Poultry farming is a major aspect of agriculture. It’s a highly lucrative agribusiness and also a major source of income for agripreneurs and farmers.
According to the Central Bank Of Nigeria (CBN), poultry farming accounts for 25% of the agricultural sector’s domestic product in Nigeria. With a net worth of 1.6 trillion naira, it is the most commercialised 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 your poultry farming in Nigeria? Keep reading.
We’ll be taking a lot at how to start your poultry farming in Nigeria, the requirement, and a look at how the plans 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
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 survey, transportation cost, feed cost, land cost, requirements, medical care, etc., are also some of the things to keep in mind.
Catering for chicks is similar to catering for a child. You have to be proactive, 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 that have no means of communicating?”
“Am I willing to learn in order to avoid expensive mistakes?”
“How large do I want this venture to be?”
“How much time am I willing to invest to get good produce?”
Do you want it on a small scale or a large scale? Once you decide on the scale, you then 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 location of land, the type of farming method, the feed requirement, vaccination techniques and preventive measures.
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, monitor the 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 naira 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 naira, approximately 13,000 naira. 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. It’s necessary the birds stay hydrated. There’s also feeding requirements.
All these factors play a major role and determine your start-up capital.
You can decide to go smaller than 50. Maybe 20 chicks for starters and then buy more as you grow.
We’re done with the size of business. We now have to consider housing. You can’t farm in the air now, can you?
How much land would be considered comfortable for 50 chicks?
A plot? Half plot? Or something less. Or maybe you need just one properly 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 water logging on the land.
Urban areas have more residential houses and are more expensive in terms of land. They are also very noisy and crowded. Lands are cheaper at rural areas. But be careful, rural doesn’t mean an entirely abandoned area.
You’re reading this and you’re wondering how you’ll get the money to buy land. Well, you could start with a small room with a lot of windows and proper circulation of ventilation.
Start anywhere. But make sure you start.
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 size of land would be smaller in consideration to someone who’s 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 good for driving?
Watch out for presence of black ants, rats, and any other sort of 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 system you can use in your poultry business:
For each of the systems, the size of land goes a long way to determine if it’ll be productive or not.
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.
Intensive farming involves the use of battery cages to house the chicks. No roaming and no movement asides those made in the cages. The chicks are provided water and feed in their cages and are properly spaced to avoid fallout of aggressive behaviours. (Birds tend to turn to cannibals). You could also apply the deep litter method, which is where you keep all the birds in a room floored with sawdust.
Semi-intensive farming is a balance between free-range and intensive. During the day, the birds are kept in cages and feed. At night, they are released to the field and roam till day break.
For every type of poultry farming system there are pros and cons.
This article will focus on the most popular of all three systems: the intensive poultry farming system.
Intensive farming system
Imagine being in a one-room apartment with no window and then having to share that room with ten or more people. It’s bad. You all struggle for oxygen, there’s 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 is equipped with a feeder and water enough to feed the birds each day.
The cages must be kept clean and dry. Not damp and dirty. Healthy birds hand-in-hand with profitability.
Asides the land situation, the next choice is that of the breed.
The term poultry defines the different range of birds that can be 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 the chicken. The chicken can either be used for eggs or meat.
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The major breeds of chicken are the broilers, layers, and cockerels.
Broilers are grown for meat purposes.
The broilers easily put on weight and are commercially good for consumption.
Within a short time frame of 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 any environment they find themselves.
If there was ever a section that needed finance, it’s the chicken feed. To achieve maximum results you must pump in the right amount of vitamins and mineral. Chicken feed is comprised of carbohydrates, proteins, fats and 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 naira-5000 naira.
Feeds must contain vitamins A, C, D, E, K, and all vitamins B. Proteins are an important aspect of chicken feed. A chicken with balanced protein intake will produce a maximum amount of 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 a properly aerated land, excellent breeds, and provide clean water, you must ensure that the birds are feed. 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.
The term vaccination means providing the body with vaccines to fight off infections and provide immunity against disease. Vaccines are injected to improve immunity against infectious disease and also prepare the body’s immune system in advance to 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, coccidioisis, avian leukosis, etc.
For layers, vaccinations start from day 5 and progress through to days 7, 14-16 days, 24-26 days, 30th day, and also weeks 7, 9,15 and 17.
For broilers, vaccination starts from day 3-5, 7-9, 16-18, 24-26. Some of these vaccines include deworming, debeaking, B1, LaSota, Inactivated vaccines, PM-1, M9, etc.
- Proper fumigation of land to get rid of all sort 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 it 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 shot 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. Just like everything in life, it needs expanding one’s knowledge of the field, realising the reason for diving into the sector and preparing for the dedication and time that it will entail.
During the lockdown, my landlord’s grandkids decided to start their very small scale poultry farming. They saved-up every single “dash” money and bought 6 chicks at the rate of 250 naira each. They then used their grandfather’s material to build a metal cage which was impressive.
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. Others were eaten by rats.
Four months of pocket money gone down the drain 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 also reduce the rate of importation from other neighbouring African countries. Asides providing enough meat and egg to cover up the gap, the initiative are also aimed at developing a support system that will improve the production of poultry in Nigeria.
What are you waiting for?
It’s not capital intensive (when you’re starting small).
It’s highly commercialised and the CBN wants to implement structures that will benefit the farmers.
Are you in the school of thought that believes farming is strictly an old-people’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 little 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 who’s willing to learn and earn.
This article serves as 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 now!