So, your chickens are out-producing your family’s needs and you are thinking about selling eggs? This is a common situation for many people. Selling eggs from your little flock seems like a good idea to make back some of the money you’ve invested. Or you may want a little money to help pay for the chicken feed. Either way, there may be a few rules involved that you need to consider.
Now these rules, regulations, guidelines, or whatever you want to call them, can vary from state to state. I personally reside in Maryland, so those are the regulations that apply to me. I cannot speak for each state, and of course I’m not an egg selling authority. I can just share what I have learned applies to selling eggs here.
*This post contains affiliate links leading to other sites. If you choose to click on them and make a purchase I receive compensation. We try to mark such links with (*). Please visit our page Disclosures/Policies for more details.
In our state, any chicken owner is supposed to register their flock with the state, and we receive a poultry premises number. As I understand, this is to help with tracking birds and diseases. Chicken diseases are a big topic of its own, and one that scares me. Keeping a closed flock and bio-security measures are recommended for chicken owner. I advise doing one’s research thoroughly in this area. For instance, in the article I linked to above, she mentions using unactivated Oxine for disinfecting. I’m not positive this is effective as activated Oxine. But there is other good advice in her article.
But getting back to the egg-selling business, we also need to have a certificate for egg packers and distributors. Since I own less than 3,000 birds it doesn’t cost me anything. However, I am supposed to include my registration number from it on every egg carton I sell.
The Maryland Department of Agriculture sent a paper to us called, “GUIDELINES FOR SMALL PRODUCERS SELLING EGGS.” They also have more information available on their website . But of course, if you are from a different state, you need to check their guidelines out. But for now, let’s go over some of the guidelines for here.
Re-using cartons is actually allowed, as long as they are clean. But you must obliterate any information that is inaccurate for your eggs. For example, the address or name of the store which sold that carton originally. Or the label “organic”, etc. I have reused cartons, but I have also purchased a *large quantity of blank cartons from Amazon.
Certain information is supposed to be included on carton labels. This is info like the grade and size of the eggs. Grade is determined by the condition of the eggs shell and candling the insides. Size is determined by weight. Some states allow selling ungraded eggs. Maryland requires Grade A or higher. It is also important to include the FDA required statement for safe egg handling. I purchased a stamp from eggcartons.com for this purpose.
Other information that is supposed to be included on the label, is the packer’s name and address, their flock’s lot number, and their registration number we mentioned earlier, as well as the quantity and net weight of the eggs. And while this seems ridiculous, you must identify that the carton well, contains eggs. Just in case anyone thought there was bacon inside. Some things seem like a no-brainer, but this is legitimately a requirement. And then there is also a lettering size requirement for these pieces of information. I won’t go into that. You can visit the pdf I linked to above with the guidelines.
You also need to be selling clean eggs. I know there is a controversy saying that washing eggs removes the protective bloom. However, clean your eggs and protect yourself. And no one wants to buy dirty eggs. Here’s some egg-cleaning tips from Maryland Ag Department. Once they are clean, properly refrigerate them at 45*F or below.
Once you’ve gotten all this stuff done, you are going to think those eggs are worth gold. However, you need to look around and find out what price is competitive for your area. Also consider whether your birds free-range and what type of feed they are getting. Some of that stuff will make your eggs more valuable to the right consumer. I find that $2-3 dozen is a typical price range for alot of areas. But only you can determine that for where you live.
Then of course you will need to let people know that you have eggs available to purchase. Word-of-mouth is a common way, such as selling to neighbors, friends, and co-workers. You could put a sign or stand by the road, but I don’t live in a good place for that. Recently I had good success offering them in a Facebook yard sale page with a pretty picture. I had a lot of interest that way. Find what works best for you.
The tips I’ve shared here aren’t fully inclusive of all considerations for selling eggs, but it may give you a place to start. Do your own personal research and then you can make those chickens help earn their keep.