etc. Culls that I do not want to keep for layers or to put in the pot. So their price will not reflect what you could get with quality birds and an established base. But that is all I know about chicken prices here.
    land: if you can find it for $1000 an acre let me know!!! I have not been searching land lately either, but I hear of 5 acre building lots being sold for 30,000 -50,000. The last time I checked on land the guy wanted 10,000 an acre. I thought he was crazy, told him so and did not buy. The land has still not sold 8 years later so... but the point is people are asking that, not always getting it, but no and then they do so... Prices will vary greatly depending on location, but in general I would estimate 5,000 an acre and expect to be off by a grand or so one way or the other. These are all rural farm land, fields, woods, no service prices. I have no clue to village/city prices.
    There are still bargins to be found here. old farms that have gone under (there were plenty of those here over the last 30 years) etc., but you will have to look and be prepared to put some sweat into them. The last time I was looking for a home was 10 years ago. I found 5 acres, a log house and a neglected pole barn for 86,000. The property was in forclosure, with 3 different banks, had legal access problems and a number of problems to getting a clear title. I was able to get it because I had a cheap lawyer friend to help.
    The winters, taxes and beauty of the area are consitent, the rest is a matter of looking around and finding the right thing for you. I hope this helps give you a small picture of upstate NY. Notice I complain a lot but am still here so.... it must not all be bad.
  4. Prinls

    Prinls Active Member

    Jul 19, 2004
    I am about 40 minutes from Penn Yan. Chicken prices arecheap unles you find an ethnic market in the city any city with a Hispanic or Pakistani/Indian populace will do. I started selling my eggs at an auction nearby and have been very discouraged to find that after commission I was only getting 60 cents a dozen. Some people sell out of their homes for $1 to $1.50 a dozen. Luckily for me a friend that comes to visit me from a small city about 2 hours away knows some Indian people who are now begging to buy my eggs at $2 a dozen, which I am very happy with. They also want to buy live chickens to butcher themselves but we have not set a price yet. There is also a man who buys everything in the way of poultry and rabbits and sells them live at an auction in Rochester. I think he is Hispanic and assume that he sells to other Hispanics. He seems to do quite well but not sure of what he gets> I keep meaning to check it out but Am about an hour and a half from Rochester and just haven't made it up there. I have had mostly bad luck buying and selling at the local auction. Commission is 25% on small animals. I have been burned buying at the auction last week I bought 5 young RIR "hens" to try and get more egg layers. They turned out to be 5 young roosters that had nicely manicured tail feathers to make them look like hens. You can't always tell what you are getting without a close inspection. I also ended up buying a goat that I ended up paying the vet $130 to put down. About a month ago i bought a pair of young Brahmas but the roo was lame when I took him out of the box and the hen ended up dying of unknown causes after a week. So I have sworn of buying at auctions. I am determined that I will somehow make a living of this chicken business. As far as the weather, it is something you get used to. The roads are kept plowed. I live in Nowhere on a mountain on a dirt road and I never have a problem traveling. Land prices are outrageously cheap and bargains abound. The closer you get to Rochester the higher you get. This is a beautiful, friendly area and taxes are low.Feel free to PM me if there is anything else you want to know.
  5. john#4

    john#4 Well-Known Member

    Mar 10, 2003
    This website list land all over the world. Just go down the left side. All states also have links.
    Be shore to check out Main.
  6. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

    May 21, 2004
    Zone 9b
    I went to college near was a real pain for this Florida native to have to wear clothes all the time. I had to put on the works (hat, gloves, scarf, coat, boots, socks, etc) just to get the mail. If the sun came out during the 7 winter months (Sep - March), everyone ran outside to look at it! I found the gray skies depressing. In spring the snow turned slushy and mud was everywhere, then would freeze into ridges at night. There were state, county and city taxes. Wouldn't he rather retire to your state? The schools were excellent and the smell of lilacs in the spring was heavenly. I migrated home each summer so maybe I missed the best season there.
  7. 3girls

    3girls Well-Known Member

    Aug 18, 2004
    SE PA, zone 6b
    Please understand that I am speaking from extreme bias here. Also, I am speaking only for myself, and certainly do not mean any insult to anyone who may disagree with me. So-o-o, here goes.

    Four years ago, I had a five acre farm in Western Washington State. I loved it, but found that I had just about run out of energy and money after about 5 years. I have lived in the West all my life. My daughter lived (still does) in a suburb of Philadelphia. After much consultation amongst the family, I decided to live with her (at her invitation). We live in a beautiful area, definitely residential, on a two acre lot. I can do some minor farming (chicks, rabbits, veggies, backyard nursery) but nothing more. Since I am 70 yo, that's plenty.

    Be advised that in many ways, the culture East of the Mississippi is deciidedly different from the West. In many ways, to me, it has been like moving to a foreign country. I've had to adjust to the rapid, abrupt speech patterns that sound belligerent to me. (It's not usually meant that way.) The streets are laid out funny, because over 200+ years ago, they were Indian trails. Out West, I'd never think twice about driving an hour or two to get east of the mountains (90-100 mi) and here, I get excited about much fewer miles. "How far is xxx?" "Oh, only 30 minutes or so" (never answered in miles) for about 12 miles. The people here drive a little like Italians, but they all seem to know the unspoken rules and stay out of trouble. A yellow light means you have 30 seconds until the other guy gets green. This is done so that there is a slight delay between the changes. The only problem is that everyone knows the purpose and takes advantage of it. Mountains are not mountains here. You drive to the mountains and keep asking where the mountains are and find out you've been in them for a half hour. Believe me, after a half hour, you'll be coming out of them. I think I miss the mountains most of all. In my area, I seem to be the only person who wears jeans and flannel shirts all the time. When you go out into the country here, there is no country here! There are a LOT of people in the East. It is 2-3 hours difference from your friends in the West, so you have to stay up late to have a visit. The store brands are all different, so that will be part of the adjustment. The Atlantic is definitely NOT the Pacific (greatly mis-named).

    I am reasonably content here, we have a terrific church, good schools for the grandchild. It is awesome to me that our church nearly 100 years older than the American Revolution. We have two unknown soldiers from that war in the cemetery. Ours is the second oldest Episcopal church in the country. History happened (and, by golly, is still happeniing) all around here. I have driven and stayed around the countryside east of Syracuse, and found it charming.

    My only point is that it is very different.

    If you have a working place that you own (m/l) with a business going with the chickens, and a job that already pays the health insurance (?pre-existing?, what's that?), and the neat guy doesn't, I'd think long and hard about re-locating. Believe these people who talk about the cold. Your blood is quite a bit thinner than theirs. That first winter will be a bell-ringer!

    Well, there's my advice, and it is worth what you paid for it!! Frankly, at this late stage, I'd rather live in the West than living with a second Tom Cruise. Oh well, I really do accept that I am here for life, I am of use in the household and visit the West whenever I can.

    I tried to insert a bunch of icons after the fact to show that I really do have quite a sense of humor. Oh well, live and learn. I am quite grateful for my daughter's welcome, and I do prefer living in a household with other people around.

    I wish you well in your decisions.

  8. marisal

    marisal Well-Known Member

    Jun 3, 2003
    I live in Rochester. I don't know anything about the chicken market...but I'll tell ya what I know about as much as I can. Taxes are high! Right now I live on .22 acres thats right point two two, in a 1100 sq ft ranch house, and we pay $3600 a year in taxes. Different towns in Rochester may be a little higher, or a little lower. Rochester is in Monroe County. Monroe County is a bit stricter than surrounding counties when it comes to building, septic, animals, and such. If I were you, I would stay out of Monroe County.

    We bought 24 acres in Bergen, NY about 20 miles from Rochester, in Genessee County. We paid $26,000 for it. Taxes are $650 a year right now, but when the house goes up (should start building in about 2 weeks :p )the taxes with be closer to $6,000. But we are Zoned agracultural residencial, (I can't spell) So I can have bon fires, animals, and anything I want which I am VERY happy about.

    I love the 4 seasons, and winter is nice, some years are a bit longer than others, but you get use to it.

    Wegmans is the big Grocery store around here, and they are great! Much better than a lot of other stores around the US, (In my opinion)

    I can't think of anything else right now, but if you have any other questions, just ask!