Agriculture, which has previously been ignored by the Nigerian government and Nigerians is currently the rave of the moment, it is the way out of the current economic strangulation bedeviling the nation.
Poultry farming, an important aspect of Agriculture is a very feasible, profitable and viable business provided the management and bio-security practices are well adhered to.
Today, we shall dive into the nitty-gritty of starting a successful poultry farm.
There are different forms of poultry farming, we have the chicken, quail, duck, turkey, pigeon, guinea fowl, muscovy duck, geese and the most recent of them all; ostrich farming, which is fast gaining popularity in the poultry domestication business!
We shall limit ourselves to the chicken poultry, which being the most-known can serve as a template for all others.
The most pertinent question you need to ask when you are about to embark on the journey of poultry farming is this: why do you want to do chicken production? The eggs or the meat?
This question brings yet another form of explanation under Poultry; as we have mainly two types of chicken production:
The pullets (eventually becomes layers), exclusively for egg production but can later serve the purpose of meat production after laying for over a year. At this point, it has turned to ‘spent layer’.
However, the main purpose is for egg production!
A typical pullet has three phases; the chick stage where the chick consumes just chick mash, the grower stage at about the 9th week where it starts consuming grower feeds and finally, at the 19th week where it finally starts consuming layer’s feed, which is purely responsible for the egg laying.
The meat type is further divided into two; the broilers and the cockerel. The broiler is more preferable in the sense that it attains market size faster, at 5-6 weeks, all thanks to our breeders for improving the breed, it is what you and I eat mostly during the festive seasons!
However, they consume lots of feed and they have just two phases in their life cycle; the starter stage where they consume starter diet (first 4 weeks) and the finisher stage (5th -6th week) where they consume finisher diet!
The cockerel is the second meat type but it takes a longer time to attain market size – About 5 months, only few farmers go into this.
Asides these, we also have the newly improved dual purpose breed called the noiler: a crossbreed between our local chicken and broiler, it serves meat and egg laying purposes!
D.O.C is a term used for newly hatched chicken and it means day old chick.
Having known the above, The how to start is relatively easy! This business thrives on certain principles, you ditch the principle, then you ditch your likelihood of success in the business.
The first is your passion. Don’t just go for the business, develop the innate passion for the business, as this will take you a long way and your success potential is very high. Actually, this principle applies to any business or endeavour you can think of.
Site of the farm is also a major factor in any poultry business, Select a location not too close to residential or industrial areas, why?
- The noise is not ideal for chicken and might scare and or kill them.
- The smell associated with their droppings which is unhealthy for human consumption, but lately, this has been corrected using a supplement called larvacide, which ensures poultry houses don’t smell any longer like it used to in the past.
- To prevent easy spread of diseases, thereby failing the bio-security measure steps.
- The site must be accessible for easy business transactions.
Capital must be available for such, Just like with computers, the poultry business goes with the rule: garbage in garbage out, meaning that how you take care of your birds (feeding, medicine etc), determines their productivity.
Housing: The poultry house must be constructed to allow room for maximum ventilation, limit the effect of sun, an east-west orientation is the best as it plays a major role in achieving the best result.
Other materials needed are battery cages for battery cage type, expensive but surely a better way to prevent spread of disease, deep litter, economical for people that wish to raise on the ground with the use of carpenter’s wood shavings as beddings, drinkers, feeders, weighing scale, thermometer to check for temperature variation, hydrometer to check for relative humidity and ambient temperature, vaccines and antibiotics which are expected to be administered by a licensed veterinary doctor.
Feeds: You can buy your commercial feeds such as top feed, vital feed and the likes or consult a reputable feed mill to mill feed for you based on the age of the chicken and their purpose of being raised as earlier discussed.
Research has overtime shown that commercial feeds are better but more expensive!
Finally, the market must be well considered. Irrespective of the efforts expended into the business, the profitability is determined by the market; which further determines your ability to thrive as a poultry farmer. Proper branding and advertisement mechanism should be put in place. Design flyers, Get a website for your business to get good market because your sustainability depends on this
Get a proper record book for your business and make use of it, so as to inform you of vital decisions and to easily display your profit or loss trends. In fact, any financial institution or will require you to provide this in the case of application for a loan or grant in a bid to expand our business!
No farmer no food,
No food no nation!