Poultry farming: What you need to know

Poultry farming creates great business opportunity for entrepreneurs, and provides employment for the job seeking citizens.

Poultry farming in Nigeria is probably one of the most lucrative in the world especially when it is setup and managed properly. This aspect of livestock farming presents one of the finest opportunities for entrepreneurs to make good money within the shortest time due to the quick maturity of chickens with a chicken  ready for the market within 28 weeks from hatch

The high demand for chicken meat and eggs has really proven that poultry farming is indeed a lucrative business. The business of rearing of chicken and producing eggs for sale has created an opportunity for some young graduates, retired civil servants and others to earn regular income and also provide employment for countless number of Nigerians.

There are basically three different breeds of bird for poultry business. These include broilers, cockerels, and layers. Broilers grow very faster and are ready for sale at 12 weeks from hatch. Cockerels grow slower and can take up to twenty four weeks before they are matured for marketing but cockerels are reliable in terms of survival and withstanding bad weathers. They are more resilient, and can absorb shocks far better than layers and broilers.

Here are the basic requirements you need to set up your farm:

Acquire Land in a Good Location

Since you may not be allowed to carry out poultry farming amongst residents or other populated environments due to the odour that is associated with it and the subsequent health impact, look for land in a rural area or in farms. There you will get lands cheaper, stay out of trouble and do your production, while your products will be transported to the urban area to sell.

Build Chicken House for Your Birds

Chicken coop or hen house is the building where your chicken will be kept. This is the second most important part of your poultry farm set up. The sizes and construction varies based on your need but make sure the building is spacious enough for the chicken to run around. The house should be constructed in a way that you will be able to control the ventilation and air movement. Get a qualified engineer to do designing and building for you if you are going for large scale construction or you can just visit any good poultry farm to see how the house is constructed. When planning out your hens house, always remember that space is very important, don’t compromise on this to avoid frequent loss of your birds through suffocation and contamination.

But Day Old Healthy Chicks For Start

You need to acquire your birds (normally day-old chicks) and will have to take very good care of them for the first seven to nine weeks of their life. You must buy your day-old-chicks from a healthy source — the productivity of your chicks depends on how healthy they are. Buy from chicken hatchery that mainly deals with the supplying of different species of day-old chicks. It’s better to buy from the hatchery.

Get Feeds, Feeders, Water Troughs

Chicken feed is very important if you want good harvest. You can buy feeds at stores and make sure you buy the sack of feed that bears the label for the kind of chickens you have, such as broiler starter, chick starter, layer feeds, etc. The store feeds are basically balanced feed which will help your chickens do fine if you don’t feed with them other feed

Avoid cheap feeds that have low nutritional value — your birds wouldn’t do well with that, don’t just buy because they are cheap, buy because the feed is qualitative and contains good nutritional value.

Apart from the feeding, you need to regularly vaccinate your chickens to protect them from bird flu and other diseases. Feeding is extensive; you have to feed them from day-old to maturity.

Most important, note that light must be available at all time in your poultry farm to keep the chickens warm, especially during raining season when the humidity is always very low.  Look for reliable source of power to supply your hens’ house with heat and light. Most layers will start laying eggs the moment they are 18 weeks old but some wait till they are about 22 weeks old. Whichever way, layer farming is considered the most lucrative of all poultry farming. This is because layers do two things, they lay eggs which fetch good money in the market, and are equally sold for the meat

You can make your profit in sales of eggs or sale of the chicken itself when they r mature for eating.