Poultry farming is a form of animal husbandry which involves the rearing of birds such as chickens, ducks, turkeys, and geese domestically or commercially, primarily for eggs, feathers, and meat. More than 60 million chickens are killed for consumption annually.
Poultry farming is a delicate and lucrative business. Delicate in the sense that the birds do need intensive care and the farmers need to put more effort into taking good care of them to avoid disease infecting the birds. An example of such a disease is “bird flu”. Poultry farming is lucrative in the sense that the consumption of eggs and chickens are in constant demand which is a good source of animal protein aside from beef, fish, and pork.
Nigeria has been known for its huge supply of poultry products since people tend to prefer poultry products to red meat because of its health benefits. Red meat causes various diseases to the elderly such as high blood pressure, heart-related disease, and high cholesterol level. Just as earlier stated, the Poultry business is quite a lucrative business due to the fact that the demand for white meat is greater than red meat. There is a quick return on investment. For instance, investing in a day-old chick has the potential to bring in high profit just in 45 days. There are many poultry breeds available which one can decide to choose from depending on the desired product.
Commercial hens (layers) begin to lay eggs at 16-21 weeks of age. Commercially raised chickens are generally well-fed so as to enhance or maintain their egg production rate. They are fed with what is known as complete feed which includes all the vitamins, minerals, protein, and other nutrients needed for healthy growth, bird health, and egg production. High-quality and well-balanced protein sources produce a maximum amount of organs, skin, muscle, and feather growth.
Vitamins required are vitamin A, C, D, E, and K and all of the B vitamins. Minerals required are calcium, phosphorus, sulfur, chlorine, iron, cobalt, zinc, magnesium and manganese are also part of nutrients needed.
The chicks are being fed with a high-protein diet after hatching until 6 to 8 weeks of age, they are then given a developer diet that contains more energy than protein. Peas and beans of different types do provide protein when added to the poultry diets but they must be processed (roasted or steamed). Soya beans can be gotten as a feed ingredient.
Antibiotics are added to poultry feeds to stimulate appetite, control harmful bacteria and prevent disease.
The different methods to farm poultry.
There are different methods of profitable poultry farming that one can engage in.
- Breeding of Layers: Layers are mainly bred for egg production. The chicken lays eggs on an average of two years and five months before becoming weak.
- Breeding of broilers: Broilers are known for meat production. A day old chick that is fed well will have a healthy growth within two months and could be sold for its meat.
- Manufacture of poultry equipment: This is a very good line business that can guarantee lots of profit. There are arrays of poultry equipment used in poultry farming which one can choose from depending on interest. They include
- Perches: It is a place where the birds rest.
- Brooders or heaters: a structure for raising young birds
- Coops: The birds are housed in a coop.
- Cages: A special box made for keeping birds.
- Feeders: A device used for supplying feeds to the birds.
- Waterers: A device used for supplying water to the birds.
STEPS TO START POULTRY FARMING BUSINESS
- Understand what the business entails:
Choose the type of poultry bird to rear: Before you kick start your poultry farming business venture, it is important to have an idea of the type of poultry breeds to farm. Your scale of operation depends on the amount of money you have available and how much you can access from the financial institutions, if you have a huge capital you can begin by getting land and putting up a structure deemed appropriate for the business.
- Get a farm site/location:
The location of the poultry is very important for your business. To start a poultry farm, you need a good farm site. The size of the poultry farmland should be determined by the number of birds you want to rear. A good poultry farm site should be away from the chaos and hustle-bustle of the city. the location of the farm site should be in a place that is clean, calm, and pollution-free. A place where there is clean water, free from predators, and most importantly the site must be easily accessible from main roads.
- Setting up a poultry farm structure:
In poultry farming a good farm structure is an important factor, a proper structure is necessary for the protection and survival of the birds. The farm structure depends on the breed and farming methods.
There are different types of farm structures:
- Sawdust system: The birds are kept in a house filled with sawdust, the chicks are allowed to move freely within the enclosure. The sawdust is changed frequently to prevent the chicks from disease.
- Free-roaming system: The chicks are given the freedom to roam about and fend for themselves. This system is not recommended especially if it’s for commercial purpose because you don’t have control over the birds.
- Caging system: The birds are kept in cages depending on their size. In this system the farmer makes provisions for feeding, laying of eggs, etc. it is the best because each group of birds is housed in a separate cage, although, this is a more expensive system.
- Get the necessary farming equipment:
The equipment needed for farming was listed above, they are many and all are important. Know where and how to get them is quite important.
- Get the chicks: A poultry farm without a chick or chickens is not a poultry farm. Getting healthy chicks from trusted farmers and ensuring that they are in good condition on arrival is very important.
- Marketing and sales of the birds and their products: Poultry farming is a lucrative business. Paying attention to the marketing aspects of the business is very key. This involves taking the business online, advertising online and offline, home delivery, employing marketers, etc.
Commercial poultry farming in Nigeria is a profitable business opportunity for entrepreneurs and another way of providing employment. It should be known though that poultry farming has its ups and downs and to be successful in the business you must be patient and careful.
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