FREE POULTRY BUSINESS PLAN SAMPLE TEMPLATE
This article sets out to provide a 45 days chicken business plan for entrepreneurs with limited knowledge of what a detailed plan should look like.
Do you need to develop a business plan for starting a poultry venture?
- Common Poultry Terminologies
- Poultry Farm’s Equipment
- Cost Analyses
- Broiler & Layer’ Feeds & Their Feeding Methods
- Egg Production & Birds’ Mortality Rate
- Your Poultry Farm’s Location
- How to Construct Your Poultry Pen
- How to Brood Your Chicks
- Chickens’ Vaccines
- Poultry Diseases, Causes, and Treatment
- Common Mistakes to Avoid Like Snake
- Poultry Business & Accountability
Most people who are into poultry out there are poultry farmers. You will not be that. You will be a poultry entrepreneur after reading this course.
Let me quickly remind you that this article is solely about chicken, especially layers and broilers.
Though we have so many other poultry birds like turkey, goose, duck, and others, chicken has a very large market demand in your country and since your goal as a farmer is to make a profit, it’s smart that we concentrate our effort on what the market wants.
That’s the reason why we’ll “talk” mainly about chicken in this course.
Not even all chicken, but layers and broilers. We won’t talk about cockerel because it’s not as profitable as broilers could be.
Poultry Commonly Used Terminologies
The following are the basic poultry terminologies you should familiarize yourself with;
- Chicks. This is the term we use for baby
- Layers. These are the chickens that can lay
- Broilers. These are the chicken we grow for meat
- The pen is the name we call the house we construct for our chicks and chickens
- Brooding is the term we use for the first early period of the chicks’ life. Usually between the weeks 14 days for broilers and 5-8 weeks for layers. (More on this later)
- A brooder is an equipment used to provide supplementary warmth during the early stages of the chicken
- A feed is a name we use for the food we feed our chicks and chickens
- A breed is a group of birds that reproduce their likeness in their offspring
- Cage is a system of housing where the birds are confined to a wire netted box.
- Clear eggs are the infertile eggs that cannot be incubated or turned to chick
- Deep litter is the system of housing where a suitable material called litter is provided on the poultry house floor for the birds to live on
- Free-Range System is a system of housing where the birds have a shelter house and access to an outside area during the hours of daylight
- A flock is many birds of the same origin (genotype), age and managed in the same
- Incubation is the process by which fertile eggs are turned chicks
- Intensive System is any system of housing poultry where the birds are outdoor all of the time and do not have access to the
- Semi-Intensive is a system in which birds are having access toa shelter house and the outdoor at the same time
- Layer Cycle is the period from the onset of laying until the cessation of production of
- Point of laying is the period a female chicken is about to start laying eggs
- A pullet is a female chicken in her first laying season
- A spent hen is a layer that has reached the end of her economic egg-laying
- A thermostat is a device sensitive to temperature and usually used to control the operation of temperature modifying equipment
Do you care about chickens or eggs? If at all I do, it is to eat them.
Rearing, nursing, and having sleepless nights because of birds? Not me and I am sure you too really don’t like the idea of coping with the odor and other messes of the poultry farm.
So why are you reading this guide?
Business. Business. Business alone is the reason.
If you and I understand this simple logic, then we’ll, first of all, consider the business aspect of the poultry farming.
Poultry Farming Equipment
Below are some of the equipment you’ll need on your farm as a poultry businessman/woman.
The feeder is where a farmer drops the bird’s food for the chickens to eat from. It is of different designs.
It is what you see as red in the above picture.
2. Heater or Brooder
This is the instrument farmers use to regulate the temperature of the poultry farm, especially during brooding (the time when chickens are very small) and the raining season or cold period.
Many farmers simply use the locally versioned heaters (coal or stove) as the brooder could be beyond your budget.
An incubator is an electronic machine the hatchers use to hatch fertile eggs.
You don’t need this equipment except you want to go into the hatchery part of the poultry business.
5. Egg Tray
This is the equipment used to set eggs and to transport them to the customers
6. Water pots or Drinker
This is where the chickens drink from.
7. Poultry Cages
Cages are used to keep poultry birds.
8. Protective Clothing
Hair caps, disposable sleeves, boots and overall for humans so has to prevent contamination from humans to the birds or from birds to humans
Electricity is as well important, either you’ll use government-supplied power, generator or locally made lamps (more on this later)
10. Good Source of Water
A good source of water is needed for your birds as dirty water could lead to sickness and the death of the poultry birds.
Here is it.
You want to know how much you’ll need to raise your birds before they start bringing in returns.
It’s foolish to start with 1000 birds if all your resources could handle is 500 birds.
You need an estimate so you’re going to take your pen and paper.
- Do you intend to start your poultry farm at your backyard or on a plot/acre of land?
- When you went out to ask about the poultry equipment as listed earlier, like how much can you get them in your city or vicinity?
- Is there steady electricity or you may need some locally devised lamps for your broilers who may need light all night (to be discussed later) and for your layers who need light just a few hours?
- Is there a good source of water near you or you’ll need a well?
- Do you need labor and how many of them (Actually one or two people should be able to take care of 1000 birds) and what is the labor cost like in your locality?
After analyzing all these, then you’ll move to the main expense; poultry feeds.
Poultry feeds are where the real expenses lie so let’s take some time to talk about feeding your chickens, the kinds of feeds you need at a given time and then the estimated quantity in the section below.
Broilers and Layers Feeds & Their Feeding Methods
Broiler eats far much more than layers. They should be eating virtually all round the clock. Not really that they will be busy eating every minute but they should have food around them (always) so they could pick at their convenient time.
The reason for their heavy eating is because they are expected to grow so fast and be sold (7 or 8 weeks).
This is the reason why serious farmers light up their pens all night because chicken (either broiler or layers) don’t eat in the dark.
The good news is that these birds can convert almost half of their feeds to meat. That is if we feed our broiler 4kg for instance, it could weigh 1.8 kg thereabout.
There are two kinds of feeds our broilers need at different stages of their lives.
The first is known as Broiler Starter.
This is the first type of food (feed) they should be given as it’s very rich in protein and other necessary vitamins.
Broiler Starter should be given for the first 3 weeks of your broilers.
The second type of feed for broiler is called Broiler Finisher. This should be given from week 4 till your chickens are sold (hopefully at week 7 or week 8)
The first feed to be given to your layer is called Layer Starter or Chicks Smash. Chicks smash will be given your layers from day 1 to 8th week.
This feed contains a very high percentage of protein to help them in quick growth.
Grower smash is to be given from week 8-18
Layer Feed is the feed that prepares and enables your layers to lay eggs properly. This is to be given starting from week 18th till your layers are spent (tired) and sold.
Layer smash should not be given until your bird reaches week 18. This is because this feed contains calcium than can permanently damage the kidneys, cause kidney stones, reduce lifetime egg production, and shorten the bird’s life span.
The only reason to give Layer feed to your layer is if they have started laying before week 18.
Ordinarily, your layer feed contains a good quantity of calcium. However, there may need to supply them with additional calcium once in a while as they start laying. This decision could be reached if you’re advised by your veterinary doctor or a nearby expert who thinks the egg production is not as expected.
How to Change Chickens’ Feeds
When it’s time for you to shift from one feed to another it’s very important you don’t suddenly change your birds’ feeds.
For example, if you want to change from Broiler Starter to Grower today, the best thing to do is to start by mixing both the starter and grower together at the same quantity, then gradually increase the quantity of starter while reducing the quantity of grower.
This is necessary because your chickens will not like a sudden change in their taste of feeds.
How Often Should You Feed Your Birds?
When we talk about broilers, they must have feed in front of them at least 22 hours a day. That simply means, all round the clock.
For the layers, you can feed them three times a day. Something like 6;30 am, 12 pm and 4 pm should be alright.
Just note that you may have to light up the layers’ pen from around 7-9 because they will still be eating till the evening and as I might have told you before, chickens don’t eat in the dark.
Because we want them to eat more, that’s the reason why we should give them about 2 hours of light.
The light could be the government’s supplied electricity, generator, rechargeable, or locally devised lamps.
Some people try to avoid lighting the layers’ pen by giving them food at 3 pm. There is no hard rule here but you should never avoid giving light to the broilers because they have to eat so much.
Don’t forget that we were discussing cost analyses.
But I needed to show you how and what you have to feed your chickens, so I will then show you how to get the estimate for their feeds.
Now to the rough estimate for the feeds;
If you have seen any poultry feed pack or bag before, you might have noticed that they are in Kilograms (kg).
As I have shared with you earlier, broilers eat much more than layers. To help your estimate;
Layer chicks could be estimated to eat (plus or minus) 4kg of feed in its first 10 weeks. By this I mean a layer bird could eat about 4kg in its first 70 days on your farm.
It could be a little more or less as the quantities of feed chickens eat depends on the weather and whether you’re using battery cage or deep litter system
Your chickens will ordinarily eat more in a cold season than in the hot season and they are likely to eat more in a deep litter system than in the battery cage system as they walk much more around.
Each of your broilers could be expected to eat about 4kg or more of feeds in their first 6 weeks.
As your birds grow, their feed consumption grows too.
From the 6th week, for broilers, they should have been near the time for you to sell them off (just one or two weeks more).
But for the layers, you’re just getting started.
You’ll still have to feed them for about 12 more weeks. As they grow, their feed consumption grows.
By the time they reach the laying stage, each layer could be estimated to be eating 1.5 pounds of feed each week.
That’s about 2kg in three weeks.
I am telling you all these so that you’ll be able to know how to make your estimate.
Should I tell you the price of feeds?
Thank you for asking.
One day I was reading something on the internet and I saw the writer writing the price of W= #XXX and the price of K=$YYY.
At a time I was forced to go and check the date of that post and behold, he wrote the post, I think in the year 2011.
He’s not smart.
The first reason why I cannot be telling you the price of feeds and vaccines here is that the amount you buy something last month is not the amount they are selling it now (even in the same city).
The second reason is that the location differs. Some people will be reading this course from Lagos while some may be reading it from Ghana, South Africa, or even China.
How do you expect the price of feed in Texas to be the same as that of California?
That’s why you have to move out and ask questions from the feeds and poultry equipment sellers in your town or area.
You just have the idea of the above quantity estimate and go out, ask for where they are selling poultry feeds in your locality, ask for different feeds I have mentioned earlier, and their prices.
Check the feeds’ bag to see the quantity (in kilograms) and then come back home to do your math and the estimate.
After your cost estimate, plus the revenue (as analyzed earlier), you should be able to come up with good answers to these questions;
- With your present capital or resources, like how many layer or broiler birds can you conveniently raise?
- In the long run, like how much could your profit?
These facts and figures are what will give you confidence.
After discussing the importance of cost analyses and the different kinds of feeds you need for your chickens, let’s go into two other important things you have to understand about poultry farming which will help your cost estimate and general knowledge about the great poultry business…
Egg Production & Birds‘ Mortality Rate
Here let’s talk about the nature of chickens’ egg-laying, and the death rate otherwise called the mortality rate.
Some people ignorantly assumed that layers’ birds lay an egg every day so whenever these people want to start a poultry business, they estimate within themselves and say, “If I can raise 1,000 layer birds, after 18 or 20 weeks I will be getting 1,000 eggs every day from my poultry farm”
They have committed two blunders here.
One is the assumption that all the birds will remain alive until the point of laying. The second blunder is the assumption that every laying bird lays an egg every day.
Here is the truth.
Some of your birds will die and the remaining ones will not give you 900 eggs every day (if they are 900 birds).
The mortality rate is in humans and so it’s normal in animals, our birds inclusive. If people die (even young), should we hope that chickens would not die?
Our concern is that we have to reduce the mortality rate of your birds to the barest minimum.
The best mortality rate is between 5-10% per annum.
If you start with 1000 chicks on your farm, losing 50-80 of them in a year does not mean that you’re doing something wrong. It’s normal.
One other thing to note is that the mortality rate is higher in broilers breed than in layers. The reason is that layer birds are stronger.
In all, the mortality rate is not something to be afraid of. It’s something to prepare for and work hard to reduce (by doing things taught inside this course)
As said earlier, 100 layer birds cannot produce 100 eggs every day. The reason for this, as analyzed by some experts is because chickens don’t lay an egg every 24 hours. Instead, they lay every 26 hours.
Some other people believe that some chicken lay every day while some every two days.
We may not be able to tell which theory is correct, but we know that you cannot get the exact numbers of eggs from the numbers of chickens you have.
The best estimate is between 80-85% daily egg productivity. That means if you have 1000 laying birds on your farm, you could be picking between 800-850 eggs every day.
That’s around 28 creates of eggs. Multiply 28 by the amount they are selling create of egg in your locality and you’ll see something. Deducting that from the cost of layers’ feed and labor and you can see where the profit lies.
After discussing the egg production and the mortality rate, let’s take a moment to talk about it.
Your Farm’s Location
Just as we humans need where to live and lay our heads; birds as well need a place to call their home.
First, you might have noticed that most poultry farms you know are not near residential apartments.
The reasons are simples; odor, noise, and water pollution.
The major reason why poultry farms are usually not allowed by the government to be near a residential apartment is because of the poultry odor which is a result of the chickens’ droppings (feces).
The other reason is because of the noise. Chickens do make a lot of noise, while the third reason why you can’t site your (major) poultry farm near a residential apartment is because of the possible water pollution.
Note that I mentioned the “major” poultry farm above. You could, of course, have your poultry’s pen (house) at your backyard, especially if you have a large backyard and you’re starting with just a few birds.
However, that can only work with a few tens of birds.
For a medium to large scale poultry farm, you’ll have to construct your poultry’s pen on the outskirt of the city or town.
One of the silly mistakes you have to avoid is having your major poultry farm at your backyard, then have your brooding pen (where little chicken is kept) just by the side of your layers’ pen while you manage the two together.
This could affect the day-old chickens and it may lead to a great loss. (We’ll discuss more on this later)
If you are planning to start at your backyard however, you have to pay attention to how poultry pens should be constructed and other precautions we’ll talk about in the next chapter.
Few things to consider while choosing where to locate your major poultry farm are;
The Cost of Land
Especially when you’re just starting, you may not be able to afford an acre of land in some locations near Lagos or a major city in your country so you’ll have to consider the cost of land in your intending location vs. your budget.
Second, Nearness to Your Intending Market
You don’t want to locate your farm where it will take a vehicle to travel 10 hours before they deliver your ready-for-market broilers to the buyers or before the wholesales egg buyers will get to your farm.
Predators are those other animals or insects that feed on or find pleasure in hurting or killing chickens. E.g. hawks, raccoons, foxes, snakes, soldier ants, dogs, etc.
While chicken predators are everywhere, certain places have more violent and hard to control predators, so you may not locate your farm in such places.
After we have talked about getting the appropriate location for your farm, let’s now talk about how your bird’s pens (houses) should be constructed.
How to Construct Your Poultry’s Pens (Chickens’ House)
To start with, there are three common poultry housing systems. The first and the oldest is Free Range System.
In this housing system, chickens are allowed to have access to a large open space, non-confined.
They walk freely around and (in addition to the feed they’re given) pick up insects and other things they could eat on the floor.
A hindrance to this housing system is that it requires a large space of land and the chickens are exposed to predators like brother Hawk and others.
A similar system to the above-mentioned one is a Semi-intensive system. Here the birds have an open space to live as well as a confined pen.
The third type of housing system is probably the most common for commercial poultry farmers.
It’s called Intensive System.
In this system, our poultry birds are confined into a specially built pen. They cannot go beyond the pen.
However, even using this pen, we still have two options to choose from.
First, we can use a battery system inside our pen. In this case, our birds are to live inside a specially built cage.
The cages you’re seeing above have been specially designed in such a way that where to put the birds’ feed, where they’re dropping and eggs will go have all been designed with it. Automatic drinkers could also be easily fixed.
The battery cage system has been proofed to be the best when it comes to egg production. Because the birds don’t have much space to roam about, they do convert more of their feeds to eggs.
That’s not to say that the second option is totally bad. We can as well use deep litter’s system.
You can have your chickens on the floor of your pen. Here, your birds are not confined in cages, so they could easily move around. The floor is covered with sawdust or straw.
A strong net is built around each of the pens. Tarpaulins can be hung around the net fence. That could easily be rolled up (or from up to down, depending on the design) when there is cold or rain. It’s needed especially when your chickens are still small (at the brooding stage).
However, when they are grown to pass the brooding stage, they have become stronger and are having big feathers, so cold should not be their problem anymore (except when it is extreme).
The roofing sheets should not be metal sheets.
The reason is that metal sheets cause heat and excessive heat could kill your birds or reduce their egg’s productivity.
The best roofing sheet to use for poultry farm is Asbestos or Thatch-roof. They both can hold heat, instead of releasing it down the way a metal sheet will.
The brooding pen and layers (or grown-up broilers’) pens are slightly different in the sense that while constructing your brooding pen (where your day-old, young chickens will live) you have to consider cold.
Before I show you how you must build your pens, let me make it clear that, though a standard poultry farm must have two or more pens, there is no crime in starting small.
You could construct a simple brooding pen (the house for your chicks, day-old chickens) and simply convert it to a layers’ pen when they become “adults”
Having understood this, let me explain how you have to build those pens, to get the best for your chickens and maximize your profit.
This is where you will house your chicks from the very first day you get them to your farm till they become “adults”.
The ideal way to build this pen is to construct simple two blocks round your intending brooding location, then use Tarpaulin (and wood) to cover the remaining space up.
The brooding stage of your broiler chicken is about two to three weeks while it may take 6/7 weeks for layers to be brooded.
Now about layers or “adult” broilers’ pen.
This could be a little simpler. You could just build two blocks (as of broodings pen). You could then cover up the remaining space with net (strong net, not mosquito’s net. Lol) or woods.
The roofing sheet, as earlier said, must not be constructed with light iron or metal roofing sheets. Instead, with Asbestos or Thatch-roof
Your broodings’ pen must not be built near the broilers’ or layers’ pen.
The first reason is that your chicks cannot withstand the odor from the layers or broilers’ pen.
The other reason is that layers or broilers could be carriers of certain germs that though could do them no harm, can easily kill the chicks.
After sometimes when your farm has grown and you’re having chicks and layers, you must have SEPARATE staff to be dealing with them.
Your workers who are working with the layers’ pen must not be entering your broodings’ pen and those in broodings’ pen too must not be entering the layers’ pen, so they won’t carry some germs from the layers’ pen and infect your chicks.
Brooding Your Chickens
When you order for the chicks you want to raise, either layers or broilers and they are delivered to your farm, the very first days or weeks of the birds on your farm is called the brooding stage.
Brooding period for broilers could be plus or minus 14 days while brooding period for layers could be between 5-7 weeks (depending on the weather situation in your locality)
The reason why the brooding period for the broilers is lower is that those birds called broilers grow very fast.
The brooding period of your chickens is the most important and most delicate, for the obvious reason.
The most difficult and most important time in your poultry business is at the brooding stage. The mortality rate (the rate of death) is higher for the chicks than for the grown-up chickens.
That’s common sense, isn’t it? As humans, babies are much likely to die of little diseases or infections than adults.
That’s the reason why some farmers prefer to go for grown-up chickens already at the point of laying (chickens that are already about to be laying eggs.).
Why this may seem smart because you’ll avoid so many headaches of “nursing” day-olds, it could be risky because you never can tell how those chickens were brought up.
Just as it’s in humans, the early stage of your chicken’s life is very important. If anything is wrong (maybe inappropriate feeding or care), it will affect their growth and productivity as “adults”.
Now you can see what I am saying.
If you go ahead and buy chicken at the point of laying, you won’t know their foundation and if their foundation has been faulty, what can the righteous (you) do?
Have I told you before, that your chicks have to be taking care of just like your newborn baby?
Ok. Just reminding you
Just like your newborn baby, they need food, water, vaccines, and drugs whenever they are sick (detail later)
One other very important thing they need is protection from cold and excessive heat.
Because they are still very young, fragile and without big feathers, you have to make sure you protect them from cold temperatures.
At the brooding stage, day and night you have to get their pen warmed by using a charcoal pot, stove, or other electrical poultry brooders (if you can afford them).
Warming their pen day and night will continue until they are grown up (broilers 14 days and layers 5-7 weeks).
If you’re using artificial means to generate heat in your brooding pen, you must make sure your charcoal or stove is “fenced” with something like a wire that will prevent your chicks from being burnt.
The number of charcoal or stove to be used depends on how much your chicks are (common sense).
You will as well need to light up your brooding pen all night. If God blessed your area with constant electricity, congrats! If not, then you may result in some bright rechargeable lamps or big local lamps.
One of the reasons why you should light up your chicks’ pen at the brooding stage is to prevent them from a stampede
Stampede is when birds step on each other and get wounded or die.
This is more likely when they are still young and they see anything (like a lizard) in the dark, with fear they may run and step on each other, get wounded and die.
While cold temperature is the biggest enemy of your chicks, there are some other big “enemies” you have to pay good attention to.
Quality of the Air
That your young birds need heat doesn’t mean that your brooding pen must be closed up. Fresh air should have its way and there should be cross ventilation.
Good feed and clean water
Just as it is for other ages of chickens, your little chickens need to be given good water and feeds.
As said earlier, a stampede is when chicken run over each other and step on each other. This could lead to injury and death of your birds.
To prevent this from happening, first, always enter your pens gently. When you or any of your workers rush into your pens, the chicken may run away (usually to the building’s edges) and step or lie on each other. The result may be injury or death.
Second, you may put some sacks together in one and put it at each edge of your pen. In this way, when your birds run to the edge of your pen, they won’t be wounded because the sacks will “bounce” them back.
Chicken’s Vaccine is the substance given to stimulate chickens’ body’s production of antibodies and provide immunity against diseases.
As human beings, we have various kinds of immunization programs where different vaccines are administered to our children at different ages to prevent their health from certain diseases (polio, etc.)
The same applies to the chickens. From the very first day, there are certain vaccines to be administered to the chicken.
Vaccine for day 1 of the chicken’s life; Marek‘s Disease Vaccine.
This vaccine must be given to the chicks the very day they are hatched. This vaccine should have been administered by the hatchery where you got your chicks from, even before you buy them.
Once the chicks leave the hatchery, this vaccine is no longer as effective as it should be, so it has to be administered in the hatchery.
The vaccine is to prevent Marek’s disease tumors and paralysis Newcastle Disease Vaccine
This vaccine should be given within 10 and 35 days of the chicken and to be repeated every 3-month to maintain a sufficient level of immunity for your birds against Newcastle Disease
This vaccine could be given through your birds’ drinking water, or as an eye/nose drop.
Infectious Bronchitis Vaccine
This vaccine could be given within day 10-35 of your birds. It’s often combined with the above vaccine (Newcastle).
Fowl Cholera Vaccine is another vaccine that should be administered only when you have or suspect cholera in your farm or a nearby farm
Infectious Bursal Disease Vaccine;
This is usually for layers’ birds. To be administered on the 14th day of your birds (or as advised by your vet doctor). This is also to be repeated on the 28th day. It could be administered through drinking water.
Other poultry vaccines are available to be administered whenever a disease is suspected or heard of in the neighboring farm or town.
Your vet doctor or consultant will be of great help in guiding you about when it’s necessary to administer some of these vaccines and how to go about them, even the emergency ones (if need be).
Infectious Laryngotracheitis Vaccine, Inactivated Newcastle-Bronchitis, Laryngotracheitis Fowlpox AE, etc. are the vaccines chickens may need as the need arises for them.
How can you get these vaccines?
This is very easy.
This is one of the primary tasks you have (as explained in the earlier chapter). Just move out and ask any poultry related materials or feeds seller in your area about where you can find these vaccines in your locality.
They are not scarce. Just ask people and you’ll be directed.
Don’t just buy vaccines! Make friends. Talk with people. Ask them questions as per poultry business, feeds, and the vaccines in your locality.
How and in what quantity will you administer poultry vaccines?
On each vaccine, there are prescriptions and precautions (just as when you buy the drug in a chemist shop). Read those instructions to know how to use them and in what quantity.
Also, note the expiring dates on the vaccines. Just like our drugs, poultry’s vaccines have expiring dates.
Don’t kill your chickens with expiring vaccines. Other things to take note about vaccines are;
- Don’t vaccinate sick birds (except in the case of outbreaks of laryngotracheitis or fowlpox). Vaccination is not to heal sickness; it’s to prevent it so when a bird is sick a vet doctor needs to prescribe the drug to
- Just like other sensitive drugs, prevent the vaccines from heat or sun
- Use only as recommended because misapplication of vaccines can lead to disease outbreak or death of birds.
- When vaccinating your birds, it’s advisable to vaccinate all of them at a time as few chickens left unvaccinated could spread whatever disease hidden in them to the already vaccinated birds
- After vaccination, burn or disinfect all opened containers to prevent accidental spread to other poultry. This is because…
- Most vaccines are living, disease-producing agents themselves. Handle them with care.
Poultry Diseases, Causes, Prevention and Treatment
Disease outbreak is one of those things that can lead to a total loss of investment for any poultry farmer so you must understand some basic things about poultry diseases and their prevention.
I said “some” because to try mentioning ALL the poultry disease may be an impossible adventure.
As there are too numerous human diseases so there are so many bird’s diseases.
The following are the four major types of poultry diseases;
- Metabolic and Nutritional Diseases. These are the diseases caused by a disturbance of normal metabolic functions either through a genetic defect, inadequate or inappropriate
- Infectious Diseases are usually contagious diseases caused by an invasion of a host by a pathogen which subsequently grows and multiplies in the
- Parasitic Diseases are infections with a parasitic organism
- Behavioral Diseases are the abnormal behavioral patterns that can lead to injury or ill health of abnormally behaving birds or their companions
All of the poultry diseases could be categorized into the above four categories.
So let’s see one or two common poultry diseases.
Common Poultry Diseases
As said earlier, there are as numerous diseases for birds and animals, as there are for humans.
However, as we humans can list some common illnesses (e.g. malaria, headache, stomachache, cancer, etc.) so are there some common poultry diseases.
Below is some of them;
- Diarrhea. Diarrhea is a common poultry disease that shows its symptom through white or greenish, loose droppings (feces). It can be caused by cold, dampness, dirty surroundings, and unclean food. When you notice any of your bird sick with Diarrhea, quickly separate them to a dry, warm pen. If you have a veterinary doctor near, quickly give him a call. If not, contact any experienced farmer or consultant and explain the symptoms to him/her. He or she can come to your farm to see things himself and know what exactly is wrong. It may be diarrhea or something different so we cannot tell
- Roup (Coryza). Roup is caused by cold, overcrowding, etc and could spread through drinking water or feed. The symptoms could be sneezing and watery discharge which can later turn to foam white and the yellowish, from the eyes or nostrils. It can also lead to diarrhea.
- Liver trouble. Liver trouble is not It’s an ailment that affects mostly older birds. This disease is caused by too little mobility (exercise) by the birds.
While we can go on and on to mention numerous poultry diseases like; Ambloidosis, Ascites, Avian Rhinotracheitis, Biting Lice, Breast Blister, Caecal Worm, Cellulitis, Chicken Anaemia, Cropworms, Favus, Fowl Cholera, Gizzard worms, etc., those big grammars will not do you any good.
Instead, you can be better if I give you two deep secrets.
First, work hard on preventions. Prevention is not just better than cure, it’s cheaper and easier.
Second, since you might want to employ someone or two with your poultry farm, why can’t you work hard to employ someone with previous experience of at least three years in a poultry farm?
This will help you in a lot of ways. This person you’re bringing in will come with knowledge and experience (including the knowledge to detect the sick bird and to understand various symptoms) and there is nothing that can help you like that.
How to Prevent Poultry Diseases
- Pay attention to proper sanitation practices. Daily wash the feeders and drinkers. Always clean all your equipment with proper disinfectants (Dettol etc)
- Minimize or eliminate the introduction of new chickens to your flock because they could be carriers of some germs or
- Limit visitors’entrance to your farm and if they must enter, let there be disinfectants at the entrance of your farm where everyone going into your pen (including you) will wash there hands and fits. (Example disinfectant is a bowl of water you’ll put anti-germs chemicals like Dettol, Izal )
- Quarantine unhealthy chicken as quickly as possible. By this, I mean that you should separate any chicken suspected to be sick into an isolated
This should be done to prevent the spreading of the diseases among the flock.
- Vaccinate Chicken at the appropriate time. When a new set of chicken just came into your farm, when they are transported out and back in etc, there is a need to vaccinate the flock. To vaccinate is to give your chicken the required vaccine.
- Watch out for unhealthy chicken. You must inspect your farm every day and see how your chickens are doing. When one or two of them is not
healthy, it’s better you know on time. Since you know how your birds live
and behave in good days, it’s not too difficult to know if one of them is sick.
If you could master all we have explained so far, you shouldn’t have much to worry about.
Now let’s see common mistakes you have to avoid in the poultry farming business;
Common Poultry Farmers’ Mistakes
- Locating brood too close to rearers housing house for an older pen
I have said this before. Your brooding house (where your day-old chicks live) must not be too close to the rearing or layers pen. Some people with large land space give a space of like three electric poles while others simply locate brooding pen into an entirely different location
- Housing chickens of different age together
This sounds foolish when you look at the nature of chickens. How can a younger chicken cope when the time comes for it to struggle with the older ones to eat? Don’t you know that chickens (like humans) do fight? How can younger chickens cope when the older and stronger ones step on them (stampede)?
This is one of the reasons why some ignorant farmers lose their investments.
- Housing layers and broilers together.
- Mixing chickens from different hatcheries together in the same pen.
Now, even if they are of the same nature (i.e. layers), they shouldn’t be in the same pen together if they are from different hatcheries.
Because their foundation is different and they may not grow or be fruitful alike.
- Buying chickens from “quack” hatcheries.
Some people hawk chicks all around the town. Some are hatchers by mere name. The reason why you must not buy your chickens just anywhere is that there are meticulous processes the professional hatchers have to go through to hatch eggs.
If any of these processes are left out or omitted because of ignorance, it will tell for the rest of the chickens’ life. How do you know a good hatchery?
Ask from the farmers in your vicinity. If they prove hard to approach, ask from the poultry feed sellers. They will be friendlier with you (because they want to sell you feeds)
I met with a man a few days ago and he was sharing with me his experience in some places in Lagos, a situation whereby 7 to 12 people could be sleeping in a single room.
That’s call overcrowding.
It’s affecting their health but because there is no alternative, “man must live”
However, in the case of birds, “birds can die”.
When they are still day-old, chickens could be hundreds in a pen but as they grow up you’ll have to be spacing them because that pen may not be conducive for them any longer.
Your pens can never be too big, but they can be too small.
- Bad litter management
You must have a place on your farm where you pack the birds’ feces. This could be a hole at a distance or something similar.
- Assuming that all will be well, all the time or estimating that all layers will lay an egg every day
This may sound pessimistic but you see, nobody smiles all the time. No known method will keep all your chicken alive. Some will die. If you have 500 layers, you cannot get 500 eggs every day.
I have explained this earlier
Some layers may not lay eggs while some lay each 26 hours. If you think about that, you’ll know the reason why you cannot pick 500 eggs from 500 layers.
- Underestimating Predators.
Predators, as explained earlier are the enemies of your chicken. Some of them want to eat them while others just love to hurt them for fun. Hawks, Raccoons, Foxes, snakes, soldier ants, and some others. If you don’t keep the environment of your farm very clean and well guided, any of these predators can come at the time you least expect them.
For instance, soldier ants will not notify you of their plan to visit your farm, nor will snake do. Even your Bingo dog could “joyfully” hurt your chickens when you’re not around if your farm is so loose.
Don’t underestimate predators. Prevent them from coming nearby making your farm’s surrounding very clean and protected.
- Not knowing when the chickens are uncomfortable and how to attend to them.
- Using Metal Roofing for poultry pens. As mentioned earlier, this causes heat, affect egg productivity and health of the
- Not preventing stampede.
I have explained this earlier. Take note. Stampede kills human beings (as strong as we are). Imagine how much effect that could have on the fragile chickens.
- Going all alone.
Don’t go all alone. Make friends and relate with poultry farmers in your locality. Have some experienced people (one or two) who you can call at any time and ask questions.
If possible (a must for a real farm), have a veterinarian at hand. Anything can happen at any time. He might have to diagnose to see what exactly is wrong with some unwell birds.
Let me warn you; DON’T GO ALL ALONE.
If some of these professionals and consultants require a certain fee, rather negotiate the fee than to go alone without them.
You may want to save 100 dollars and lose 1,000 dollars.
Introduction to Poultry Farming Business Proposal
Because of the importance of this document to the success of your poultry farm, you need to put in your very best in producing a good plan as it can determine the success of your venture.
Let’s jump into the details of this sample proposal, shall we?
Sample Poultry Farm Project Proposal Plan
This free poultry farming business plan template provides the necessary support and developing one is important to success in the poultry business.
The importance of writing a business plan for your new or existing poultry business can never be underestimated. It provides more assessment of your venture and is a core requirement when it comes to obtaining loans and grants from investors.
Unless you have your intentions for your poultry farming business written down, you might miss an opportunity to communicate it to someone else or even to clarify things for yourself.
Whether you’re starting or expanding a poultry business, writing a business plan will help you become clear about what you want to do and how you will be going about it. Most emerging poultry farmers will have to make use of loans or grants when starting their business.
To access these, you will need to write a business plan and submit it to your prospective financier or grant officer.
SAMPLE PRODUCTION POULTRY BUSINESS PLAN EXAMPLE
It is important for a business that wants to make an impact and be successful to have a business plan. This planning guide is an internal document that is only accessible to only a few members of the organization.
Any venture that plans to succeed should invest efforts at developing a comprehensive business plan that captures every aspect of the business. A business plan provides the necessary support needed for the business to do well in its industry.
In writing a business plan, it is paramount that you know the format to follow and better still, follow a sample in writing yours to avoid wasting time, effort, money, and resources. Therefore, I will be using this post in giving a business plan for a poultry farming business which can be used as a guide or sample in writing yours.
I will go directly to the business plan since you should already know the details of the business, that is, how to start and manage it well.
EXAMPLE OF A POULTRY BUSINESS PLAN
- Executive Summary
- Business Overview
- Vision Statement
- Mission Statement
- Marketing Strategy
- Business Requirements
- Cash Flow Analysis
Raising poultry birds involves the production of broiler meat and chicken eggs. It’s one lucrative and wide industry that has attracted millions of investors over the years. Niches related poultry farming include
- setting up a hatchery
- raising broilers
- egg production through layer birds
- marketing and distribution of table eggs
- production of poultry farm equipment like drinkers, feeders, debeakers, etc.
- sales of poultry vaccines, drugs, feeds, and supplements
- feed mill operation
- the construction of poultry pen and battery cage installation
This facility will only produce layer birds to prevent an overlap of ideas and due to the limited resources available. Meaning that in the future, Goody Poultry Farm might decide to bring in more ideas.
It is expected that in the first year of production, the farm should be able to produce about 60 crates of egg daily and generate more than 1 million as revenue. Spent layers should be sold at the end of a year of laying and the money should be used in getting replacement birds.
The business has decided to collaborate with experts and investors because the business involves bringing together all available industrial facilities that a single business might not be able to provide.
The most popular form of poultry farming business is layers production because egg consumption cuts across all nations. There are different niches in the poultry business. These include broiler, layer, quail, turkey, ostrich, geese, and duck production.
Because of these various forms, it is advisable to focus on one aspect and then add other aspects with time. This is one industry with great potential.
The main things that serve as hindrances in this industry are high-interest rate, lack of electricity, absence of credit, high cost of products, and so on. Presently, the demand for day-old chicks, eggs, and broiler meat remains very high.
The vision statement of Goody Poultry Farm is to ensure the production of good and nutritious eggs, create employment opportunities, and create wealth for investors.
The mission of this farming business is to build an efficient mechanized poultry farm that is rewarding at the same time. We are looking at a successful poultry farm that is highly developed and maintained.
Goody Poultry farm will as a marketing strategy employ a marketer at full capacity, the marketer will be employed to sell the eggs produced in the farm from one egg depot to another. Through this marketing activity, many clientele bases will be created.
To make the marketing easier and more efficient, we will allocate a date for all our customers so each customer will have a day when they will be supplied eggs either by picking up the eggs or have it delivered to them at a price.
Also, adverts will be placed on several online media which will also serve as a form of marketing.
The poultry business will be needing several equipment and tools for the smooth management of the business and they include:
- A shop in town will be needed to serve as the warehouse and egg depot, this helps in reducing the number of people who go to the farm which in turn reduces the risk of a break of security and bio-security.
- Semi-automatic battery cages of good quality will be purchased and installed for the birds.
- Other types of equipment needed for the business are feed (grower mash and layer mash), point of lay, different medications, and vaccinations.
CASH FLOW ANALYSIS
The market has been surveyed to determine the cash flow level of the industry. This helps in knowing if the poultry business is worthwhile or not. Analysis has shown that positive net cash balances are realized at the end of the second year the chicken farm started and this indicates profitability in the industry.
Also, it may not be possible to generate a net return in the first year of production due to the large capital requirements but subsequently, the farm would break even, generating significant profit.
I believe you have been equipped with all it takes to write a solid business plan for your poultry farm.
Here is the link to download our practical poultry production manual.
So start now by creating a counter-strategy to tackle these challenges and success will be yours. This is one of the best articles that can be converted to a planning guide on poultry farming.
Do you need a poultry farming business plan with a 3-year financial plan to apply for funding? Contact me on 08032176523.