Dear friend, you’re welcome to the Africa Business Classroom (ABC).
Make sure you read every word of this post and come back to download my 2 free business books HERE
In this tutorial, I will be sharing with you most important things you want to know about poultry farming in Kenya.
And in fact, we have a special training program which allows potential farmers to come to our associates’ farms and come and learn, practically on the farms. We have such farms in more than 5 states of Nigeria, but unfortunately, non in Kenya as we write this.
However, you can get our video training or PDF from Kenya.
I’ll also give you our phone number, should you need to call us
Keep on reading…
Now, we’ll be discussing poultry farming in Kenya and some basic things to understand.
Poultry farming is majorly practiced in Kenya in small scale, mostly for domestic consumption. However, this tutorial will go beyond that. We`ll focus on how you can make money by raising chicken
The most common poultry bird in Kenya is chicken. Why we`ll focus much on chicken rearing in this tutorial, we`ll mention some other birds as well.
Please forgive me as I will assume that you do not know anything about poultry business before now, so I will start from the elementary.
What is poultry farming?
Wikipedia defines poultry farming as raising of domesticated birds such as chickens, turkeys, ducks, and geese, for the purpose of farming meat or eggs for food.
Poultry farms are farms where birds (of different nature) are raised, either for personal consumption or for commercial purposes.
Now I want to make two assumptions.
First, you`re likely to be reading this tutorial with the intention to go into poultry farming as a business
Second, you`re likely to have interest much more in chicken than other birds, since Mr. and Miss chicken happen to be the most populous poultry birds.
On these two assumptions will this tutorial base.
What aspect of poultry farming will you love to start?
Poultry farming has very broad branches. Below you have those that are common in Kenya:
- Broilers breeding.
This is for meat production. You`ll grow your broilers and sell them out to the consumers. Broilers grow so fast. Within 42-45 days, most broiler are grown and ready to be sold
.2. Layers breeding.
Here you are breeding your layer chickens with the major aim of having them laying eggs, though you`ll eventually sell them off after they are becoming weak and are no longer laying eggs as expected (this is usually after 68-70 weeks, about 1 year and 4 months )
Kenbro chickens can be reared both for eggs and meat. These chicken needed to be fed for six or more months before they will start laying eggs, though they don`t lay as much eggs as layers. Some of them that are reared for meat as well take much longer time to mature than broilers.
- Poultry feed production.
People in this branch of poultry farming are producing poultry`s food and selling them to the poultry farmers
Here you have people who hatch chicken and other birds. This aspect of poultry business is very important (though not common) because the health of a bird is determined by the effectiveness of the hatchery process.
- Poultry equipment manufacturing.
You guess it. These guys manufacture various equipment needed on the poultry farm.
- Poultry consultant.
You will need experience in aforementioned niches before you can succeed as a consultant.
Yes, a giant company may be doing all of the above together, but if you`re just starting out, you definitely cannot, because of these two or three reasons;
- Taking all of the above together will require so much capital, but not just that.
- Starting all the above together will not work because, poultry, like any other business has a learning curve. For example, when you see a company doing all the above together, their story may look something like: Starting with layers for some months, going in to broilers, expanding to poultry feed production, later hatchery and since they might have spent many years by now, they can now venture into poultry consultancy. I`m sure you got that. Start somewhere. Learn and grow.
- Crisis management. Did you hear someone said poultry business is very risky? That`s not true. Every business is risky, not just poultry. Starting all the above together (even if you have enough capital) is not advisable because you are putting too many food in your mouth at a time.
Now that you have decided which of the above branches of poultry business you`ll love to go for, you may be wondering,
How much do I need to start a poultry farm?
Here I will be talking about the first two branches of poultry farms (Broilers and layers, since they are the most popular). Later on this website I will be talking about the cost of other branches.
In one hand, I would have loved to compare your intending poultry venture to giving birth to many children. You will have to feed them, cloth them and house them, plus give them proper medications… all these methodically.
And to be candid, if you`re not willing to take care of your chickens as you`ll your children, maybe you should not start a chicken farm at all.
I remember then when I was managing my step-brother`s poultry alongside with him. Really, they were our “children”.
The Cost of Starting a Poultry Farm
If you`re a beginner on this business, you definitely have interest in this question.
However, as much as I will love to give you a straight answer here, there is no straight answer.
Do you know?
What a farmer use to acquire land alone may be what another person will use to start and run a profitable poultry business. Land, which is one of the major expenses you will incur is vary in price. This depends on location.
What you have to do is to make your findings.
Every other instruments, feeds and medications you will need is vary too, depending on where you are living, so don`t let me make any futile guess that may confuse you.
This is what I want you to do. Make a list of everything you`ll need (from land to the littlest vaccine) and move out to investigate their prices in your vicinity.
I know you may not know what and what you will need (since I’ve assumed you don`t know anything about poultry farming business), so below I will make a list of what and what you will need.
- Land/space. This depends on your intending scale (I mean size of your farm). What if you have a large space at your backyard? It may be good to start with in a small scale.
- A waste disposal system. Where will you be disposing the waste from your farm?
- A clean source of water. I mean clean (I have told you that you`ll have to take care of your birds like children. Lol)
- Lighting and heat will be needed.
- Storage space for keeping your birds` foods, vaccines and eggs.
- Those things you see them putting chicken`s food on.
- Where they drink from.
- Egg trays or crates
- Vaccines and food which could be your major expenses
- Honestly, I might have missed a few things here but when you visit the retailers who deal in these equipment you`ll be reminded.
What else should we discuss? Housing your children (ho forgive me, chicken)?
The cost of feeding your chicken.
On the long run, feeding your chickens will be the major area where most of your investment will go. I think it will be nice if you can have the idea of how much your chicken will eat.
Averagely a layer chick (little chicken) will consume 9-10 pounds for it first 10 weeks
An average broiler chick may consume 8-9 pounds for it first 6 weeks
Poultry Housing Systems
Just as we humans live in various kinds of houses, so are the animals and our chickens. And just as you will want to be careful about how and where you shelter your little children, believe me, chicks and chickens need special attention and care.
Let me share with you a few options you have while considering the housing system you will go for.
- Free range system. This is commonly seen around you. Usually people buy chicks and allow them to roam about. Some people care a little to feed them while some do not. This obviously is not your option is you`re planning to go into the commercial poultry farming.
- Saw dust system. Yes, that`s not the name they call it in the academic world, but since my aim here is to communicate to people and let them understand me, I have to use simplest words possible. Here you will have your birds in a room where you will fill the floor with saw dust. This dust must be changed often or else the odour will be too bad.
- Battery cage system. Here you house your birds inside cages. These cages are of different sizes and structures so as to cater for both the chicks (little chickens) and their older ones respectively. The space for feeding, eggs and dropping have been provided for in this structure. This housing system is the most preferred, but it could be a little expensive than the previous system.
What else will you love to know?
Poultry Farm Location
There are few factors that make location a very important issue to be considered when thinking about poultry business and here they are;
- Your market. Since what you want to sell is chicken and egg, a location near city is usually good. Why not city itself?
- Odour and noise. Who can live near a big poultry farm? In fact, it`s against the law in many places to have your bird`s farm near houses. Also consider:
- Cost of land. As I have said earlier, the cost of land in some cities could be enough for starting and running a poultry farm in some nearby towns
Consider the above points to decide where you`ll locate your farm. Then, let`s talk about:
Your poultry workers
The numbers of staff you`ll need, like other things, depends largely on the size of your intending farm. You will need people to take care of feeding your birds, take care of droppings and wastes, pick eggs and of course market your products, be it eggs or chickens.
3 major risks you need to prepare yourself for in poultry business
I will love to prepare your mind for some risks (really if I have a better name I would have chosen it so has not to scare you away from poultry business).
If you are a beginner in this game, it will be good for you to be aware of the following threats and prepare yourself for them. Just as I have told you, life and business are full of risk and there is nothing anyone can do about that, except to prepare for them.
- Disease outbreak. This is the biggest one. Just as our little children are prone to disease, so do chicks and chickens. Just as we use different drugs for our children every day at different stages of their growth, so must we do with our chickens. Some precautionary measures are: make sure your farm environment is always very neat, don`t allow any dirty instrument to be kept around, don`t allow visitors in to your poultry farm and don`t just carry or touch your fowls anyhow except your hands have been sterilized very properly. Other issue to consider is…
- Poor chicken meals. There are various poultry feeds out there. Before you choose anyone for your birds, make sure you ask people who have been in this business around you before. Telling you a feed to go for here may not be proper since I don`t know where you are and the kinds of poultry feeds available in your area. If your chickens are feed with poor (low nutrients) feeds, it will affect their growth and productivity
- Employees and outsiders` theft. You need to be aware of this… many people are thieves. People steal, and even more in poultry farms (because fowls lay eggs all through the day). Not just eggs, when your farm becomes large, even outsiders find ways to penetrate into your poultry farm and steal. That is why it may not be advisable for you to start your poultry business and not be there yourself.
Now to another question, how profitable is the poultry business?
Selling your eggs and chickens
This is where the real deal is. If we discuss every other things and omit this, nothing is discussed, after all you`re in this game so as to make money.
Even before you start your poultry farm, make sure you investigate and know your market… where you`ll be selling your eggs and chickens. Make contact with some of the egg retailers. Find out the prices they are buying a crate of egg.
Do likewise with the chicken market. Understand the logistics and cost of transportation from your farm to the market you`ll be selling to and appropriately plan for every expenses.
I am sure you know, poultry business is not in any way different from other businesses out there. There are competition and there are strategies to win the market.
Just as I discussed in our tutorial about business strategies, the profitability of any business (whether poultry or not) is dependent on the ability of the business owner to make it profitable.
If you take your time to learn ins and outs of business world and apply the right strategies in your market place, you can make good money in the poultry farming business.
My last word:
Take action now. Get out and find out. You cannot possibly find out everything you need to know about poultry farming through the internet. The reason is because, places, time and situations are differ.
If anyone gives you every cost, expectations and details about this business online, most of those information will be incorrect because of the time and location differences.
Do you know? Even people in the same city are buying the same things at different prices.
Now, you get what I am saying.
You have a work to do. Get out in a weekend and meet with different kind of people. Start where it is easy…the poultry equipment and feeds sellers near to you.
Ask them as much questions as you can about their feeds, equipment and just any other things. They may even tell you about any poultry organization, association or regulation (which I can`t possibly know about your environment).
One more step. Get their mobile numbers and let them know you may call them whenever you have any other questions.
What I am about to tell you is very important…. Get a mentor, someone who has started poultry farm for at least two years. If you cannot get in your immediate environment because they see you as a competitor, try and travel to the next town.
There are so many good people out there who will lovingly accept to guild you, but if you cannot find any, don`t mind if you have to pay someone.
This is very important because someone who has done something before is having a lot of experience and whenever you encounter any problem you give him a call.
That is how I operate. I have mentors in every important area of my life and business. I have their mobile line with me and get connected with them on the social media. Whenever I have a question or get a problem, I simply reach out to anyone I think is having experience in that line.
With a call I get answer to my questions.
This way, you`ll grow faster.
Another advice I have for you is, don`t see your poultry farm as just a farm. Instead, see it as a business.
It is not a farm. It is a business and everything a business man does to make his business succeed is what you have to do.
Be serious, diligent and hardworking (I know you might not love to hear this, yet I must tell you).
Take proper account of your inflows and outflows, what goes out and what comes in, either money or materials.
And finally, be a student of business. I need to hammer this very well because I know the kind of people I am writing for… the Africans, a continent of people who love entertainment but hate knowledge.
Believe me or you don`t, your success as a business man/woman (in any business), depends on what you know. I know what I am saying. I have been in this game call business for some good years. People fall out and get broke simply because they don`t` understand business.
Every business man is a business student.
Business is a profession, just like law or medicine. There are so many things you need to know about marketing, human relationship, leadership, cash flow management, negotiation, business positioning and tactics.
If you would like to be part of the ABC comprehensive poultry farming training, you can get our video from Kenya
If you have any questions, call us on +2348100446044 or email us at; firstname.lastname@example.org
We love you!