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How to Start a Poultry Farm

Over time, I have gotten several questions regarding the issue of starting a poultry farming business. Do you need a sample poultry farming business plan template for beginners? Then i advice you read on as i will be sharing with you strategic information on how to start a poultry farming business from scratch and grow it successfully.

Poultry farming is usually the business i recommend for retirees and individuals who are passionate about livestock farming. In the past, people were non-challant about breeding birds or cultivating crops for profits. But with the recent global burst in population and a worldwide demand for food, people are now beginning to realize the potential of providing the most important basic need of man.

Poultry farming is a viable business anytime any day; and to be sincere with you, it’s a business I have been considering for some time now. Below are reasons why I consider poultry farming a profitable business?

P.S: You can also check out our guide for starting catfish farming in Nigeria.

3 Factors that makes Poultry Farming a Profitable Business

There are a lot 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. Regardless of the economic situation, human beings must feed and since domestic birds are consumable; that makes poultry farming feasible.
  • My country Nigeria for instance has a population of over 150million and growing; bear it in mind that a huge population means a huge demand for food (egg and meat).
  • With the increased awareness on the health implications of red meat; there’s an increased demand for white meat and birds are a source of white meat.

But before I go into the details of starting a poultry farming business, I want to emphatically state that the information provided in this article does not in any way replace the need for you to conduct a feasibility study, write a business plan for your poultry farm and do your own due diligence.

Secondly, the information shared in this article is applicable to any locality; be it United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, etc. Without wasting your time, below is a step by step guide on how to start your own poultry farming business.

How to Start a Poultry Farming Business – Sample Business Plan Template

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. 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

2. What type of bird will you be focusing on?

Poultry farming can further be classified into the types of birds:

  • Domestic fowl or Chicken (Broilers and layers)
  • Turkey
  • Guinea fowl
  • Pigeon
  • Duck
  • Goose
  • Peacock
  • Quail

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 and a large scale poultry farm may require a start-up capital of $10,000 and above. Like I stated earlier, scale is directly proportional to capital.

4. Poultry 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 odour it produces.

5. Housing your birds

There are three methods you can employ with respect to housing your birds. They 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.

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. Lastly, your poultry housing structure should be built at a particular angle; taking sunlight and wind into consideration.

6. Poultry equipment and appliances

The following equipment may be needed for your poultry farm and their uses:

  • Feeders
  • Drinkers
  • Perches
  • Nests
  • Crates
  • Lighting system
  • Waste disposal system
  • Incubator
  • Heaters or brooders
  • Egg tray
  • Cages and coops

7. 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.

8. Poultry Farm 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.

Five Challenges of Starting a Poultry Farming Business

Poultry farming business is one of the most important and profitable aspect of  livestock farming business especially in Nigeria. But  like every other business, there are risks and challenges involved. Do you intend venturing into poultry farming but you would like to know the risks and challenges that you will be facing?  Then i advice you read on.

Challenges of Starting a Poultry Farming Business

  • Poultry farming has a longer pay back period
  • It is Labor intensive
  • Pests and predators can cause massive loss
  • Lack of support from the government

Taking a close look at Nigeria today, you will attest to the fact that the government shows little or no 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.

Even the assumed agricultural loan the government provided cannot be accessed because of the stringent conditions attached. The only visible effort of the government is the recent ban on the importation of live or frozen poultry birds. So if you are interested in starting a poultry farming business, then you must be prepared to go it alone without looking to the government for help.

  • High start-up capital

Just like every other business, poultry farming needs sufficient and proper funding. This is because you cannot do well as a livestock farmer, especially poultry farming when you don’t have enough fund. 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. You must avoid bringing in contaminated equipment, vehicle,and foot wears. Also, visitors should not be allowed into the poultry environment and ensure that you sterilize your hands before touching the birds.

  • Non availability and affordability of vaccines

In the agro-allied industry, especially poultry farming; this particular challenge 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.


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