Are you a beginner wanting to learn more about poultry farming in Nigeria? This detailed article is your eye-opener.
Poultry farming can be defined as the process of raising various domestic birds like chicken, turkey, emu, ducks, geese, etc. for their eggs, meat or even their feathers.
Just like goat farming, this has been a common practice in Nigeria for such a long time that it has become an indispensable part of the farming and agriculture system.
The demand for livestock products, including poultry, is fast expanding in Nigeria and across Africa as a result of population growth and increased urbanization.
Poultry farming in Nigeria is one of the fastest-growing segments in the Agricultural industry in the country.
Poultry farming could be considered as one of the most lucrative agricultural business ideas in Nigeria today.
It doesn’t really require huge capital to start as you can start from the comfort of your house if you have enough space to take the number of birds that you desire.
During a random sampling, 7 out of 10 persons asked about poultry farming in Nigeria considered chicken meat and egg production as the only poultry farming.
3 out of 10 mentioned it as the first type of poultry existing and mentioned others they are aware of. For that reason let us discuss briefly the types of poultry in Nigeria.
Types of Poultry Farming In Nigeria
So, what are the common types of poultry?
This is the most common type of poultry in Nigeria. This article will focus more on chicken poultry. It can be reared for both the chicken meat and the eggs.
This is next to chicken in popularity among poultry farmers. Turkeys can be raised on open land with automatic waterers, self-feeders, range shelters, heavy fencing, and rotated pastures.
However, they are often “grown out” commercially in rearing houses under environmentally controlled conditions.
Duck raising is practiced on a limited scale in nearly all countries, usually as a small-farm enterprise, though some commercial plants do exist.
Raising goose is often a minor farm enterprise, though some European countries have large-scale goose-production facilities.
The two outstanding meat breeds are the Toulouse, predominantly gray in color, and the Embden (or Emden), which is white. The birds are raised for meat and eggs as well as for their down feathers.
Guinea fowl are raised as a sideline on a few farms in many countries and are eaten as gourmet items.
The market weight is usually about 1–1.5 kg (2.5–3.5 pounds), but food conversion is poor.
Chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese are of primary importance, while guinea fowl and pigeon are chiefly of local interest.
Among all kinds of poultry farming, chicken is the most common one as farmers get a great number of chickens regularly either the egg for food or the farming meat.
The high consumption of the end product; chicken and egg are in constant demand in the marketplace.
Even at various homes today, poultry farming in Nigeria is becoming very lucrative as it seems to be a potent source of animal protein outside fish, pork and beef.
Benefits of Poultry Farming
- Just like the rabbit farming business, It requires less investment compared to rearing other livestock. While chicken will start laying eggs in 8 to 10 weeks, broilers can be sold after 6 weeks by which time they can be eaten.
- It gives a rapid return on investment. Chicken start laying eggs in 8 to 10 weeks and broilers can be sold for meat between 6 and 10 weeks. The interval between generations is very small and hence, production can be phenomenally increased within a short period.
- Broiler’s intake of feed is comparatively very low while it produces a maximum possible amount of food for us.
- Poultry farming is a continuous source of income. It is not seasonal and can produce income for the entire year.
- Poultry farming on a small scale requires only minimum space and they can be reared even in the backyards of homes.
- Poultry farming requires very little water for both drinking and cleaning.
- Poultry droppings are rich in nitrogen and organic material and hence, are considered valuable as fertilizers.
- Poultry feathers are also used for making pillows, fancy articles, and curios.
- Poultry offers good full time or part-time employment opportunities to farmers.
- Poultry products like egg and meat have high nutritional value. Among all edible meat, broiler meat has the least fat content. It can also be cooked in its own fat and does not require any from outside. Poultry meat contains more protein and essential amino acids than other meats.
Meat or Eggs?
You can decide to settle for either the production of chicken meat or egg.
Depending on capital and space available at your disposal, you can venture into the production of both which is more profitable because you can be selling the eggs and the meat all at the same time.
However, if you want to specialize in the production of one out of the two products, it will make you a special farmer, one that will always have eggs or chicken meat to sell whenever it is needed.
Types of Poultry Bird to Rear
In Nigeria today, aside from locally grown chickens, there are three major breeds that are common among poultry farmers.
Broilers: These types of both young males and females are raised for meat.
They grow from a hatch weight of 40 g to a weight of approximately 1.5 to 2 kg within 6 weeks only.
Under modern farming methods, meat chickens reach slaughter weight at 5 to 9 weeks of age, as they have been selectively bred to do so.
In the first week of a broiler’s life, it can grow up to 200 percent of its body size. I asked a farmer if broilers can lay eggs too and the answer is yes.
At 4 months old broilers can start laying eggs too. Because broilers are relatively young and have not reached sexual maturity, they exhibit very little aggressive conduct.
Layers: These are hens used for commercial egg production and then killed for meat.
Layer chickens are raised from one day old. Commercial hens usually begin laying eggs at 10–12 weeks of age, although production gradually declines soon after from approximately 25 weeks of age.
This means that by approximately 72 weeks of age, they are considered economically unviable and are slaughtered after approximately 12 months of egg production, although chickens will naturally live for 6 or more years.
Some commercial breeds of hen can produce over 300 eggs a year.
Cockerels: Just like the broilers, cockerels are also for meat production and have a special market demand but then, its growth is very slow, unlike the broilers that grow very fast.
Cockerels can survive in many environments.
Poultry Equipment and Materials
The following are what you will need in order to set up a poultry farm. Carefully put all factors in mind while setting up your farm.
- Suitable farm site
- Good housing and shelter
- Chicken Feeds
- Welfare management
- Marketing and sales
- Suitable farm site
To start poultry, you need a farm site. Where your poultry farm is situated is very important for your business.
The size of the poultry farmland should be determined by the number of birds you want to rear.
If you have enough land at your backyard and can’t afford to acquire a new site, it’s always better to start small.
You can start with what you have but make it a priority to get a better farm as soon as you can afford it.
The site must be free of poultry enemies and predators like foxes. The site should also be secured against thieves and should not be the passage of erosion.
The site must be easily accessible from main roads so as to ease the transportation of farm products when they are ready for sale and closer to the market.
A good poultry farm site should be calm and pollution-free environment. The farm must have adequate, clean and fresh drinking water sources nearby.
Good housing and shelter
Keeping birds in a house protects them from predators such as hawks and foxes. Proper poultry housing is necessary for the protection and survival of your commercial poultry birds.
The Housing system you choose totally depends on the poultry breeds and farming method. Housing design varies in accordance with various types of poultry raising methods.
The housing to be built should be spacious enough to permit the free movement and running of the birds.
Shelters must be raised adequately to prevent the risk of flooding. In addition, the shelter must be adequately ventilated and protected from sunlight.
The housing can also be equipped with mechanical systems to deliver feed and water to the birds.
It can also have ventilation systems and heaters that function as needed.
The floor of the house is covered with bedding material consisting of wood chips, rice hulls, or peanut shells.
In some cases, they can be grown over dry litter or compost. Because dry bedding helps maintain flock health, most houses have enclosed watering systems that reduce spillage.
In case this equipment is not fixed to operate mechanically, feeders and drinkers should be provided in the houses for the chicken feeds and water.
Livestock feed is always a key factor to successful livestock farming. For commercial poultry production, good quality, highly nutritious food is a must.
Quality and neat feeds keep the chicken healthy always and very productive just as super nutritious feed boosts the reproduction in a piggery.
The feed must be kept clean and dry always, as contaminated feed can infect poultry. Fresh quality and nutritious food is the key to success in poultry farming business.
Your birds need not lack water. Lack of adequate water supply can impede their growth. Always make available adequate and clean water
Commercial poultry feeding is a highly perfected science that ensures a maximum intake of energy for growth and fat production.
High-quality and well-balanced protein sources produce a maximum amount of muscle, organ, skin, and feather growth.
The essential minerals produce bones and eggs, with about 3 to 4 percent of the live bird being composed of minerals and 10 percent of the egg.
The chicken feed consists primarily of corn and soybean meal with the addition of essential vitamins and minerals. No hormones or steroids are allowed in raising chickens.
Proper medication and vaccination can prevent many poultry diseases.
As a commercial poultry farmer, you need to have a veterinary doctor that will run a check on your birds when the need arises.
There are various routine medications and vaccinations that help towards the healthiness of your birds to keep them safe from infections.
In any event, there is any disease outbreak among your birds, quickly separate the infected ones from the healthy ones and start treatment as soon as possible.
A carefully controlled environment that avoids crowding, chilling, overheating, or frightening is an essential part of poultry farming.
Cannibalism, which expresses itself as toe picking, feather picking, and tail picking, is controlled by debeaking at one day of age and by other management practices.
The feeding, watering, egg gathering and cleaning operations should be highly mechanized.
Poultry producers routinely use nationally approved medications, such as antibiotics, in feed or drinking water, to treat disease or to prevent disease outbreaks.
Marketing and sales
Poultry farming is a profitable business and the desire of every poultry farmer is to make good sales after every harvest.
So you need to pay attention to the marketing and sales aspect of your business. Do not be caught up in the operational aspect of your business so much that you ignore the sales aspect.
Since the world has gone digital now, you can take your business online. Offering home delivery can put you on a positive edge of getting more prospective customers.
Also, find restaurants and eatery around and advertise to them. Once your business has expanded, you can employ the use of marketers.
Chicken meat is widely known, accepted and eaten. In fact, after pork meat, chicken meat is the most eaten meat in the world.
Many new businesses require a large capital outlay, which is not within reach of most business owners.
A typical startup business also takes a long time to produce a return on your investment. However, a small-scale poultry business has a relatively low start-up cost and rapid returns.
You can begin with as little as N30, 000 (which basically to covers the cost of buying the day-old chicks and feeding them) and get a 100% return on your capital investment within six months.
And because chicks take only 21 days to hatch, you can start generating an income just three weeks after starting by selling the chicks. Obviously poultry farming is a business that can provide such a quick turnaround.
Conclusion on Poultry Farming In Nigeria
Commercial poultry farming has created and still creating a profitable business opportunity for Entrepreneurs and can provide a great employment source for job seekers.
Most entrepreneurs prefer to produce day-old chicks and sell them to growers, as this option is easier and less risky. The choice, however, is up to you.
As a business owner, you need to get your business finances right from the onset.
Also, at the heart of these viable business opportunities in poultry farming are platforms, that can help you keep proper track of your business revenues and expenses with ease.
Poultry farming is quite profitable in the sense that it gives good returns for the amount invested, the time and energy spent on it and the labor employed in it.
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