by the farm management, it results in serious losses.
The overriding motive for starting any business is to make profit. It is unfortunate; however, that many poultry farmers do not make the time to learn why some poultry farmers failed. It is widely known that many poultry farmers have been forced out of business when they could not operate profitably.
To achieve success in poultry farming, a lot of work is involved. According to an expert, “it is not lazy man’s business.”
As a small starter, it is better to start with day-old chicks then with old chicks then with old lays for it. It is advisable for a beginner to start with about 500 day-old chicks if he is interested in the production of eggs and selling of the layers when they are old.
With about N100, 000 a farmer can acquire 500 day-old chicks, prepare the housing and feed the birds till they start bringing in money.
It takes about 18-20 weeks (4-5 Months) to feed and nurture the birds before they start laying eggs. On the average, 100 birds will produce a minimum of 80 eggs daily. So if an entrepreneur starts with 500 birds and all the 500 survive, he will be getting a minimum of 400 eggs daily, which good output. Once the birds start laying, they will do so for 74 weeks, after which they become due for disposal.
Technical knowledge for running the farm
Going into poultry farming without a practical knowledge of the venture is direct invitation to failure. It is very important for the would-be farmer to known how to keep the chicken or birds in an acceptable manner.
Two basic housing methods are available: THE DEEP LITTER SYSTEM and THE BATTERY CAGE. Both methods are good, provided in the deep litter system, the pullets are placed on bare floor that has been covered with saw dust.
Careful consideration is given to the method applied in feeding the birds. Removing the dropping usually poses no problem. You can either pack off the entire saw dust with the dropping or cover the dropping with fresh saw dust.
Normally, the day-old chicks are housed using the brooder method before they grow up. They can be transferred to the battery cage when they approach their egg-laying period, or left in the deep litter floor.
One of the critical factors that account for the success or failure of poultry farming is the way the health of the birds in handled.
If the source of the day-old chicks, or the foundation stock, is compromised, or the necessary drugs are poorly administered, poultry farming can turn a nightmare.
The intending farmer should seek (and take seriously) expect advice on the type of drug administer on the birds as well as the dosage.
When birds are hatched, there is a vaccination time table to be follow; if this is not done, the farmer that buys this stock from the source may have serious problem.
Again, the farmer should take pain to do it by himself or hire a qualified and honest consultant/veterinary doctor in order to get the desired result.
THE FARM MANAGER
The farm manager should be a qualified person with a wealth of experience in poultry management of the farm must be able to plan ahead its activities and be able to compare actual performance with the drawn plan in other to apply control measures an armchair management that cares less about what may be happening to the birds at any given time. The management should be sensitive to the conditions on the farm and be in firm control of all situations. The ability to act promptly and take the decision at the right time is indispensable for the farm manager.
The market for poultry product is quite enormous in terms of naira and kobo, as it is in excess of N50 billion nationwide. This confirms the huge market that poultry products have in Nigeria. It is noteworthy that all parts of the birds are marketable including the feathers and the droppings (for manure).
If a farmer starts with 500 day-chicks and, say, 400 mature to the point of lay,, the entrepreneur is bound to reap a fortune. On the average, 100 birds will lay 80 eggs everyday, meaning that 400 will produce 320 eggs daily. If a crate (30 eggs) is supplied to wholesalers at, say, N180, then the whole will fetch the farmer N1,800 daily and N54,000 in 30 days. By six months the man would have grossed N324,000. For a business that was launched with about N100,000, coupled with the fact that money will keep pouring in up to and beyond 74 weeks, poultry farming is, indeed, a money spinner.
The poultry farmer should be able to identify both the immediate and potential markets for his or her products before starting the business, otherwise the management might not be able to sell the products at the appropriate time.
It is not profitable to continue feeding chicks meant for meat for a long time after maturing, without selling them. The eggs produced do not stay indefinitely without going bad. In fact, the shelf life of eggs is very short and if they are not sold off in good time, they may go bad, thereby resulting in loss.
As shown earlier, Nigeria has huge market for poultry. All the intending poultry farmer needs to do is consult experts for guidance and assistance.
The cause of high failure rate in poultry business
(a) Lack of Technical know-how
It is regrettable that many people and organizations have ventured into poultry farming without technical knowledge. Knowledge of poultry farming techniques are required before anyone can operate the business profitably.
(b) Management problem
An incompetent management may not be able to operate a profitable poultry farm. The managers of the farm must know what they are employed to do and possess the ability of poultry farming in their management style, thereby preparing good ground for losses in the venture. Many managers do not recognize the need for timely planning and control in running the farm.
© Diseased Breeds
Some fertilized eggs meant to be hatched in the incubator could be infected with disease from the parent stock. This means that before the eggs were hatched they had been diseased. If the diseases are not detected on time, the affected birds may die sooner or later.
(d) Poor feeding condition and wastage of feed
The birds need to be fed well in the pens in order to produce maximum meat and eggs (either of which may be the purpose for running the farm). The birds are fed with varying quantities of feed at different stages and with the appropriate feed. The various feeds are chicks mash, grower mash and layer mash, which must be sufficiently rich to give the birds the required nutrients to grow healthy and produce optimally.
A poultry farm must be established In a secured place to ward off enemies of birds, such as rats, soldier ants, snakes, wild birds, etc. most of these enemies are agents of disease that could lead to an epidemic on the farm, and they kill the birds directly as well.
There must be strict check on the farm workers who may be stealing the fowls and the eggs. Also, visitors may constitute a problem to the farm if they are not properly checked.
Birds need minimum space and convenient place to grow well and produce maximally meat and eggs. Birds are spaced on the farm according to their ages; while the chicks need little space, growers and mature birds need more space and ventilation to perform well. The services of a consultant may be needed to determine the appropriate spacing for the birds without which they may suffocate to death, which will be a big loss to the business.
(h) Inability to prevent, detect and control diseases
It is often said that prevention is better than cure, as far as diseases are concerned and this is a true statement and a relevant one to poultry farming. A poultry farmer should know how to prevent poultry diseases, as well as how to cure them. If he or she does know anything about preventive measures, the services of consultants in the field should be engaged for good result.
A marketing plan is absolutely necessary for successful commercial poultry farming, as any farmer ignorant of this or her marketing needs is bound to run into serious losses and eventual failure. It will be ridiculous to start poultry production without knowing when, where, how and to whom to sell the fowls, eggs, feathers and droppings as they are produced. We cannot talk of profit if the meat and eggs have no ready market. Eggs have a very short shelf life and if they are not sold quickly, they will go bad, and no one is interested in buying bad eggs. Also, birds not sold at the appropriate time will be fed at an extra cost that may make the business unprofitable. Therefore, adequate marketing strategies are needed to sell all the poultry products at the appropriate time and prices.
(J) Ignoring the role of livestock consultantsThere are always practicing experts in every profession or occupation who function as consultants. They are there to proffer solutions to problems that exist in such professions at a minimum cost. Where a livestock farmer doesn’t have adequate technical and managerial experience, he or she has all it takes to run a farm successfully, there may be need to seek the services of experts in the field, as it is usually said that two heads are better than one.