How to Start a Poultry Farm in Nigeria
Personally, I find it more appealing to begin the study of any subject matter from the history, my reason, it empowers my faculties and allows me relate better with the subject. Permit me to take you through a brief study of how modern poultry farming came about.
Ducks, geese and pigeons were reared in China more than 3,000 years ago; it is also postulated that chickens (which developed from the Asian jungle fowl) was bred in the same region about the same time. Fast forward to the sixteenth century, chickens were introduced to America from Europe and turkeys introduced to Europe from America, how interesting.
Though artificial methods were used both in China and Egypt for incubating eggs, it was not commercialized till the 1870s. in the nineteenth century, the modern poultry industry emerged with European and American breeders focusing on improving egg and meat production. Since 1945, consumption of poultry meat and eggs has greatly increased due to continuous researches carried out on new measures in rearing and managing poultry farming and its products.
What Is Poultry Farming?
Contrary to the common knowledge that poultry farming is majorly chicken-based, poultry farming is the raising of domesticated birds such as chickens, turkeys, ducks, quails, etc. for the purpose of meat and eggs, and the farming could be on either subsistence (personal consumption) or commercial (business) bases. If the birds are for meat purpose in chicken, they are called broilers, while if they are egg purpose, they are known as layers.
However, for the sake of this write up, we will be restricting our scope to raising poultry for meat purpose (broilers) on a small/medium scale commercial basis.
Join me on this journey to a whole new world of possibilities as it promises to be a jolly good ride.
Let us start by answering the question, WHY POULTRY FARMING IN NIGERIA?
Did you know that poultry farming is one of the most viable and fast-rising businesses not just in Nigeria but in the world at large? There are quite a number of reasons why one should indulge in poultry farming:
Man has three basic needs which include clothing, food and shelter. Poultry satisfies one of those needs, food, meaning it is one business that will remain profitable as long a man exists.
- There is a high demand for food worldwide, Nigeria not an exception, poultry farming fixes this problem, thus making it a great business venture as there is always demand.
- Health studies show that white meat is healthier for human consumption than red meat, poultry is a major source of white meat.
- The meat gotten from poultry can be used for a variety of meals.
- The birds grow fast and reproduce in large numbers too meaning there is faster turnover.
- Broilers sell at a very good price and they are never out of season.
The list is endless my friend, so I suggest if you are still doubting taking a step in this direction, you should get your hopes up because it is surely a profitable venture if you can get you act right.
I can guess the next question on your mind is this, if it is so profitable, How do I Start a Poultry Farm?
Before I continue, I must state a quick disclaimer; this is just a guide to starting up, you will have to conduct a feasibility study based on your geographical location and the economy of where you reside. Thus I will not be stating any prices, to avoid misleading you.
– CAPITAL – Like I stated above, I will rather not state in terms of amount how much cash you will need to begin your farm. The amount of cash needed will largely depend on a few factors such how many birds you want to start with, how much you have at hand or can raise, whether you have a land on which to run the farm at hand or you will need to make a purchase or a lease, the method housing system you choose. Although of note with the poultry business is that it is a semi-capital intensive one in which the start-up capital is directly proportional to the scale at which you want to run. In form of suggestion, I will advise that for a small scale farm, you can prepare between #70,000 – #100,000, while for a medium scale farm, #300,000 to #500,000 will suffice.
– LOCATION – Finding a good location for your farm requires balance. This is because you need a place that is not residential because of the noise and odour produced on the farm, at the same time you need a place not too far from where your customers can reach you. You also need a place that is quite secure, to avoid the problem of theft and most of all you need a place that would not cost you too much, so it is easy for you to break-even (after all what is the aim of business?) In essence, find a place that will be suitable to both yourself and your customers, a place where everyone wins.
– HOUSING SYSTEM – Studies show that the housing system used in poultry farming could determine the success rate of the business up to around 40%, meaning it is a very important factor to consider. There are three major housing systems used in poultry viz:
- Extensive system: This is also known as the free range system. It is basically raising the birds in an open space, allowing them to graze the field. This is not really advisable if one is going into commercial poultry farming, especially if you have a target to meet regarding returns.
- Semi intensive system: This is a culmination of extensive and intensive housing systems.
• Intensive system: This involves building an enclosed space for the birds and supplying them their daily needs completely. It is further divided into:
- Deep litter system: This is the most common for small/medium scale broiler farmers in Nigeria. The reason being that it is the least capital intensive as it requires the farmer to build an enclosed space that is properly floored, spread saw dust on the floor, place the feeders and drinkers at strategic places and put in the birds. The only requirement is the frequent removal of the saw dust and replacing with fresh saw dust, this is done to avoid disease outbreak as well as the terrible odour that comes from the waste of the birds. It is also known in Nigeria as the SAWDUST SYSTEM.
- Battery cages: Here metal cages are fitted into a pre-constructed building. The cages are of different sizes depending on the size of the birds to be raised. The cages contain spaces for feed, water and egg collection (in the case of raising layers). It is more capital intensive than the deep litter system and thus is more appealing to big farms.
– TRAINING – You do not require formal education or training to be a successful farmer, all you need is the zeal to start and the ability to do quite an amount of research and on the field learning to make good profit. I will however suggest that you visit a few successful farms around you to see how they are run (this will give you practical insight) and surf the net for necessary materials to help you theoretically.
– FARM EQUIPMENT – I am going to be helping you with a list of materials and equipment you will require in starting up your farm, the list is quite long and the prices of items differ from location to location. I therefore advise that you use this list as a guide, but run a survey around your location for prices that suite you best. The list includes:
- Drinkers/water troughs
- Waste disposal system
- Lighting system
- Heating system
- Vaccines and drugs
– FEED – This is one of the most important factors in raising birds because the feed determines to a large extent the magnitude of the harvest, whether bountiful or terrible. There are several feed stores and feed mills around the country but before buying feed, ensure you are buying the specific feed for the kind of birds you have on ground. I must say at this point that the price of a feed does not necessarily determine how nutritious it will be, go through the nutrient content and ask around as well to know what kind suites you best at each point in time to get the best output from your farm. If you knowledgeable about feed formulation for birds, you can also opt for the option of making your feed yourself after purchasing the necessary ingredients.
– STOCKING THE FARM – I recommend that you seek out a good and reputable hatchery where you can get healthy day old chicks. The price range for day old broilers is between #140 and #200 per one.
At this point, you are almost set, however there are pitfalls you must avoid in running your farm. This leads us to next question, WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES OF RUNNING A POULTRY FARM?
– Disease outbreak – This usually occurs due to negligence on the part of the farm especially with respect to proper waste disposal. In some cases, however, it might be resultant from consumption of the wrong feed or administration of the wrong vaccines or no vaccines at all. The farmer must also avoid bringing in contaminated materials into the farm, there should be a footbath at the entrance of the farm.
– Adulterated and costly feeds – Recently, the price of feeds have skyrocketed making it difficult for the farmer to gain as much they should. Also, there are several adulterated feeds in circulation which could reduce the output of the farm.
– Affordability and availability of vaccines – This is a major challenge peculiar to small scale poultry farmers, the vaccines are not readily available and when they are, the prices might be cut-throat.
– Pest attack – Pests such as rodents, ants, snakes, etc. can cause serious loss to a farmer.
– Capital intensive – The amount of capital infused into the farm will directly affect the output of the farm. So in the event that capital is not readily available, farming activities are hampered.
How to run a Poultry Farm to Ensure Maximum Profit?
– Manpower – For a small farm, little or no manpower is required, this is because poultry farming is really not labor intensive. However, for a medium scale farm, you might need to employ a farm manager, an accounts officer, laborer, for the smooth running of the farm.
– Record keeping and accounting – Any business with a poor recordkeeping/ accounting system will not thrive for long. It is imperative that the farm, no matter how small it is, has a proper bookkeeping measure in place.
– Marketing – Consider the proper marketing techniques to reach and satisfy your customer, after all they are the source of your income. Study your environment and check out what need you can meet with your products then go ahead to fix it.
– Health of the birds – Ensure that you vaccinate the birds regularly to avoid disease outbreaks on the farm as birds are very sensitive. Also ensure you organize regular checkups for the birds. Your farm should have a consultant veterinary doctor at your beck and call for this.
Profitability of the Business
As earlier stated, birds (especially broilers) grow very fast, as a matter of fact within 6-7 weeks they get to table-size, meaning they are ready for eating. So as a broiler farmer you can have turnover every 7-8 weeks. Presently in Nigeria, a bird goes for between #2,000 and #2,500, so if you start with 50 birds, you can be raking in #100,000 – #125,000 every 8 weeks.
In conclusion, I believe this article has been helpful in educating you on the subject of broiler farming for small scale/medium scale farmers in Nigeria; so what are you waiting for, go and start making some cool cash.
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