Poultry farming is mostly referred as raising of chickens for the production of broiler meat and layer eggs. However poultry is not limited to the production of chickens, many people around the world farm other types of poultry such as turkeys, ducks, quail, geese etc too but chicken is the most consumed poultry bird.
These steps also apply to all other types of poultry birds but mainly will focus on chickens. You can apply the same principles to understand poultry farming as a business.
MEAT OR EGG PRODUCTION:
People who rear poultry birds raise them for four major reasons:
- They keep them as a pet, for example pigeons etc.
- Backyard poultry farming
- Layer commercial production
- Broiler meat commercial production
Layer commercial production:
Chickens that are kept for egg laying are called layers. A layer poultry farm does not have any male chicks or roosters. Layer hens lay infertile eggs that have better shelf life. A hybrid layer chick that is kept at most poultry farms lays up to 300 eggs in one year after which it goes into molting stage when it sheds its feathers and grows new ones for around 2 months and starts laying eggs again. A day old chick takes 16 to 20 weeks to come in full production and weighs 36 or 37 grams at day old.
Broiler Meat Commercial Production:
Broilers are the chickens that are kept for meat production. Depending on your poultry farm management a broiler chicken is ready to be shipped to the market for slaughter in around 35 to 45 days days at maximum with a weight of 2 kilograms on an average. The most popular broiler chicken around the world is the Cornish cross. At day old the broiler chick is around 42 grams in weight or more. A broiler poultry farm has both male and female chickens.
Backyard poultry means raising chickens in your backyard. People who like organic food and do not like the commercial eggs and meat raise chickens in their backyard. Backyard poultry farming is also a great idea for doing business in your local area because most of the people prefer brown eggs and research has proven that brown eggs are more nutritious as compared to white eggs.
Because the backyard poultry chicken is not especially selected for egg or meat it usually lays less number of eggs but they are higher priced. Chicken is a low maintenance bird, keep their environment clean and give them something to eat and they will make you quite happy.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT BREED FOR POULTRY FARMING:
Choose from the list of poultry birds that are better at laying eggs. There are many different hybrid breeds and one of the most common is known as the Golden Comet.
Important layer chicken breeds:
- Rhode Island Red.
- Plymouth Rock
Important Meat Chicken breeds
- Cornish Cross
- Cornish Chicken
- Plymouth Rock
- Jersey Giant
- Delaware Chicken
- Orpington Chicken
There are many other breeds of chickens that you can keep but for commercial production, Cornish cross is best for meat production and Golden comet is best for layer eggs however your local chicken supplier will guide you the best in this matter.
For backyard poultry you have to select a breed that is better adapted to your local climate and has good production all around the year. There are also some dual-purpose breeds that are good for both meat and eggs, for example the Plymouth Rock chicken.
MAKING A FEASIBILITY FOR YOUR BUSINESS TO CALCULATE POSSIBLE INVESTMENT, REVENUE AND PROFITS.
Once you know how much you are to invest you can draw a feasibility of your poultry farming business according to the number of birds you are going to keep. The feasibility report will consist of two main type of costs that are fixed and recurring or day to day cost.
- Land Cost
- Building Cost
- Equipment Cost
- Chick Cost
- Labor Cost
- Feed Cost
- Medicine Cost
- Electricity and Fuel Cost
- Miscellaneous cost
Note: In case of layer farming the recurring or day to day cost will be for 18 months and for broiler farming it will be around 2 months.
Once you know the cost you can calculate your revenue and profits.
Almost all the revenue will come from table eggs or meat if you are doing broiler farming. Around 300 eggs produced from a single chicken layer bird and a broiler chicken weighs around 2 kilograms when sold to the market. Other revenue might come from chicken and farm wastes etc.
Profit = Total Revenue – Total Cost
SELECTION OF SITE FOR YOUR POULTRY FARM
By now you have a basic idea of what kind of poultry farming you can adapt for your business. The next step is the most important. It is that you have to select a good site for your poultry farm:
- Topography – It should be at an elevated height from the surrounding area
- At least 1 kilometer away from other poultry farms in your area
- Water should be available and of good quality
- There should be road access and the market or main city should be near.
- Away from general population
- In case you are buying the land, its cost should be considered
- Electricity should be available and natural gas if possible.
- If the land is on rent, it should be inexpensive.
For backyard poultry farming you will have to select an area in your backyard where you are going to keep your birds. You have to make sure that it is clean and water does not stand there. You also dont want your chickens running around the house or your neighbors complaining about the chickens if you live in a city or town. So you should confine them to some area.
HOUSING YOUR BIRDS
In case of housing you have three major options from which you can choose:
- Range System
- Semi-intensive Housing System
- Intensive Housing System
Range Poultry Farming System:
In this type of farming system your birds are kept in a limited area out in the open. Water and shelter is made available but there is no proper housing for the birds. You can adapt this system up to 1000 birds but for more than that you would need a lot of area and space. It is best suited if you want to raise chickens organically providing them 100% freedom for business.
In this type of housing system the birds are provided housing and open area. Each bird need 3 sq ft open area and 1 sq ft closed area. This gives the birds a natural environment and also makes feeding and management of the birds easy. Nests and bedding is provided. Hens lay eggs in the nests which are then collected and shipped to market after packaging etc.
All the above systems are great but if you are planning for commercial poultry farming, the best and most reliable option for you is intensive housing. It is an expensive housing system but will meet your business and farming needs. Feed and water is made available 24 hours of the day to the birds and the environment of the shed is controlled in most cases. It has further 3 types:
- Open Side House: This type of house has windows on both sides and is up to 100 ft in length, They environment is not controlled but the birds are confined in the shed and are not allowed to move outside the shed throughout their life span.
- Semi Control House: In this type of house, the farm shed is open sided also but the windows can be closed when the outer environment is not favorable. It is less expensive as compared to environment controlled house. It is equipped with cooling pads and fans that keep the environment maintained and provide proper temperature and ventilation to the birds.
- Environment Controlled House: In this case the birds are confined in a close building with no windows etc. The environment of the shed is controlled with the help of fans and cooling pads etc all around the year and artificial light is provided to the birds.
For backyard poultry
you have to provide your birds a chicken house or chicken coop where your birds can stay at night and probably you have to keep them in there at night so that they are protected from predators etc. There are many chicken coop designs that you can adapt but the important thing is that each birds gets its required space. Water and feed is available to all your chickens and they lay their eggs in their nest or chicken coop. Of course you don't want dirty or soiled eggs which are never good for your health.
Taking care of your chicken is the most important part of your poultry farming business. Once you have decided the housing you are to provide your birds, day to day care that will lead to the success of your farm, lower bird mortality, keeps them disease free and you will earn more from your business.
You have to vaccinate your birds at day old and later on from time to time and provide them feed. Almost 70% of your total cost will come from chicken feed. There are different types of feeds available the the market according to the different physiological stages of your birds. Birds need an optimum temperature, humidity and ventilation to be able to convert feed into your desired products.
Caring your birds also includes keeping their house clean and disinfected. You have to change the litter material for your birds time to time and properly dispose of the waste that includes dropping (Chicken Feaces) wastes and used litter material etc. Remember if you don't want disease to come to your farm, keeping it clean and bio secure is the only way to achieve this goal.
MARKETING YOUR EGGS
Now you have a good idea of what happens at a poultry farm etc but as you are to do a business, after production the most important step is marketing your meat and eggs.
You can contact your local distributors if you want to keep the marketing really simple. You should be aware of local rates of meat and eggs in your local market but it really matters how you want your marketing to be done. One of the most important things that will help you earn more is better marketing and product advertising.
Ask yourself what is the difference between the eggs or meat in a superstore and that on a small shop? Nothing. Its all value addition to your product and reaching out to better sources for selling your eggs and meat. You have to make your product special and unique.
For backyard poultry farming you have a great opportunity, you can use the internet and social media to sell your organic chickens and eggs for higher prices.
People always prefer organic food so don't worry about the buyers, there will always be someone to buy and soon you will run out of eggs and chickens as they will be sold out. But this all can happen with good marketing and letting people know what you have and making it their need, Making them feel that it is very important. Grow yourself and your business.
VISIT A POULTRY FARM:
You should also consider visiting a poultry farm and look at how things work. Talk to the farmer and look into his business and how he is making the money. In case of backyard poultry you can see if someone around your area sells organic eggs etc. and then meet up with them. This will help you a lot in many ways and prevent you from making mistakes in the future.
Of course you are going to meet with many problems at your farm. It can be a small problem or a big one but as a good manager you have to find solution to those problems. Never step into a business without knowing the worst that can happen. High mortality, underweight birds, disease outbreak etc can be some of those problems. Always be ready to solve your problems.
Poultry farming business is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs and small scale to large scale farmers. Its all about how much effort you make. A large scale farmer can hire managers etc but as a small investor you might not be able to do so in the beginning hence it is very important to know how poultry farming works. I hope this guide has added to your knowledge at least something, Thank you and Good Luck!