Animal farming in Stardew Valley gets a bad wrap that it doesn't deserve.
Most of Stardew Valley's early game is more about energy management than anything else, taking advantage of Spring Onions from the Forest is allows you to do more throughout the day.
Capitalize on the Fishing Pools.
Crop Farming *Feels* Effective
Seeds are expensive but it's easy to forget that when you feel like you're making money.
|Crop||Days||Seed Cost||Base Price||Profit|
|Green Bean||10 days||60g||40g||-20g|
The earlier you make money, the more profitable Green Beans can be but the 10 day grow time before the vines produce the vegetable make it pretty bad, especially since you shouldn't plant them until Spring 6 when you have Scarecrows to prevent Crows from eating your crops.
The best crop to farm in the first Spring is the Potato (and it's not really close), it's a good balance between energy conservation and making money; if you've ever spam farmed Parsnips, you'll know what I'm talking about with energy conservation.
Breaking Down the Coop Costs
I challenged myself to build a Coop as fast as reasonably possible (in most of my crop heavy play-throughs, I normally don't get a Coop until mid-Summer). With a lot of help from Fishing, I was able to get Robin to build in on Spring 7, the first Sunday of the game (this was after buying the first Backpack upgrade); I had a Fiberglass Rod, Silo, and started the Deluxe Coop on Spring 14 (this took a bit of work, sacrificing upgrades to the Axe and Pickaxe or the Deluxe Pack).
Chickens produce 50g-90g per day without expending any energy (Ducks produce 95g-250g every other day).
800g to buy a Chicken, 1200g to buy a Duck -- you never need to buy another animal again.
Since the Mayonnaise Maker requires level 2 Farming, you'll probably never need to sell an Egg
Duck, second Coop, and upgraded Axe started by Spring 17.
Deluxe Coop #2 fully upgraded by Spring 21.