Poultry Farming: A Lucrative Business Venture You Can Start Right Now

poultry farming
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Poultry Farming: A Lucrative Business Venture You Can Start Right Now

Poultry farming is the rearing of domestic birds for the production of meat, egg or both.   In this post, I shall be discussing small scale poultry farming. If you have ever wanted to invest in agriculture, then consider starting a poultry farm.

Why Poultry Farming is Attractive Endeavour

Poultry farming is attractive for many reasons.  I highlight a few of these reasons here:

a). High Demand:  Poultry meat and eggs are rich sources of protein, hence they are very high in demand.  ;

The poultry sub-sector constitutes about 30% of the agricultural sector and contributes 8% to Nigeria’s annual GDP.   With the 2nd largest chicken population in Africa, the Nigerian poultry sub-sector attracts huge private investment.  Some of the active players in the Nigeria poultry market include: CHI, Animal care, Top feeds, Nutreco, Zartech, Olam, Grand cereal, Obasanjo Farm, etc.

b) It is a profitable endeavour: poultry farming is very profitable.  Some farmers report an average ROI of about 40%.  Very few businesses can generate such a level of return.  The reason it’s so is that virtually everything that you generate from your poultry farm has economic value.  Majority of the population eat poultry meat and egg.  Bakers and confectionary makers also use eggs..

c) Poultry farming is scalable: This is one venture you can start on a very small scale and grow it to become a big enterprise.  There are people who run poultry farms from their backyard and still make very good money.

Steps to Setting Up a Poultry Farm

#1. Decide on type of bird to rear

Chickens, turkeys, ducks, gees, quails, ostriches, peacocks, guinea foul, pheasants, etc., are some of the different kinds of domestic birds that poultry farmers rear.  However, chicken is the most common and it accounts for about 90% of poultry population.

In other words, most poultry farms around are for chicken rearing.

#2. Decide on the poultry niche of interest

The poultry farming sector is broad with many sub-sectors so it is important to niche down.  Some of the areas to choose from include the following:

  • Broiler,  i.e chicken you rear for meat production
  • Layer, i.e chicken you rear for egg production
  • Hatchery i.e the production of chicks from fertilized eggs for breeding into boilers and layers
  • Poultry feed production, i,e making feed formulation for the poultry market.

If you are focus is produce and market eggs, then you have to stock your farm with layers.  However, if you want to rear chicken for meat production, then stock your farm with broilers.  While layers are reared to start laying eggs within a short period of time.

#3. Select Your Farm Site

Where your poultry farm is located is very important.  The environment must be pollution free and possibly be far from residential areas. Such sites are easy to get in rural areas or semi-urban centers.

The site must be accessible, preferably close to major road.  It must be near to your market, have good source of water and protected from dangerous animals like snakes and other predators.

The size of land you will need will depend on the poultry system you want to adopt and the number of birds you want to rear.

Two types of poultry keeping methods are common.  These are intensive system and extensive system.  In intensive system, the farmer keep the birds in a concrete floored, well ventilated house (pen).  This makes an economical use of space, allows for easy monitoring of the birds and also reduce cost of labour.

On the other hand, the extensive system is a method which allows the birds to rear in an open space.  Most commercial poultry farms adopt the intensive poultry keeping system and that’s what this post envisages for a small scale farm.

A piece of land measuring about 450 – 600 sq. m (i,e half to a full plot of land) will be adequate for a small scale poultry farm with about 500 – 1500 birds.

#4. Decide on Poultry Housing Type

In an intensive poultry system, there are two types of housing methods for the birds.  These are the Battery Cage method and the Deep Liter method.  In the Battery Cage system, cages of two to three steps are raised within the pen.  The cages are fitted with feeding and drinking troughs for the convenience of the birds and underneath them are spread with saw dust upon the birds drop their dungs.

The battery cage system is suitable for rearing layers.  It makes maximum use of space and makes it convenient for the farm hands to pick the eggs.

In a deep liter system, the birds are kept in a well ventilated house with concrete floors.  The walls are constructed with cement blocks to about one meter height and wire netted up to the roof. Instead of saw dust the floor is lettered with wood shavings.

Deep liter housing is suitable for rearing broilers and cockerels.

#5. Think about Funding (capital)

How much do you need to start a poultry farm? For your back yard project you can do it with under 50 birds and an investment of about N100,000 or less.

However commercial poultry farming can be capital intensive depending on the scale of your operations.  For a small scale operations, you will need to start with about 1,500 to 2,000 birds and two pens for layers and boilers.  For this scale of operations, an initial capital of between N2 million to N5 million will be adequate.

This initial investment will enable you acquire half-plot of land or a full plot depending on the location, take care of preliminary expenses, construct two pens, purchase day old chick, procure vaccination, etc., and working capital.

Your preliminary expenses will include cost of business registration, land registration and clearing, consultancy services, etc.

#6. Procure necessary equipment and materials

Poultry farming requires a lot of things.  The most significant is the construction of housing.  You will also have to sink a borehole to provide clean water for the birds on constant basis.  Feeding and drinking troughs are required, waste disposal system, lightening and heating system, egg crates and storage facility for safekeeping of feed and eggs before delivery to the market, incubator, etc.

How Profitable Is Poultry Farming?

Poultry farming can be very profitable.  Within 14 weeks, the layers can start laying eggs and within 20 -24 weeks, the broilers are mature and weigh enough to be sold.  Your market for egg is wide and once you are known you will begin to sell at the farm gate.

Broilers are sold as live chicken to table processing facilities or the open market.  My research show that poultry farming can give a return on investment of as much as 30% after all expenses.

Success Factors

A lot of factors will act together to ensure your success; from site location to selection of day old chicks, to housing construction, etc.  Most importantly, to succeed as a poultry farmer, you must pay attention to the following:

Medication

Diseases and parasites affect birds often.  Some common poultry dieses include CRD (chronic respiratory dieses), fleas, worms, toxic fatty syndrome, amongst others.  Therefore it is important that yours birds are under constant watch and appropriate medications are provided at all times.

Best practice is to engage a Veterinary Doctor as consultant to constantly check and vaccinate your birds.  Vaccines are disease preventive measures against outbreak of diseases that could lead to a great loss.

Record Keeping

The need for record keeping cannot be over emphasized in any form of business,  Unfortunately, many entrepreneurs over look this very important aspect of their business. In poultry farming, important record include accounting books for vaccines, feed, stocks, sales, expenses, etc.

Having an accounting staff to keep the books will help.  However, with the many farm management systems or software available, your record keeping become easier and you can do it without necessarily engaging a professional accountant..

Staffing

If you do not know much poultry farming, you will need to hire a farm manager.  You will also need an attendant to tend to the birds, a security guard to provide security.  You will need a record keeper.  These are essentially the direct workmen you will have to engage.  Then get a vet doctor on retainership.

Final Words

Poultry farming is a lucrative venture, if it is done properly.  This is because there are a lot of challenges that come with the venture.  For a beginner or one with limited experience, it will pay if the prospective farmer spend some time to study and understand to basics before taking the plunge.

The industry is wide as highlighted earlier.  Thus apart from the rearing of birds for meat and egg there are other business opportunities that an entrepreneur can explore.  Some of these include but not limited to the following: sale and installation of poultry equipment, poultry meat processing, packaging and marketing, poultry consultancy services, etc.

Finally, as we have always advised on this platform, it is important that you do your research to ascertain the viability of any business venture you wish to go into.

Buchi creates content and leads the Team at Stalwart Investment Partners; a business development and investment consultancy firm. He provides strategic advisory to help SME's, small business owners and HNI's grow profitable business and make informed investing decisions.

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