How to start and run a successfully poultry farming business

What is a chicken farming? Before we define what a chicken farming is, let us look at what a chicken is.

What is a chicken?

A chicken (Gallus domesticus) is a domestic bird that cannot fly, chickens have different breeds, some chickens are good for meat those are called broilers, chickens that are good for eggs are called layers. We will look at the difference between broilers and layers later on.

Hen or a Rooster

Chickens can be a male or a female, a male chicken is called a rooster and a female chicken is called a hen. A rooster is the one that makes noise at the crack of dawn. There are louder that hens, why do we need roosters? We need roosters so that the hens can produce fertile eggs. Without a rooster the hens will still be able to lay eggs but those eggs will not hatch. A rooster can service many hens depending on a rooster breed, they can service up to 20 hens per day. As the rooster gets older this number will drop. Normal farmers will keep a ratio of 1 rooster per 10 hens (1 rooster: 10 hens). Don't keep roosters close to each other they will fight. In a backyard chicken farming a rooster is gentleman, a security, a supervisor of hens, he shows hens were the feed is, he watch for predators while hens are feeding, he warns hens when there is a danger, he fights off predators. As the rooster gets older its meats becomes harder to cook as a result some farmer will castrate the rooster that will make meat soft and tender. Castrated roosters are called capons, Capons behave like hens they are nice they don't fight, and their meat is soft. Chicken farming is an activity of raising chickens for meat or eggs. We will look at few terms below.

How long does it takes for a chicken to grow?

Some chicken breeds grow faster than others.
  1. Cornish X takes from 4 to 8 weeks to be ready for consumptions
  2. Most layers will start for laying eggs at 18 weeks
  3. For chickens to be fully matured it can takes anywhere between 2 months to 9 months depending on the breed. Dong Tao chicken a chicken from Vietnam can take from 8 months to 12 months to be fully matured.

How long does it takes for a hen to lay an egg?

It takes about 26 hours for a hen to form and lay a single egg, a hen does not lay eggs everyday there are days where it doesnt lay.

A chicken farm can be either a layer or broiler farm.

A layer farm

A layer farm focuses on egg production, the farming model focuses on raising female chickens, and male chickens are not always needed on the layer farm. Layers have a long life span that broilers. Layer breeding farm, these are chickens that are kept to produce fertile eggs, those fertile eggs will be used to hatch new layers. Male chickens are needed to produce fertile eggs. Fertile eggs are the eggs that will hatch. Spent layers are layers that are too old, they are sold as meat chickens, and when layers get old they lay less eggs.

Broiler breeders

Broiler breeders these are chickens that are reared to produce fertile eggs, those fertile eggs will be used to hatch new broilers. Male chickens are needed to produce fertile eggs. A broiler farm focuses on raising chickens for meat, both hens and cockerels are raised and sold or slaughter from 6 weeks of age. Can you raise both layers and broilers on the same chicken house? No, you cannot, these chickens' needs different feeds and farm setup, by farm setup we talk about things like light, temperature, humidity level, noise level etc.

Difference between Layers and Broilers

On a small scale farming broilers are more profitable than layers. On a larger scale layer poultry farming is profitable as well. If you want to make more money in a short term broilers are the best way to go. Broilers will be ready from 6 weeks, layers will start laying from 18 weeks. Broilers grow faster than layers. Broilers have a short life span, layers have a long life span. Broilers eat more than layers, broilers are for meat, and layers are for eggs.

How to start a chicken farming in South Africa 2019

Let us how at how to setup a small scale successfully chicken farming. Below are the tips on how to be a successfully chicken farmer.
  • First step is to create a business plan. You need to have a road map, a plan on how to market your business. You need to study and analyses chicken products market and develop a market plan. You need to come up with a competitive strategy. You need to know if it's feasible to run your small scale chicken farming business. You need to do a budget, risk analysis and identify suppliers in your area.

  • Start small and grow with your business. You will make mistakes and learn from them.

  • Minimize farming chicken farming costs by all means. You will spend most of the money buying chicken feeds, chicken feed is expensive especial in South Africa. To minimize costs on chicken feed, you need to stop buying from the middle man buy strait from suppliers, buy chicken feeds in bulk and learn how to buy raw feed and mix it on your farm.

  • For small scale chicken farms a broiler farm is more profitable than layers farm. Some sellers in South Africa they would buy broilers that are almost ready for market, then they will sell them at township taxi ranks.

  • Ineffective disease management. Keep farm clean, a dirty farm will attract diseases, your chickens will die, and you will lose profit. Your farm must be cleaned all the time, feed must be sealed and kept fresh, water must be clean, and air on the farm must be clean as well.

  • No stress, chickens don't need stress, if layers get stressed they stop laying, when broilers get stressed they don't grow at optimum rate.

What do you need to start a chicken farming business

Different Chicken Farming Systems

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