Chicken farming can be a very profitable if carried out as a business, with responsible financial and managerial decisions. The chicken industry has two main sectors: Broilers. Chicken bred and raised for meat and Layers. Chicken bred and raised to produce eggs. Within these two broad sectors there are subsectors, for example, for layers, one can opt to incubate the eggs and raise the chicks, and then sell them at the right age to other chicken egg farms or broiler farms. You have to decide what part of the chicken industry to go into and which markets to target.
Starting a chicken farm
There are several stages in starting a chicken farm;
1. Business plan.
Formulating a business plan is one of the most important steps to take in starting any business operation. The business plan sets the goals to be achieved and the means of doing so. It is also strategy of how the business will operate from the financial, legal, accounting, and human resource standpoints.
2. Infrastructure and the chicken farm
A chicken farm needs capital, land, buildings and equipment. Buildings are needed to house the chicken. These can be barns or hatches depending on the farming system you intend to use to raise the chicken i.e. The free range system or conventional chicken farming system. Building for housing the chicken are very important especially in chicken egg farms because they influence egg production, and help prevent and control disease outbreaks. You need to ensure that the chicken housing structures are of the proper standards. Steel structures are preferable as they are easy to maintain and durable, are of flexible design and offer more room. The steel structure is of 100m in length, height 2.5m and a width 15m. This steel structure can house 18000 layers comfortably. It has a snow load of 100kg per meter, can withstand wind speeds of 150km/h and climatic conditions that range from -20C to 45C. It can withstand 7st degree earthquake conditions. Details on the recommended chicken structures can be found in our company. Machinery and equipment are required to work crops, clean buildings, dispose of deadstock and for other tasks on the farm. Location is vital for the success and profitability of chicken farming. An ideal chicken farm should be located where land is cheap and also close to markets. Land required to host the buildings and to grow crops on to feed the chickens. Chicken farming is a capital intensive business; depending on the location of your farm, the scale and the type of management technology used. Adequate capital is critical for the success of the chicken farm venture.
Do you want to stock layers or broilers? Broilers are chicken raised for meat. For a chicken egg farm then stock Layers: Stocking layers gives you the options of putting the chicken eggs on the market for human consumption, and of incubating the eggs and raising the hatched chicks till they are of the right age, then selling them to chicken egg farms or broiler farms, or doing both. Incubating and raising chicks is often a separate business in a chicken egg farms. Many free range chicken egg farms operate more than one sector of the chicken farming business.
Decide on the system to use to raise the chicken. Chicken can be raised in one of two systems:
(i)The free range system lets chicken move freely on the farm and behave as naturally as possible.
(ii)The conventional system confines chicken to barns that are photo period and temperature controlled areas. Quality barns to house the chicken are important to ensure proper egg production. Steel structures are preferable because they of flexible design, easy to maintain and durable, offer adequate room and are of high quality. The steel structure is of 100m in length, height 2.5m and a width 15m. This steel structure can house 18000 layers comfortably. It has a snow load of 100kg per meter, can withstand wind speeds of 150km/h and climatic conditions that range from -20C to 45C. It can withstand 7st degree earthquake conditions. The FRP skylight belt is 0.8mm to 2mm. The doors can be automatic rolling shutter doors with warm proof, automatic rolling shutter doors without proof, manual rolling shutter door without proof, sliding sandwich panel door, sliding steel door, or sliding aluminium door depending on your needs. Windows, you can choose from various types, sizes and numbers. These include; the PVC belt window, PVC unit window, belt window and unit window, PVC and Aluminium window. The base material is Q235/Q345B.Roof slope grade is 1:10 Roof pitch. Distinguish your business. Pursue a niche market that targets the consumers or customer’s interests that are not met by other chicken egg farms or broiler farms.
3. Marketing your business
Marketing feeds your business with clients. The most important aspect to consider about chicken farming is the market. Do you have ready buyers? Create a plan that identifies your potential growth areas and target market. Let people know you have meat or eggs for sale. There are many marketing options, some more valuable than others. Some of the valuable ones are;
Word of mouth
This is the best and most effective form of advertising. If your clients are happy with your services, they will inform others about you. Create a reputation for being reliable and professional. Give your clients access to your business cards, this way they can hand them to their business partners and friends
Create a website
This is the information age and a professional looking website is the pillar of your business. Most of your potential clients search for what they want on the internet while at work. A website is the best marketing tool after word of mouth. Setting up a website is easy and will cost little money. Make sure it is informative, easy to navigate and search engine optimized. Purchase a domain name, which is your www. Address, before you start your website. Try to choose one with your business name.
Advertise on other Websites
Use free online advertising and list your chicken farming business on as many sites as you can include local business directories.
Magazines and Newspapers
These are another valuable marketing option. Advertise in the local county papers and also the community papers.
4. Manpower, Financial and legal aspects
The manpower required will depend on the size of the chicken farm. However, modern chicken farming is not labor intensive because of the technology used. You may hire a manager to oversee the day to day running of your chicken farm. The manager can also double as the account to cut costs. The other personnel needed are; a qualified and experienced overseer who will reside permanently on the chicken farm to see and monitor the well being of the chicken, and security personnel who will monitor the flow of people around the chicken farm and guard against theft. You can add more personnel depending on the needs of your business.
Stay up-to-date with your records and accounting. Adequate records must be kept to track the business’s performance and productivity. Purchase a farm management software, install it in your computer and you will be able to know how your chicken farm is doing, whether it is growing or not. This way you will know of the financial health of your business.
Also raise your chicken in accordance with the law. Be aware of the legal provisions regarding chicken farming including those relating to egg and meat selling at the local, state and federal level. Call the state poultry or agricultural specialist or county extension agent about local, state and federal laws concerning claims you wish to make about your eggs or meat and conditions you are required to meet to make those claims, and the necessary permits needed.
Challenges of chicken farming
Chicken are very sensitive to environmental changes. Where the environment is dirty, infection and disease are inevitable. Steps must be taken to ensure the environment is clean and disinfected. Visitors should be kept away from chicken environment.
Adulteration and high cost of chicken feed
The cost of chicken feed is high and also frequently, adulterated chicken feed makes its way into the market. This presents a big challenge for chicken entrepreneurs.