Poultry farming has for ages been viewed as a very cheap venture, especially by small-scale farmers who do not keep a large number of birds, mostly between ten to fifteen. The traditional way of poultry farming involves keeping indigenous chicken using the free-range method. However, with the advance in technology and economy, many farmers have turned to view poultry farming as a business and adopted the latest methods of poultry farming such as building e-poultry houses and upgrading to broilers or layers rather than indigenous chicken dubbed as ‘kienyeji’ chicken.
However, this has proved to be an expensive affair due to the numerous requirements and expenses to venture into such a type of business. These expenses include poultry equipment, constructing poultry houses, capital for buying chicks and feeds as well as medications and maintenance fees. With COVID-19 hitting the economy, starting a poultry business has even become harder as the prices hit high on products such as feeds and chicks.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, many farmers were affected especially due to the closure of businesses and government restrictions. this saw many farmers lacking markets for their chicken due to the low demand by eateries and consumers. In research done by 60 Decibels, data showed that nearly nine out of ten farmers said that their financial situation had gotten worse with the onset of the pandemic, owing to an increase in prices, especially on imported products.
Therefore, for one to successfully start a poultry business, especially amidst the pandemic, they need to have a comprehensive and clear strategy on how they plan to run and sustain the business while gaining maximum profits at the same time. There are key areas that one needs to concentrate on to come up with a successful poultry business.
- Learn about poultry farming
One should consider taking a few trips to poultry farms that are successful and learn from them. You can also join training programs about poultry or even volunteer to work in a poultry farm for you to gain hands-on experience.
- Have a business plan
After you have understood how the business operates, do not rush to buy your chicks and start rearing. Consider writing down a comprehensive business plan that will guide you in your business. You can also seek the help of an expert to write and develop the BQs you need.
- Decide the chicken products to focus on
Decide whether to focus on layers, broilers, or both. A beginner needs to have a clear picture of what you want to do. At this point, you also need to know who will supply you with the chicks, where to get the feed, and medication for them.
- Procure equipment for the poultry farm
You will need to find a good supplier for all your poultry equipment. Find a supplier who provides quality equipment and at a cost-friendly price because, at the end of the day, you want to make good profits out of your business. Seek a consultant who can hook you up to a good supplier for your drinkers, feeders, lighting, heating equipment, and all other equipment you need for your poultry farm. This also includes constructing your poultry house and getting all equipment installed.
- Workers for the poultry
As you recruit workers, consider having people who can quickly learn and adapt to the practices. For beginner farmers, it is better to get workers to train on the job rather than get experienced workers who will require bigger salaries.
- Market and sell your poultry harvests
It is important to find your market before getting started with your business. You can either choose the contract farming way or find a buyer for your final product. This will help you in ensuring flow in your business and you won’t have to look for buyers when your birds are already mature.
- Maintain a proper poultry health management program
As you begin the business ensure you have put in place health measures to be adhered to. Train your workers before stocking, ensure poultry houses and all equipment are disinfected, and ensure there is protective gear for workers and visitors as they enter the poultry houses.
Although starting such a poultry business may require a lot of capital and commitment, the above points may guide a farmer to easily manage their business and yield high profits. In a nutshell, the expense of the poultry business is determined by how the owner puts into place their business strategy. It requires a large capital but pays off with huge profits if well managed and strategized.