Poultry farming means ‘raising various types of domestic birds commercially for the purpose of meat, eggs and feather production’.
The most common and widely raised poultry birds are chickens. About 5k million chickens are being raised every year as a source of food (both meat and eggs of chicken).
The chickens which are raised for eggs are called layer chicken, and the chickens which are raised for their meat production are called broiler chickens.
The UK and USA consume more meat and eggs of chicken than other countries of the world. On an average the UK alone consumes more than 29 million chicken eggs everyday.
However, in a word commercial poultry farming is very necessary to meet up the demand of animal nutrition (eggs and meat).
Commercial poultry farming is also very profitable. And commercial poultry farming business is one of the traditional business ventures.
Here we are trying to describe more about the advantages of poultry farming business and the steps for running this business.
Advantages of Poultry Farming Business
Poultry farming business has numerous benefits/advantages. As a result many farmers prefer to invest in this business. People generally establish poultry farm for the purpose of producing eggs, meat and generating high revenue from these products.
Billions of chickens are being raised throughout the world as a good source of food from their eggs and meat. However, here we are shortly describing the main advantages/benefits of poultry farming business.
- The main benefit of poultry farming is, it doesn’t require high capital for starting. You need just basic capital to start raising poultry. And most of the poultry birds (such as chickens, ducks, quails etc) are not costly enough to start raising.
- It is a very old business, and many people are doing this business for making profits.
- Poultry farming doesn’t require a big space unless you are going to start commercially.
- You can easily raise some birds on your own backyard with one or numerous coops or cages. So, if you are interested in poultry farming, then you can easily do it on your own backyard with several birds.
- Commercial poultry farming business also ensure high return of investment within a very short period. Some poultry birds like broiler chickens take shorter duration of time to mature and generate profits.
- Poultry farm structures do not require high maintenance. You can minimize diseases and illness in poultry by following proper hygiene rearing system and through good care. Diseases are less in some poultry birds like quails, turkeys etc.
- In most cases, you don’t need any license. Because almost all types of poultry birds are domestic. Although, if you need license from the relevant authority it is also easy for poultry.
- Poultry provides fresh and nutritious food and has a huge global demand. Global consumers of poultry products prefer them due to their nutrients and freshness. Poultry products are not much expensive and most of the people can afford those.
- Marketing poultry products is very easy. There is an established market for poultry products in almost all places of the world. So, you don’t have to think much about marketing your products. You can easily sell the products in your local market or nearest town.
- Poultry farming creates income and employment opportunity for the people. Unemployed educated young people can easily create a great income and employment opportunity for them by raising poultry commercially. Women and students can also do this business along with their daily activities.
- You can easily utilize your family labor through small scale poultry production.
- Almost all banks approve loans for this types of business venture. So, if you want to start this business commercially, then you can apply for loans to your local banks.
- You can meet your family’s nutrition demand through poultry farming. And you can enjoy fresh eggs and meat if you start your own poultry production business.
- There are many more benefits of poultry farming along with the above mentioned benefits. Start raising and you will gradually learn everything.
How to Start Poultry Farming Business
As we have mentioned above, starting poultry farming business is very easy and simple. Even the beginners can start this business. But you should complete a training before starting this business commercially.
You will be successful in this business and be able to make good profits if you follow good rearing methods. Here we are trying to describe more about starting and operating a successful poultry farming business from purchasing birds to caring and marketing.
Various Methods of Poultry Farming
Worldwatch institute described that, “about 74% of total poultry meat and 68% of total poultry eggs produced from intensive poultry farming method”.
Free range farming is the other alternative method of intensive poultry farming. Free range farming method is practiced for relatively less number of poultry birds with relatively less stocking density.
There are some basic differences between intensive and free range poultry farming. Intensive poultry farming method is a highly efficient system which saves, land, feed, labor and other resources and increases production.
In this system the poultry farming environment is fully controlled by the farmer. So, it ensures continuous production throughout the year in any environmental conditions and seasons.
Intensive poultry farming has some disadvantages too. Some people says intensive system creates health risks, abuse the animals and harmful for environment.
On the other hand free range poultry farming method requires a large place for raising the birds and the production is relatively less as compared to intensive method.
However, in the case of both intensive and free range poultry farming method, you must have to use government approved medications (like antibiotics, vaccines etc.) regularly to keep the poultry birds free from diseases and other health problems.
Layer Poultry Farming
The poultry birds which are raised for eggs production are called layer poultry.
Commercial hen generally starts laying eggs at the age of 12-20 weeks. They start laying eggs regularly from their 25 weeks of age. After 70-72 weeks of age, egg production of layer poultry will decrease gradually.
For commercial layer poultry farming, producers generally keep the hens for 12 months from their first laying period. And then sell them for slaughter purpose.
Although chickens naturally survive for more than 6 years. For re-invigorating egg laying, the hens are force moulted in some countries.
For commercial egg laying poultry farming systems, the environmental conditions are often automatically controlled by the producers.
For a simple example, presence of light helps the bird for laying eggs earlier. So, the producers should provide more lightening period to increase the probability of starting laying eggs.
The egg-laying birds lays more eggs in warmer months than the colder months. So, keeping the temperature of the room moderate will be very helpful for better egg production.
Some commercial egg laying chicken breeds can produce more than 300 eggs a year. Layer poultry are raised in various methods. The common and most popular layer poultry farming systems are described shortly below.
Free Range Farming
Free range poultry farming means providing freely roaming facilities to the poultry birds for a certain period if time inf a day.
Although they are kept inside the house at night to keep them free from predators and adverse weather conditions.
In free range farming method the poultry birds generally roam freely throughout the whole day. Which means they spent half of their day outside the house.
For free range poultry farming system select a suitable land which has the facilities of adequate drainage system, good ventilation, appropriate protection from prevailing winds, good protection from all types of predators and free from excessive cold, heat or dampness.
Excessive cold, heat and damp is very harmful for poultry birds and reduce their productivity. This system also requires less feed than cage and barn systems.
The poultry manure from free range farming used as fertilizer for crops directly. Although free range farming method is very suitable for poultry birds but it has some difficulties too.
In this system the poultry birds can be victim of predators easily and may caught by various type of diseases.
Organic layer poultry rearing system is also one type of free range farming system. But the main differences between the two systems are, in free range farming method a large numbers of poultry birds are raised together, but in organic method a certain species of poultry bird are raised in small group with low stocking density.
Organic laying system has some restrictions in the routine use of synthetic yolk colorants, water, feed, medications, other feed additives and obviously a smaller group size with low stocking density.
In organic laying system the producer should keep highest 1000 poultry birds per hector and maximum 2000 birds in each house.
Yarding poultry farming method is such a method in which cows and chickens are raised together. Producers make a fence in his yard and keep all the poultry birds and cattle there together.
The birds and cattle have the freedom of movement inside the fence. It is a very popular system used by small farmer.
Battery Cage Method
Battery cage layer poultry rearing method is one of the very common method used in many countries. In this system usually smaller sized metal cages are used. Every cages can accommodate about 3 to 8 hens.
The walls of the cages are generally made of mesh or solid metal and the floor is made of sloped wire mesh which allow the droppings to drop down. When the hens lay eggs, then all the eggs gather in the egg collecting conveyor belt of the cage.
In this system food is provided in front of the hens by a long bisected metal or plastic pipe and water served to them by using overhead nipple systems. The cages are arranged in long rows in one above another system.
There may have several floors in a single shade which can keep many even thousands of hens together. For reducing feather and vent pecking, the light intensity is generally kept lower than 10 lux.
The battery cage method has some benefits. The main benefits of battery cage are listed below.
- It is very easy to care for the birds.
- Very easy to collect eggs.
- Cleaner eggs.
- Requires less feed to produce eggs.
- Thousands of hens may be housed in a specific floor space of the house.
- The birds suffers less by internal parasites.
- Labor cost is very low.
Besides those benefits battery cage system has some difficulties too. By rearing large number of hens in a small place the air inside the house may contain high ratio of co2.
The hens can’t get sufficient space to walk, flap their wings, stand or perch. For this reason they may suffer by frustration and boredom and their behavior may change which affect their production.
Battery cage system is banned in some countries, because it is considered as against the animal welfare.
Furnished Cage Method
Furnished cage method is a developed version of battery cage system. In this system the hens get more spaces and facilities than battery cage system.
A furnished cage for hens should contain sufficient space for walking, perching, flaping their wings, nesting, special feed and water pot etc.
Broiler Poultry Farming
The poultry birds which are raised for commercial meat production are called broiler poultry.
By using modern farming methods broiler chickens become suitable for slaughtering within their 5 to 6 weeks of age.
However, see the common raising systems which are mostly used for commercial broiler poultry farming.
Indoor Raising Method
In this method broilers are kept inside a house. Rice hulls, wood shavings, peanut shells etc. are used as litter in the floor of the house.
In this system the broilers are kept in a large and open house (known as grow out houses) and they become suitable for slaughter within their 5 to 6 weeks of age.
This type of poultry houses are well equipped with mechanical systems for delivering the feed and water to the poultry birds. Well ventilation system, coolers and heaters are must.
It is very important to keep the house always dry and clean. Generally a house of 400 feet long and 40 feet wide can accommodate about 20,000 birds. 1.5-2 square feet housing space is required per bird.
In free-range broiler farming method, the broilers are kept like the free-range layers.
The broiler breeds which grow slowly (takes more than 8 weeks for reaching slaughter weight) are suitable for raising in this systems.
The main advantage of free-range farming systems is, it allows the birds for doing scratching, foraging, pecking and outdoor exercise.
Organic Farming Methods
Organic farming method is almost the same as free-range farming systems. But the main difference is that, in organic farming methods the birds are not allowed for randomly using of in-feed or in-water medications, other food additives and synthetic amino acids.
This system is very suitable for the poultry breeds which reach slaughter weight slowly(around 12 weeks).
Select a Good Location
After determining your production type and system, select your desired area for starting your poultry farming business.
For commercial production, try to select the land far from residential areas.
Calm, noise and pollution free place will be very good for better production.
Ensure water, electricity and good transportation system. Because all these are very important for good production and maximum profits.
Popular Breeds For Commercial Farming
There are some popular and mostly raised poultry birds. Among them chickens, turkeys, quails etc. are mostly raised poultry birds.
If you are willing to start with chickens, then you can choose either meat or egg laying breeds. If you want to produce eggs then the good breeds are Rhode Island Red, Leghorn, Sussex, Ancona, Plymouth Rock, Hamburg and some hybrids.
But if you want to produce meat, then you have to select the best broiler breeds. Some popular and common broiler chicken breeds are Cornish, Cornish Cross, Jersey Giant, Freedom Rangers, Orpington, Buckeye, Brown Leghorn, Dorking, Brahma etc.
Japanese, Tuxedo, Pharaoh, British Range, English White and Manchurian Golden are some very good quail breeds.
If you want to raise ducks, then Indian Runner, Khaki Campbell, Buff, Welsh Harlequin, Ancona and Magpie are some great duck breeds for eggs production. And some popular meat duck breeds are Aylesbury, Pekin, Muscovy etc.
Arabian (Middle Eastern), Black Necked (Southern or Cape), Blue-necked (Somali), Masai (Kenyan Red) and Red necked (North African) are some common ostrich breeds.
If you want to start your poultry production with pigeons, then some popular pigeon breeds are Archangel, Barb, Cameau, Carrier, Cumulet, Dragoon, Fantail, Florentine, Ice, King, Magpie, Maltese, Modena, Oriental Frill and Tumblers.
If you want to start peafowl production business, then the choices are Indian Peacock, Green Peacock, Congo Peacock etc.
You can select any type of poultry bird depending on the availability in your area. Chickens are the most common and popular birds. And meat and eggs of chicken have very good demand and value in the market.
Good and suitable housing play a vital role in raising all types of poultry birds. Some birds grow and live happily in the floor, and some birds grow well in cages.
Depending on the birds, you have to make a suitable house for your birds and ensure availability of all types of necessary facilities for them. Consider the following aspects while building houses for your poultry birds.
- Always keep sufficient space inside your poultry house, depending on the number of birds. Enough space will help your birds to live, grow and produce happily. Never overcrowded the poultry house with too many birds.
- Good ventilation system is a must. Ensure that your poultry house is well ventilated.
- You also have to ensure sufficient flow of fresh air and light inside the house.
- If you go for commercial production, keep proper distance between one house to another house.
- Clean the house and equipment on a regular basis. Sterilize the house before bringing new chicks into your farm.
- Take necessary steps for preventing all types of predators and harmful animals.
- Make a fence around your farm area.
- Make good temperature management system so that your birds do not suffer by excessive hot or cold.
- Make suitable drainage system inside the house for cleaning it properly.
- Making poultry houses in calm and quite place is always a good idea. Because quiet place play a very important role in production.
Feeding the birds with very good quality and nutritious food is the most important part of successful poultry farming business.
Because, feeding high quality, fresh and nutritious food always ensure good health, proper growth and high production.
So, always feed your poultry birds healthy and nutritious feeds. Add all types of necessary vitamins and minerals to their feed.
Commercial poultry feeds for various types of birds are available in the market. You can easily feed this type of ready-made feed to your birds.
Along with feeding your birds high quality and nutritious feeds, always serve them sufficient amount of fresh and clean water according to their demand.
Most of the poultry birds are naturally very good breeders. They will breed easily and produce fertile eggs if you keep good ratio of males and females.
Most of the commercial producers used to purchase chicks from the chick suppliers. So, you can avoid breeding.
But, you can also start a poultry breeding business if you want to start chick supply business.
Care & Management
Always take good care of your birds. Learn more about various types of poultry diseases, symptoms and treatment.
Vaccinate the birds timely. Provide them nutritious feed and clean water. Clean their house on a regular basis.
Try to make a stock of some required drugs. And always try to keep good contact with a vet in your area.
Marketing process of various types of poultry products is very easy. Poultry products have a huge demand and value globally.
So you don’t have to worry about marketing your products. You can easily sell your farm products in your local market or big supermarkets.
In a word, poultry farming is absolutely a very popular and profitable business idea. If you are thinking about setting up a poultry farm, then read and learn as much as possible about poultry farming before starting.
You can visit some of your nearest farms. And consult with some existing farmers who are already raising various types of poultry birds.
These are the steps and ways for starting and operating a successful poultry farming business. Hope this guide has helped you! Good luck & may God bless you!