How To Start Poultry Farming In Nigeria

Poultry farming is a significant aspect of agriculture. It’s a highly lucrative agribusiness and a primary income source for agripreneurs and farmers.

According to the Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN), poultry farming accounts for 25% of Nigeria’s agricultural sector’s domestic product. With a net worth of 1.6 trillion nairas, it is the most commercialized agriculture sector in the country.

The population of chicken produced in the country is approximately 165 million, with 650,000 metric tonnes of eggs and 300,000 metric tonnes of meat altogether.

Nigeria’s local production is not enough to cater to demands. This means there is a need for increased production of meat and egg. What does this mean for agripreneurs? It means that there is room for more poultry farmers.

Our ever-growing population is directly affecting the demand for poultry products. More and more people need either chicken or egg or both.

Due to the diversity in agriculture, poultry farming is easy to learn. You can start on a small scale and then advance to a larger scale.

Do you want to know what it entails to start poultry farming in Nigeria? Keep reading.

We’ll be taking a lot at how to start your poultry farming in Nigeria, the requirement, and the plans the Poultry Association of Nigeria and CBN are implementing to aid poultry farmers and poultry production.

After reading this article, you’ll be armed with the basic information for starting small-scale poultry farming in Nigeria.

Starting a Poultry Farm in Nigeria: A Modern Poultry Farm in Nigeria for Chickens

Agribusiness isn’t something you randomly dabble into because everyone is doing so. There’s a need for evaluation of reasons, size of business, and capital source. Market surveys, transportation costs, feed costs, land costs, requirements, medical care, etc., are also things to keep in mind.

Catering for chicks is similar to catering for a child. You must be proactive and dedicated and pay close attention to their needs. Chicks can’t talk or tell you what’s wrong with them. They can’t speak; they can’t communicate. It’s up to you, the agripreneur, to figure out what you’re doing wrong and make it right. If not, you lose all your hard work.

Before you start up your farm, you’ll have to ask yourself:

“Am I willing to go the extra mile for financial security?”

“Do I have what it takes to cater to hatchlings with no means of communicating?”

“Am I willing to learn to avoid expensive mistakes?”

 “How large do I want this venture to be?”

 “How much time am I willing to invest in getting good produce?”

Do you want it on a small scale or a large scale? Once you decide on the scale, you move on to the other questions, like your capital source. Where and how are you getting your capital? Is it via loans or savings? Or do you use your ROIs?

There’s also the location of land, the type of farming method, the feed requirement, vaccination techniques, and preventive measures.

Capital

Every business venture requires startup capital. 

The capital depends on how large the business venture is supposed to be and what expenses would ensue during the cause of handling the business.

For poultry farming, I would suggest starting on a small scale before upgrading to a larger scale. Start small, monitor the trends, income, and expenditure, and then upgrade. If you’re a beginner entrepreneur, I know your capital reach is small; start small. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

A day-old chick goes for 250 nairas at least. Times and tides will affect this price, especially with the country recovering from the lockdown. But let’s go with 250 naira.

For 50 chicks, you would need 12,500 nairas, approximately 13,000 nairas. You’ll also need to consider the cost of electricity to keep the birds warm, especially in their growing phase.

You’ll also have to consider the cost and availability of clean water. The birds must stay hydrated. There are also feeding requirements.

All these factors play a significant role and determine your startup capital.

You can decide to go smaller than 50. Maybe 20 chicks for starters, and then buy more as you grow.

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Land

We’re done with the size of the business. We now have to consider housing.

How much land would be considered comfortable for 50 chicks?

A plot? Half plot? Or something less. Or maybe you need just one adequately ventilated room. No matter the case, you must avoid cramping. Also, proper care must be exhibited while choosing land.

Land location: Rural or Urban

Imagine being woken up by the clucking noise of chickens. It’s annoying and uncomfortable.

Poultry animals give off bad, offensive odour (a combination of their feed and excreta) and irritating noise. So while deciding on the land to buy, try to space it and let it be situated away from residential homes.

Consider the transportation routes, availability of electricity, steady water supply, and remoteness. Examine for signs of waterlogging on the land.

Urban areas have more residential houses and are more expensive in the land. They are also very noisy and crowded. Lands are cheaper in rural areas. But be careful; rural doesn’t mean an entirely abandoned area.

You’re wondering how you’ll get the money to buy land. You could start with a small room with many windows and proper ventilation.

Start anywhere. But make sure you start.

Land size

The size or plot of land will depend on your choice of breed and the reason for breeding. Are you breeding for eggs or meat? Or both? If you’re breeding for eggs or meat alone, then your land size would be smaller, considering someone planning on breeding for both reasons.

Proactive land measures

Pay attention to the immediate environment of the land. Is it close to a forest or bush part? How secluded is the area? Is the road suitable for driving?

Watch out for the presence of black ants, rats, and other predators that could harm the chicken.

Fumigate the land before use to ensure that it’s hazard free and topnotch for your poultry business

Avoid damp lands, which could be a hosting breed of fungi.

There are three types of farming systems you can use in your poultry business:

  • Extensive farming
  • Semi-intensive farming
  • Intensive farming

For each of the systems, the size of the land goes a long way to determine if it’ll be productive or not.

  1. Extensive farming: can also be called free-range farming. As you might have already guessed, free-range farming involves letting your chicks roam free in an open space. There’s no cage, no pairing, just roaming in open space, laying eggs anywhere and everywhere.
  2. Intensive farming: involves the use of battery cages to house the chicks. No roaming and no movement asides from those made in the cages. The chicks are provided water and feed in their cages and are adequately spaced to avoid the fallout of aggressive behaviours. (Birds tend to turn to cannibals). You could also apply the deep litter method, where you keep all the birds in a room floored with sawdust.
  3. Semi-intensive farming: is a balance between free-range and intensive. During the day, the birds are kept in cages and fed. They are released to the field at night and roam till daybreak.

For every type of poultry farming system, there are pros and cons.

This article will focus on the intensive poultry farming system’s most famous of all three systems.

Intensive Farming System

Imagine being in a one-room apartment with no window and sharing that room with ten or more people. It isn’t good. You all struggle for oxygen, suffocation, smell, and eventually death. It’s the same for birds.

With the battery cage method, pair the chicks in a cage. Nothing more. Chickens peck at each other and can turn cannibals. Adequate space and ventilation avoid aggression and pecking.

Each cage has a feeder and enough water to feed the birds daily.

The cages must be kept clean and dry. Not damp and dirty. Healthy birds’ are hand-in-hand with profitability.

Breed

Poultry cockerel birds in a cage feeding

Asides from the land situation, the next choice is that of the breed.

The term poultry defines the different ranges of birds used for farming. These birds are known for their rich meat or eggs.

The different breeds of poultry animals include chicken, turkey, guinea fowl, etc. The most popular of all the breeds is chicken. The chicken can either be used for eggs or meat.

The significant breeds of chicken are broilers, layers, and cockerels.

Broilers are grown for meat purposes.

The broilers quickly put on weight and are commercially suitable for consumption.

Within a short four-seven weeks, the meat producers achieve a size of 2kg (slaughter weight) and are ready for commercial use.

Layers are grown for their eggs. They take up to 18-24 weeks before laying. During this period, they must be catered for and fed properly. By taking 2.25kg of food, they produce 1kg of eggs. That’s impressive. Hatching of fertile eggs takes place 21 days after incubation.

Cockerels are very good broilers, but they deserve patience. They take way longer to grow to slaughter size. On the positive part, they are resilient and can survive in any environment.

Feed

If there was ever a section that needed finance, it was the chicken feed. You must pump the right amount of vitamins and minerals to achieve maximum results. Chicken feed comprises carbohydrates, proteins, fats, oil, etc. The ingredients include corn and soybean meal—which thankfully are not scarce. The feed could be crumbles, pellets, or mash with a price range of 600 to naira-5000 naira.

Feeds must contain vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and all vitamins B. Proteins are an essential aspect of chicken feed. A chicken with a balanced protein intake will produce maximum muscle, organ, skin, and feather growth. Layers require 4grams of calcium per day, half of which is used up by the egg.

Be diligent in your choice of feed and in feeding the birds. Even if you have correctly aerated land, excellent breeds, and clean water, you must ensure that the birds are fed. Proper feeding equals larger and healthier birds. Healthier birds equal quality meat and eggs. All of which equals more profit for you. So be wise.

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Vaccination

Vaccination means providing the body with vaccines to fight off infections and immunity against disease. Vaccines are injected to improve immunity against infectious diseases and prepare the body’s immune system for any attack.

When kids are born, they have a lineup of vaccines from the day they are born until maybe 6 years. Missing one of such vaccines could spell doom for a child and lead to complications. Each vaccination is important and prevents issues like deformity due to polio, jaundice, meningitis, etc.

It’s the same for chicks! There’s a lineup of vaccinations and medications to protect them from infections and diseases—Eg., Fowl typhoid, pullorum, fowl cholera, coccidiosis, avian leukosis, etc.

For layers, vaccinations start from day 5 and progress to days 7, 14-16 days, 24-26 days, the 30th day, and weeks 7, 9,15, and 17.

For broilers, vaccination starts from days 3-5, 7-9, 16-18, and 24-26. These vaccines include deworming, debeaking, B1, LaSota, Inactivated vaccines, PM-1, M9, etc.

Preventive measures

Proper fumigation of land to get rid of all sorts of predators.

  • Aeration of land and proper circulation of ventilation: The poultry pen should be built facing the North/South direction. This orientation assists in an even supply of warmth and air.
  • Availability of electricity and water: Newborn chicks need a controlled environment. Regulate the heat distribution in the brooder to ensure proper growth.
  • Debeaking of birds: As mentioned earlier, birds can get aggressive and pick on each other. Debeaking is the reduction of their beaks to make them blunt and reduce the after-effect of aggressive behaviours.
  • Pay serious attention to the behaviours of the birds: Are they feeding well? Are they lean? Do they avoid eating their feed? In a case of sickness, do well to separate the ill bird from the others.
  • Regular vaccinations: Keep to the vaccination schedule. Don’t miss any shots, and be consistence.
  • Quality feed: You walk down the street and see chicken picking scraps without any effect, and now you want to do so with your pen. Poor you. Buy quality feed to ensure you have healthy-looking layers and broilers that will, in turn, make you money.

Poultry farming is not a one-time learn-all procedure. Like everything in life, one needs to expand one’s knowledge of the field, realizing the reason for diving into the sector and preparing for the dedication and time it will entail.

During the lockdown, my landlord’s grandkids decided to start their tiny-scale poultry farming. They saved up every “dash” of money and bought 6 chicks at 250 nairas each. They then used their grandfather’s material to build an impressive metal cage.

Within two weeks, all the chicks had died off. None survived. Why? They were not informed. They didn’t have the right arsenal of knowledge to maintain a poultry farm. At first, they kept all six chicks in one cage; one died off from being constantly pecked by others. Rats ate others.

Four months of pocket money went down in less than two weeks. I wouldn’t want the same for you.

With its impressive net worth and stand in agribusiness, CBN and the Poultry Association of Nigeria are implementing measures to tackle the gap in demand and supply rate and reduce the importation rate from other neighbouring African countries. Aside from providing enough meat and egg to cover the gap, the initiative aims to develop a support system to improve poultry production in Nigeria.

What are you waiting for?

It’s profitable.

It’s not capital-intensive (when you’re starting small).

It’s highly commercialized, and the CBN wants to implement structures that will benefit the farmers.

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Are you in the school of thought that farming is strictly an older adult’s job? If you are, delete those thoughts. Youths are jumping into this train. What are you waiting for?

Poultry farming is as old as time itself.

There’s so much money in the agricultural sector but few agripreneurs. Gone were the days were everything Agric had to do with farming, hoeing, or cultivation.

Poultry farming is lucrative and can be accessed by anyone willing to learn and earn.

This article is a forerunner in your decision to start your poultry farming. There’s much to know and a lot to remember. But there’s money to be made.

You don’t go into poultry farming because you want applause or commendations. You want to make sales. You want to gain profit.

Take the bold step and start your poultry business.