Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ask the Farm Girl: Can I Sell My Backyard Eggs?


This week's question comes from Nola and she asked me: "I keep hens for eggs. I got them for fun and to have natural, healthy eggs. Now that I have them, I am overwhelmed with the amount of people that would like to buy eggs from me. It seems there's a real market for them in my area. My concern comes from a legal standpoint. Of course I'm not worried about selling to close friends or family, but what do I need to concern myself with when selling to people outside of that circle? Do I need to be a business? Do I need to submit myself to some egg authority?"

Great question Nola! Not many backyard chicken enthusiast start out planning to sell eggs. I love eggs but I don't eat them every day, so when our newest flock members start to lay, we could have a potential surplus to deal with! But what do you do when you have more then you can eat and you have given/sold as many as you can to friends and family!?!?

The answer will very depending on what state you live in. For you Nola, in the state of Illinois, if you sell your eggs from your home to household consumers for their own use, you don't need to be a business, have an egg license or grade your eggs!! Go girl! Sell them eggs! For the whole details on trafficking eggs in Illinois visit the Illinois Dept. of Agriculture's egg site. Haa! Nola is an egg trafficker.... it all sounds so naughty doesn't it!

But what about everyone who doesn't live in Illinois!?!?! You will have to check your state rules as each state sets their own. For my state, Michigan, I simply googled the Michigan Department of Agriculture, typed in selling eggs in their search box and with a little digging came up with the following:
7. Does an egg producer selling shell eggs at the farmers market need to keep those eggs refrigerated? Is the producer permitted to re-use labeled egg cartons bearing another distributor's name and address on the carton? 
There are no specific requirements for egg producers selling directly to a consumer or a first receiver. Maintaining eggs at 45ºF for safety, cleaning eggs and packing eggs in clean, properly labeled containers is recommended.
So as you can see in the two states I have looked into, it seems very easy to sell your surplus eggs! So why not check your state by googling you department of agriculture to find your states specifics. If you do want to start sell your eggs here are some things to keep in mind.......

  1. Wash your eggs! No one like to get a dirty egg. Keep in mind though, eggs are laid with a protective coating on them. When you wash them, you wash the coating off too. Eggs have lots of little pours and once the coating is washed off, "things" can penetrate the shell. So don't wash your eggs till right before you plan to sell them.
  2. Once your eggs are washed they should be stored at around 45 degrees Fahrenheit till they are sold to the consumer.
  3. Use clean cartons when packaging your eggs. Depending on your state you may have to use new cartons but if not, recycle cartons if you can. It's good for the environment and your profit margin.
  4. Make your cartons cute! You can easily print your own labels with your name, phone number (so they can order more) and any cute personal info, like the name of the chicken who laid the eggs! People love that kind of stuff. Depending on your state rules, dates and other information may have to be included in your labels.
  5. Be fair in your price, both to your customer and yourself. Check out what the eggs are going for at your local farmer's marker and price accordingly to what the local market will pay. And don't short change yourself! If the average price at the farmer's market seems a little high to you, think about the fact that that is what they are selling them for and people are buying them. You could go a little lower for personal customers but don't cheat yourself either.
If you do decided to sell you surplus eggs, I wish you all the success in the world. Maybe you can make enough to buy yourself something nice...... Like more chickens!!!

*** If you have a question for the Farm Girl (that's me!!) on homesteading, life, love, what color underwear you should wear, heck anything, serious or silly, feel free to email it to bornagainfarmgirl@gmail.com with the subject "advice." I am an open book, and while you may or may not always like the answer you get, I hope you will at least walk away with a giggle or two. ***

35 comments:

  1. Great post. I looked into the Virginia Egg Laws and here in Virginia only UNwashed eggs can be sold and they have to be in brand new (not reused) cartons. The laws do vary state to state and often it depends on how many you sell.

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    1. Unwashed!?!? Wow, better keep those nest boxes spotless *wink*

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  2. In Arizona, you have to register to sell "nest run" eggs, but there is no fee involved. Nest run eggs are unwashed, ungraded and unmarked as to grade and size. If you sell more than 750 dozen eggs in a year, you would be a commercial producer and subject to AZ Dept of Ag standards. There is nothing in the statutes about what kind of packaging may be used.

    Oddly - according to the AZ Dept of Ag website "Nest run eggs may not be advertised or sold as “fresh eggs” or “local eggs" because A.R.S. § 3-724 requires that eggs marked as fresh or local meet the requirement for Grade A or higher. Nest run eggs cannot meet this requirement, because they are not graded for quality."

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    1. OOPS - I checked another section and discovered that nest run eggs cannot be sold in cartons that are trademarked or have a trade name used by another company. It wasn't in the statute I checked. Bad girl for assuming!

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    2. Way to do your research Deb!!! Now go sell some eggs!

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  3. I've sold extra eggs to my co-workers, and could sell more. I bought 4 pullets this time. It helps pay the feed bill :)

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    1. Pay he feed bill or buy more pullets? LOL *wink*

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  4. I always say I'll use it to pay the feed bill, but end up spending the cash somewhere else. Haha, I'm so bad at that! Thanks so much for answering this question! -Nola

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    1. Thank you for asking Nola!! It was a good question I am sure will help a lot of folks!

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  5. Awesome info! I hope to have chickens one day so glad to know this info is out there on the chance I will be over run :) Go on with your bad selves you egg traffickers! lol

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    1. It all sounds so naughty doesn't it! LOL

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  6. I love to see the little handmade "eggs" signs on the side of the road! Thanks for sharing at Let's Get Real (I'm co-hosting this week)!

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  7. Oh, eggs from a small farm are the best. It's way better than going to the store and buying them.

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  8. Since we have guests from all over, I'm sure this info will be valuable to some. Thanks for sharing it here at #theWeekendSocial. Hope to see you same time next week. I'm off to pin your link! :)

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  9. Thank you so much for linking up at Tasty Tuesday! Your recipe has been pinned to the Tasty Tuesday Pinterest board! Please join us again this week!

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  10. In my state of Missouri I believe we can sell from our own property without a license. Selling eggs is a wonderful little business for children to get into. I miss having our own - maybe we'll have a flock again soon. Thanks for sharing and encouraging us to find the answers to these questions!
    (stopping by from the Hearts for Home Blog Hop)

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    1. Once our new pullets get laying I might let the oldest country kid sell s few dozen to make pocket money!

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  11. Great post. Great information. Thanks for sharing this. I would love to have yard chickens again. I only had two once and they totally kept us supplied in eggs. It was a lot of fun. I miss them. I enjoyed my visit. I am following you now.
    Have a good weekend.
    Sherry

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    1. Welcome! I love connecting with new folks.

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  12. Great post and love the detailed info. I'm featuring this tomorrow at GardenUp green on Tuesday's with a Twist. Hope you get a chance to stop by. -Carole

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  13. Thank you for sharing at Tuesdays with a Twist! YOU have been featured today at Back to the Basics!

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  14. Great post and info. Our family usually takes care of using up all the eggs the girls can lay but maybe someday we can sell a dozen!

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    1. I too have never sold our eggs. Given away some but never sold.

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  15. An Egg Trafficer!!! ROFL!!! Love it. I'm in GA, Back Yard chickens JUST became legal where I live, so I don't have a flock yet, but I can't wait. We also live on a main road, so I know if we decided to sell that we would have no trouble. :D Thanks for the info!!

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    1. Location, location, location!! And it sounds like you have it!

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  16. I sell our surplus eggs to pay for feed. I think I've finally met that magic number where we break even. Thank you for sharing on Green Thumb Thursday. I hope to see you again today!

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    1. That is awesome you can support you chicken habit selling eggs! LOL

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  17. Thanks for sharing on The HomeAcre Hop! I hope you will join us again today :)

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