Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Things You Should Know Before Starting A Poultry Farm

The Poultry industry is one of the fastest growing and most commercialized segment in animal husbandry but we as a nation are not fully maximizing the abundant potentials.

Profit potential of running a poultry 

1. Chicken reproduce fast and in large numbers: An average healthy Layer lays eggs almost every day or at least 4 times in a week. Some breeds can lay as much as 360 eggs in a year and it take 21 days to hatch. This means that technically a Layer is capable of producing another chicken twice in three days.

2. Fast growth rate – An egg hatches within 21 days and is ready for the market within 28 weeks. This means a farmer may start making his money in just 34 weeks after successfully setting up his farm and whatever returns he makes could be doubled in a year based on this calculation.

3. Chicken sells at a very good price - A fully grown healthy chicken sells for between N2,500 to N3,500  in Nigeria. Therefore, if you produce 12,000 chickens on your farm, you will be making over N30 million by the time they are completely sold all things being equal.

4. Egg market - Apart from the chicken, egg production is another money making enterprise. A crate of eggs sells for N1000 – N1,100 for smaller eggs and N1,200 – N1,400 for larger ones. 

Here are some things you need to do before you start a poultry farm.
  • Draw out your effective business plan: This is like a road map that will lead you to where you are going in your business. An effective business plan should include: 
  •  Type of Bird you want to concentrate on - Chicken, GooseDuckTurkey, etc. However for the purpose of this article we will focus on chickens
  •  Area of interest – There are various aspects of poultry farming such as hatchery, poultry feed, layers breeding, broilers breeding etc. Choosing an area of interest where you would like to concentrate your business will ensure a high level of focus and professionalism. You may choose to breed Layers and Broilers at a time or one of them. Hatchery is better done independently just like feed production.
  • Sort out Location - This has a direct effect to your startup cost. A location in a very remote rural area will cost far less than the one close to an urban area. Remote rural areas with good road network is the ideal location as you will be free from regulatory agencies and drive down the cost of labor too.

As a newbie to livestock business, you wouldn’t want to invest all your capital into buying lands in an urban area which may turn out not being used because of the government policy that abolishes setting up poultry farms near residential/urban areas because of the health implication. 

·         Investment Capital - With location in mind, you now have a clearer idea of the capital required of you. Write down your detailed capital and investment requirements and set to source for it.

Like every other farming projects, the bigger you plan to start, the more investment required. You need to decide on the level of capital investment you are willing to commit into this business before starting.

(a) Small scale Chicken Rearing (of about 50 birds) kept in cages at the backyard of your residence will take about N100,000 to start.

(b) A medium scale poultry farming that requires land and housing and other materials in 1 - 2 plots of Land takes about N1,000,000 to N5 Million to start.

(c) Large scale or Intensive poultry farming that requires high level of sophistication and more careful planning and professionalism, using advance Livestock farming techniques takes from N10 Million.
Setting up your poultry farm

With your business plan in place, the next step is to proceed to setting up your farm without delay! At this point, it is my belief that you already have the money in your hands. So here are the things you need to acquire and put in place.

1. Buy land - Look for land in a remote location but make sure it's not too far from the city. You can get acres of land there for a cheap price in remote areas, although cost of lands in most cases is determined by the sellers.
2. Build your Structure - Housing is very important for poultry farming and effective keeping and management. Poultry housing are classified according to the scale and the management system. The most common types of poultry housing used in Nigeria are:

•    Deep litter
•    Half litter and half slats
•    Battery
•    Semi-fold

3. Buy day old chicks - Look for a good Hatchery where you can get healthy day old chicks to start with. It costs from N140 to N200 and sometimes up to N300.  

Other Items you need - Feeders, Drinkers, Perches. Nests, Crates, Lighting system, Waste disposal system, Incubator, Heaters or brooders, Egg tray, Cages and coops.

Risks involved in poultry farming
There are several risks involved with poultry farming. However, infection disease is the biggest and most concerning. That is why poultry farmers need to practice good biosecurity to reduce incidents of disease. 

Now when we say bio-security, don’t think of it as rocket science. It just means being intentional about the health of your birds.

The following are the most common sources of disease in poultry farming.
  1. The stock itself. The fowls can carry and transmit disease, dead birds in particular. Poultry farmers need to be careful when disposing of deceased animals to prevent the spread of infectious disease. Farmers should also take care when moving poultry stock from one area of the farm to another as this represents another opportunity for the spread of disease.
  2. Vehicles and farming equipment. Famers can unwittingly spread contagions by transporting and using contaminated equipment. For example, if a farmer transported dead birds in a wagon and then loaded that same wagon with feed later, disease may infiltrate the feed.
  3. The animals’ feed. Continuing with the above, feed can transfer disease in several ways. In addition to transporting feed in a contaminated vehicle, rodents can infiltrate it and leave behind disease. Farmers should take great care when transporting and storing their feed to prevent infection.
  4. People on the farm. Farmers may think only visitors pose a risk for spreading disease, but this is not the case. Any workers or individuals who live on the farm are also a threat. Anyone can transfer disease from their shoes as they come and go on the farm.
  5. Water. This is the main source for the spread of disease. Any feces that make it into the water can contaminate it and infect animals across the farm.
Farmers can take several steps to prevent the spread of disease. Implementing common sense bio-security measures such as not allowing vehicles into the production area, situating production areas far from water sources, treating all drinking water before allowing animals to ingest it, and utilizing freezers for managing the disposal of dead poultry.

Other sources of risks encountered by the farmers are severe weather fluctuation, lack of veterinary services, disease outbreak, transportation problems, parasites and severe price fluctuation of birds.

Now that you know the steps to take and the various risks involved and the mitigants, you should be well on your way to start cashing out from poultry farming!

Share your thoughts, contributions and suggestions in the comment section and don’t forget to share this article as the next poultry billionaire might be on your timeline
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