No doubt poultry farming in Nigeria is one of the most lucrative farming businesses and it has made some Nigerians millonaire. Poultry farming which simply means rearing of domestic birds such as chickens, turkey, quail bird etc is so popular because of so many nutritional benefits that can be obtained from them.
Up till now there is low supply of chicken and its eggs to the large population of over 150 million which are demanding for this product every day. This has led to the importation of this product from abroad because local production cannot meet up with the demand. And the good news is that government is even ready to stop this importation if there is enough production locally. This is where smart entrepreneur and those who need financial freedom should come in and take the advantage.
Chicken and other domesticated birds are rich source of protein which is highly essential for growth and healthy living, and that makes it a highly sort after product and the demand for both chicken egg and meat is on increase every day.
As earlier indicated there are so many aspects of poultry farming but in this article I will be dwelling on chicken rearing aspect of poultry farming, and I promise to make the write up as informative as possible.
There are three types of chicken which are broiler, cockerel and layers (also known as pullet). Broilers and cockerel are chickens that are reared for their meat, while layers or pullet are chicks meant for egg production. Broilers grow to maturity within 12 to 14 weeks while cockerel may take up to 24 weeks before it will attain full maturity. Layers on their part will take up 18-20 weeks before they will start to lay eggs.
Poultry farming is capital intensive but you don’t need to be afraid as it can be started on a small scale and later expanded as money is coming in. One good thing about this farming is that there is no amount money spent on it that will not be got back because it is highly lucrative. Before you start this business you need to sit down and do proper calculation and business plan. When doing the plan, you should ask yourself the following questions:
Do I want to start on a small scale or large scale?
Do I have space or land to site the poultry farm?
Do I want to rear for meat or egg production?
How many chicks will I start with?
How much money will it cost me?
Ones you are able to answer the above questions you should be able to write good business plan and arrive at a good calculation. I will advise you to go into egg production (layer or pullet) because they market are readily available and as soon as they start laying eggs you are in money. You should rear broiler and cockerel to target various festive seasons like Christmas, New Year, Easter etc.
So, if you’re ready to start, here is the step by step guide to start poultry farming for beginners.
Space to Site your Farm (Land)
This depends on the scale on which you want to start. If you want to start on a small scale and you have space at you backyard you are good to go. If you don’t have space at your backyard or think the odour from the droppings of the chickens will inconvenient you and your neighbours or you want to start on a large scale, then you need to get a plot of land.
Getting the land in the urban areas could be expensive especially when you live in big cities like Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, Enugu etc. Instead you can acquire land in a nearby rural area at a cheaper price; in fact you may be able to acquire more than a plot of land for feature expansion. Another reason why it is preferable to acquired in the rural area is because there will not be distraction from sanitation officers who may ask you to live the cities because of the inconveniences that the dropping of the chickens might cause.
Another point to note here is that it better you get your own land than to lease because of unnecessary interruption that may come up when the owner of the property may want to use it.
Chicken Coop (chicken’s House)
The name of the house where your chickens will be kept is called chicken coop. This is the second most important requirement for poultry farming. The size of poultry coop varies depending on the scale on which the farm will be operated but you must ensure that the coop is spacious enough for easy movement of the chicks.
The house should