AGRICULTURE: THE PANACEA FOR ECONOMIC DOWNSWING [Pt. 2]
In our last article, we starting discussing the importance of Agriculture toward revamping our declining economy. We agreed amidst other things that the agricultural sector is significant in economic development through the provision of food and raw materials to non-agricultural sectors of the economy.
In this part of the article, we shall be looking at Poultry farming as an agricultural activity that does not only help in revamping our economy by adding to the GDP, but also as a means of solving the food problem in the economy.
Poultry Farming is the act of rearing birds either for eggs or meat production. It can be done both in small and large scale. It is becoming one of the most lucrative farming businesses in present day Nigeria and with the current population of over 180 million, it can be called a large industry to invest money into for those that have interest in making their money bring return on investments (ROI).
There are however, factors to be considered when starting a poultry farm, these includes:
A lot of people have passion for poultry farming but they don’t put into consideration this factor. Your land must be suitable for the poultry.
Another factor to put under consideration is the topography of your land – whether your land is sloppy, hilly, a valley or a water-logged area.
Training and Knowledge
William Shakespeare said “He who does not read is not better than he who cannot read”. To succeed in any business, you are required to have little or vast knowledge about the operation you are going into. It is very important to have the knowledge. It is not advisable to learn on it as this may bring about a huge loss of resources or investments. There are people who go into poultry business and experience a 30% – 50% mortality, while some others by virtue or knowledge and training do not experience as much 5% mortality.
This helps reveal the cost and benefit of the project. It helps you assess the business to evaluate its profitability. In case you need to source for funds from a bank, a feasibility study can be presented to them. If you want to start a poultry farm, it is important you know how much you have and plan within the budget so that you will not run into problems at the end of the day.
In starting a poultry business, you have to know what areas you are interested in and the kind of market that is available in your environment. You must consider whether the demand for your poultry products is eggs or meat. If the market in your area is eggs, you will most likely go in layers production or broilers production the demand market is meat. The areas include the following;
- Layers production, which involves egg production by laying birds
- Broiler production which involves Brooding and rearing of broilers for meat
- Hatchery which has to do with breeding chickens for the purpose of hatching new chicks
- Poultry feed which involves producing feeds for chicken for other farmers.
Chickens grow fast; in 21 days the egg is hatched and within 17-19 weeks the birds are ready to start laying eggs for market. This means a farmer can start making his money in about 30-34 weeks when the birds hit peak production and will continue to lay up to a year and a half to two years (molting) thus the farmer is able to get back his capital and also make profit. Broilers are fast growing birds which can attain table size of about 1-2kg in 8weeks.
Molting occurs once a year in mature birds, the birds will lose their feathers and regrow new ones – a way of refreshing their plumage for the winter so they will stay warm.
Birds can go through either a hard molt or a soft molt. A hard molt means all the feathers are lost almost at once so molting is over relatively quickly. A soft molt means the feathers are lost and regrown gradually. Sometimes you may hardly notice a soft molt, except as a reduction in laying. Molting takes a few weeks or more, depending on the “hardness” of the molt- it can seem like a hardship when you don’t have delicious fresh eggs!
Commercial entities tend to breed for a hard molt, because birds lay fewer (or no) eggs while they are molting, since feather growth uses up so many of your hen’s resources. Natural molting is brought on by shorter days, but a molt can be caused by other triggers. For instance, factory farms will often starve a bird for several days to induce them to molt all at once so it’s easier to manage.
Chickens do produce fast and in large numbers; Chickens get to produce eggs almost every day but at least four times in a week. Basically, some breeds of chickens can produce 325 eggs in a year. This means that a layer is capable of producing 2 eggs in 3 days. It takes about 26 hours for and egg to form.
Chickens (Broilers) attract good prices especially when sold in kilograms. A broiler of approx. 1kg can be sold for about N900. This means if you can brood 500 broilers of 1kg weight for an average of 8 weeks you can have an income of N423,000.00 assuming you have a 3% mortality and cost of rearing each bird was N570 (N285,000) from day old to table size after 8 weeks. This can be done several times a year.
There is also a large market for eggs which sells with an average price of N700 – N800 per crate. You can realize a daily profit of as much as N5,000 on every 1,000 layer birds you rear.
The poultry business is a very lucrative business but do strategize before going into it. The market for poultry product in our country is so under saturated that even in the next 20 to 30 years we might not have filled this gap, so this opens an opportunity for us to take up poultry Farming as a business. Acquire necessary technical know-how even if you are going to employ farm attendants, so you don’t run into trouble.
At Plethora farms, we offer poultry farms management and consultancy services. You can call or mail us if you are interested in starting up, investing into or need managers of your poultry farm (s)