Poultry Farming in the USA, How to Start, and Cost

Introduction Poultry farming is an activity that involves raising many domestic birds for food production, such as eggs and meat. Poultry farming is a fast-growing area in the agriculture and farming business. Poultry farming has a better chance of making a profit in this business. Poultry farming is one of the most lucrative businesses with increased demand for poultry products. It is considered to be the fastest-growing division of the agricultural sector.

Poultry farming is defined as the commercial rearing of domestic birds for meat, eggs, and feather production. However, although poultry farming may seem quite lucrative, many fail due to a lack of proper knowledge and business acumen. Usually, the American Poultry and Egg Association is the largest and most active poultry organization in the world. The USA has a strong poultry industry with inventories of over 518 million chickens. Chickens were raised primarily on family farms or, in some cases, poultry colonies in the United States.

Step-by-step guide on how to start poultry farming in the USA, poultry statistics in the USA, poultry breeds in the USA, Cost to start poultry farming in the USA

How to Start Layer Poultry in the USA
Layer poultry (Image source: pixabay)

America is the world’s largest producer and the 2nd largest exporter of poultry meat. American consumption of poultry meat (broiler, chicken, and turkey) is higher. The US poultry industry has been hit hard by currency fluctuations and economic growth in the import markets. The poultry and egg industries are major consumers of feed grains. Knowledge of the industry and extensive training is essential for any possible entry into the poultry industry. According to the USDA, 97% of the country’s poultry farms are with a major producer, with four major controlling more than half of the poultry and turkey markets.

Key benefits of poultry farming business

There are many benefits to the poultry farming business.

  • Poultry farming provides higher yields. It doesn’t take much capital to become a poultry farmer.
  • Poultry farming does not require many places, and you can start with available areas.
  • Poultry farming can be profitable immediately. Poultry farmers only need less care. You can easily get a license for this business.
  • You are promoting agricultural products that are in high demand. Employment opportunities are created at many levels.
  • Most financial institutions and businesses will approve loan packages for poultry farmers. This gives you an immediate return on investment. Marketing is very easy.
  • You can start a business with very little money
  • High profit in a short time
  • Easy marketing
  • No need for much maintenance
  • No license required
  • Huge global demand

The best location for poultry farming in the USA

  • Poultry houses should be away from residential and industrial areas.
  • It should have proper road facilities. It should have basic facilities like water and electricity.
  • Availability of farm labor at relatively cheap wages.
  • Poultry houses should be in a high area, and water should not accumulate there.
  • It should have proper ventilation.

Housing for poultry farming in the USA

Housing at commercial chicken farms has undergone a lot of scrutiny in recent years. There are pros and cons to different options of meat birds or layers. Traditional housing systems are the most common and consist of solid metal or mesh poultry cages with loose floors that house 3 to 8 birds. Water is supplied through an overhead system, and feed is fed into a trough along the front of the cage. Depending on the space available, they can be decorated or spread on the floor.

Traditional broiler production systems work well where adequate food supply is a major concern for growth. In a single-layer cage, there are holes for eggs to fall. If you are raising chickens, you will want parent cages that allow mating and where the minimal breaking of eggs is a major concern. Some breeding systems include rearing cages that allow chickens to grow. For those who raise chickens in the backyard chicken coops, there are endless options. The protection of predators is potentially a major concern.

Learn about the poultry farming business

The first step in starting a poultry farm is to get some basic training. Do not rush into running a poultry business without proper training from a reputable farming organization. This is a delicate business because you are dealing with live birds. For example, if you do not receive daily training in poultry farming, it may end up costing your poultry business. Many of your baby chickens could die if you don’t know what to do right now. So, learn all the basics of farming to run your poultry business successfully. So, you can take a training course, even a short course, to learn how to grow baby chickens. Many agencies are running poultry farming courses. Sign up for one of the basics. You can also consult a farmer to learn some basic tricks for handling baby chickens.

Select your poultry sector in the USA

Poultry farming is a vast industry. There are two types of poultry farming: broilers and layers. Broilers are chickens you raise for meat, and the layers are the hens you raise for the eggs. In general, the chicken-rearing business operates in many fields. So, decide if you want to work in all fields or if you want to limit your poultry farm business to just one or two fields of your choice, especially in the beginning. The poultry farming types you can choose from are;

  • Meat production (broiler breeding),
  • Egg production (layered breeding),
  • Poultry feed production.
  • Chicken breeding (Hatchery)
  • Egg and meat processing

However, before starting a poultry farming company, think about sales assurance. For example, if you choose to enter the broiler business, consider the risks involved. So, start a broiler business, for example, buy from you when you contact broiler companies in your area.

Important poultry farming equipment

The success of your poultry business will depend on the quality of your equipment. With quality equipment, you can feed your birds healthily. Different equipment is available for poultry farmers, and you can get at least basic equipment. Poultry farms must have the right feeders, watering cans, ventilation systems, cages, coops, and perches.

You must install brooders or heaters, lighting equipment, and an egg tray for the poultry business. However, you do not need to equip your small poultry business with a full range of equipment. Many of them are sophisticated and expensive. It is wise first to apply only the basic equipment needed to keep your chickens healthy. Then, as your business expands, you may get a loan to buy more expensive goods.

American chicken breeds

American poultry breeds are very productive. They are medium-sized chickens. They have a red lobe. They do not have wings on their legs.

  • Ameraucana
  • American Game
  • Brahma
  • Buckeye
  • California Gray
  • Delaware
  • Dominique
  • Holland Chicken
  • Rhode Island Red
  • New Hampshire
  • Plymouth Rock
  • Jersey Giant

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Jersey Giant Chicken
Jersey Giant (Pic credit: pixabay)

This includes birds developed in the United States, usually crossing the Mediterranean and Asian types. They serve the dual purpose of laying meat and eggs. Although there are eleven different breeds, the most famous of which are the following;

Rhode Island Red – It is the most popular of the American breeds, imported into this country due to its tough nature. It can survive in humid, dry, or rainy areas. It is useful for all purposes. This is a good layer, and the eggs are large brown shells. The quality and production of meat are excellent. Baby chickens grow fast and are not so delicate. There are two types of Rhode Island Red – single-combed and rose-combed. The average weight of a chicken is 3.8 kg.

Rhode Island White – Its structure is similar to Road Island Red, but the plumage is white instead of red.

Wyandotte – The body of this breed of bird is relatively round, with a small beak and a rose comb. It is good for the dual purpose of eggs and meat but is more popular as a tablebird. It lays well. The average weight of a hen and a hen is 4 kg and 3 kg, respectively.

New Hampshire – Named after the place where this breed was made from Rhode Island Red Stock. The body is less rectangular compared to the Rhode Island Red. The color of the plumage is dark oak red. Due to its hardy nature, it has gained much popularity in recent years.

Delaware – The body is wide and slightly sloping towards the tail. The plumage is white with black markings on the wings, neck, and tail feathers. They grow fast and are, therefore, very useful for meat production. The average weight of a male and a female is 4 kg and 3 kg, respectively.

Egg-laying poultry breeds in the USA

Breeds such as Ameraucana, Buff Cochin, and the Silver Laced Wyandotte are docile, make good pets, and have large egg-laying hens that lay unique eggs. The White Leghorn is a classic breed of chicken for eggs. It is a major producer of large white eggs. Black Copper Maran is another egg-laying breed that lays chocolate brown eggs. Deciding what kind of eggs you want is part of the chicken-rearing plan.

Exotic poultry breeds in the USA

Chickens provide meat and eggs for both large and small producers. They also make good pets.

The Silkie chicken breed is one of the most unique and friendly breeds. This breed originated in Southeast Asia and is easily identified by silk feathers. They are cheap, easy to maintain, and grow in hot and cold seasons. They can be affectionate and companionship.

Blue State Turkeys are another unique breed of poultry. Sometimes, these are called slate turkey or lavender turkey. Rarely, Blue State Turkey is a heritage breed endangered by the protection of American livestock breeds.

Essential tips to remember for poultry farming

Start small at first – If you are inexperienced in the market, do not start large-scale poultry farming. You have to start small and then expand slowly as your business grows. You should also do a proper feasibility study before going into business. If there are too many competitors or if the supply of poultry products in your area exceeds the demand, then look elsewhere to start your own business or look to start another business.

Consider meat packaging and production – Many people get their poultry products from grocery stores and supermarkets. Very few people still buy live animals because they think that when you buy pre-packaged meat, it is low pressure, which you can use to make your food in a few minutes. Therefore, you should consider your meat production and packaging business to sell your farm products.

Chicken industry in the United States

The most successful and important sector in the USA is the chicken industry. Over 50 years, the American broiler industry has grown from a fragmented, locally based business to a highly efficient, vertically integrated, progressive success story that is increasingly delivering to consumers across the country and around the world. The modern chicken industry produces nutritious, high-quality products that have become cheaper.

Key facts of the broiler chicken industry in the USA

  • About federally inspected, approximately 30 companies are involved in the poultry rearing, processing, and marketing business on a “vertically integrated” basis, meaning the company can ensure quality at every stage.
  • About 25,000 family farmers have production contracts with companies in the poultry business.
  • The United States is the world’s largest broiler chicken industry, exporting about 17% of its production.
  • The United States is the world’s second-largest broiler exporter after Brazil.
  • Americans eat more chicken than 93.5 pounds per person – the number one protein used in the United States.
  • The top broiler-producing states in the USA are Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama, North Carolina, and Mississippi.

Significance of poultry production in the United States

Poultry production was due to the discovery of vitamin D, which made it possible to keep chickens in captivity throughout the year. Chickens did not breed during the winter due to lack of sunlight, and off-season egg production, incubation, and meat production were all very difficult, making poultry a seasonal and expensive proposition. Year-round production reduced costs, especially for broilers. Artificial daylight supplements are also being used. As production and quality improved, so did the need for labor.

Farmers usually triple the number of their chickens, put three hens in a birdcage, or convert their floor cages from one hen deck to triple-decker hens. Shortly afterward, prices fell further, and many egg farmers left the business. It began the transition from family farms to larger, vertically integrated operations. This decline in profits led to a general decline in consumer prices, with poultry and eggs losing their status as luxury foods.

The vertical integration of the egg and poultry industries was a late development following years of major technological changes (including modern broiler breeding techniques, the adoption of Cornish cross broilers, cage laying, etc.).

The chickens can be sent to slaughterhouses for slaughter and can be frozen for processing in pre-packaged commercial products or sent to fresh markets or wholesalers. Meat-type chickens gain market weight in 6 to 7 weeks, compared to three times as long as 50 years ago. This is due to genetic selection and changes in nutrition, which are illegal for poultry use in the United States. Once the meat is only occasionally used, general availability and low prices have made chicken a standard meat product in developed countries.

In the United States, laying hens are slaughtered after the second laying season. The laying period begins when the hen is 18-20 weeks old (depending on the breed and season). Some egg breeds have low commercial value at any age. Such “day-old chicks” are sometimes sold as food for birds. Older chickens also have a lower commercial price.

Traditionally, poultry production was distributed throughout the agricultural sector. Egg production occurs in early spring when farm costs are high and incomes are low. On many farms, the herd was the most important source of income, although it was often not appreciated by farmers, as the money came in many small payments.

Feeding options for poultry farming in the USA

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Chicken Feeding
Chicken Feeding (Pic credit: pixabay)
  • Commercially reared chickens are usually fed what is called a complete feed that contains all the proteins, energy, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that contribute to proper growth, egg production, and the health of the birds.
  • Chickens are given a high-protein starter diet lasting 6 to 8 weeks after the baby is born. They are then converted into a high-energy, high-protein, or high-protein diet.
  • Beans and peas provide good protein in poultry diets but must be processed (roasted or steamed). Raw, unprocessed beans contain enzyme inhibitors that interfere with digestion and absorption of nutrients.
  • Poultry feed may include antibiotics and other medicines. Scheduled feeding provides a stable diet.
  • Coccidiosis is a disease of chickens that is environmentally difficult to control, and adult chickens can develop resistance if exposed to a mild case. The usual practice is to feed coccidiostat feeds until about 16 weeks of age, then switch to untreated feeds. Even if the spread of infection in older chickens requires treatment, the treated feed cannot be fed in the last week before harvest.

Learn how to feed chickens

You can even use your poultry feed with ingredients you buy from the market. Please learn to create feeds. Make sure you specialize in preparing poultry feed properly. It should be a balanced blend of great nutritional value. Lack of proper nutrition will result in fewer eggs. Such chickens also suffer from various diseases due to malnutrition. For example, chickens have dermatitis, paralysis, and liver syndrome. These diseases are caused by a lack of vitamins in the diet. About 1 to 7-week-old chickens have 2900 kg of calories, while adults should have 2800 kg. Ingredients like corn and Azolla should never have more than 10-11% moisture as they can cause fungus formation. Therefore, buy feeds for your poultry business only from a reputable company.

Develop a poultry health management plan

The potential loss of the poultry business is the lack of a health management plan. As a result, the death rate of poultry birds may be higher. You should be aware of the common diseases of poultry that can seriously damage the poultry business. Therefore, have an effective poultry health management plan for your poultry farm.

The plan must maintain requirements such as clean drinking water and proper hygiene. Also, your light management plan for poultry farms should be perfect. The chickens need proper lighting in the place where you keep them. They need 16 hours of light. The yellow, red, and orange light is the best 24 hours for broiler breeds. Consult a lighting specialist before buying chickens to start your own poultry business.

Consider the investment in the poultry farming business

  • Starting a poultry farm will mean that you have a good amount of money on your hands.
  • You are planning to start a small poultry farm business. But still, you need a lot of basic facilities to run the farm successfully.
  • Feeders, drinkers, light systems, incubators, brooders, etc., are the most important equipment in poultry farming. Then, buy land specifically for your poultry business. In addition, you need funds to pay the salaries of your staff/workers.

Cost to start a poultry farm business in the USA

Well, approximately, you should be willing to spend anywhere between $ 5,000 and $ 25,000.

The cost of a poultry farm business setup depends on your enthusiasm when starting a business. This includes 3 months’ salary for all staff and the minimum breeding capacity in the United States. You will be doubled as a farm manager, sales and marketing officer, and security guard. Some of you may be thinking of starting a poultry farm from home. In this case, you will avoid investing in buying agricultural land. But only those who have enough space in the compound should consider this option. That is why people living around the village easily start their poultry farming.

Starting a poultry business in the United States represents a good idea for national and international investors, as there are many opportunities for tax deductions and financing. However, setting up the initial costs of a chicken farm depends on its size. There are advantages to starting a small poultry farm business, especially for young and inexperienced traders.

The financial risks are not too high, and the good thing is that you can verify the whole process carefully and ensure that you are using only premium and organic feeds that add value to your final product. Typically, starting a small business in the poultry industry will cost you anywhere between 5,000 and 25,000 dollars, including the first three months of your employees’ salaries.

How profitable is chicken farming in the USA?

Some high-quality food and a chicken coop are important to start a poultry business. Here’s what you need to know to increase your income from this activity. American tastes for meat-based protein sources have changed over the past few decades, shifting from beef to chicken because it is later cheaper and allegedly healthier. The truth is that as long as you choose organic chicken, it can help you lose weight and live a long, healthy lifestyle.

There are over 230,000 poultry farms in the United States, but less than 10% specialize in organic farming, providing safe, non-GMO, and hormone-free poultry meat. And, if you think the poultry industry will be far more saturated with farms and farmers, you can’t go wrong. Recent surveys and forecasts in the field have confirmed that global demand for poultry will continue to increase in the coming decades. Although most chickens live in harsh conditions, with no access to natural light and less than a square foot of space, it is not surprising that the poultry industry is growing rapidly, as are large fast-food chains.

Most chickens are fed a special mix of superfoods with more nutrients and minerals to grow fast. However, things seem to have changed in the last decade, thanks to those who joined the slow food movement in a concerted effort to raise awareness of the dangers of injecting poultry meat.

Unfortunately, up to 70% of the meat we consume today contains estrogen, a hormone that will later affect the quality of meat and endanger our health. Regular consumption of injected meat can lead to puberty, overweight, obesity, and heart disease, but there are a few potential risks. This is one of the reasons why people become more self-aware about their diet and now try to opt for organic alternatives. People are willing to pay extra for products that come from certified sources and are grown naturally, without the use of antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals.

Treat sick poultry birds immediately

You should check your poultry birds regularly to see any sick birds early. Otherwise, the disease spreads rapidly among chickens. Look for any unusual behavior or appearance to keep your poultry business safe. If you find one or more of these pests infected or sick, treat them immediately before it’s too late. Call a doctor for a further diagnosis and plan treatment right away. Therefore, that is the way to conduct poultry farm business safely and successfully.

Poultry statistics in the USA

  • Owning a chicken farm can be a dream come true for many people. But, in addition to buying chickens, make the best chicken egg incubator for your birds, feed them, and provide them with a safe place to live.
  • Consider the type of business – Over the years, chicken has become the number one meat used in the United States because it is the most affordable.
  • The country is also the world’s largest chicken broiler producer.
  • Raising chickens for their eggs seems a viable option for businesses with limited budgets. The good news is no matter what you choose, your business will likely be profitable because there will never be a shortage of meat and egg consumers in this world.
  • Hatchery Production Annual Summary – This includes US hatchery data. In 19 selected states and the United States, broiler babies are born monthly. Egg-type chickens were hatched monthly in the United States; on the first day of each month, the number of eggs laid in incubators was fixed for weekly broiler chicks and eggs for 19 states in the United States. In the United States, turkey chickens were kept, turkey eggs in incubators, and turkey poults hatched each month in the United States.
  • Chicken is the No. 1 protein used in the United States. Americans also eat 95 million dozen eggs a year.
  • About 18% of poultry meat is exported, making the United States the world’s second-largest exporter.
  • The National Chicken Council says that 95% of the broiler chickens are raised by farmers of about 25,000 families who have contracted with around 30 companies.
  • In the USA, Alabama and Arkansas are leading the way in broiler production.
  • North Carolina and Minnesota are the top producers of Turkey birds.

The market for poultry meat

Culling and slaughtering non-laying hens became a source of chicken meat. However, the supply of chicken meat fell short of demand, and poultry was expensive. Two types of poultry were commonly offered: broiler or “spring hens,” young male chickens, a byproduct of the egg industry, which was sold when young and tender (usually less than 3 pounds live weight); and “fowls” or “stewing hens” are also a product of the egg industry, which were old hens for laying. Egg-type chicken carcasses are no longer appearing in stores.


If you live in the United States and plan for a commercial poultry farming business, this article may help you to a certain extent in setting up your poultry farm.


  1. Hello
    and thank you for your information in the poultry industry
    I am Vahid Naderi and I live in Tucson, Arizona
    I built a house for 10,000 laying hens outside the city
    I need you to help me on how to buy 10,000 laying hens and how to get a license for an egg farm and how to sell eggs and give me the necessary guidance please
    I have many years of experience producing eggs in very large farms outside the United States with different breeds of laying hens such as Bovenz ,Highline W36 and Lohmann LSL. I have worked in farms with more than 200,000 laying hens, but in I don’t have the experience of doing this in the United States, so I need guidance in buying the best breed of laying hens from reputable companies, as well as the right food from reputable wholesale companies, and the need for a contract to sell egg products daily to reputable distributors. Please advise.

  2. thanks for the intruction of poultry farming.i m intarested the business but how can do start business.i m bangladeshi.pls give me some help


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