Poultry farming can be defined as the process of raising various domestic birds like chicken, turkey, emu, ducks, geese, etc. for their eggs or meat. This has been a common practice in Nigeria for such a long time that it has become an indispensable part of the farming and agriculture system.
Poultry farming could be considered as one of the most lucrative agricultural business ideas in Nigeria today. It requires not huge capital to start as you can start from the comfort of your house if you have enough space to take the number of birds that you desire.
Running a chicken farm requires more than just agricultural know-how. If you want to be a chicken farmer, you must also think like a business person while growing your brand. Choosing a focus, establishing a brand, raising your chickens, and building your business are all part of chicken farming. Then, as your farm grows, you’ll be able to market, finance, and network to grow your business.
Here Are The Guidelines To Follow While Pondering On How To Start Poultry Farming
1. Learn Poultry Farming
The very first step to take in starting a poultry farm is to have some basic training. Do not rush to operate the poultry farm business without proper training from a dependable farming institution. Know that it is a delicate business as you are dealing with living birds.
For example, if you do not get the training about how to breed day-old chicks, it can prove to be costly in the end for your poultry farm business. Your entire lot of chicks may die if you just do not know what you need to do at that time. So, learn all those farming basics to operate your chicken business successfully.
Therefore, you can take a training course, even a short one, to learn about the breeding of chicks.
Many agencies are running poultry farming courses. Enroll yourself in any one of them to know the basics. You can also consult one farmer to learn a few basic tricks to handle chicks.
2. Choose Your Poultry Sector
Poultry farming is a wide industry. There are two types of farming you can choose from – broilers and layers. Broilers are chicken that you raise for meat. Layers are chicken that you raise for eggs. Then, there is the business of incubating eggs and raising chicks.
Usually, the chicken farming business operates in multiple sectors. So, decide if you want to operate in all sectors or you want to restrict your poultry farm business to just one or two sectors of your choice, especially in the beginning.
Following Are The Niches Of Types Of Poultry Farming You Can Choose From:
- Meat production (Broilers breeding)
- Egg production (Layers breeding)
- Poultry feed production
- Chicken breeding (Hatchery)
- Egg and meat processing
However, before starting your poultry farm company, think in terms of the assurance of sales. For instance, if you choose to enter into a broiler-growing business, then consider its risks. If you
find no takers for your broilers, the poultry farm business will not be feasible because of very high costs.
Therefore, start the broiler business, for instance, only after you have contacts from broiler companies in your area to buy from you.
3. Choose The Right Type Of Bird
Poultry farm business owners rear many types of birds. Your small poultry farm may start by focusing on two to three birds and then include more birds later as the business grows.
Mostly, poultry farms raise poultry birds such as domestic fowl or chicken as broilers and layers, duck, goose, quail, guinea fowl, turkey, pigeon, and peacock.
You should also determine whether to rear broilers or layers. This is the choice to start farming for meat production or egg production.
4. Set Farm Location
You should think of setting your poultry farm at the most appropriate location. The location must have all the necessary facilities. Try to build your poultry farm business a little away from the town so that you can have the land and labor at a cheaper cost.
However, setting up the farm for chicken business too far away from the nearest town will be a mistake. Remember that you need to approach a town more often to target your consumers.
Moreover, a location of poultry farm business too away from a city may cost you more on transportation.
According to USDA data, a poultry farm business owner who is located near four poultry companies or integrators is likely to earn 8 percent more gross income than a farmer located near to only one supplier. This data shows that the location of a poultry farm business matters a lot to poultry farmers to be feasible.
5. Have A Business Plan
Make sure you have a poultry farm business plan well in advance to run your poultry farm. The plan should include a broader picture of what shape the business will take in the next 3-5 years.
Write down your vision, objectives, poultry products, target demographic, and marketing strategy to adopt. You also know your poultry farm setup cost in advance.
There are two major advantages of making a well-thought-of poultry farming business plan. First, you will be on track while conducting your business as you will be proceeding as per the plan. That helps in treading the path confidently.
The second advantage is that your cleverly chalked-out business plan helps attract investors to your poultry farm business. Investors would like to scrutinize your plan before putting their money on your farm.
6. Install A Perfect Poultry Housing System
A poultry cage is an elementary requirement to start a poultry farm business. The health of chickens will largely depend on how convenient the cage is for the birds.
So, it would be nice if you can first visit some nearby farms to inspect the cages. You can get some better ideas from there.
Keep in mind that a perfect poultry cage or chicken coop provides comfort to the birds. The cage must be good enough to keep the birds safe from adverse weather conditions like harsh sunlight, rain, diseases, winds, and pests. So, do not undermine poultry cage basics when starting a poultry farm business.
Depending on your resources, you can opt for extensive, semi-extensive, or intensive poultry housing systems. If you intend to start broiler farming, then go for a deep litter housing system. In case you opt for egg production, then the battery cage-type poultry house is preferable.
Experts say that you need 500 square feet of space to raise 1000 broilers. Add some 100 square feet of space for walkways, proper lighting, and ventilation.
7. Buy Poultry Farming Equipment
The success of your poultry farm business will depend a lot on the quality of your equipment. With quality equipment put in place, you can make your birds eat and drink healthily.
While many types of equipment are available to poultry farmers, you can at least get the basic equipment to start with. Ensure that your poultry farm has the right feeders, waterers, nests, ventilation systems, cages, coops, and perches.
You will also need to install brooders or heaters, a waste disposal system, lighting instruments, and an egg tray for your poultry farm business.
However, you do not have to equip your small poultry farm business with the entire range of equipment. Many of them are sophisticated and costly.
A wise move will be to first install only the elementary equipment that is just essential for keeping your chickens healthy. Then, as your business expands, you can have a loan to buy costly equipment.
8. Buy Chicks of Good Breeds
You should buy some chicks to start your poultry farm business. Have a good stock of chicks. Make sure that you buy quality chicks from dependable breeders. This is important because if the chicks are diseased or suffer from malnutrition.
But your farm should have the brooder ready before buying and stocking the chicks. Do not stock too many chicks and keep their number below 500 for their better management.
9. Know How To Feed The Chicks
Another key consideration in setting up your poultry farm business is knowing how to feed the chicks properly. Know that most of your production expenditure will be on buying your poultry feed.
Nearly 70% of your product cost will comprise of your cost of poultry feed. You can even produce your poultry feed using the ingredients that you buy from the market.
It would be good if you learn how to prepare feeds. But till you learn the technique, buy bird feeds from the market for your poultry farm business.
Make sure that you are well versed in preparing the poultry feed in the right way. It should be a balanced mix of great nutritional value.
Any lack of proper feed will result in the chicken producing fewer eggs. Such chickens also are prone to various diseases due to nutrient deficiency.
For instance, chickens have diseases like dermatitis, paralysis, chicken rackets, and liver syndrome. These diseases occur due to vitamin deficiency in the feed.
Chicken of one to seven weeks should have a feed with 2900 kgs of calories while adults 2800 kgs of calories.
The moisture content of the ingredients like maize and Azolla should never be above 10-11% as it may lead to fungus building. So, buy feed for your poultry farm business only from a trusted company.
10. Set A Poultry Health Management Plan
One of the reasons for a possible loss of the poultry business is the lack of a health management plan. It could result in a high mortality rate of poultry birds.
You should be aware of those common poultry diseases that can cause a severe loss of poultry farm business. Therefore, put an effective poultry health management plan for your poultry farm.
The plan must include necessities such as clean drinking water, maintaining proper hygiene.
Also, your light management plan for the poultry farm must be perfect. Chickens need proper lighting of the place where you have put them.
They need 16 hours of light. Yellow, red, and orange light is considered the best for the broiler breeds for 24 hours.
Consult a lighting expert to make the right arrangements before buying chickens to start your poultry farm business.
11. Treat Sick Birds Urgently
You must inspect your poultry birds regularly so that you can ensure to spot a sick bird early. Otherwise, that disease spreads rapidly between the chickens. Look for any unusual behavior or appearance early to keep your poultry farm business free of risks.
If you find one or a few of them sick with pest infection or illness, treat them immediately before it is too late. Call a vet for further diagnosis of the disease and put the treatment plan in place right away. That is the way to conduct your poultry farm business safely.
12. Vaccinate Broiler Rearing
If any contagious disease spreads fast amongst the poultry birds, it will ruin your poultry farm business. There is no effective treatment for poultry diseases yet.
Therefore, vaccination is vital to keeping the birds away from any potential harm from the fast-spreading of disease.
Know that there are different types of vaccines available to poultry farmers. But bacterial, mycoplasma, and viral vaccines are generally in use.
13. Hire Professionals
Many aspects of poultry farming are such that they should be handled only by experienced people who know the nuances very well.
So, hire only professionals who have experience working with a poultry farm business. But farming is not labor-intensive if you can involve technology.
However, you will also need an administrative officer or manager to keep a close eye on your day-to-day affairs of the business. Hire a manager who can double as your accountant also to save cost on staffing.
So, hire experienced professionals who can build and execute your poultry farm business plan carefully.
14. Put Your Business On The Web
Most of your potential clients search and shop poultry products online. If your clients are looking for a chicken poultry farm around a town, they will first use search engines to locate such a poultry farm business.
If your farm is not on the web, you are missing a plethora of business opportunities. Therefore, make it a point to have a dedicated website for your poultry business.