Before Independence during the pre-oil era, Nigeria was a giant in the farming sector, but due to oil boom, this sector has been neglected for almost half of the last millennium. With the advent of drop in Brent Crude price, the Government of the day are looking for alternatives to boost our foreign earnings and reserves. In that regards there has been calls all over the country to rejuvenate our Agro sector.
Farming is an extensive topic to be discussed but for this purpose of this article I will streamline it as much as possible. Farming is extensively divided into Arable and livestock farming. Arable farming deals with basically crops and plants while livestock farming deals with rearing of domestics and farm animals.
Poultry farming is the most lucrative of all and widely accepted amongst the population. In this article, I will outline some of its benefits and how to set up a standard and cost efficient Poultry.
What are the Benefits of Poultry Farming Nigeria?
- Depending on your budget, setting up a poultry is very easy, you don’t need to wait for a very long time before you make profit. It is one fast way of making cool cash within a very short period of time.
- Once you decide on the type of breed to rare it takes an average of six to eight months for them to mature and become meat or start laying eggs.
- You don’t need to have millions of naira before you set up a poultry, you can easily set up a cage at the backyard of your house and start making some extra income.
- Commercial poultry farming is a great source of employment for the teeming youth.
- If you are not planning to rare many birds, you don’t necessarily need a broad knowledge of livestock to start a poultry, even the less educated people make a living from it.
- In a population of 180 million people and still counting, there is surely a high demand for poultry products ranging from poultry meats to freshly laid eggs.
How to set up a Poultry in Nigeria?
In this section, I will be paying most attention to people who want to start a poultry for commercial purposes. If you are thinking of starting a commercial poultry farm there are some necessary steps you have to follow, you will need to get your steps right from day one, just to avoid negative results at the end of everything. You have to go through the following steps listed below:
Choosing a suitable location for your farm
- The most important step in starting up a poultry farm is selecting a suitable land. Getting a land anywhere is a tedious and expensive task.
- For someone who plans to farm for a long time it is better to acquire a parcel of land because owners can chase you from rented lands anytime and it will surely have adverse effect on your total effort.
- The area of land to be acquired depend on some factors like the number of birds you intend to raise and most importantly the type of rearing system you intend to use.
- It is advisable to acquire land in rural areas that are little bit far from the city because Land and labour seems to be relatively cheap in such areas.
- Ensure that you have a source of fresh and clean water supply close to your land of interest because you will need to a lot of water for feeding the birds and cleaning your animal house.
Choosing the appropriate farming system
For commercial purpose, there are about four commonly used rearing systems to effectively keep and manage your birds. Such types used in Nigeria are includes:
- Deep liter
- Half liter
What type of breeds should I choose?
The type of breed you choose will have a great impact in your final output. There are a lot of breeds but for the purpose of this article, I will talk about the three most popular ones with high quality yield.
- Layers: This type of birds are basically raised for commercial egg production. However they can also be used for meat production. There are some breeds of layers that can lay up as much as 300 eggs in a year. They are suitable for rearing in large and small quantities.
- Broilers: Broilers are poultry breeds that is very suitable for commercial meat production. One disadvantage about this breed is that they consume a lot of food but their growth is rapid and ready for consumption within a short period of time.
- Cockerels: The cockerels are also a very good for meat production, their advantage over the rest of other birds is that they easily adapt to the environment and they have high demand in the market.
After choosing the type of breed you want to rare, you will have to decide if you want to start rearing from Day-old-chick (DOC) or Point-of-Lay (POL) for layers only.
There are numerous hatchery where you can purchase day old chicks. A D.O.C can cost from N300 to N350 and sometimes up to N500 depending on your bargaining power. A P.O.L chick can cost from N1,500 up to N1,800. You can as well ask other poultry farmers where they get theirs from and at what cost so you won’t be cheated.
What Housing or Caging System is the best to use in Nigeria?
For you to make good profit from your poultry business, you must make provision for a comfortable housing for your birds. In Nigeria the best system to use for commercial purpose is the battery cage system. This system is the best for egg-laying hens. It consists of water and feeding trough and also a guide that supports eggs that are being laid. However there are some factors you have to consider while choosing a caging system, this includes:
- Ensure you create a proper cross ventilation system, because adequate ventilation is required by the birds to maintain good standard of living and this has a positive effect on the overall yield.
- Make sure there is adequate amount of air and light inside the house, the number of cage per 100 square meter shouldn’t be more than two, and proper spacing should also be considered.
- Make adequate provision for security for your birds to prevent attacks from harmful animals especially reptiles.
- Always maintain high level of hygienic measures, to prevent contact and spread of disease. They house must be always be kept clean.
- Feeding is an essential part of the poultry business, if you want a good yield you must be ready to spend a little more in getting good feeds. There are different kinds of feeds for different age groups and you must store them under a favourable condition so they don’t lose their nutritional value.
- Lastly, there is need to construct a very effective drainage system which can take the bird litters and waste. If litters are not properly disposed it can be a source of infection to other birds.
How to care and Manage by poultry farm
Most poultry farmers pay little or no attention to this aspect of the business. You must provide proper and adequate care for your birds to avoid contact and spread of disease. I will advised you have a veterinary specialist who will come to check up the birds at intervals, it might cost you money but in a long run you will have a good profitable business. Vaccines should be timely given to all your birds.
You have to make provisions for some common and necessary medicine right on your farm. Many farmers face huge loss by not promptly taking care of their birds.
Market availability and turnover
This is the section that most farmers are really interested in. They want to know how to create a wide profit margin and how to maximize their profit. Let us first consider the marketing aspect.
Considering the fact that chicken do reproduce fast and in large numbers, you will need an aggressive marketing strategy for you to make a lot of profit in this business. Here are few points you can make use of:
- You have to target a market close to the city because that is where most of the demands comes from. To avoid Egg glut, you will need to work extra and maybe consider processing the egg powders.
- If you produce in a very large quantity, make sure you have small outlets in nearby cities and states. You can also strike deals with market women who can be offtakers of your farm produce.
If you have done your assignments very well, you can make huge turnovers in this business. Here are some facts that may drive you to achieve this. It includes:
- Chickens have the ability to reproduce very fast and, an average healthy layer lays eggs at least 5 to 6 times in a week. Depending on the breed, some can even lay as much as 400 eggs in a year, meanwhile it only take 21days for an egg to hatch. This means a total of 300 chickens can be added to your stock yearly.
- The Price of chicken varies according to market, a good looking chicken of about 3.5kg – 4.0kg can cost around N3,500 to about N4,500 around anytime of the year and can cost more at festive periods especially during Easter, Christmas and New year. It you produce at large quantity of about 10,000 birds, you will be making an average whooping sum of N40,000,000 turnover.
- You can decide to process your chickens for meat production and package for sale. This is another aspect of poultry farming which would be discussed subsequently on this blog.
- Another interesting aspect is the sales of eggs. There is always a high demand of egg all-round the year, egg is a rich source of protein and is required for healthy living. A crate of egg goes for an average of N700 for small size and N800 for big size. If you just want to base your poultry business on only egg production, with 500 birds you can make at least N1,400,000 monthly.
The steps listed might sound very easy and straight forward but you have to be make such you make the best practice to get a favourible yield at the end of every production cycle
Thanks for Reading