This objective of this article is to give anyone, even a beginner a clear view of how to start poultry farming in Nigeria. Prior to going into the nitty gritty, I think it is important to clear up some basic facts.
The poultry business encompasses all the activities that are involved in the commercial raising of various types of birds like chicken, turkey, quail, duck and other domestic birds. This article encompasses the basics on how to start poultry farm irrespective of the niche.
There are various areas of poultry that are available for you to invest in. The entire poultry farming business consists of;
- Meat Production: In this form of poultry farming, fast growing broiler birds are raised solely to be sold as meat when they reach maturity.
- Egg Production: This involves raising layers for the production of eggs. The layer birds can then be sold and used as meat when they have exceeded their laying life span.
- Feed Production: Involves production of poultry food and selling them to poultry farmers.
- Hatchery: This aspect of the business involves the hatching of high quality birds of different breeds.
- Poultry Consultancy: Those involved in consultancy are concerned with giving informed advice to operators of other segments of the poultry business. This group normally consist of veterinary doctors or those who have acquired vast experience from being involved in the business for a very long time.
- Equipment Manufacturing: They engage in the manufacture of the equipment such as cages, drinkers and feeders as well as automation technology that are to be used in the poultry farm.
With all the above listed, you can make up your mind on the aspect of the poultry farming business that you desire to embark on. However, you need to have it in mind that they all hold various advantages and disadvantages, as well as require different skill sets.
It is recommended that starters should focus more on egg and meat production, because they do not require any special skill set, unlike running a hatchery, equipment manufacturing or consultancy.
Whichever area of poultry farming that you feel capable of investing in, be rest assured that the business is a very profitable and sustainable one because the high population of Nigeria means that there are lot of people to be fed.
Also, quite a lot of people are moving away from consuming red meat, and instead prefer to eat white meat.
Before mapping out the business plan to start a poultry farm in Nigeria, there some things that have to be put into consideration in making business decisions.
The ideal location of a poultry farm is place where a large portion of land is available, affordable, in proximity to a highly populated area and not too close to residential area.
Your poultry farm will need some space for ventilation and possible expansion. You also need to be close an urban area because this will reduce the amount of money that you will spend to transport your products to the market.
Another point to note is that the birds can produce a lot of noise and also a bad odour from droppings hence they have to be located a bit far away from residential areas to avoid conflict with other residents.
- Type of Bird
As earlier mentioned, poultry farming can involve various types of domestic birds such as chicken, turkey, Guinea fowl, peacock, quail, pigeon or duck. You will need to decide on the type of bird you desire to raise
My own opinion is that for a beginner you should settle for raising chickens (either broiler or layers). This is because chickens are the most consumed in Nigeria, and since there are a lot of people into it, it is easier to get support in case you have any problems.
- Poultry Housing System
There are three main types of housing systems used in raising birds namely;
- Deep Litter System: Locally known as sawdust system, it involves keeping the birds in an enclosed placed with concrete flooring. Sawdust is then spread across the floor. This system is mostly used by farmers who are raising broilers because it makes it easier to handle a large number of birds.The major disadvantage of this system is that it aids in the rapid spread of diseases and it makes it very difficult for the farmer to detect unproductive birds hence it is not ideal for raising layers.
- Free Range System: The free range system is reminiscent of the methods used in the rural areas. This involves allowing the birds to roam around freely. In this system, the birds are left to search for food by themselves, or are fed occasionally. If you intend to get the very best from your birds, it is not advisable to engage in this form of housing.
- Battery Cage System: This method involves the use of metal cages which have been split into different compartments to house the birds. The cages are constructed such that they have water and feeding troughs and an egg catcher.This method is best used for egg production because it gives you a clearer picture of the production levels of the birds. The downside is that it is the most expensive of all the methods.
Just the same way you need food to grow strong and healthy, so do your birds. It is important to make funds available to provide the best feed for your birds. There are various formulas in the market that aid the production and growth of various types of birds, be it layers or broilers.
It is advisable that you keep a sizable part of your capital aside for feed because a large chunk of your running cost will be spent on providing the right feed for your birds.
When you grow into a bigger poultry farmer you can now start producing your own feed and even selling to others.
- Bird Health
Apart from proper feeding, you can ensure that your birds are in good health by giving them the right vaccines and keeping your poultry environment clean. This will also reduce the rate of spread of diseases and infections.
- Poultry Farm Management
Any business no matter how lucrative will run to the ground if not properly managed. You need to develop the right management system that suits your poultry. If it is a small scale farm then you might only hire one or two people to assist you in running the place.
If it is a medium or large scale poultry then you will need to hire a bit more people. You might not be able to handle the day to day running of the business so you might need to hire a manager.
Irrespective of the scale of the business, one thing that is very important is record keeping. Always ensure that you find an efficient way to track all that comes in and goes out of your poultry farm. This will protect you from internal and external theft.
- Capital Investment
To start poultry farm in Nigeria can be quite capital intensive. The amount of money that will be needed will depend mainly on your location and the scale of farm that you intend to set up. Starting a poultry farm can cost you as little as ₦100,000 to more than ₦3,000,000, depending on the scale.
One thing you have to bear in mind is that the majority of your start-up capital will go into acquiring land, building their housing and buying the chicks. After successfully starting up, your cost will be shifted to feed, staff salaries and medications.
Final and Important Stage
There will be nothing gained if you set up your farm and do not embark on proper marketing and sales of your products. Do not forget that this is where you will get the fund to recoup your investment and run your business.
I strongly advise that you embark on an aggressive campaign because although the market exists, there are quite a number of people who are already engaged in this business.
Lastly, plan to take action as soon as possible and be willing to put in the hard work to make your business a success.
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