Chicken Farming Business: How to Start a Poultry Farm Business

The chicken industry has two sectors egg production and meat production. The major challenges faced by chicken farmers are feeding, managing the waste, location and diseases.
Poultry meat is in high demanded and the market is huge. Despite many large farms and supply chain the demand dwarfs the supply making investment in this sector lucrative.
Factors that make poultry farming profitable are the large human population and preference for bird meat. The diverse use for poultry eggs is another reason for the insatiable demand.
More challenges faced by poultry farmers include intensive labor, pest and long turn-around period. Others are high startup cost, adulterated poultry feed and major outbreaks of difficult diseases caused by parasites, fungal or bacteria.
Starting a Poultry Farming Business
Conduct a Feasibility Study
The first thing you need to do is write a feasibility study to guide the viability of the project. Study your immediate environment to find a good location.
Chicken are very noisy especially when hungry and they produce a lot of waste. Managing the droppings and noise is tough so locating your farm in an urban area is bad.
While working on a feasibility study, write a business plan. Let the plan focus on goals, funding, business structure, staff strength, and product including future projections.
You need the business plan to source funds from banks and identify your niche.
Choose the Sector you Want to Operate
There are many sub sectors in the poultry industry. Choosing the market you want to operate is very important because it defines your business template.
There are other important aspects to poultry farming such as insurance cover and local government approval to run a poultry farm

Egg Production
Billions of eggs are eating daily or used in one recipe or the other. Manufacturers have also found different applications for chicken eggs.
Chicken farmers rely on old or new layers to produce eggs. Although some are more prolific in laying eggs than others they generally lay an egg a day.
Layers are fed special concentrates to encourage regular production.
Chicken Breeding
Chicken breeding is very lucrative and in high demand. The breeders concentrate on producing the chicks for farmers. Chicks are bred in special hatcheries and sold directly to chicken farmers.
Poultry Feed
Chickens are very ravenous and eat constantly they go through kilos of feed in days. Without adequate feeding egg production reduces and lower growth rate.
Feeding chickens take 68% of your entire expenditure. To mange the effectively you need to control their feeding. Feed them twice a day early in the morning and before nightfall.
Poultry feed is costly so regulating and supplementing the feed is necessary. Some farmers produce their own feed by mixing the recommended ingredients.
To have an idea of the formula used in making chicken feed look at the label and ingredients.  In subsequent publication we will breakdown the formulation of chicken feed.
Poultry Equipment
There are different equipment used for poultry production such as cages and incubators. Some entrepreneurs focus only on making poultry equipment for farmers.
The system you adapt dictates the equipment you need. You need cages, a barn or house for the birds. Other common equipment are heaters, feeders, incubators and drinkers.
More useful equipment's are egg trays, coops, perches, nests, crates and a good lighting system. You also need an effective waste disposal mechanize to handle the tons of feces.
Meat Production
The major aspect of chicken farming is meat producing. The kinds of chicken farmed for their meat are called broilers they are fast growing and eat special mesh. The food fed to broilers is called growers mesh.
Poultry Marketing and Consultancy
Entrepreneurs need lots of marketing and consultancy. Poultry consultants provide advisory support to help farmers with problematic issues.
Poultry marketers handle the advertisement and visibility of the farms products.   To succeed you need to choose a niche, get funding and acquire knowledge of your market.
Different Types of Poultry
Chickens are not the only birds farmed for their meat and eggs. There are different types of birds you can consider.  Common birds farmed are turkey, duck, pigeon and chicken. Other birds are ostrich, quail and guinea fowl.
You need lots of funding to start a commercial poultry farm. You can scale down your farm to reduce cost.
You can source funds from bank loans, personal saving and friends. Other ways are equity sales, core investor and partnership arrangement.
 Join associations and cooperatives that provide soft loans to members.
Many chicken farms are located at designated farming areas. Farm land is cheaper than urban land making them easier to purchase.
It is a delicate balance between ideal location and closeness to your primary market. Too far and you bare high transportation and management costs. To near and you face lots of challenges from host community.
 Cage Systems
The chicken farmer decides on egg or meat production. Commercial chicken farmers need to house their birds for better management and productivity.
Keeping them in a controlled environment reduces wastage and allows effective monitoring of the birds. The type of cages you need depends on the niche you operate. 
Deep Litter System
Chickens farmed for meat are usually kept in an open plan building. This makes regulating feeding and nutrition easy.
 Young chicks are subject to many dangerous diseases so they need a comprehensive health plan. The enclosure is fitted with heaters, food and water bowls.
This deep litter system is a building or barn covered with saw dust on the floor. The dust is changed regularly for cleanliness and to avoid diseases.
Deep litter system helps the farmer manage a large number of chicks in a controlled environment.
Battery Cage System
The equipment used for egg production is different and called the battery cage system. The birds are confined in cages that allow feeding and egg lying. The slants of the cages allow eggs roll into a collection chamber while the droppings fall to the ground.
Different Housing Systems
The housing systems used by chicken farmers are the extensive system, semi-intensive and intensive system. They also practice free range farming that allows the chickens wander around.
List of cage systems
1.    The Battery Cage System
2.    Deep Litter System
3.    Semi- Intensive
4.    Intensive
5.    Free range
6.    Extensive System

The amount of labor depends on the size of your operation. Automated farms demand less labor than manually run establishment. Farming is labor intensive and needs administrative staff, laborers and an accountant.
Secure the farm from thieves and intruders including dangerous reptiles like snakes. The farmer needs a vet for vaccinations and healthcare.
The business needs lots of marketing especially when you are ready to sell. Use advertisements in newspaper to reach new customers.
You also need a bus for transportation, branded name and marketers. Your customer base is restaurants, hotels, private individuals and food companies


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