Before Starting Poultry Farming Know That You Are Dealing With Living Things
One important fact you should know before starting poultry farming from day one is the realization that you are dealing with living things. Regardless of the fact that they are animals.
They need all the comfort living things deserve to thrive and produce the desired results intended by the poultry farmer. Availability of quality clean drinking water, feed, shelter and prompt medication, and care.
From setting up some basic equipment to the brooding stage to raising the birds and marketing your business. You have to take every step seriously and wisely. Your diligence and dedication to your poultry business will always yield positive results in the long run.
Nevertheless, it is important to conduct a proper feasibility study before starting this business because reading this article is not enough.
When we ventured into poultry farming some years ago, with no proper knowledge and understanding of how to succeed. And to keep our birds healthy and above all make profits.
We made a lot of mistakes, incur some losses due to ignorance. But with time, we’ve learned a lot the hard way through costly and bitter mistakes.
You don’t have to trend our path, you have the privilege of learning from successful farmers around you and the basic points outlined in this article will be of tremendous help to you.
There are some important rules of the game, intricacies and basic knowledge we lack back then when we first started the poultry farming business.
To help you avoid the same mistake we made, here are very important points we wish we knew when we first started poultry farming:
1. Before Starting Poultry Farming, Endeavor to Provide Good Housing Facility to Your Birds.
Getting your poultry house design rights will to a large extent affects your success or failure in the future. These very important factor we took lightly when we were designing our poultry house back then.
Considering our location and weather condition it is a tropical hot climate. which entails that the housing designs suppose to be well ventilated from all sides of the building.
The blocks or woods depending on the building material used, from the ground floor, should not be more than three feet high.
The rest building up should be constructed with wire mesh, this is to enable enough ventilation. Due to the hot climatic condition.
Additional shade should also be provided close to the poultry house, preferable tall trees above the poultry shed where possible.
To reduce the intensity of sunlight especially during the dry hot seasons particularly in West African. Depending on the climatic condition of your region.
While in the arctic, polar and temperate regions of the world, they have their peculiarities. When it comes to the design and construction of their poultry shed.
The design has to suit the prevailing climatic and weather condition. To shield the birds from the adverse and extreme weather conditions in such regions of the world.
The cardinal point here is to provide adequate heat especially during brooding of your day-old chicks. If you don’t provide them with enough warmness, you will likely lose them.
That is one costly mistake we made when we first started out in poultry farming.
We simply thought that brooding means heating your birds for the first few weeks as the case may be. Regardless of the prevailing weather condition, without using a good thermometer to monitor the temperature accordingly.
The weather condition in our area was hot as of the time we wanted to start brooding not knowing that they don’t need additional heat. Because already the temperature is above 35C, and we were already heating them.
Which led to their slow growth rate, having pasty butt, and growth abnormalities, it affected our overall profits.
The best option is to have a good thermometer to read the temperature, be observant make sure your chicks are comfortable eating and drinking water.
Ensure that they are evenly spread out on the floor, no huddling around each other an indication of extreme cold.
While panting, stretching their neck flapping their little wings apart and moving away from the heat source is an indication of extreme heat.
3. Source of Your Day Old Chicks
Little did we know that having very good day-old chicks from a reputable farm is the first step towards achieving success.
We were ordering day-old chicks from an unregistered farm that does not practice basic bio-security measures, especially for their parent stock. And we kept having a problem with our day-old chicks.
Having a high mortality of more than 10%, which is not too good for a successful farmer.
Until a friend told us about getting our day-old chicks. From a good and reputable farm that observes all bio-security measures.
With well-vaccinated birds, and are also registered with the relevant government agencies.
When we started ordering our day-old chicks from a good reputable farm with a track record of producing high-quality chicks.
There was a huge difference our birds were doing well the growth rate improve significantly.
The mortality rate was also very low because they have been properly vaccinated against the major diseases that affect poultry birds.
4. Water, Don’t Joke With Its Availability and Quality
The importance of water in poultry farming cannot be overemphasized. When starting poultry farming ensure its availability and quality. Because water accounts for over 65 to 80 per cent total intake for poultry birds, especially laying hens.
Eggs contain over 70% of the water that is why once your chickens start laying eggs their water consumption increases considerably. And in most cases, most farmers begin to experience wet litter and the rest.
Little did we know that it is far better for chickens to stay without food than without water.
Though it is not advisable and unnecessary to keep them without both (food and water) they need them at all times for maximum and consistent production.
If your laying hens stay without water for just two hours it can affect their egg production for several days. And when that happens it will affect your overall profit margin.
Over the years we’ve come to realize that giving your birds clean, clear water. To drink always has a tremendously positive effect on their general performance.
Water given to your birds should be free from compounds or substances that may affect or harm their production level.
Especially when using well water, if possible take the sample of the water to the laboratory for analysis to ascertain its quality and purity level.
Also to check for the presence of contaminants such as mud, high sodium content, impurities of any kind.
Your water should be colourless, tasteless, and odourless at any point in time.
Minerals and multi-vitamins can be added to the water to aid growth and increase egg production. Vitamin C could be added during a period of extreme heat to relieve stress.
Always ensure the water is fresh at all times. Endeavour to always change their drinking at least every 24hours.
5. When Starting Your Poultry Farm Ensure That You Have the Financial Capacity to Feed Your Birds from Day One Up To Maturity or Point Of Sale
When feeding chickens always ensure that they have all the necessary nutrients, minerals and vitamins needed for optimal performance in their feed.
One very costly mistake we made back then when starting our poultry farming venture was to try to formulate our feed without proper training on chicken feed formulation.
Without also knowing all the necessary ingredients needed in the feed to make them stay healthy and to perform well.
When you cut corners trying to find a cheap substitute for your chicken feeds the repercussion could be very devastating. And your loss could also be huge.
Purchased manufactured feed from a reputable farm or feed manufacturer. It will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.
Except you have a large farm, the technical knowledge and the necessary facility to produce your own feed.
In starting your poultry farming venture, efforts should be made in providing ample space, good ventilation and a conducive production environment for your birds. Overcrowding should be avoided at all cost.
Most times success does not lie on the number of birds you have on your farm, though it does count.
But real success is in the meticulous planning. And having the knowledge, technical know-how, passion, and financial resources. And the capacity to feed your birds from day one to maturity with a balanced feed.
Back then we were carried away by numbers and quantity.
We did not calculate the total quantity of feed needed by a day old chick from day one to slaughter or point of lay in terms of laying hens.
We ran out of feed, and no enough money to purchase more feed. Because we stock in more than we can feed and nourish.
The result is all the vices that come with inadequate feed consumption and overcrowding.
Vices such as poor growth rate, poor weight gain in terms of broiler farming, pecking, cannibalism, drop in egg production, prolapsed the least goes on and on.
7. Brooding your day old chicks
Before you start poultry farming, in particular day old chicks. You have to determine first, the source of your electricity supply.
Whether you are going to use electricity supply, gas heater, solar or charcoal as your primary source of heat.
Poor and inadequate brooding temperature is a sure recipe for high chick mortality and failure.
Especially when you live in a region with persistent power cuts and failure.
Getting it right at this stage will go a long way in determining your success or failure with your new flock.
You have to be very observant at all times not to overheat them or under heat your day old chicks, if any of these is done you may end up losing many of your baby chicks.
As earlier stated study and use the prevailing atmospheric and climatic condition of your area carefully. So that you will know the exact temperature to apply to your day-old chicks using a good thermometer.
To avoid unnecessary mortality, and ensure good feed conversion rate and optimal performance.
8. Adequate Medical Provision Should Be Made Before Starting Poultry Farming
Avoid giving unnecessary medication to your birds. Only administer drugs that are prescribed by a qualified veterinary doctor to your chicken.
When you administer drugs indiscriminately to your birds, they will end up building resistance to those drugs. This will end up rendering the drug ineffective.
Always follow the veterinary doctor’s prescription, and allow your birds to build their own resistance to disease naturally, instead of antibiotics abuse.
Never underestimates the power of meticulous planning and stocking your birds appropriately.
Stock in the number of birds you are sure you can feed and nourish to maturity or to reach point of lay. So that you don’t run into trouble the way we did when we first started chicken farming.
Strive to observe all the best management and bio-security practices in the poultry industry. And I bet you, you will witness significant progress, and experience minimal loss.
Visit successful farmers that have gone ahead of you, make friends with veterinary doctors, ask questions. God’s willing you will succeed.