Poultry farming business is highly profitable if it is properly run under the acceptable methods and favorable conditions.
Below are 5 key factors to consider in order to run a successful poultry farm;
- Choose the Right Breed of Chicken
There are various breeds of chicken; those kept for their eggs (layers), for meat (broilers) and indigenous chicken. The type of birds one chooses is quite vital because other factors such as the housing system, feeds, equipment and facilities are dependent on it. As such, one has to decide upfront what kind of poultry farming they want to venture into.
- Ensure Proper and Healthy Housing
A good housing system is one of the most important factors to consider as it determines up to 40% of the success rate you can achieve in poultry farming.
Broadly, there are different rearing systems namely free-range (extensive), semi-intensive, folding units and intensive systems. To a large extent, poultry farming in Kenya especially at commercial level, heavily relies on intensive systems, with the common ones being battery cage and deep litter systems.
Whatever rearing system you choose, consider a housing system that shields your chicken from hostile weather conditions such as cold, rain, sun and wind. It should offer safety from predators such as snakes, rodents, dogs and other animals, as well as have perches for the chicken to roost on at night.
The housing unit should be sufficiently ventilated to allow proper air flow and the number of birds should not exceed the space capacity of the shed because overpopulation affects the birds’ health and increases spread of diseases. On average, stocking density should be five birds per square meter for layers and ten to eleven for broilers. The housing structure should also be built at a particular angle that allows in sunlight.
Ensure cleanliness in the housing by ensuring all equipment are regularly cleaned, and there is a proper waste disposal and drainage system. To prevent diseases spread by people, practice healthy measures such as reducing the number of visitors into your farm, buy protective gears such as gumboots and aprons/dust coats, and have a footbath for people to disinfect their shoes right before entering the chicken house.
- Get Proper Equipment and Facilities
It is important that the housing is fitted with the necessary poultry equipment and facilities. This is supposed to be done before the chickens are brought in. Some of the necessary equipment include; feeders, drinkers, perches, culling cage (for sick birds), heaters or brooders (for chicks) and egg crates (for layers).
You may decide to either buy day old chicks from suppliers or hatch them yourself. In the latter, one has to purchase an incubator.
Generally, when choosing equipment, consider investing in those that reduce spillage and wastage such as automatic feeders and drinkers.
- Have a Reliable Source of Feed and Water
Chicken are always munching all day hence feed is the single most expensive cost item when it comes to poultry farming. It accounts up to 80 percent of the total cost. Just like food and water is essential to human beings, it is to chicken as well, especially if you aim to maximize production.
To ensure that your chicken are always well fed and hydrated, you need to have a reliable source of feed and water. You could consider buying feed from suppliers or invest in equipment to make your own feed. For constant water supply, you could either use a community borehole or dig your own if you can afford to.
- Have an Effective Marketing Strategy
This is one major factor that a lot of unsuccessful farmers’ overlook. They rush into farming but later get stuck with produce that does not sell or they are forced to sell at a loss. Before venturing into poultry farming, you need to survey the market and be assured of a ready market for your meat or eggs. Have an effective marketing strategy that will help you sell to potential customers such as local hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, institutions such as schools and hospitals, and grocery stores who can make regular orders.