How to start a poultry farm business? Over time, we have gotten several inquiries concerning the issues of starting a poultry farming business. Let’s give you a comprehensive guide on how to get into poultry business.
Who should do the poultry business? The poultry farming is usually the business we would advise for retirees and individuals who are passionate about livestock farming. They must know about the hard work required in chicken farms.
What are the benefits of poultry farming? Poultry farming is a feasible business anytime anywhere as it has many benefits such as less early investment is required, quicker ROI and the expenses are less than other businesses. How to start a chicken farm business? Let’s know.
Why to Start a Chicken Farm Business?
Chicken is the number one protein consumed in the United States. Americans consume more chicken than anyone else in the world.
According to the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, the combined value of production from broilers, eggs, turkeys, and the value of sales from chickens in 2018 was $46.3 billion.
There are plenty of factors that make poultry farming business a profitable one but I will be highlighting only three major factors:
- Food is one of the basic needs of man.
- According to the USDA, an individual consumes an average of 259 eggs per year. The population is going up!
- There’s an increased demand for white meat and birds are a source of white meat.
Learn how to sell chickens for meat on your small farm. Take these steps to start a profitable and fun chicken broiler business successfully. Read these Great Business Ideas That Will Thrive.
Do these steps to get started;
- Start a Chicken Broiler Business on Your Small Farm
- Know the Laws
- Learn How to Raise Chickens for Meat
- Know Your Market
- Write a Business Plan
Starting a Poultry Farming Business — Sample Business Plan
As poultry farming has already proven to be lucrative business, so you may be willing to start a farm for your new source of income. In broad, poultry farming means raising various types of domestic birds commercially for the purpose of meat, eggs and feather production.
1. Select your Poultry Niche
The poultry industry is a broad niche. There are many sub-sectors in the poultry industry which you can tap into. When poultry farming is mentioned, a lot of people take that to mean chicken rearing or turkey rearing alone but poultry farming is a very wide business with different aspects. Below are niches in the poultry business:
- Egg production (Layers breeding)
- Meat production (Broilers breeding)
- Chicken breeding (Hatchery)
- Poultry feed production
- Poultry equipment manufacturing
- Egg and meat processing, packaging and marketing
- Poultry marketing and consultancy
So, you see that poultry farming is very wide. Therefore, you have to choose your area of specialization. Of course, if you have enough capital and the technical know-how nothing stops you from doing all the businesses under poultry farming but it is always better to go back to the basics and learn.
2. What Type of Bird Will You Be Focusing On?
Another important factor to consider is the type of birds you wish to rear. There are several types of birds that you can rear. Poultry farming can further be classified into the types of birds:
- Domestic fowl or Chicken
- Guinea fowl
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 specialization, you would need to stock your farm with layers but if you prefer to opt for meat production instead, then you would need broilers instead because broilers have the ability to grow very fat and gives more return on investment because they weigh a lot more than other breeds. But for this article, I will be focusing on poultry breeding for egg and meat purposes with respect to the domestic fowl.
3. Start-up Capital Investment
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 $500 — $1,500. A medium scale poultry farm may require $2,000 — $5,000.
4. Your Farm Location
A good location is vital to the success and profitability of your poultry farm. An ideal poultry farm should be sited where there’s 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 odor it produces.
While it is smart to start your poultry farm in a place where the odor and noise would not disturb other people, you should also consider the security factor. Lands in sparsely populated settlements are cheap and you would have fewer issues with community disturbance and zoning but it may be far from your market and buyers. You need to find a balance, look for a place that is favorable to you and would also be favorable to your customers at the same time.
5. Housing your birds
Another important factor to consider is the poultry housing system and fencing options. Poultry housing system determines up to 40% of the rater of success you would achieve in poultry farming. A good housing system is very important for your poultry farm. The housing system commonly used in poultry farming are-:
- Extensive system: Range and fold unit
- Semi Intensive system: Standard semi intensive unit and straw yard
- Intensive system: i. Deep litter, ii. Wire and slated floor, iii. Straw yard, iv. Battery cage
Free Range System-: Under free-range poultry farming system, chickens are allowed to roam around on their own in search for food. This system cannot be used for commercial poultry farming because of the high level of risks involved.
Deep Litter System-: This system involves spreading wood shavings or saw dust on a concrete ground with the chickens placed on the floor and the dust serving as a ‘cushion’ for them. The dust is changed regularly, either by removing and replacing or by layering.
Deep litter system is used by a lot of poultry farmers because it increases efficiency and makes it easier to manage large flocks of birds but it allows for a faster spread of diseases when there is an outbreak and also makes it difficult to fish out unproductive birds.
Battery Cage System-: As for the battery cage system, metal cages are constructed inside a building to house the birds. The cages are usually split into different compartments to house small groups of birds. The cages also contain feeding and water troughs as well as laying nests.
Bird droppings fall on the floor and are cleaned mechanically by a scraper. This method is considered to be the most effective for egg production but the major downside of this method is that it is more expensive to construct and maintain compared to other forms of poultry housing systems.
If you are running a poultry farm for commercial purposes and you intend getting the best out of the business; with respect to high birds’ productivity and efficiency. Then you should consider housing your birds using the intensive system. Note that each of the three housing system has its own advantages and disadvantages.
6. 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.
Therefore, you should make a list of all the items you would need, find out the prices and compare different prices to further give you an idea of the costs of setting up the poultry farm.The following equipment may be needed for your poultry farm and their uses:
- Lighting system
- Waste disposal system
- Heaters or brooders
- Egg tray
- Cages and coops
7. Feeding your Birds
Feeding is a major aspect of poultry farming. In fact, 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
- 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. You can easily learn how to make poultry feeds, purchase equipment and start producing feeds for your farm. You can even make some extra income for yourself by selling to others but it is important that you get the right feed formula and ingredients that would enhance the growth of your birds.
8. Staffing and Manpower
Operating a poultry farm is not labor intensive if the use of technology is employed. With respect to staffing, the number of manpower needed is also dependent on the size of your farm. But some must haves should be admin officer or manager; who will oversee the day to day running of your business. Your manager can also double as your accountant to cut down cost.
It is also advisable you have personnel who will reside permanently in the farm to monitor and see to the well-being of your birds. You will also need security personnel that will monitor the inflow and outflow of people around your farm; and most importantly, guard against theft. Aside these few mentioned, you can add more personnel to suit your business needs.
I mentioned in one of my previous articles how a lot of poultry farmers take the accounting and record keeping aspects of their business for granted. 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.
You don’t need to have an accounting background or spend hours on record keeping or accounting for your farm; just purchase a farm management software, install it on your computer and there you are, you would be able to know how your business is doing and whether you are growing or not.
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.
12. Projected return 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.
Challenges of Starting a Poultry Farming Business
Some farmers have complained about high chick loss in the first two months of life. This is the major constraint to poultry production. Poor hatching and high cost of feeds were also mentioned as important constraints.
- Lack of support from the government
Taking a closer look, you will attest to the fact that the government in many countries shows little interest in livestock farming; let alone poultry farming. The government is more interested in the oil sector thereby not showing concern to poultry farming and this brings discouragement to the poultry farmers.
- High start-up capital
The very first factor you have to give serious consideration to is capital. Just like every other business, poultry farming needs sufficient and proper funding. This is because the amount of capital you have to invest has a lot to do with the level of success you would achieve in poultry farming. If you have enough capital, you would be able to put facilities that would increase your productivity in place.
You cannot do well as a livestock farmer, especially poultry farming when you don’t have enough fund. You need money to purchase a land for the farm, to construct and equip the farm, to hire and pay staff/laborers and also to feed and provide healthcare for your birds.
Without proper funding, you will struggle to keep your business afloat but with enough capital; business is made easier. So it is advisable that you do your financial analysis very well and ensure you have access to cash because nothing kills a business faster than lack of money.
- Outbreak of diseases
When the environment is dirty, disease and infection is inevitable. Birds like chicken are very sensitive to environmental changes. If the poultry environment is not properly taken care of, the chickens will be exposed to diseases like bacteria infection. So as a poultry farmer, you must ensure that the poultry environment is kept clean and disinfected.
- Non-availability and affordability of vaccines
In some industries, especially poultry farming; this particular challenge of nonavailability of vaccines affects the small scale poultry farmers more because; unlike the industrial or commercial poultry farmers who can afford the vaccines, the small scale poultry farmers can’t afford the vaccines.
- Adulteration and high cost of poultry food
The price of poultry food is quite costly and birds consume a lot. So most poultry farmers economize or ration the food given to the birds and this affects the output. Also, adulterated poultry food flooding the market is another challenge for poultry entrepreneurs.
This is because the adulteration utters the necessary nutrients the birds need in order to grow well, thus making them unhealthy and reduces their immunity to diseases. As a final note, i believe you have gotten a clue on the challenges you should expect as a poultry farmer and the best solutions to them. So start now by creating a counter-strategy to tackle these challenges and success will be yours.
The goal should be to eventually scale up to a million birds a week.
Conventional systems work well for broiler production, where supplying adequate feed for growth is the primary concern.
COVID-19 is also creating new challenges, and opportunities for poultry farmers
In Arizona, one poultry farmer is already facing new challenges due to the pandemic and fears more could come. Several outbreaks have been reported in meat packing plants across the country.
How are the farmers for broiler chickens paid?
We provide poultry farmers with written contracts detailing how payments will be calculated. Poultry farmers are essentially paid for how well they take care of the chickens and how much weight the birds gain while they’re on the farm.
We use a performance-based incentive system that rewards poultry farmers who effectively convert the feed we provide into weight gain in the birds they raise. The payment formula includes such factors as the number of birds, the amount of feed used, the performance of their flock compared to those raised by other contract farmers and the weight of the birds delivered to the processing plant.