Poultry farming is a viable business anytime any day; and to be sincere with you, it’s a business I have been considering for some time now. Below are reasons why I consider poultry farming a profitable business?
3 Factors that makes Poultry Farming a Profitable Business
There are a lot of factors that make poultry farming business a profitable one but I will be highlighting only three major factors:
- Food is one of the basic needs of man. Regardless of the economic situation, human beings must feed and since domestic birds are consumable; that makes poultry farming feasible.
- Nigeria for instance has a population of over 180 million and growing; bear it in mind that a huge population means a huge demand for food (egg and meat).
- With the increased awareness on the health implications of red meat; there’s an increased demand for white meat and birds are a source of white meat.
But before I go into the details of starting a poultry farming business, I want to emphatically state that the information provided in this article does not in any way replace the need for you to conduct a feasibility study, write a business plan for your poultry business and do your own due diligence. Secondly, the information shared in this article is applicable to any locality; be it United States, Canada, India, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, etc. Without wasting your time, below is a step by step guide on how to start your own poultry farming business.
SELECT YOUR POULTRY SECTOR
The poultry industry is a broad sector. There are many sub-sectors in the poultry industry which you can tap into. When poultry farming is mentioned, a lot of people think that is only mean chicken rearing or turkey rearing alone but poultry farming is a very wide business with different aspects. Below are different sectors in the poultry business:
- Egg production (Layers breeding)
- Meat production (Broilers breeding)
- Chicken breeding (Hatchery)
- Poultry feed production
- Poultry equipment manufacturing( battery cage, feeder, drinker etc)
- Egg and meat processing, packaging and marketing
- Poultry marketing and consultancy
So, you see that poultry farming is very wide. Therefore, you have to choose your area of specialization. Of course, if you have enough capital and the technical know-how nothing stops you from doing all the businesses under poultry farming but it is always better to go back to the drawing board,find out which aspects of poultry farming are more profitable in your area in teams of of demand and income and then select the most attractive aspects to concentrate on.
What type of bird will you be focusing on?
Another important factor to consider is the type of birds you wish to rear. There are several types of birds that you can rear. Poultry farming can further be classified into the types of birds:
- Domestic fowl or Chicken (Broilers and layers)
- Guinea fowl
You also have to decide on whether you want to rear layers or broilers. Layers are usually raised mainly for laying eggs so if egg production is your area of specialization, you would need to stock your farm with layers but if you prefer to go for meat production instead, then you would need broilers instead because broilers have the ability to grow very fat and gives more return on investment because they weigh a lot more than other breeds. But for this write up, I will be focusing on poultry production for egg and meat purposes with respect to the domestic fowl.
START UP CAPITAL
The poultry farming business is capital intensive; depending on the scale, location of your farm and the type of management technology used. A small scale poultry farm being run behind your house may require a capital of between 50–500,000. A medium scale poultry farm may require 2,000,000 – 5,000,000 and a large scale poultry farm may require a start-up capital of 10,000,000 and above. Like I stated earlier, scale is directly proportional to capital
A good location is very important to the success and profitability of your poultry farm. An ideal poultry farm should be sited where there’s a large availability of cheap land and at the same time; should be close to areas with high density populated area. It’s not advisable to site your poultry farm within a residential area because of the offensive odour it produces.
While it is smart to start your poultry farm in a place where the odour and noise would not disturb other people, you should also consider the security factor. Lands in sparsely populated settlements are cheap and you would have fewer issues with community disturbance and zoning but it may be far from your market and buyers. You need to find a balance, look for a place that is favourable to you and would also be favourable to your customers at the same time.
HOUSING YOUR POULTRY BIRDS
Another important factor to consider is the poultry housing system and fencing options. Poultry housing system determines up to 40% of the rater of success you would achieve in poultry farming. A good housing system is very important for your poultry farm. The housing system commonly used in poultry farming are-:
- Extensive system: Range and fold unit
- Semi Intensive system: Standard semi intensive unit and straw yard
- Intensive system: I. Deep litter, ii. Wire and slatted floor, iii. Straw yard, iv. Battery cage
FREE RANGE SYSTEM-: Under free range poultry farming system, chickens are allowed to roam around on their own in search for food. This system cannot be used for commercial poultry farming because of the high level of risks involved.
DEEP LITTER SYSTEM-: This system involves spreading sawdust or wood shavings on a concrete floor with the chickens placed on the floor and the dust serving as a ‘cushion’ for them. The dust is changed regularly, either by removing and replacing or by layering.
Deep litter system is used by a lot of poultry farmers because it increases efficiency and makes it easier to manage large flocks of birds but it allows for a faster spread of diseases when there is an outbreak and also makes it difficult to fish out unproductive birds.
BATTERY CAGES SYSTEM-: As for the battery cage system, metal cages are constructed inside a building to house the birds. The cages are usually split into different compartments to house small groups of birds. The cages also contain feeding and water troughs as well as laying nests.
Bird droppings fall on the floor and are cleaned mechanically by a scraper. This method is considered to be the most effective for egg production but the major downside of this method is that it is more expensive to construct and maintain compared to other forms of poultry housing systems.
If you are running a poultry farm for commercial purpose and you intend getting the best out of the business; with respect to high birds’ productivity and efficiency. Then you should consider housing your birds using the intensive system. Note that each of the three housing system has its own advantages and disadvantages. Lastly, your poultry housing structure should be built at a particular angle; taking sunlight and wind into consideration.
There is a very long list of equipment and facilities to put in place in order to fully manage a poultry farm. You would need to construct a house for the birds, provide feeders and drinkers, a good waste disposal system, source of water, lightening and heat, egg crates and storage space for keeping feed and eggs.
Therefore, you should make a list of all the items you would need, find out the prices and compare different prices to further give you an idea of the costs of setting up the poultry farm. The following equipment may be needed for your poultry farm and their uses:
- Lighting system
- Waste disposal system
- Heaters or brooders
- Egg tray
- Cages and coops
- Feeding your birds-: Feeding is a major aspect of poultry farming. In fact, about 70% of your expenses would go towards poultry feeding. Therefore, it is imperative to figure out the feeding aspects of business before you go into it. There are two ways to go about feeding in poultry farming:
- Producing your feeds by yourself
- Buying already-made poultry feeds
I recommend the former for large commercial poultry farms because it helps you to save a lot of money on feeding costs. You can easily learn how to make poultry feeds, purchase equipment and start producing feeds for your farm. You can even make some extra income for yourself by selling to others but it is important that you get the right feed formula and ingredients that would enhance the growth of your birds.
POULTRY FARM STAFFING AND MANPOWER
Operating a poultry farm is not labour intensive if the use of technology is employed. With respect to staffing, the number of manpower needed is also dependent on the size of your farm. But some must haves should be admin officer or manager; who will oversee the day to day activities of your business. Your manager can also double as your accountant to cut down cost.
It is also advisable you have personnel who will reside permanently in the farm to monitor and see to the well-being of your birds. You will also need security personnel that will monitor the inflow and outflow of people around your farm; and most importantly, guard against theft. Aside these few mentioned, you can add more personnel to suit your business needs.
Accounting-: I mentioned in one of my previous articles how a lot of poultry farmers take the accounting and record keeping aspects of their business for granted. Poultry farming is just like any other commercial business out there and for you to track your performance and productivity, adequate records must be kept.
You don’t need to have an accounting background or spend hours on record keeping or accounting for your farm; just purchase a farm management software, install it on your computer and there you are, you would be able to know how your business is doing and whether you are growing or not.
Health-: Just like you need regular health check-up to stay in good shape, the birds in your farm also need regular check-up. They need proper vaccines and medications to prevent diseases and promote growth. You should have a consultant, a veterinary doctor who would be in charge of giving vaccinations and providing proper health care for the birds.
Marketing-: Another factor to give consideration to is the marketing aspect of your poultry business. You have to find a way to reach your customers and this would be done by employing the right marketing techniques. Therefore, before you start a poultry business, you should really consider the marketing strategies which you would use to break into the market.
Challenges of Starting a Poultry Farming Business
- Poultry farming has a longer payback period
- It is Labour intensive
- Pests such as rats, ants, etc. and predators such as hawks, snakes can cause massive loss
- Lack of support from the government
Taking a close look at Nigeria today, you will attest to the fact that the government shows little or no interest in agribusiness; let alone poultry farming. The government is more interested in the oil sector thereby not showing concern to poultry farming and this brings discouragement to the poultry farmers.
Even the assumed agricultural loan the government provided cannot be accessed because of the stringent conditions attached. The only visible effort of the government is the recent ban on the importation of live or frozen poultry birds. So if you are interested in starting a poultry farming business, then you must be prepared to go it alone without looking to the government for help.
- High start-up capital
The very first factor you have to give serious consideration to is capital. Just like every other business, poultry business needs sufficient and proper funding. This is because the amount of capital you have to invest has a lot to do with the level of success you would achieve in poultry farming. If you have enough capital, you would be able to put facilities that would increase your productivity in place.
You cannot do well as a livestock farmer, especially poultry farming when you don’t have enough funds. You need money to purchase a land for the farm, to construct and equip the farm, to hire and pay staff/laborers and also to feed and provide healthcare for your birds.
Without proper funding, you will struggle to keep your business afloat but with enough capital; business is made easier. So it is advisable that you do your financial analysis very well and ensure you have access to cash because nothing kills a business faster than lack of money.
- Outbreak of diseases
When the environment is dirty, disease and infection is inevitable. Birds like chicken are very sensitive to environmental changes. If the poultry environment is not properly taken care of, the chickens will be exposed to diseases like bacterial infection. So as a poultry farmer, you must ensure that the poultry environment is kept clean and disinfected.
You must avoid bringing in contaminated equipment, vehicle, and foot wears. You must always deworm your birds and check them constantly for ecto-parasites such as mites. Also, visitors should not be allowed into the poultry environment and ensure that you sterilize your hands before touching the birds.
- Non availability and affordability of vaccines
In the agro-allied industry, especially poultry farming; this particular challenge affects the small scale poultry farmers more because; unlike the industrial or commercial poultry farmers who can afford the vaccines, the small scale poultry farmers can’t afford the vaccines.
- Adulteration and high cost of poultry feed
The price of poultry food is quite costly and birds consume a lot. So most poultry farmers economize or ration the food given to the birds and this affects the output. Also, adulterated poultry food flooding the market is another challenge for poultry entrepreneurs. This is because the adulteration utters the necessary nutrients the birds need in order to grow well, thus making them unhealthy and reduces their immunity to diseases.
SKILLS FOR POULTRY FARMING
Technologies training including theoretical and practical both are essential for poultry farming business especially when you are directly dealing livestock. You need to be very careful about the feed, disease, and entire farm environment. Getting properly trained before starting poultry farming business is highly advised. Going into poultry farming without a practical knowledge of the venture is a direct invitation to failure. It is very important for the would-be entrepreneur to know how to keep and maintain the chicken or birds in an acceptable manner.
COMPLIANCE FOR POULTRY FARMING
Another important is to comply with regulations. You have to make sure that the operations of your farm and the treatment of your chickens comply with regulations. Check your local government agencies regulating laws and regulations for poultry farms.
POULTRY FARMING CARE & MANAGEMENT
You should be a qualified person with a wealth of experience in poultry management. The management of the farm must be able to plan ahead its activities and be able to compare actual performance with the drawn plan in order to apply control measures whenever a deviation from the original plan is observed.
It must not be an armchair management that cares less about what may be happening to the birds at any given time. The management should be sensitive to the conditions on the farm and be in firm control of all situations.
Always take good care of your birds. Learn more about various types of poultry diseases, symptoms, and treatment. Vaccinate the birds timely. Provide them nutritious feed and clean water. Clean their house on a regular basis.
One of the critical factors that account for the success or failure of poultry farming is the way the health of the birds is handled. To ensure continuous production of chicken and eggs, your chickens should be regularly checked by veterinarians to ensure their health.
If the source of the day-old chicks or the foundation stick is compromised, or the necessary drugs are not properly administered, poultry farming can turn into a nightmare.
POULTRY FARMING INSURANCE
There are many external and internal issues like extreme weather and disease that could lead to significant poultry losses. So it is important to protect the investment you have made in your poultry operation with the right insurance solution.
Things to consider before venturing into any kind of farming in Nigeria
Lucrativeness of farming has been sold to the masses in Nigeria, so much that everyone, young and old, rich and poor are trooping towards it, in many cases blindly. This interest in farming is a good sign, but the concerns of what really drives young people towards farming remain. Below are 5 things to put in place before going all out on agriculture in order to reap the much mentioned success in the sector.
- Information/knowledge. How much knowledge about farming do you possess? Like any other profession, farming requires expertise, in fact it requires a great deal of expertise because of the dynamic aspects of agriculture. Information such as weather patterns, what crop to farm and the market, are very important. If you are truly keen on going into farming, roll up your sleeves and learn first.
- Passion. How much do you want to farm? What motivates you to become a farmer? Many young people are lured into the business with the glossy stories of success in the media without acknowledging the potentially disastrous risks involved. If you are not so much into it, the returns won’t be too much into you either.
- Capital. Young people interested in farming encounter their first hurdle in terms of capital. This is normal. Remedy for this can be found in the many agricultural support loans being given out by organizations, banks and even the government. The most important thing is the information on how to access these financial services. I will provide information on these loans and grants for farmers in my next
- Total Commitment. There is a new crop of young farmers who engage in farming “via proxy” or mobile phone farming if you will. This doe a good farm manager, there a number of things that will go wrong without your actual presence. For greater rewards in farming, you need to be on site. As a result, urban farming is taking root in the cities.
- Persistence. You are more likely to be disappointed by your farm in the beginning. This is called the learning period and giving up should not be an option. Wrap the failures under the folder of experience and use it to become better. It is important to expect misfortunes and be ready for them. Just remember to keep on.With these points considered, you can now decide to roll out your dream.
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