Poultry farming is a viable business anytime, any day. There are many reasons why the business is profitable. One, food is one of the basic needs of man. Regardless of the economic situation, people must eat and since domestic birds are consumable; that makes poultry farming feasible. People will always buy eggs and meat.
Again, with the increased awareness on the health implications of red meat, there is an increase in demand for white meat and birds are a source of white meat.
However, before you start, do a feasibility study and write a business plan.
Select your poultry niche
The poultry industry is a broad niche. There are many sub-sectors in the industry which you can tap into. Apart from rearing chicken and turkey, you may decide to go into egg production (layers breeding), meat production (broilers breeding), chicken breeding (hatchery) or poultry feed production.
What type of bird will you be focusing on?
The CEO of Gaij Com Farm, Mrs Favour Uzochukwu, who has been a poultry farmer for over seven years, says an important factor to consider when starting the business is the type of birds you wish to rear. “There are several types of birds that you can rear; domestic fowl or chicken (broilers and layers), turkey, guinea fowl or duck.
“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 specialisation, you would need to stock your farm with layers but if you prefer meat production, then you would need broilers instead because broilers have the ability to grow very fat and give more return on investment. Broilers weigh a lot more than other breeds.” she said.
What is your 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 N50,000 and N100,000. A medium scale poultry farm may require about N200,000 or more.
Uzochukwu says a good location is vital to the success and profitability of a poultry farm. “An ideal poultry farm should be sited where there is a large availability of cheap land and at the same time should be close to areas with high population density. It’s not advisable to site your poultry farm within a residential area because of the offensive odour it generates. My own farm is in Kuje,” she said.
Poultry equipment and appliances
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.
Feeding your birds
Experts say feeding is a major aspect of poultry farming. According to Uzochukwu, “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 or 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,” Uzochukwu explains.
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.
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.
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.
Projected returns on investment
The incubation period of the domestic fowl is 21 days. You can start selling off your birds as early as 8 – 12 weeks but full maturity is reached between 20 – 24 weeks. The payback period of a poultry farming business is between 3 – 5 years.