Poultry farming business is highly profitable if it is properly run under acceptable methods and conditions conducive for the birds. Each type of livestock farming, poultry included, follows specific operational principles if they must run profitably, but when such principles are ignored by the farm management, it results in serious losses.
The overriding motive for starting any business is to make profit. It is unfortunate; however, that many poultry farmers do not make the time to learn why some poultry farmers failed. It is widely known that many poultry farmers have been forced out of business when they could not operate profitably.
To achieve success in poultry farming, a lot of work is involved. According to an expert, “it is not lazy man’s business.”
As a small starter, it is better to start with day-old chicks then with old chicks then with old lays for it. It is advisable for a beginner to start with about 500 day-old chicks if he is interested in the production of eggs and selling of the layers when they are old.
With about N100, 000 a farmer can acquire 500 day-old chicks, prepare the housing and feed the birds till they start bringing in money.
It takes about 18-20 weeks (4-5 Months) to feed and nurture the birds before they start laying eggs. On the average, 100 birds will produce a minimum of 80 eggs daily. So if an entrepreneur starts with 500 birds and all the 500 survive, he will be getting a minimum of 400 eggs daily, which good output. Once the birds start laying, they will do so for 74 weeks, after which they become due for disposal. However, the birds could still lay after 74 weeks, if properly fed.
Technical knowledge for running the farm
Going into poultry farming without a practical knowledge of the venture is direct invitation to failure. It is very important for the would-be farmer to known how to keep the chicken or birds in an acceptable manner.
Two basic housing methods are available: THE DEEP LITTER SYSTEM and THE BATTERY CAGE. Both methods are good, provided in the deep litter system, the pullets are placed on bare floor that has been covered with saw dust.
Careful consideration is given to the method applied in feeding the birds. Removing the dropping usually poses no problem. You can either pack off the entire saw dust with the dropping or cover the dropping with fresh saw dust.
Normally, the day-old chicks are housed using the brooder method before they grow up. They can be transferred to the battery cage when they approach their egg-laying period, or left in the deep litter floor.
The battery cage housing allows for the droppings to fall on a separate platform directly under the cage. It is uniquely constructed to make feeding and drinking quite easy for the birds. The birds feed on marsh, which have been properly compounded. The marsh should be given according to an expert’s advice. In some cases, inappropriate feeding can lead to excess fat, which can result in mortality. In fact, defective feeding can lead to low egg production. In fact, it has been experienced in the past where a whole stock of birds produced no egg, due to wrong feeding.
One of the critical factors that account for the success or failure of poultry farming is the way the health of the birds in handled.
If the source of the day-old chicks, or the foundation stock, is compromised, or the necessary drugs are poorly administered, poultry farming can turn a nightmare.
The intending farmer should seek (and take seriously) expect advice on the type of drug administer on the birds as well as the dosage.
When birds are hatched, there is a vaccination time table to be follow; if this is not done, the farmer that buys this stock from the source may have serious problem.
Again, the farmer should take pain to do it by himself or hire a qualified and honest consultant/veterinary doctor in order to get the desired result.
A prudent poultry farmer must keep a close watch over the cost of running the farm; he must avoid unnecessary spending, which tends to eat away his profit. The labour, feeds, drugs and other input cost must be in line with standard farm requirements, otherwise such expenses should be ignored. All forms of wasteful spending must be eliminated, no matter how insignificant the amount may seem to the management.
THE FARM MANAGER
The farm manager should be a qualified person with a wealth of experience in poultry management of the farm must be able to plan ahead its activities and be able to compare actual performance with the drawn plan in other to apply control measures an armchair management that cares less about what may be happening to the birds at any given time. The management should be sensitive to the conditions on the farm and be in firm control of all situations.
The ability to act promptly and take the decision at the right time is indispensable for the farm manager.
The market for poultry product is quite enormous in terms of naira and kobo, as it is in excess of N50 billion nationwide. This confirms the huge market that poultry products have in Nigeria. It is noteworthy that all parts of the birds are marketable including the feathers and the droppings (for manure).
If a farmer starts with 500 day-chicks and, say, 400 mature to the point of lay,, the entrepreneur is bound to reap a fortune.
On the average, 100 birds will lay 80 eggs everyday, meaning that 400 will produce 320 eggs daily. If a crate (30 eggs) is supplied to wholesalers at, say, N180, then the whole will fetch the farmer N1,800 daily and N54,000 in 30 days. By six months the man would have grossed N324,000.
For a business that was launched with about N100,000, coupled with the fact that money will keep pouring in up to and beyond 74 weeks, poultry farming is, indeed, a money spinner.
The poultry farmer should be able to identify both the immediate and potential markets for his or her products before starting the business, otherwise the management might not be able to sell the products at the appropriate time.
It is not profitable to continue feeding chicks meant for meat for a long time after maturing, without selling them.
The eggs produced do not stay indefinitely without going bad. In fact, the shelf life of eggs is very short and if they are not sold off in good time, they may go bad, thereby resulting in loss.
As shown earlier, Nigeria has huge market for poultry. All the intending poultry farmer needs to do is consult experts for guidance and assistance.