In this tutorial, I’ll be discussing how you can start a profitable poultry farming in Nigeria
And if you wish to visit one of our associates’ poultry farms for free practical training and other help you might need, you can click here (after reading this post).
We have associates’ farms in Lagos, Rivers, Ogun, FCT, and about 9 other states of Nigeria.
Now, let\’s get started…
Introduction to Poultry Farming (for beginners)
(Please forgive me as I will assume that you do not know anything about the poultry business, so I will start from elementary).
Poultry farming is the act of rearing domesticated birds such as chickens, ducks, turkeys, and geese to get meat or eggs for food.
This often involves building poultry pens, taking care of chicks, brooding, vaccination, selling eggs and meat to consumers, and general management of the farm.
A poultry farm could be run on an intensive or extensive housing system, depending on the resources available.
You could use battery cages or a deep litter system, depending on your plan (more on this later in this post).
Now I want to make two more assumptions.
First, I\’ll you`re reading this tutorial because you intend to go into poultry farming as a business
Second, you`re more interested in chicken than other birds I earlier mentioned… since Mr. and Miss chicken happens to be the most popular poultry birds in Nigeria (thanks if you get that joke).
The remaining part of this tutorial will be based on these two assumptions.
9 Steps to Start a Poultry Farming Business in Nigeria
- Decide what aspect of the poultry industry you love to start
- Choose the appropriate housing system for your birds
- Look for a suitable location for your farm
- Plan the cost adequately
- Get healthy chicks from a trustworthy hatchery
- Apply the first vaccine & Master vaccination & feeding schedule
- Watch your bird carefully for sick ones
- Market your poultry produce smartly
- Get practical training from an experienced farmer
Now, I\’ll write details about each of the above and if after reading you have any questions, you can register to meet one of our experienced farmers here
#1. Decide What Aspect of the Poultry industry You Love to Start
Even though most Nigerians who are interested in the poultry business only think of raising birds, poultry farming has very broad branches you might be interested in, so let\’s check some of those (starting from what you already know):
Many Nigerian farmers specialize in growing broiler chickens.
If this is what you choose to do, your primary aim is to sell fat chickens for meat (these chickens would never lay eggs)
Broiler breed grows so fast that it could reach four pounds (1.8 Kilograms) within eight or nine weeks.
Some farmers might not sell at this weight though. Some might want anything between six to ten pounds, depending on the market you’re targeting.
And let me emphasize that.
You see, the first duty of a businessman/woman is to know what the market wants.
For example, if your target market is Ikeja or Lekki (Lagos), growing your broiler to ten pounds may be your goal.
But if you\’re selling to people in my village (sorry, I won\’t tell you the name of my village but I know that everyone is broke over there), you better sell at 2 kilos or less.
Targeting 3-4 kilos means waiting and feeding till anything between 13 and 20 weeks. Birds at this weight and age are called roasters (I\’ll talk more about their feeding quantity later).
For a Nigerian poultry farmer who chooses to breed a broiler, it means you can start making some money after a few weeks.
But it also means you’ll not enjoy all the goodies that come with layer farming, so let’s talk about that
By far, layer farming is the most popular poultry farming in Nigeria.
The reason for this is obvious; an average Nigerian eat 70 eggs per year as of 2018, according to the former National President of the Poultry Association of Nigeria (PAN), Mr. Ezekiel Mam. That\’s 14 Billion eggs a year
(You remember my poor village I told you about? Even there, every household can afford some eggs).
If you go into layer farming, you are breeding your chickens with the major aim of having them laying eggs, though you`ll eventually sell them off.
But why sell your birds when they can still lay eggs?
You see, just as women are more likely to give birth to unhealthy children as they grow old, female chickens after some time start producing “unhealthy” eggs.
For example, the rate of egg production, the size of their eggs, the quality of the egg’s shell… all of these decrease gradually as layer birds grow old then, at some point, the equilibrium would be reached (that is, the money you’re using to feed the chicken is the same as the amount you’re getting from the eggs) at this point, the ladies have to be sold for meat.
This is why most commercial layer farmers just sell their birds after about two and a half years
Poultry feed production.
People in this branch of the poultry farming business are producing poultry food and selling them to poultry farmers.
The biggest player in this field are; Vital Feeds, Stellar Feeds, Animal Care Feeds, etc. But there are also smaller feed makers without popular brands.
In fact, many people formulate local feeds for farmers and you can be one of these people (they usually have their factories near any farm settlement).
However before you can make it as a poultry feed maker, it’s always good if you run a poultry farm first.
I mean, you can’t be a pharmacist except you first know a lot about patients (common sense?).
To hatch eggs, humans try to imitate the natural process by which traditional female chickens do it.
Yes, it would take us about 21 days too, but the process required the level of expertise a newcomer can’t just handle because the temperature, humidity, ventilation, position, and turning of the eggs using required hatchery equipment could determine whether we have a healthy chick or some sickle cell chicks (that’s a joke. There’s nothing like that.. but you get the point)
Again, we don’t advise you to dare this aspect of the poultry business unless you already have some years of experience in the industry.
Poultry equipment manufacturing & Sales.
You guess it.
These guys manufacture various equipment needed on the farm… Water Equipment, Feeding Equipment, Egg Handling Equipment, Vaccination Equipment, Incubation Equipment, and Brooder Equipment
Some people also act as retailers to sell these pieces of equipment and that can be you (if you like)
You will need experience in the aforementioned niches before you can succeed as a poultry consultant.
Please pardon me for not talking about vaccine makers.
Even though it’s a significant sub-industry in the poultry business, I don’t know jack about how vaccines are made.
I guess I’ll have to go spend 7 years in some boring Med school (Sorry, I\’m too old for that) so I can\’t help you.
However, I can help you with layer and broiler farming and even give you a rare opportunity to meet one of our experienced farmers for practical training on the farm or other help you need (if you go here)
Now, let\’s get to point two (assuming you\’re interested in Broiler or Layer Farming)
#2. Choose the Appropriate Housing System for Your Birds
Now when it comes to rearing chicken, different housing system works for a different purpose.
For example, my wife raise chickens in our compound… but… well, they’re just pet for her because this Cockerel would end up costing her more money than their meat is worth.
It’s another ball game however if you come to one of our associates’ poultry farms.
What you see in a serious farm is a coordinated housing system to get the best out of the chicken.
The first housing system I described (one of my wife) is the free-range system.
Like my wife, all you do is let your chicken roam around a gated compound. Many do this, but never for commercial purposes.
The second system (common among commercial poultry farmers) is the battery cage system
Here you house your birds inside cages.
The space for feeding, eggs, and dropping has been provided in this structure so everything runs smoothly.
The battery cage system is the most preferred housing system for layer farming, but it’s not the only way people raise chickens for commercial purposes.
We also have a deep litter system (usually preferred by broiler farmers).
In deep litter, you will have your birds in a large room where you will fill the floor with sawdust or similar substance (to allow for easy cleaning of the pen).
This dust must be changed often or else the odor will KILL YOU (Joke, Joke, Joke.)
This method is often adopted by broiler farmers because it doesn’t make sense for layer farming.
Why Layer Farmers Shouldn\’t Use a Deep Litter System
If you\’re a layer farmer using a deep litter system, well, you’ll have your eggs all around the floor, then, your staff would step on some of those eggs by accident (or if they\’re drunk. LOL) and your chicken can start eating their eggs too.
Let me tell you why chickens eat their eggs.
First, if a chicken feels that it\’s low on calcium, it\’ll start seeking a supplemental diet of the eggshell to cure its calcium deficiency.
Sometimes, however, chickens just accidentally discovered that they could get calcium by their effort, if only they could eat their eggs (since their owner is dumb enough to let them have access to it. Hahaha)
None of these can happen with battery cages, hence, the reason why layer farmers love battery cages.
So, if you’re raising broilers, you could use very large (or many large) rooms for a deep litter system but if you’re raising layers, I don’t think there’s any housing system better than battery cages.
#3 Look for a suitable location for your farm
There are a few factors that make your farm\’s location a very important issue to consider when thinking about the poultry business and here they are;
- Your market. Since what you want to sell are eggs and chicken, a location near the city is usually good. But why not the city itself?
- Odor and noise. Who can live near a big poultry farm? In fact, it`s against the law in many Nigerian cities to have your bird`s farm near residential houses.
- Cost of land. The cost of land in some cities could be enough for starting and running a poultry business in some nearby towns.
So, you want to have your farm on the outskirt of a city or a town
#4. Plan the cost adequately
The good news is that, when your chickens start laying eggs (if you start a layer farm), they should be able to make enough money to pay for their feeds and some more to your bank account.
The bad news is that it cost a lot of money to get them to that point and you can’t stop midway after you’ve started.
This is why you have to THINK and plan so you won’t start a journey you have no financial resources to complete.
Remember Jesus’ parable about a man who tries to build a house he had no money to complete (everybody laughed at him when he fucked up. Hahahahaha…)
First, let’s talk about the preliminary expenses;
- Land/space. This depends on the intended scale of your farm (I mean how big your intended farm is). Some might need a single plot of land, others might need acres. Where you live also matters. For example, the cost of land in Lagos state (even if you go to the outskirt of Lagos) is far more expensive than the same land in Kogi State.
- Poultry Pen/Coop. Again, the size of the intended farm determines the size of the coop. Another easy way out is renting. Yes, you can rent a pen. All you have to do is to go to a nearby farm settlement (if you live in cities like Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, etc.). For example, if you go to the Odogunyan farm settlement in Ikorodu, after talking with a few poultry farmers you should be able to get a pen you can rent. But like everything renting, you still have to consider the pro and cons of renting vs. owning
- A clean source of water for your birds. Water is very important to every animal and birds are no exception. Just as bad water can cause a problem for you and me, it would do the same for your children (sorry, chicken. Lol. By now you know I’m not serious, right?)
- Electricity, Lighting, and heat. Depending on the age of the chicken and the time of the year, lighting, and heat are needed and that (of course) comes at a cost.
- Storage space for keeping your birds` foods, vaccines, and eggs.
- Feeders & Drinker. Those things you see them putting chicken food and water on
- Egg trays or crates, Vaccines, a few staff, etc.
Now let’s talk about the secondary (but more important) expense… feed
The Cost of Feeding Your Chicken in Nigeria.
Even though you have to start your poultry business by getting ready the housing, pen, and the rest, in the long run, feeding your chickens will be the major or most expensive part of the entire investment.
Now, in poultry farming, you have fewer options because you either need to grow your broiler fast or you need your chicken to lay eggs at the appropriate time.
While the total estimate of how much feed your chicken would eat might not be possible for an online article (since prices change every day in Nigeria), we would like to give you some ideas;
- Averagely a layer chick (little chicken) will consume 9-10 pounds of food for its first 10 weeks
- An average broiler chick may consume 8-9 pounds for its first 6 weeks
- The chickens` feed is sold in kilograms and about 2.2 pounds makes a kilogram (as your primary school Math teacher taught you. Lol)
#5. Get healthy chicks from a trustworthy hatchery
When I started having kids, I started reading about the first few years of human life and I discovered a shocking truth… more than 80% of a human’s brain developed in the first three years of life.
What that means is that, if you give any human a bad experience (e.g. unhealthy food, stress, or family instability) in the first 3 years of their lives, it would take a miracle for such individuals to have a normal adult life.
The same rule applies to chickens (or other animals).
Let them be hatched by a backyard hatchery that doesn’t know what it’s doing and they’ll be unhealthy.
If you buy unhealthy chicks, you’ll need your bishop or Pope to make them grow well or lay eggs at the appropriate time and since you probably don’t have the phone number of the Pope or Chief Imam of Mecca, I advise you to choose a trustworthy hatchery when buying your chicks.
Don’t ask me to recommend a hatchery because I don’t want to get sued if something goes wrong.
If you go through our free practical training, you can use style and ask one of our farmers for the best hatchery around.
He would tell you the hatchery he’s buying from but that doesn’t mean he or our company would be liable for their services (I no wan wahala)
Another option you have when starting a chicken farm is to go for the point-of-lay bird (for layer farming).
This is a simple strategy often recommended for newbie bird farmers because point-of-lay are layer birds who have gone through the most delicate period of their life (childhood), hence, they’re much easier to manage.
Again, you still must know where you’re getting the point of lay from.
#6. Apply the first vaccine & Master vaccination & feeding schedule
When we give birth to children (as humans), we have several vaccine programs designed to prevent them from many known diseases.
From the first day to 3-5 years, we have a scheduled program of vaccination for our kids, which protects against diseases like diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), polio, Haemophilus influenza type b (Hib), and hepatitis B.
A similar thing is what we have for the chicken to prevent the chicken diseases like; Fowl Cholera, Coccidiosis, Avian Influenza, Fowl Pox, Newcastle Disease, or Salmonellosis.
Some farmers use the services of a veterinary doctor while many experienced farmers have learned how to handle chicken vaccinations themselves.
Like most things, it’s always good to learn from other peoples’ experiences than to experiment your way to knowledge.
If you’re able to make it to any of our associates’ farms, our farmer can physically show you how vaccination works but if you can’t make it to our farm, I advise you to look for someone experienced (believe me, trial and error can lead you to lose millions of Naira)
Just as you have to follow a schedule for vaccinations, you also have to do the same for feeding.
You can’t just feed your chicken anytime you want because if you feed them inappropriately, you get inappropriate growth or egg production.
#7. Watch your bird carefully for sick ones
Many of the sicknesses of birds are contagious and that’s the reason why an experienced poultry farmer will watch carefully for sick birds and separate them from the rest of the birds.
#8. Market your poultry produce smartly
Listen. Listen. Listen.
It doesn’t matter what you produce or create, marketing is the most important thing in the business world.
Marketing your poultry eggs or meat doesn’t have to be easy… It’s what you have to do.
As you’re starting your poultry farming business, remember that it doesn’t matter how big your poultry eggs or broilers are, if you cannot market and sell them profitably, you’ve got no business.
Generally, I advise entrepreneurs to read marketing books.
We also talk about some important poultry marketing tips in our poultry training (which you can get here)
#9. Get Practical training on the farm
Some people think that they can start poultry farming by Googling it.
Yes, It\’s always a good thing to google things (I do it every day).
It’s even better to read books on something (I do that too).
But some things just can’t be learned by reading about them.
For example, who among us depends on books to teach us how to drive a car?
If you buy a new car and don\’t know how to drive, there are only two ways to learn how to drive a car… go and meet someone who knows how to drive or watch someone doing it.
In the same way, you can’t possibly read your way into understanding the poultry business.
By far, the best decision you can make if you want to start a profitable poultry business is to get into a farm and meet with someone who has been in this business for some years.
Because these people have been in the industry for a long time, they have made a lot of mistakes, learned from those mistakes, and can tell you what works and what doesn’t work.
Another advantage to visiting a poultry farm is that, well, there you are, seeing the way everything is done.
You can see the chicken, the pen, the eggs, and the organization of the farm.
You can ask questions and get answers which would lead you to another question.
I mean, if you think any book in the world can do that for you, I think you have a few million Naira in the bank you’re ready to waste.
If you don\’t have a few million to waste, this is what I suggest you do;
Go out and find someone who is experienced in the poultry business (who can allow you into his farm for practical training) or register for our free practical training.
We have associates\’ farms in Lagos, Ogun, Rivers, FCT., and about 9 other states and we can allow you to visit our farms for practical training.
Click Here Now! to see if you\’re qualified