Poultry farming involves raising many species of domestic birds for food production like eggs and meat. Countries with a subtropical climate are ideal for farming crops, poultry, and livestock. Taking a decision on the right breed of poultry that suits your needs for the success of your poultry farm is the first step in setting up a poultry farm. Read further to know more about poultry farms.
Is a poultry farm a lucrative business option?
Starting a poultry farm or animal farm is a very lucrative project. The demand for poultry is very high in the Middle East, exceeding two million tons per year. In most countries, the per capita consumption of broiler chicken is higher than all other meats. One of the primary reasons is that chicken is the cheapest source of animal protein in most countries.
The poultry industry is vital to economies of trade concern, farmers, and rural communities who depend on quality protein sources. Some organizations assist poultry farmers and provide any country’s poultry market with poultry, free-range eggs, quality meat, and items needed to start poultry farming. How the farmer sells them varies and is dependent on your target location. Some sales avenues sell them as live birds after slaughtering them as whole birds or selling them as chicken pieces.
How can a poultry farm be profitable?
Usually, poultry farming comes with a high profit within a certain period if you do everything correctly. Poultry products are always in high demand. Poultry farming continues to grow every year.
It would be best to make critical decisions before starting a broiler chicken farming business. You need to take a decision on the location of your target market and broiler poultry farm. The size of the broiler poultry farm business depends on the size of the land, the capital amount you have, and your target market. Before starting a poultry farming business, you must have a good plan for poultry farming. When chickens are raised for eggs, they are called layers, and the chickens raised for meat are broilers.
Globally, the size and mortality rate of a flock of native chickens vary. Different studies have reported a herd size of 12 to 29 chickens per household in most countries. In contrast, mortality in domestic chickens, for example, Namibia, is estimated at 42.2%, the highest mortality rate in African countries.
As far as the quality of products is concerned, local chickens can lay 20 to 80 eggs a year, which is much less than commercial breeds that can lay up to 300 eggs every year. The low egg production is due to nutritional deficiency and low genetic potential. Therefore, there is a need to improve we must improve genetic material to increase production efficiency. Overall, local poultry farming in UAE is at an advanced stage.
Choosing the poultry sector for your business
You have make a choice between the two types: broiler and layers. You can go ahead and farm both layer and broiler varieties. However, as a beginner, you must build experience and skills before expanding. Successful poultry farms in most countries are one of the following;
- Meat production
- Egg production
- Incubating and raising chicks
Choose the suitable breeds for your poultry farm.
Before you choose the layer poultry for your poultry farming business, you need to keep some vital information in mind. It would help decide on the breeds suitable for your poultry farming business in South Africa and give good yields in your area.
Read below to choose the suitable breeds for your business;
- To produce commercial eggs, you need to select the most productive eggs laying hens.
- You must note that not all hens will lay the same number of eggs.
- Selected breeds should have a good egg laying production capacity.
- You must always buy healthy chickens from a well-known and popular hatchery.
Selection of Location for Poultry Farm
- Poultry houses should be away from industrial and residential areas.
- They must have proper roads.
- It should have some basic facilities like electricity and water.
- Availability of farm labor at relatively cheap wages in the poultry business.
- Poultry houses must be located in a high area, and water should not accumulate there.
- It should have proper ventilation.
Housing Requirements for Poultry Farm
It would help if you have land to build broiler poultry housing. Land sustainability must be carefully chosen and selected in advance. The location should be highly strategic, close to major road networks, reliable water supply, market, and cheap labor. The land required by your business needs will be dependent on the scale of your broiler chicken farming business.
Since poultry breeds need adequate housing, you can use your existing infrastructure for a small-scale broiler poultry farming business. In case of a medium to large-scale commercial broiler poultry farming business, you will need to build specially designed broiler poultry housing. Broiler chickens are sensitive to temperature fluctuations. Therefore, your broiler housing must ensure proper temperature and proper regulation for the birds.
Design considerations for a poultry house
The poultry house must have proper ventilation and lighting. A closer look will indicate if things are going well in the poultry house. When the temperature is very high, the chickens are hyper-ventilated. This means that their breathing rate is high. Consequently, you can see it in their breath as if they are panting for air. On the other hand, if the temperature is too low, they will tend to crowd and huddle in a corner. Avoid direct sunlight.
The broiler chicken housing unit must allow proper and free movement for each bird. Some of the critical equipment required for the broiler poultry farming business includes feeders, drinkers, and lighting systems. Your business plan for broiler chicken farming should consider the cost of purchasing equipment and broiler housing. Poultry housing is not a liable commodity. It is in fact essential for poultry production. There are different methods to make a poultry house or chicken cage. It can be a simple house or a concrete house or a . Irrespective whether it is a concrete or a simple place, it should have good ventilation and natural light management facilities.
Constructing a structure for the poultry farm
There are different types of poultry housing namely,
- Deep litter system
- Free-range system
- Battery cage system
You choice will depend on your financial strength. Battery cage systems are more expensive.
Different types of poultry breeds selection
The famous chicken layers are Lohmann Brown Layers and the Highline Breed. There are different chicken breeds available. Farmers must consider raising the birds, the target market, and personal preferences to choose a poultry breed. Commercial species are usually better in intensive production systems, while dual-purpose or indigenous birds may be better in small-scale or free-range setups. For a free-range environments, multi-purposed indigenous chickens are ideal. Breeds are used in a profound system for meat or egg production. Lohmann or Hi-Line is the best egg producer, while Ross and Cobb’s species are the most common for broiler.
Commercial chicken breeds for poultry farm
Commercial chicken breeds are highly skilled and they produce either too many eggs or too much meat, but not both. They are a great option for highly productive systems. Commercial layers are obtained from breeders when they are 18 weeks old. Depending on the line, each bird can lay six to seven eggs a week at 18 to 70 weeks of age. Although the layers are kept longer in some other countries and sometimes manipulated to get into the second round of egg production, most egg producers sell their layers when the birds are 70 weeks old. Firstly, it is expensive to keep birds for long periods, and secondly, because there is a real estate market for live birds in most countries.
Most commercially available broiler lines are usually acquired as day-old babies. Over the years, there has been significant genetic progress in broiler birds. The new breeding strategy sees better production in terms of egg or meat production and breeds more balanced and resilient birds.
Equipment needed for poultry farm
The following list of essential items are needed to start your poultry farm.
- Waste disposal system
- Brooders or heaters
- Good ventilation system
- Egg trays
- Lightening instruments
Managing chicken’s health in your poultry farm means that they should be vaccinated on time, their houses must be cleaned regularly, provided fresh food and water. Depending on the size of the farm, poultry farming can become the main source of income for the family. Livestock monitoring and management can provide income and lucrative employment to smallholder farmers all throughout the year.
Poultry manure is more expensive as it can be used to increase the crop yields. The disease is a major factor in poultry farming which can have a severe impact on the farming economy. Birds suffer from highly contagious diseases. Therefore, it is advisable to take extreme precautions to prevent and control the diseases.