Prep, butchery and sales, is it worthwhile ?

Free range rob

Well-Known Member
So, for some time I’ve been disillusioned with putting stuff into a dealer.
mostly it goes to friends, family, and myself, along with lots for dog food.
Quantity seems to be increasing every year, to the point I either need to go to a dealer or find other outlets.
It has always been In The back of my mind to supply to my already existing farm customer base, the last I see my stock is when I drop them at the slaughter house, and the next time I see them they are nicely packaged up and done to customer spec, it’s easy for me, if not the the cheapest way.
However, for deer, I think the butchery side would make it prohibitive on cost, munt,, roe and CWD been the mainstay with volumes of fallow at times.
The end game will be an on site farm shop, but that’s a little way off.
for now it would be direct to existing customer base.
so, the question is, is it viable, or worth my time.

I realise I will have to get EHO involved again as it would involve processing on site which I currently do not do for anything other than our own use.
i will need to sort a building, chiller, food hygiene certs, I mostly have all the tools, will need a few tables and wash down.
I know plenty on here do this already, so wanted to know if it’s a viable business or a hobby type thing, is it dependant on volumes, would you do it again tomorrow if you was in my situation ?
 

willie_gunn

Well-Known Member
I honestly don’t think it’s as complicated as you perhaps think.

I know stalkers who have registered as a food business using their normal kitchens, without all the fancy outbuildings, etc.

I did it because the volume I was handling was more than two of us could reasonably eat, plus - like you - I resented sending high quality, traceable, food to the game dealer for a pittance. I can take any customer to the exact spot where an animal was culled and explain what happened to the animal before the venison appeared on their plate. I see that as part of the justification for the deer management I take on.

For me it will never be a viable standalone business unless I dedicate myself to it full time, in particular the marketing side of things, but as I said above that’s not why I started doing it. At some point I may decide to go that way, but currently I am lucky in that I have the luxury of choice.

Regardless, I’d do it again tomorrow in a flash.
 

Overlay

Well-Known Member
I put a lot of time and effort into selling 35 fallow does last season getting all the bits all lined up, lot of hard work, including selling venison in a box, real graft to get it All legally sorted, totting up at the end I didn’t lose money, but didn't make a lot either, when you take in consideration, costs, fuel, butchery, boxes etc etc and then selling it

I got nearly half my annual fallow cull completed and sold last season just through getting up and going for it, this season in addition to the annual number got to catch up what wasn’t removed last season as well

hopefully I’ve now got two carcase outlets that will take all my fallow H&L ( non toxic ammo ) for guaranteed £1 - £1.40 per kg dependant on tissue damage, I’ve put a lot of effort into getting this price carved in rock.
it’s not good but it will allow me to rein in my last season shortfall and be selective on this years cull to re balance the deer numbers

I’m hoping not to revert back to this past season workload, for me it’s fingers crossed on no further problems and getting back to stalking rather than processing
 

Free range rob

Well-Known Member
Hmmm, polar opposite views.
I must admit I would be happy not to have the work, but also if it provides an outlet, and increases the existing farm portfolio I would do it.
 

paulbshooting

Well-Known Member
As per @willie_gunn post earlier. Not a money maker for me but covers all my stalking costs and keeps me hunting. Customers are happy and love buying local game. But having a proper setup is great and having the wife tell me to go stalking to keep up with orders is priceless!
 

Overlay

Well-Known Member
yep
agree 100%. end of the day, gotta do what you gotta do, if covid strikes back again i’ll be in a better position now than the previous lockdown

all in all it’s never been hugely profitable anytime as it’s not my main work, but i’m determined to make it work - to break even would be good
 
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