How to start/set up a poultry farming business in Nigeria: Definitive guide

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African Business Classroom

Amongst all of Nigeria’s agricultural sub-sectors, the poultry sub-sector is classified as the most commercialised.

The livestock sector is crucial to the socio-economic transformation of Nigeria. According to FAO reports in 2006, it contributes around 10% of agricultural GDP, while reports emanating from (UNDP, 2006) stated the total population of chickens in Nigeria is about 150.682 million.

It should also be noted that livestock offers a vital source of high-quality animal protein thereby representing about 36.5 percent of the total protein consumed by Nigerians. Due to these, it is regarded as one of the lucrative investments in agriculture with a net worth of #250 billion. In Nigeria, poultry production is classified into intensive and extensive systems based on the stock and scale.

What is layer poultry farming?

Layer poultry farming in Nigeria is a popular agricultural investment that has been in practice for several years. One vital fact about agriculture is that every business investment, layer farming, goat farming, rice production, cattle farming, and even cucumber farming contributes significantly to the nation and society in general. Layer poultry farming involves producing eggs from layers poultry birds with the sole aim of making profits from the sales of the eggs.

Layer, broilers, cockerels – different breeds of birds

First, there are three breeds of birds namely; Cockerels, Broilers, and Layers. Several facts distinguish these breeds of birds. For broilers, they develop very fast – in about 3 months after the hatch, they are ready for sales.

The advantage of Layers is that they are very profitable – asides the fact that they lay eggs, this breed of bird can also be sold for meat at a higher price rate.

However, for Cockerels, they are more reliable, when it comes to endurance and survival of bad weather. The breed can resist these environmental elements compared to the Layers and Broilers.

Different from boilers, layers birds or chickens are special birds which lay eggs that are been consumed all over the globe, while boilers birds are raised for meat consumption.

This chicken needs to be properly taken care of from their infant stage up to their maturity dates of producing eggs.

the fact is that engaging in this business is lucrative especially if you are determined and focused to make it in it.

Poultry farming business plan

If you intend to start poultry farming, it is advisable to follow the business plan highlighted below;

  • Poultry location: If you are looking to choose a good location for your poultry, there are several factors that you have to consider and they include; drainage, wind direction, topography, waste management, natural disaster, utilities, public amenities, and other environmental factors. Carefully consider these factors to choose a good location for your poultry.
  • Start-up capital investment: The question is how much does it cost to start a poultry farm in Nigeria? Well, the start-up capital depends on the scale, type of management technology and the location of your farm. You have to decide on these factors and make sure that you have enough capital to start the business. In the latter part of this article, you will find out the prices of chicks and poultry equipment.
  • Fencing options and poultry housing system? Poultry owners face a lot of challenges like predators which might harm or kill their birds. That is why it is important to consider an effective fencing option when setting up your poultry farm. The major fencing option available is Chicken Netting and Chicken Wire (Rabbit Wire). The choice you make on the most effective chicken fencing option largely depends on the following factors which are; climatic condition of the location, type of predators and the geographical composition of your preferred location.
  • Accounting: Accounting entails the keeping of records in poultry farms and the provision of automation of various business activities. Other things to note include; accounting for egg production, processing, and production accounting, accounting for the incubation costs, accounting for sales of finished goods, accounting for poultry body weight and population. etc.
  • Health: Good health management of poultry is an important factor that is critical to the development of your poultry farming business. Therefore, it is advisable to follow these three principles to prevent the outbreak of diseases which can negatively affect your production. The three principles are; prevention of disease, early recognition of the disease and early treatment of disease.
  • Poultry farm staffing and manpower: When considering the number of staff and manpower required for poultry business, you also have to relate it to the size of your farm because it makes no sense employing multitudes of people to help manage a small-scale poultry business. Whatever the case may be, it is advisable to hire personnel who will reside permanently on the farm to oversee the affairs.
  • Product Marketing: For instance, if you are engaged in egg production, you can market this product to the hotels, supermarkets, market women, etc. The fact is that every business needs hard work, discipline, and determination to succeed. Also, there are different avenues whereby you can promote and market your poultry products. Examples are social media platforms, the printing of promotional logos, etc.
  • Projected Return on Investment (ROI): The return of investment of commercial poultry farming is very high. In fact, it is possible to generate profit within a very short period. If you intend to make a huge profit within a short period, it is important to avoid unnecessary spending. The feeds, drugs, equipment and other input costs must be aligned with standard farm requirements, otherwise, it is better to avoid such needless expenses.

How to set up poultry farming business in Nigeria

Follow the steps highlighted below to set up your poultry farming.

Purchase poultry farmland

It is recommended to look for land in a remote environment but makes sure that this area is close to the city. The reason is that you can get land in this area at a relatively cheap price. The cost of lands is usually determined by the sellers, so, this is dependent on your negotiating skills.

Erect your poultry pen structure

House is very important for the effective management, keeping and rearing of chicken. Poultry housing is categorized according to the management system and the scale. The most popular types of poultry housing prevalent in Nigeria are; Battery, Semi-fold, deep litter, half litter, and half slats.

Purchase day old chick

Shop for good hatchery where you can buy healthy day old chicks. The cost ranges from #140 to #200 and sometimes up to #300.

Equipment you need for poultry farm

  • Incubator
  • Egg tray
  • Coops
  • cages
  • Drinkers
  • Feeders
  • Lighting system
  • Incubator
  • Waste disposal system
  • Nests
  • Perches

Poultry equipment and prices in Nigeria

S/NPoultry EquipmentPrices (Naira)
1.Hanging Plastic Feeder6000
2.Bell Drinker for floor-reared poultry7500
3.Hollow Feeders2500
4.Ground Feeding for Chicks (Bundle of 12)2950
5.Plastic Egg Crates (Bundle of 36 pieces)5400
6.Regular Drinkers  for Chicks (12 pieces)2700 – 7400
7.PVC Feeder Trough (For battery cages)2000

Poultry diseases, causes, effective treatment, and control measures:

Fowl Pox

The symptoms of this disease include; white spots, white ulcers, scabby sores and inconsistent laying of eggs. This disease can be contacted by mosquitoes and other contaminated chickens. Also, it can be contacted by air since it is a viral disease. In order to effectively treat this disease, ensure that you feed your chickens with soft food and offer them a dry and warm place to try and recoup.

Botulism

The symptom associated with this disease is the growth of tremors in your chicken. Note that the tremors will develop into total body paralysis which might affect their breathing. It is a deadly disease. Another symptom that you will notice is the pull out of their feathers which usually precede their final death.

In case you observe that your chickens have contracted this disease, it implies that there has been some kind of dead meat near their water and food which contaminated it. How do you treat and control this disease? I strongly recommend an antitoxin that can be gotten from your local vet.

Endeavour to mix 1 teaspoon of the antitoxin (Epsom salts) with one ounce of warm water. Ensure that you give it to them by dropper once per day. In the long run, this disease is avoidable as long as you ensure that your chickens are kept in a clean environment devoid of any dead carcass.

Fowl Cholera

Anytime you notice that your birds have started to have yellowish or greenish diarrhoea, are having difficulty in breathing or obvious joint pain, and have a darkened wattle or head, these are obvious signs of fowl cholera. Fowl Cholera can be contracted from water, food and wild animals that already have this bacterial disease.

But the downside is that there is no real treatment to effectively curb this disease. So, it is advisable to destroy their carcass and eliminate them.

Newcastle disease

This disease is prevalent in the respiratory system. You will begin to notice discharge through the nose, breathing problems, murky eyes, and reduction in the number of eggs they lay. Also, it is common that the bird’s wings and legs will become paralyzed coupled with the twisting of their necks.

The disease is contracted through other birds including wild birds. Note that if you make contact with an infected bird, you can pass it on from your shoes, clothes, and other items. However, the exciting news is that the older birds have a greater chance of recovering from this disease but most baby birds are weak to recover and will eventually die. You can meet with your local veterinary doctor to recommend a vaccine.

Air Sac disease

This disease will make your chicken develop weakness and poor laying skills. As it progresses, you will notice breathing problems, coughing, swollen joints, sneezing, and possibly death. This disease can be contracted from other birds (including wild birds).

Also, it can be transferred from a hen to her chick through the laying of eggs. In order to effectively treat this illness, ensure that you consult your veterinary doctor who will recommend an antibiotic.

Profit potential in poultry farming business

Nigeria has been doing superbly well in this business for several years, as farmers or individuals who have engaged in the business, they have worked extremely hard and have acquired professionally competent guidance and high technical skills which are available to fellow farmers.

In view of this, they have made provision of vaccines, medicines, equipment and high-quality chicks that will aid in the massive production of layers eggs and birds respectively.

Depending on your worth of investment and the size of your farm, layer poultry farming can cater to the needs of your family or can provide a side hustle for your family.

In addition, it can provide gainful employment to farmers and unemployed individuals throughout the year. Since the egg is widely consumed in Nigeria and also around the world,

You should be aware that poultry farming requires a lot of money and effort, but I assure you that the profits made in the long run will account for your investment. It is especially expensive if you intend to start a large-scale production.

Before you venture into this business, the first thing that you have to consider is to properly calculate and estimate all the costs. There is a high probability that if you venture into this business, you will gain profits within a short time.

The reasons are not far-fetched; Nigeria as a country still has to import poultry from other countries since there are limited local farms to produce enough chicken for the large population of Nigerians. But if you carefully plan your business, there is a high chance that you will end up gaining from it.

Chicken nutrition, feeding formula, and types of chicken feeds

Chicks usually undergo tremendous growth in their body system in the first six weeks of life. Note that this astronomical growth requires proper nutrition.

The best way to provide a full nutritional package at all times is through a commercially prepared chick starter or crumble. In the first few weeks, feed consumption should be in the approximate of 1 kg for each egg producing chick while for meat producing chick, it should be approximately 4 kg.

The starter should include a supplement known as coccidiostat to prevent intestinal damage. The main cause of problems in small flocks is the inability to provide a commercially prepared starter feed.

Another problem is the failure to use a rich and fortified supplement in the right proportions when the grain is used to supplement the diet.

It is quite impossible to produce a rich diet by using just grain, canola or peas. To make a quality feed from scratch, it is recommended to use ingredients such as salt, soybean meal and concentrated minerals/vitamins. If you are keeping the birds for egg production, endeavour to include a source of calcium such as oyster shell or limestone in the diet or in a hanging feeder. Failure to do so can result in egg eating, cannibalism, lost egg producing abilities, and thin-shelled eggs.

Best egg laying chickens

  • Hybrid
  • Rhode Island Red
  • Leghorn
  • Sussex
  • Plymouth Rock
  • Ancona
  • Barnevelder
  • Hamburg
  • Marans
  • Buff Orpington

Types of poultry breeds most suitable for poultry farming

There are numerous highly productive poultry breeds available around the globe. Some of them are raised for producing eggs, some are famous for meat production and some breeds are for both egg and meat production. Poultry breeds are basically three types and are categorized according to their productivity.

Egg productive poultry breeds

Commonly known as Layers, they are raised for the sole purpose of producing eggs. Almost all kinds of commercial layer poultry breed start producing eggs in less than six months of age. For a year, they continuously lay around 275 to 300 eggs. Some breed lay about 330 eggs per year. Some of these egg productive poultry breeds include; Ancona, Leghorn, isa brown, Lohmann, star cross, etc.

Meat productive poultry breeds

Popularly referred to as Broilers, this breed is raised for the sole purpose of meat production. Their meat becomes very delicious and soft. They weigh at most 2.5kg within 8 weeks of age, with a food consumption of about 4 kg. They become very suitable for sale within 8 weeks. The world’s most common breeds of broiler poultry include; Plymouth Rock, starbro, rose broiler and a host of others.’

Dual-purpose poultry breeds

This breed of chicken is raised for both egg and meat production. The popular breed includes; Rhode island red, New Hampshire, Plymouth, etc.

Hatching and raising chicks

The broody hen selected for natural incubation should be large to keep the more eggs more, vaccinated and free from all kinds of diseases, with good mothering and brooding record.

Signs of broodiness involve the chicks sitting on her eggs, spreading her wings, ruffle her feathers, and make a distinctive clucking sound.

Brooding may be triggered by stones or dummy eggs. For artificial hatching, there are numerous kinds of artificial incubators with varying capacities. Most are powered via electricity, but some use kerosene or gas for heating. Note that all are equipped with a thermostatic switching device to help maintain the temperature.

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