How to Start Poultry Farming for Beginners [The Complete Business Guide]

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How long have you been trying to get a guide that talks about poultry farming for beginners?

Yea, yea! I have been there too.

That’s why I have written this detailed guide to teach you how to start a profitable poultry farming business.

Just a minute!

Let me try to guess who you are in one of these three sentences below.

  1. You are a beginner in poultry farming business
  2. Some time ago, you bought a few birds to rear, but most of them died.
  3. Thirdly, you are looking for a profitable agro-business venture to invest in.

It really doesn’t matter which sentence best describes you, what matters is that you have found the right information that will help you in your poultry business.

Let’s dive in immediately!

It’s not a new saying that poultry farming business is a very lucrative agribusiness.

With the information you will get in this poultry farming guide for beginners, you will be well on your way to starting a profitable poultry farming business in Nigeria.

Oh! One more thing…

I have included a poultry farming video at the end of this article.

Make sure you watch the video till the end as it holds a lot of vital information for you.

What is Poultry Farming?

Poultry farming refers to the raising of various types of domestic birds commercially for the purpose of producing meat, eggs, and feathers. 

In this poultry farming for beginners guide, our focus will be on fowl, but we all know it as Chicken.

I know you are asking, Why choose chicken farming?

Chicken is the most common type of poultry in the world.

They are relatively cheaper and easy to raise in comparison to livestock like cattle or pigs.

As a result, chickens have become prevalent throughout the cuisine of cultures around the world.

Chicken meat and eggs are among the major source of animal protein many people consume beside snail, pork, beef, and fish

butchered chicken carcass
Whole chicken and Chicken cuts

Is poultry farming profitable?

Poultry farming is a very profitable agribusiness.

But you need to know how to manage a poultry farm very well to succeed in this business.

Also, you need to pay attention to the marketing and sales aspect of your business.

It is the desire of every poultry farmer is to make good sales after every harvest.

Many families who go into poultry farming do so at a small scale to fulfil the animal nutrition demand for their home.  

However, large scale or commercial scale poultry farming offers an opportunity for poultry farmers to earn a large amount of money. 

Here’s is an interesting fact!

Nigerians produce only 30% of chicken consumed in the country.

That’s why even though there are many poultry farms in Nigeria, yours can still thrive easily. 

Poultry farming is a suitable business for the people who are passionate about livestock farming, keeping birds and who are comfortable with farm life. 

If you can run it properly under acceptable methods and conditions conducive for the birds, you will find that poultry farming is a highly profitable business.

Poultry Farming For Beginners

Over time, I have received several questions regarding the issue of starting a poultry farming business

My answer has always been the same, “you can’t learn everything about poultry farming in one day.”

Each type of farming business follows specific operational principles for making a good profit. 

When such principles are not carefully followed by the farm management, it results in serious losses for the owners.

Basic necessities before starting a poultry farm?

Whether chicken meat production, egg production, or a combination of the two, you must understand the principles of running a profitable poultry farming business.

deep litter system for poultry farming
Deep litter system of poultry farming

So before starting, it is wise to learn some more about the business or intern under a poultry farmer. 

Take some time to investigate why many poultry farmers make good profits from poultry farming while many others fail. 

Many poultry farmers, especially beginners, are no longer in business because they could not operate their poultry farm properly, thus they lose money. 

There are many farmers who go into the poultry business without a well-written poultry business plan.

This is very bad for business.

As a poultry farmer, you must have a poultry business plan that will guide your business.

You have to do everything timely and perfectly according to a plan.

Writing a poultry business plan is an advanced level study.

Let’s focus on discussing poultry farming for beginners.

Successful poultry farming business involves a lot of work so it takes passion to pull through. 

But, it is easy when you make your passion hobby, take the pressure off, and have fun.

How to Start Poultry Farming in Nigeria

Before starting out a poultry farming business in Nigeria, you need to first go through these steps below.

  • Learn poultry farming from the nearest poultry farm
  • Decide the chicken products to focus on
  • Set the location of your poultry farm
  • Set up a poultry cage for the birds
  • Procure equipment for the poultry farm
  • Buy starter chicks from a trusted supplier
  • Workers for the poultry
  • Feed the chicks properly
  • Maintain a proper poultry health management program
  • Market and sell your poultry harvests

Here is the full details of each of these necessary poultry farming steps below.

Free-range-layers-chicken
Free-range layers chicken

1. Learn poultry farming from the nearest poultry farm

Many people who rush to start making a profit from poultry farming after hearing about the business often regret afterwards. 

Poultry farming is a very delicate business and only those who understand the rules succeed.

Breeding day old chicks, for instance, is not something you can be careless about lest the entire chicks die before you wake up from your slumber.

So, the first thing you do after deciding to go into the business is to start a training course on how to breed chicks. 

There are several agencies that teach courses on how to succeed in poultry farming.

Preferably, you can enrol or consult a farmer nearest to you, pay a token fee, and he/she will put you through. 

The reason for getting training on poultry farming is to learn the technicalities in the handling of day-old chicks.

As a novice in the business, you must surely get it wrong, leading to the closure of the business. 

2. Decide the chicken products to focus on

There are many business areas to invest in when considering poultry farming business;

1. Broiler chicken for meat 
2. Layers chicken for egg production.
3. Running a hatchery
4. Poultry feed production 
5. Produce poultry farming equipment
6. Chicken processing

Whichever niche you decide to go into, your scale of operation will depend on the amount of money you have.

It also depends on how much you can access from financial institutions before you finally break even in the business.

So if your investment runs into millions of Naira, you can begin by acquiring a plot of land and putting up a structure deemed appropriate for the business.

But for the sake of starting small, producing broiler chicken or focusing on egg production is less expensive.

It still depends on the scale of production though.

You must consult an expert in this area if you do not want to lose money. 

Different-sizes-of-poultry-feed-for-poultry-farming
Different sizes of poultry feed for poultry farming

3. Select a good poultry farm location

It is very important to select a very good poultry farm location for your poultry farming venture.

Start by selecting a location that has access to roads, medical facilities, adequate security, power and clean water supply, etc.

You should consider a farm site that is close to the market where you will sell your products.

This does not mean your farm must be in the town or close to residential areas.

As a matter of fact, siting a poultry farm in residential areas is restricted by law because poultry farms produce an offensive odour.

The poultry farm can be located slightly far away from the town, where you can access cheaper land and labour.

However, do not set up the farm too far from the town so that transportation cost will not be an issue for you to achieve your goal of targeting the high-density market in the town. 

4. Set up a poultry cage for the birds

After selecting a good location for setting up your poultry farm, construct a good chicken house for your birds. 

Before you start constructing a poultry house, I urge you to visit a few farms near you. 

This will help you to come up with better ideas on what works best for you. Ensure you provide all facilities necessary for running the poultry farm efficiently.

There are different types of poultry house or chicken coops. 
An ideal poultry house should provide the birds with a comfortable environment. 

It should protect them from harsh weather conditions such as rain, sunshine, wind, pests, and diseases.

There are other considerations when constructing a poultry house but the kind of house you make depends on your resources.

poultry farming - battery cage for layers chicken
Poultry farming – Battery Cage Chicken house

Types of Poultry House

There are three types of poultry housing system you can use for poultry farming

They are Extensive, Semi-intensive and Intensive poultry housing system. 

For commercial poultry farming, intensive poultry housing system is the most convenient. 

You can choose to either raise your birds in a litter floor or in a cage poultry housing system. 

The battery cage type of poultry house is preferable to other types. 

For broiler poultry cage, the bird needs about 2.5 square feet space, while for layer poultry cage, the bird needs about 4 square feet space. 

The reason for the confined space is so that the bird does not exhaust so much energy which they should use for increasing body weight.

As an experiment, If you want to raise 1000 broilers, you have to ensure about 500 square feet space is available. 

The extra 100 square feet space will serve as walkways and will allow proper lighting and ventilation in the house.

5. Purchase some poultry farming equipment

Poultry farming equipment makes poultry farming very easy. 

It also helps you to manage your birds properly so that they can eat healthily, drink healthy and live in a healthy environment. 

The equipment you need to run your poultry business are many and they are all important. 

Some of the essential poultry farming equipment are;

1. Feeders: This is a device you use for supplying feeds to the birds
2. Waterers: You use this device for supplying water to the birds
3. Nests: This is a well-prepared place where chickens lay eggs.
4. Ventilation system: Odour vents, perforated walls etc. can serve this purpose
5. Cages: These are boxes you provide especially for keeping birds
6. Coops: Just like cages, a chicken coop provides housing for the birds.
7. Incubators: A device to keep eggs warm for hatching.
8. Perches: These are logs you place a little above the floor of the chicken house for the birds to rest.
9. Brooders or heaters: This device provides heat for raising young chicks. 
10. Waste disposal system: This helps for proper disposal of the waste you produce in your poultry farm.
11. Lighting instruments: This provides light in the poultry house
12. Egg tray: For handling of chicken eggs.

Day-old chicks brooding

6. Buy starter chicks from a trusted supplier

After setting up your poultry house and buying the necessary equipment for running the poultry, it’s time to start stocking the farm with chicks.

Do your research properly and purchase quality chicks from trusted breeders in your area.

Try to avoid the risk of buying unhealthy chicks or chicks already suffering from malnutrition.

Ensure you set the brooder ready before stocking your poultry with the chicks.

If you are a complete beginner without any prior poultry farming experience, try to keep the number of chicks you buy below 500.

7. Employ reliable workers for the poultry farm

Employing a worker to work on your poultry farm could be a result of any of the following;

1. You are a novice, and you need to engage an experienced farmer to work with you for a fee until you gain all the knowledge you need to be independent.

2. The second reason could be that you are too busy and do not have enough time to manage the poultry farm on your own.

3. You are a large scale farmer looking at expanding your poultry business.

If you are getting workers because of any of the three reasons above, it is understandable.

One person can safely manage a poultry farm with less than 500 birds. 

However, if you plan to expand and raise more birds, you may need to engage some workers to assist in the daily operations of the poultry. 

Just make sure you get the cheapest VALUABLE labour available in your area.

As a beginner, I would recommend that you start small and grow in the business. 

You will appreciate the experience you will gather along the line.

Poultry farming- Egg transportation line
Egg transportation line in Mechanized poultry farming system

8. Feed the chicks properly

Like with other livestock farming, feeding is the most important part of the poultry farming business

Poultry feed will take about 70% of your production cost.

Your success in this business depends largely on the quality of feed and the birds feeding schedule you choose.

You can decide to produce your own feed using ingredients available in the market or purchase processed poultry feeds from the market. 

As a beginner in poultry farming, I will advise you to start with the feeds sold in the market. 

By the time you’ve learnt how to prepare feeds, you can then produce some for your birds.

There are different feeds for different poultry farming purpose. 

Just be aware of what you are buying and also consider the age of your birds when buying feeds.

9. Maintain a proper poultry health management program

There are a lot of unusual reasons that lead to high mortality in a poultry farm.

Therefore the need for proper management of the farm.

Poultry health management is very fundamental for your business success.

You have to ensure a proper medication system is available in your poultry farm. 

This is important because birds are prone to various types of poultry diseases and you have to be proactive to manage them. 

We all know that ‘prevention is better than cure’, therefore, it is wise to always prevent diseases by taking proper care of your birds.

You must vaccinate the birds at the right time.

It is also necessary to always provide them with clean water as well as maintain proper hygiene to keep the birds healthy.

Remember to stock some necessary vaccine and medicine so that you can use them when the need arises.

Learn more about poultry diseases and poultry health management here.

Chicken-eggs-in-crates-poultry-farming-for-beginners
Poultry eggs in arranged in crates

10. Market and sell your poultry harvests

The topic of marketing your poultry products is, in fact, the most fundamental thing to know before you start your poultry farming business.

If you can’t sell your poultry products immediately they are ripe for the market, you will incur losses.

A good marketing strategy is what you need to influence the profit from your poultry business.

Anybody can learn how to grow chicken, but not everybody can sell chicken.

Before you even decide to start a poultry farming business, you must first find out the feasibility of the business.

You must ascertain by carrying out a market analysis to know whether the business will thrive in your location.

A proper market analysis will even help you determine whether you will go for poultry egg production or meat production.

That is why I advise people to always write a poultry business plan which will guide them in the business.

A good strategy is to collect the names and addresses of your potential buyers and inform them that you can supply them with eggs and live chicken.

Do not underestimate the power of social media for your marketing.

I highly recommend you learn how to use the power of social media to grow your poultry business.

You will profit from the knowledge in the long run.

Quick Recap – How to Start a Poultry Farming business – for Beginners

  1. Learn from an Expert: Learn how to start poultry farming from the nearest poultry farm. This will give you a good headstart.
  2. Decide what to produce: Decide whether to focus on broiler chicken (meat production) or egg production or both.
  3. Choose a good location of your farm: Site the location of your farm where it is close to your target market but far from residential areas.
  4. Build a poultry house for the birds: Put up a poultry farm structure that will provide protection from harsh weather condition and pests.
  5. Procure equipment: Stock your poultry farm with equipment that will make your daily work on the farm very easy.
  6. Buy stocking chicks: Carefully select healthy birds for your farm.
  7. Employ workers: Hire more workers as you expand
  8. Feed the chicks: Use appropriate feeds only.
  9. Poultry health management: Birds are prone to fall sick, take care of them immediately.
  10. Market your products: Learn how to market poultry products and make money.

Conclusion

This poultry farming for beginners guide is just a tip of the iceberg of what you will find in poultry farming.

I advise you to always consult with a poultry farmer near you.

Unless you already have prior knowledge of the business, I urge to start small, gather experience and expand your poultry business gradually.

Don’t forget to write a poultry business plan that will guide your business decisions.

If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask in the comment section.

I always make out time to reply to all your comments.

If this article makes sense to you, sharing it won’t be a bad idea. You could be helping someone without you knowing.

If are looking for other agribusiness ideas, there are a lot of them on Agro4africa.

Editor’s Recommended Posts

Here are some of our recommended posts you can check out alongside this poultry farming for beginners guide when you have the time.

Tips For Starting a Poultry Farm – [Video]

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