10 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW BEFORE STARTING A POULTRY FARM
It’s not unusual for new farmers to start out with poultry because of the popular opinion that poultry farming is an easy entry into farming in general. To an extent, this opinion is true.
But as an Agric-Tech Information Expert that deals with poultry farmers on a daily basis, we can emphatically point out that this is not always the case.
It is one thing to start poultry farming in your backyard but another thing when you bring in the business dynamics, and that is what we’d like to highlight today in this post.
On Nigerian Farming Online Magazine website. Instead, we’ll show you the operations, and the dynamics that 99% of other posts don’t talk about. Without further ado, here are the things you should know before starting a poultry farm business.
- FEASIBILITY STUDY: A feasibility study is the vital starting point. By the time you are done with your feasibility study, you will approach the business of poultry with a firm understanding of what is involved. The feasibility study on your poultry farm will help you know if the business is viable on all fronts including business viability, technical viability, business model viability, operations viability and so on. A good outline in your feasibility study for your farm business includes the introduction, product, technology, market environment, industry, financial projections, risk factors and regulations.
- DO A FINANCIAL PROJECTION: This is an often overlooked part of a feasibility study that small business owners don’t bother with and we just couldn’t help but shine the light on it. It doesn’t matter if your capital is small, as small as N100,000, do your financial projections. Poultry farming is a business, and as with any business, the goal is to make profit. If you had no previous experience running a poultry farm, it’s highly likely that you are over-shooting your numbers. Sometimes, even shooting yourself in the foot because without a projection, your poultry business cannot be properly valued. However, a proper financial projection, think Balance Sheet, Income Statement and Cash flow Analysis, will clear your eyes and you will be surprised at the figures because numbers don’t lie.
- BUSINESS PLAN: The first two on this list are the elephant in the room and once you are satisfied, you proceed to write a business plan. Needless to say, your feasibility study will make writing your business plan a whole lot easier. A business plan for your poultry farm will typically feature how you intend on growing and sustaining the business. It will include the executive summary, business overview, operations plan, sales and marketing, SWOT analysis, and the management team.
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- POULTRY MANAGEMENT: We have discovered in our first year of successfully overseeing farm sponsors and farm operations that if only things are done in the right order, a lot of problems can be avoided. In this case, don’t be the farmer who ploughs thousands of cash without first securing proper management for the farm. Your managers will include a poultry specialist, accountant, farm maintenance team down to your logistics team.
- POULTRY NICHE: Poultry is actually a broad niche with sub-niches, but of course you already knew that because you went through the feasibility phase, smart cookie, since your poultry niche determines a lot of things, like how and where you source your poultry equipments, feeds and medicines for better treatments. It still deserves a mention in this post – Poultry niches include Hatchery, Egg production (Layers), Meat production (Broilers), Poultry processing and packaging, Poultry consultancy services and sale of Poultry equipment.
- LOCATION: your poultry farm should be situated in a area which is not exposed to extreme climatic conditions. Your poultry should be situated away from other poultry farms preferably at a radius of 3-5kms.
- EQUIPMENT & LIVE STOCK: There are many Hatcheries which deliver day old chicks to your farm. You will have to check the one which closest to your farm and which has a proven ‘timely’ delivery record. This goes well with the feed companies too. You should opt for the latest feeding, watering & lighting equipments which will save on your labour cost. You should also tie up with a good vet. You need Doctor who can visit your farm at regular intervals and who is easy approachable during crisis. Keep a schedule for vaccinations and medication in consultation with a Vet.
- PREPARING FOR ARRIVAL OF CHICKS: The poultry house should be cleaned and disinfected and allowed to rest for at least 7 days prior to chicks’ placement. Also, equipment such as feeders, drinkers, brooders etc. should be cleaned and disinfected. Fresh litter (straw, wood shavings etc.) should be spread over the up. Wood shavings are the common litter used in Nigeria. Litter provides insulation from the floor and will soak up moisture from the droppings. It also helps to prevent damage to the birds’ legs due to slipping on slippery surfaces. The depth of the litter should be 8 to 10 cm. Feed and clean water should be provided before chicks’ arrival. Feed may be placed in flat surfaces such as egg flats or box lids to encourage chicks’ to feed. The producer should introduce chicks’ to water by dipping their beaks in the water immediately they are placed on the floor. Chicks’ may be encouraged to drink and feed by hanging bright 100 watt bulb 1 m above litter level. Furthermore, chicks may be encouraged to eat by placing feed in small silver-coloured trays, and to drink by placing coloured marbles in the drinkers. The heat source should be on 24 hours before the arrival of chicks.
- FINDING THE OFF-TAKERS: The search for off-takers begin the moment you start your poultry farm or dare we say, in the stages of putting together your business plan. Your poultry farm is as successful as the speed at which off-takers are available to off-take your poultry, at a good rate.
- STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE: You have successfully completed a poultry farm cycle and now have a bit of experience on running a poultry farm. Good going, but you are just getting started. Want to have an even smoother poultry farm cycle? Write a standard operating procedure. A standard operating procedure documents your farm’s key processes and will help you and your management stay consistent and compliant. These are the things you need to know before starting a poultry farm and we hope you find it useful.