Poultry farming in Nigeria is an agro-business which is a key sector in Agriculture farming in Nigeria. It comprises of chicken production and rearing of breeds of birds.
What you need to know about poultry farming
Poultry is one of the most commonly ate protein for a good reason. It’s lean, plentiful and has a very neutral flavor that lends itself to be easily marinated.
Poultry consists of many varieties of domesticated birds. These types of poultry include guineas, geese, chickens, pigeons, and turkeys.
- Game Hens
Poultry farming is a branch of agricultural farming in Nigeria. Chicken production is a serious business in Nigeria and all over the world. More people are becoming conscious of the need to consume lean, rather than meat for health reasons. This was projected that demand will increase as the world population moved upward.
Poultry farming is the second most considered sector which is under animal husbandry in the agricultural sector. It is easy to run, it requires less expertise as well as less capital to run.
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A thorough feasibility study is required to be carried out. The location of your interest: the required equipment, the feed, and water of the chicken, the type of chicken production you want to run – layer breeding, broiler layer, and hatchery- etc.
Why you need to invest in livestock farming
Investing in a livestock farming business, for you, as a potential investor, whose interest lies in ‘Agro Economy Business’. This statistics below show the rate in which annual consumption of chicken production in Nigeria.
The annual consumption of chickens in Nigeria is conservatively estimated by the Poultry Association Of Nigeria(PAN) to be 1.5 million tonnes. In fact, one of the coordinators of the Broiler Outgrower Scheme once disclosed that only 30 per cent of this demands of chickens production is produced locally. While, 70 per cent of this is imported illegally into the country, for the importation of consumable poultry. products have been officially banned.
It is agreed that many poultry farmers became a millionaire in through poultry farming. Several of which deals with large chicken production; Layer Breeding( egg production by layers) while some centralize on Broilers Breeding ( chicken production by broilers) while some deals with Hatchery (breeding chicken for the purpose of hatching new chicken).
Therefore, poultry farming has been a source of livelihood for some poultry farmers, which has created there a major source of income.
Another thing to note is one of the most important but overlooked aspects of poultry farming production. A course of training in poultry production is a wise investment that would prevent you against losses and equip you as a farmer with basic knowledge that would help the chicken business.
Poultry Production is a knowledge-driven sector, and this underscores the importance of training, self-development, and consultation of management of chicks from hatching to the table sizes; vaccination and medication; disease prevention identification, and treatment.
Types Of Chicken Production
There are basically four(4) types of chicken production, which should be examined emphatically, before one should decide which, should be one’s major area of concentration or specialization.
Remember to bear it in mind that it is not possible for you to be in all aspect of poultry farming even if you think you can.
Therefore, these four basic types of chicken productions are listed below.
The first type of chicken production is the Broilers breeding which is the first thing, mostly considered by a poultry farming starter. Broilers breeding is referred as to as the breeding of broilers chickens for meat production by broilers birds, either for consumption or for business.
This is the second type or aspect in which most poultry farmers focus most either for starters or experts on chicken production. Layers breeding is the continuous production of eggs by breeding birds. Most farmers who partake in this type of chicken production are basically for sales purposes.
This is another type of chicken production which many but few farmers focus on, due to the stress and time it consumed. The hatchery is a type of chicken production, which has to do with breeding chicken for the purpose of hatching new chicks.
In other words, it is the rearing of chicken to produce new chicks, through hatching. The Hatchery production of chicken requires skills, special knowledge, and a thorough patient because it is time buying and energy consuming.
This also is part of the types of chicken production, the other three depends upon. Poultry feeds are producing feeds for other poultry farmers in the poultry farming system. We have feeds for pre-starter, starter and finishers feed, with different nutrition formulations.
Forms Of Rearing Chicken
Chicken rearing is categorized into different categories but they are basically grouped into two, which they are local and international.
In Nigeria, there are exotic and local breeds of chickens the exotic is for foreign strain which has been adapted and tropicalized, with origins from India and other countries. They include Abor Acres and Marshall.
Noiler and FUNAAB-Alpha are locally developed varieties. Noiler is an admixture of foreign and local genetic resources. While the FUNAAB-Alpha is completely indigenous. One of the advantages of local breeds is their resistance to common poultry disease, and reduced use of antibiotics. This, in turn, reduces the cost of production and mortality.
As a local breed, the FUNAAB Alpha has the advantage of high tolerance to the Nigerian environment while also gaining the desired weight (about twice as big as other native breeds) that has made foreign variants preferable. It is also praised for its low-fat content, high egg production (200-250 55g brown eggs per annum), tough meat and taste.
Asides the FUNAAB Alpha and Noiler breed there was a study alongside four other tropically adapted chicken breeds that were also improved namely: ShikaBrown, Kuroiler, Fulani, Sasso, in five agro-ecological zones of Nigeria.
Stages Of Chicken Rearing
There are six growth stages in which each and every other category of chicken rearing fell under these stages. Therefore, Chicken rearing can be grouped into six stages they are :
1. Weeks 1-4: Baby chicks
Start your birds strong by providing a complete grower field with at least 18 per cent protein to support chick growth. The feed should also include amino acids for chick development, pre-biotics, and probiotics for immune health, and vitamins and minerals to support bone health.
Chicks are also susceptible to illness. If chicks were not vaccinated for coccidiosis by the hatchery, choose a medicated feeds. Medicated feed that is not impacted by the Veterinary Feed Directive and can be purchased without a veterinarian.
2. Weeks 5-15: The teenage bird stage
During weeks 5 and 6 chicks will go through visible growth changes, including new primary feathers and developing pecking order. Growing birds are now referred to differently. A pullet is a term for a teenage female, while a young male is called a cockerel. Between weeks 7 and 15, the physical differences between genders will become even more obvious.
Continue to feed a complete starter-grower feed, with a Medicated feeds, during the teenage stage. Along with 18 per cent protein, make sure the feed contains no more than 1.25 per cent calcium. Too much calcium can have a detrimental effect on growth, but a complete starter feed has just the right balance for growing birds.
3. Weeks 16-17: Eggticipation
During weeks 16-17, nesting boxes become obvious that people check for the coveted first egg. At this point, you can consider layer feed options so you can make a smooth transition.
As compared to starter-grower, a layer feed has less protein and more calcium. This added calcium is important for egg production.
Look for a complete layer feed that matches your flock goals. In any case, be sure the layer feed is made with simple, wholesome ingredients and includes 16 per cent protein, at least 3.25 per cent calcium as well as key vitamins and minerals.
4. Week 18: The first egg
When birds reach 18 weeks old or when the first egg arrives, slowly transition to a layer feed. Make the transition gradually to prevent digestive upset.
On our farm, we have found it’s best to transition over time rather than all at once. We mix the starter and layer feed evenly for four or five days. If birds are used to crumbles, start with a crumble layer feed. The same goes for pellets. The more similar the two feeds are, the smoother the transition will go.
5. Month 18: Moulting
Once the first egg has been laid, it’s business as usual for a while. Around 18 months, feathers will likely begin to cover the coop floor.
The first moult usually occurs in the fall when days become shorter. Your flock will take a break from egg laying and shed feathers for a few weeks. This is a completely natural annual occurrence.
Protein is the key nutrient in a flock’s diet during moult. This is because feathers are made of 80-85 per cent protein, whereas eggshells are primarily calcium.
When moult begins, switch to a complete feed with 20 per cent protein. A high-protein complete feed can help hens channel nutrients into feather regrowth. Once birds begin producing eggs again, switch back to a layer feed to match their energy needs.
One day, the time may come for the veterans of a flock to take a vacation and retire from egg-laying. Although a hen will stop laying as she ages, she still has an important place in the flock as a steady companion who brings joy to the entire family.
At this point, transition back full circle to a higher-protein feed. If you have laying hens in the flock, supplement with any medicated supplement to assist their egg production.
Feeds: Feeding And Water
Feed which takes the highest percentage of the cost of production should be sourced from a reliable source where a bio-security is guaranteed. The feeds should contain carbohydrates, protein, fats, minerals, and vitamins in the right proportions.
Broilers’ feeds are categorized into three stages. They are:
It is given with different nutritional formulations. Day-Old chicks to 10 days are given pre-starter feeds.
Chicks are given starter feeds from day 11 to 21 and from 21 days old to table size.
This is the last stage at which, chicks are fed with finisher feeds.
This is arranged accordingly, the different nutritional formulations as explained. Shows that chicken has different feeding feed that they can only have positive growth and become marketable. Has illustrated above, A day-old chicks to 10 days are given pre-starter feeds; chicks are given starter feeds from day 11 to 21 and from 21 days old to table size, chicks are fed with finisher feeds.
At A day-old, each bird consumes 20 grams of feeds, and each bird consumption increase daily by 2 grams. At six weeks old, each bird would have consumed 4 kilogram feeds.
One must include all the essential nutrients in order to obtain a profitable rate of growth or egg production. The poultry raiser who must buy all his feed knows this full well, and in addition, he aims to sell only high-quality products; otherwise, he cannot continue long in business. The purpose of this publication is to encourage the efficient use of feed on Manitoba farms where poultry and eggs are being produced. It is the poultry keeper’s responsibility to market well-finished birds, and eggs of the best quality, in order to secure maximum returns in relation to feeding and other costs.
Essential Chicken Feed Nutrients
The following six classes of nutrients are essential to life, growth, production, and reproduction in all classes of poultry. Nature supplies most of these essentials in the form of pasture, bugs and insects, gravel, grains and seeds, sunshine, etc. Indoor feeding of young or adult poultry places full responsibility on the farmer to supply these required amounts adequately, not to be supplied in excessiveness.
- WATER: Birds can live longer without food than without water. Lack of a consistent supply of fresh water hinders the growth of young poultry; it leads to low egg production and early moulting in the laying flock.
- PROTEIN: This is usually the most expensive feed material, but the one most likely to bring profitable results if properly used. Protein from animal sources – milk, liver, fish scraps, meat or meat meal – is more effective in promoting growth and egg production, than protein from most vegetable sources. Grains alone are entirely inadequate in amount and kind of protein. Excess protein has a forcing effect which may be detrimental to poultry of any age.
- CARBOHYDRATES: These are the starchy materials in grains and grain products. Only a starved flock will lack for carbohydrates. They supply fuel and energy, the excess going to form fat in the body or egg.
- FATS: Some fat is present in practically all feed materials. An excess of fat from fish oil or meat and fish products may cause digestive upset in birds, and lead to such disorders as fatty degeneration and “crazy chick disease”.
- MINERALS: Calcium carbonate (from limestone or gravel, clam or oyster shells, bone, etc) in the presence of Vitamin D, forms most of the eggshell. Calcium and phosphorous make up the major part of bone; but excess phosphorous (from bone materials) may immobilize the manganese in the diet, leading to crooked bones and slipped tendons in chicks and poults. Salt supplies some essential minerals. The green feed contains small amounts of certain highly important minerals.
- VITAMINS: The naturally speedy growth of young poultry soon reveals any vitamin deficiencies in their rations; hatching of eggs is a critical test of the vitamin content of a breeder diet. Most commonly lacking in Manitoba diets are:
(1) Vitamin A (from a green feed, yellow corn, and fish oils). Vitamin A protects against colds and infections. (2) Vitamin D (in marine fish oils and synthetic products, or formed in the body when exposed to ultra-violet rays of the sun). Vitamin D aids in laying down of mineral in shell or bone, and in preventing leg weakness and rickets. (3) Riboflavin (in milk, liver, yeast, green feed, synthetic riboflavin, etc.). Riboflavin promotes the growth of chicks and poults, both in the egg and after hatching; hence it is one of the most important factors in hatchability. Riboflavin prevents nutritional or curled-toe paralysis in young chicks from a day old.
Construction Of Poultry Before Breeding Chicken
There are two popular kinds of poultry system construction. They are the construction of cage systems and deep litter system, for chicken breeding before it arrives. In which, it is an essential key factor, which poultry-farming farmers need to note.
It is important to put it into proper consideration before the commencement of chicken production. There are many government-facilitated and subsidized one or two weeks courses of training in some federal colleges of agriculture, institutes, and colleges of animal production. Training can also be done at the most reputable poultry companies around the country.
On preparation before the arrival of chicks to the brooder. For a small-medium scale poultry farming, the first step is about ‘biosecurity.’ A farmer needs to spray the litter, cages with a sanitizer, remove dirt and wash equipment, clean water pipelines and fumigates the poultry house if the pen has been used before. These steps will keep diseases to a minimal level.
Also, brooding(heating up the room temperature) should start 24 hours before the arrival of the chicks. The pen should also be designed for a good cross of ventilation, as excessive thermal heat after the age of two weeks, would have a negative effect on the growth rate of the birds.
Similarly, there must be continuous lighting from a day old to marketing day. Chances are that the opportunity would be given to the chicks for easy access to feeds and water incessantly.
Andrew Bourne, a broiler specialist at the World Technical Section of Cob -Ventress, said correct litter and ambient temperatures are vital to ensure chick activity. The specialist added that pre-heating is important and begins at least 24 to 48 hours prior to placement of the chicks, even in tropical countries.
This will ensure the litter temperature is at least 32*C(90*F), with the air and internal structures adequately heated at placement”.
Failure to achieve this target, Bourne said, would reduce activities and lower feed consumption, and the bed would lose the opportunity to quadruple day-old chick weight in the first week. A newly hatched chick cannot control its own body temperature until fully thermo-competent at 14 days old.” Andrew Borne added.
Space requirement for a broiler bird is one square foot per bird. For example, a floor measuring 50 feet x 50 feet would accommodate 2,500 birds at maturity (after eight weeks). Calculating and making adequate space provision for grown-up birds are good management practices by poultry farmer.
Places: Construction And Location Of Brooding Chicken
Space requirement for a broiler bird is one square foot per bird. For example, a floor measuring 50 feet x 50 feet would accommodate 2,500 birds at maturity (after eight weeks). Before making houses for poultry birds, keep in mind that every chicken needs 40 to 50 square centimetres place. Chicks ‘peep’ almost constantly so put them somewhere that they can’t be heard during night-time hours unless you want to be up all night!
Suppose you have decided to make a poultry house for 1000 chickens then the area of the poultry house would be between 40000 to 50000 squire centimetres. Calculating and making adequate space provision for grown-up birds are good management practices by poultry farmer.
Raising broiler in a commercial environment can be situated in the backyard space of the house. The required space should be between half a plot of land. Broilers are raised in an enclosed place, called brooding house from a day-old to about two weeks, and the temperature is made warm by using an electric bulb, charcoal burners or gas.
A heater can also be installed into the cage to keep the temperature warm and heating. The birds are placed in the growing pen after 10-15 days to feel normal temperature. So the pen should be divided into two parts, they are brooding and growing sections.
After three weeks some farmers prefer putting their birds into cages until they reach table size. The cage system helps broiler to grow faster and avoid contamination or infections associated with a deep litter system.
In a deep litter system, which most farmers use at the growing stage, birds are raised on the concrete floor laid with wood shavings and sawdust.
This system can be done at the backyard, for this system reduces offensive odour associated with a cage system.
There are things you need to put into Ensure sufficient entrance of sunlight and fresh air inside the house.
- It would be better if the house becomes situated north to south faced.
- The proper distance of one house to another house is about 40 feet.
- Clean the house properly before keeping the birds inside the poultry house.
- Make a deep litre and keep it dry and clean always.
- Wooden and rice bran can be used for making a litre.
- Keep feeds and feeding equipment in proper distance, inside the poultry house according to the number and demand of poultry birds.
- The poultry house and all equipment must have to be fumigated and free from virus, parasites, and germs.
- Build the poultry house in such a place where all the poultry birds are free from all types of wild animals and other predators.
- The poultry production housing area will be free from loud sound/sound pollution.
- Make the poultry house in a quiet and calm place.
It would be better if the house is located in an open air place.
Perfect times you should start Chicken Production
There are perfect seasons for chicks breeding, which they fall under these three categories, they are: Raising chicks in spring, raising chicks in summer, raising chicks in the fall and in winter.
Winter and very early spring can be difficult times in which to raise any livestock, including chicks, mainly due to seasonal issues. At first, they will peep frantically, but as they expend energy they huddle together and become quieter. If they are not treated promptly they will die. Even a low temperature for a few hours can be damaging.
You need to have a constant temperature in the brooder day and night and you should check it frequently during the first few days. is the recommended heat, but watch the chicks and see how they are acting and regulate accordingly.
The back-up heat/light is required and important for these little birds since they cannot self-regulate their body heat until around 8-12 weeks.
Winter and very early spring can be difficult times in which to raise any livestock, including chicks, mainly due to seasonal issues.
You need to have a constant temperature in the brooder day and night and you should check it frequently during the first few days. is recommended heat, but watch the chicks and see how they are acting and regulate accordingly.
So now we’ve covered the basics, let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of raising chicks in each season.
Raising Chicks In Spring
During this season, Spring season is without a doubt the most popular time for raising chicks, after all.
Hatchery catalogues have a greater selection of chicks available in the spring. With some hatcheries you can request as few as six with no upward limit and as you pre-arranged schedule.
Poultry production stores start stocking chicks in the spring, so you can pick them up locally if you aren’t too picky about the breed. Farm stores usually have a limited selection available, the usual, being sex link chicks; Rhode island reds, broilers, and other common breeds.
Many chicken keepers believe that the strongest and healthiest chicks are born in the spring.
Certainly, it is easier to follow a natural cycle in the springtime. Once your chicks come off the heat, the ambient air temperature outside should be warm enough for them to go outside under supervision. Even if the day is a little chilly, they now have the ability to keep themselves warm.
Once outside they will have access to fresh greens, bugs and other tasty morsels which will help them to grow strong and healthy
Raising Chicks in Summer
During summer, chicks breeding is also a good time to raise your chicks. Power outages in summer are rare so you should be able to brood your chicks without having any issue.
Once they are old enough to go outside, make sure they have easy access to shade and water.
It is very easy for them to overheat and suffer from heat exhaustion. If you live in a particularly hot climate, you may need to limit their ‘outside’ time to early morning and evening. Until they get a little olde
The warmer temperatures of summer also bring a host of flies and other undesirable pests. It should go without saying that you will endeavour to keep the chicken area as clean as possible, so your chickens will not be contaminated diseases.
Raising Chicks in Fall
Chicks in the fall will be ready and able to perform ‘bug patrol’ at the first signs of activity and yearly moult won’t start for them until next Fall. This is still a very manageable time of the year for chicks.
In fact, if you live in a hot part of the country, it may be better to raise Fall chicks since they will be able to acclimate gradually.
If the chicken yard they come from is filthy and covered in flies, the hens look unkempt – do not buy.
Filth brings all sorts of diseases with it which can cause trouble for your chicks and any other birds you may already have.
Fall can bring night-time lows that leave frost on the ground, so make sure your birds are feathered out before you introduce them to the world. Being raised at a time when temperatures are a bit lower, your chicks are likely to find the winter months less stressful.
If you’re lucky and your timing is good, the new pullets could be laying as early as February!
Raising Chicks in Winter
Without a doubt, this is the time of the year that you have to major adjustments for your chicks so that they can thrive and survive.
Winter chicks are not known for their ‘sturdiness’. Many folks will tell you that winter chicks are in poorer general health than Spring hatched chicks.
While that may have been true in past years, it doesn’t necessarily follow for the modern hen.
Hatcheries will almost certainly have limited stock to choose from since they stop producing many breeds of birds in the summer, so if you are looking for something special – shop in the Spring.
Marketing and Sales of Poultry Production
Marketing and entrepreneur aspect of poultry production require training. After several steps and stages of production, a potential producer need a marketing skill to carry out the sales of his chicken.
The last step in the broiler value chain to reach the end users is getting an outlet, which could be a branded shop, kiosk or store in a strategic location. Paraphernalia needed in the outlet include freezers, scales, packaging materials and stable source of power for freezers.
Also, a reliable power supply is vital to the sustainability of this business. An alternate power supply such as solar power, inverters (Pragmatic Technologies Batteries) is now affordably available, cost-effective and more reliable than using generating sets in the long run.
Marketing strategies for selling your poultry Birds and Eggs
1. Bypassing the middlemen-: Most poultry farmers rely on middlemen to help sell their products. They sell in bulk to other people who in turn sell to the consumers. If you want to sell faster, then you should sell both in wholesale quantities and resale quantities.
You can sell in retail quantities if you have your own sales outlet. Look out for a strategic location to rent a shop or warehouse, and then use it to stock products from your farm then, still sell to wholesalers, you can also sell to retailers.
2. Take your business online-: Everybody hangs around the internet these days. A large percentage of people make use of the internet around the world daily and if you want your business to thrive, you cannot close your eyes to the internet. Your social media account is a very good place to promote your business and increase awareness of your products.
Showcase what you sell online, by employing a (DM) Digital Marketer to create awareness of your quality sales. Post attractively packaged, fresh products from your poultry farm on your page. Your numbers of quality advert can increase the number of your follower. Your followers will ask you, where they can get your products.
If you want to sell your products faster, you should have a strong internet presence so that people can order for products online and even those that do not order online would be able to recognize and buy your products when they see it in supermarkets or grocery stores.
3. Become a supplier to Hotels and Restaurants-: Write a brilliant proposal with clearly thought-out incentives that you can offer and send it to managers of hotels and restaurants. Offer to be their major supplier of poultry meat and eggs. Hotels and restaurants always have foods with poultry meat or foods made with eggs on their menu list and they have to get their eggs from somewhere.
You can help them to have access to a regular supply of fresh eggs without stress. Note that a lot of hotels and restaurants already have people supplying them, so you should think of how to outsmart these people by offering mouth-watering incentives.
4. Employ Marketers-: Marketers? For a poultry farm? Yes, marketers for your poultry farm can increase your sales by more than 30%. Just employ some commission-based marketers who would earn a certain percentage from the sales they make.
5. Feed your Birds well-: Yes, this is a marketing idea too. When you feed your birds well, they produce big and good quality eggs which are what the consumers want. If you want your products to be a top choice for consumers, then you have to pay attention to the quality of products you generate and in poultry farming; that means paying attention to the type of foods you feed your birds with because good food equals good eggs and quality meat.
6. Have your own Abattoir-: Don’t just stop at selling to other companies to package; nothing stops you from having your own abattoir too where you can package and brand your own products for sales and supply.
7. Advertise your products-: You should also engage in advertising and promotions. You don’t buy what you don’t know. Do you? People mostly buy products they know or have heard about and when you advertise your products, it helps to increase awareness and subsequently, demand for your products.
8. Try home delivery services-: Home delivery services work too. This is because a lot of people are often too busy to make trips to the grocery store and then a lot of people love their eggs fresh.
You can take advantage of this to offer home delivery services to people who prefer to buy fresh eggs or people who find it easier to order for pieces of stuff from the comfort of their home. You could also serve senior citizens, the physically challenged or sick people who cannot make trips to grocery stores to buy meat and eggs.
9. Use Attractive Packaging-: When designing packaging materials for your poultry products, you must ensure that it is attractive and stands out from every other product in the market. Good packaging can attract more buyers.
10. Carry out marketing research-: Another way by which you can increase sales of your poultry products is by carrying out marketing research regularly. When you do so, you would be able to have a clear idea of what your customer’s want, areas where there is an insufficient supply of products and things you can do to improve the quality of products you offer your customers. You need to be smarter if you are rearing chicken through a litter.
Poultry farming is an agro-business, it is rearing of chickens for meat, refers to as broiler breeding, while rearing for egg, it refers to as layers breeding while rearing chicks to produce more chicks it refers to a hatchery.
Chicken production has different categories it depends on your own area of interest, all of these are worth investing in.
There are four seasons in which one can rear chickens, these are the winter, spring, fall, and the summer. spring is no doubt the most popular and best time for chicken production.
The location and venue to situate your chicks are key things to put into consideration before you start up your poultry farming business. The length and breadth of the land, which is a factor in broilers breeding and can help in its growth, as the need may arise.
The type of system of housing is also a factor which is needed to put into consideration. They are Cage System and Litter system, cage system is the housing of your birds in the cage while Litter System is creating an enabling environment which is covered with concretes, sawdust, and the likes to reduce the offensive odour from your birds.
Marketing strategies are also needed to be learned, at the beginning of your poultry business. A distinct knowledge in marketing who you need to sell for, who needs to buy, locations, adverts, social media etc. These are major key factors to be considered too.