Chicken farming is not that hard if you know what you are doing, homegrown chickens are becoming more common place especially when the farmer has a parcel of land dedicated to chicken farming. The size of a chicken farm solely depends on the farmer and financial investment put into the business, as a first time farmer either as a hobby, leisure or serious business the farmers should first consider the financial implication before venturing into the business.
Chicken farming can guarantee considerable income all year round it is easy to do but requires space and a little knowledge about chickens, the person venturing into chicken farming has to first determine if the operation is going to be a small farm, mid-range or large poultry farm. First time chicken farmers should start small raising backyard chicken so they can understand what it takes to raise chickens.
Poultry farming is a highly lucrative business venture if done properly and all the angles adequately covered such as sourcing the chickens, housing or free range, feeding, medication and marketing or selling the end product.
Poultry farm hen
Things to consider when starting a poultry business
There are important things you must consider when starting a poultry business, the first and most important thing is to know is which section of the business you would like to concentrate on. There are three major sections related to chicken farming such as hatchery business, egg production and meat production.
Before going into the business you should determine which one interests you the most, either producing new hatch-lings, or having layers for egg production or grow out chicks into adulthood for their meat. Many farmers concentrate on only one aspect of chicken farming so they can specialize in that niche, but is not uncommon to see farms producing eggs and meat for the market place.
Larger poultry farms usually do all three stages of production because they have the capacity, finance and technology. Some small homestead farms can carryout the three stages on a smaller scale if they are interested.
So the three sections are layer chickens for egg production, grow out chickens for meat production, or hatchlings for other farmers, each section need specialized equipment and chickens that have been bred specially for that purpose. Broilers are usually grown out chickens; layers could be point of lay or old layer adults and for hatcheries the farmer needs fertilized eggs.
Poultry egg production
Livestock farming methods
Get the Air incubator with automatic egg turner
Free rang or caged
Starting a chicken farm the farmer should determine if he wants them to be caged of free ranged, using the latter can only be possible if you have adequate landed space for them to wander about. Even free range chickens need somewhere to sleep so you should prepare a good location so the chickens can use it at night.
Caged chickens are more under control and can be properly managed depending on if they are being bred for slaughter or egg production. Free range birds can be used both as layers or for meat and they can produce young naturally especially if there is a cockerel and few hens.
Broiler chickens are specially bred chicks that grow at an alarmingly rapid rate, they are fast growing and gain weight rapidly at a rate of about one hundred grams (100gm) a day, attaining a weight of upwards five pounds (5pounds)in forty six days (46). Because of their genetic nature they carry more meat than regular chickens and are prone to heart disease and overweight, broilers at maturity are not agile and do not walk smartly. It takes roughly about six months to grow into full adulthood and ready for the meat market.
So chicken farmers interested in the meat market part of the business needs to have broiler chicks to grow into adulthood. Growing chicks needs a lot of care and attention, proper temperature controlled environment, lots of water and correct feed concentrate. The chicks need a vet doctor to provide medication because chicks are very vulnerable to disease and cold and have a high mortality rate.
New farmers going into this section of the business should be very careful not to lose the entire stock in their early days to disease and sickness. Any sick bird should be quickly removed and a vet should be in attendance.
Layer chickens are also specialized laying machines, most layers can manage an egg a day depending on the chicken’s age, breed and the type of chicken food given. Farmers use layers mash food so the chicken quickly produces the egg at least one every twenty four hours.
Some species of chicken serve a dual purpose as layers and for meat production, like the New Hampshire Red, Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Red and Orpington. Layers are adult birds and are more resistant to disease and illness and under proper care can live pretty long.
Chicken farming equipment and systems
|equipment needed||systems||land/cage specification|
Layer chicken cage
moderate slope for cage
Nipple drink system
climate control system
waste desposal system
Things you need for egg production
You need a good drinking system, feeding system, flex auger system, effective storage system, good climate control system, automatic nest system and automatic or manual egg picker.
Important equipment s needed for egg production are
1 cages with moderate slop
2 cage should be spacious
3 the chickens should have a wide eating area
4 adequate water supply, manual or automated
5 automatic feeders or manual feeders
6 a good and reliable collection system
7 saddle type cap drinker
8 a cage made out of good mesh or galvanized steel
9 an aluminum through feeder
Layer chickens cages
Chickens used for laying purposes like old layers or point of lay chickens need cages adapted to the way they live, they are veracious feeders and can consume vast amount of chicken feed daily especially layers mesh. The chickens also produce large quantity of waste which most be attended to promptly to avoid illnesses and disease. Farms use the chickens waste and turn it into rich organic manure which they sell or use for plants.
The farmer can decide if the cage has automatic feeder features and waste disposal or manual feeding, some could be semi automatic and might even have environment coolers. Going into egg production you might need a good layer cage system, layer pallets, layer mash good layer hens and water source.
Automatic layer chicken cage and day old chicks
How to Raise Chickens
Types of incubators
There are many kinds of incubators in the market today but they all have one thing in common to properly regulate humidity and temperature within the incubation chamber. You can build your own incubation chamber if you wish by having a closed box with a light source and instruments to measure the temperature and humidity.
There are many incubators to choose from like the Elwood light foots, Bils incubator, Bird brain incubator, kingmts incubator, toxos and gopherbator, you can fabricate your own so long there is a temperature control.
Hatching chicken eggs
Some chicken farmers only specialize is producing young day old chicks for commercial purposes, the hatcheries usually produce chickens on demand or source available markets for their products. Hatching chicken eggs is a specialized sector and requires certain knowledge equipments and experience.
Selling day old chicks is big business and can make the farmers very rich if they have a steady market for their products. To hatch eggs they need fertilized eggs which they put into incubators for certain period of time at moderated temperature and humidity levels.
How to hatch chicken eggs in an incubator
If the farmer decides to concentrate on hatcheries he needs to know a few things, only fertilized eggs would hatch and the probability of all hatching is sixty percent (60%). The temperature within the incubator should range between ninety eight degrees Fahrenheit and one hundred and nine degrees Fahrenheit (98-109%f).
The humidity in the incubation chamber can be between 50 and 69 and the fertilized eggs should be turned at least three times daily until about four days to hatching. It takes roughly twenty one days for the eggs to hatch into tiny chicks. The chicks at this stage should be given adequate medication because they are very vulnerable to disease and could die suddenly, using a vets services is very important.
Still air incubators can have higher temperatures ranging between one hundred to one hundred and two (100-102 f) degrees Fahrenheit. The newly hatched chicken need plenty of water and can be feed two days after hatching, the preferred food could be chicken starter concentrate with medication.
Chicken eggs have air bubble within them and proper placement of the egg during the incubation process would guarantee safe hatching.
1 Determine size of farm
2 Goals to achieve
3 Financing through loans, credit, self, family and friends
4 Use good equipment
5 Buy high quality stock from reputable breeders
6 Determine sector you are interested either hatchery, grow out or egg production
7 Poultry style free range or caged
8 Use qualified vet for chickens health related matters
Rhode island red
When farming chicken the breed of the chicken can impact positively or negatively on the bottom-line, if you would make profit or loss. Some breeds grow faster than others and some are verified laying machines.
Depending on the sector you decide to operate the chicken breed is the next important consideration, you can check your local listings of chicken breeders ask questions and narrow your choices to the ones that would make quick profit.
There are over two hundred and fifty chicken breeds (250) with many indigenous to certain areas, listed bellow are some of the more interesting breeds that farmers like.
Dual purpose chickens
New Hampshire Red
The New Hampshire birds are one of the more prolific birds that farmers favor, the bird has a high meat ratio and are good for meat production; the bird interestingly is also good as egg layers so it can also be used for egg laying purposes. This fast growing chicken has its origin from the Rhode Island reds and can be found in many countries because of their adaptability, growth rate, laying and their meat.
The Plymouth Rock are the Brad Pitt of chickens, they are beautiful fast growing chickens, and they also produces high quality meat and are very good layers. They look sturdy and have interesting personalities; the chicken is good for large poultry farming and small chicken farms. They can be free range or caged depending on the business structure and are very popular in America, North America and many countries.
Rhode Island Red
The Rhode Island Red are verified egg laying machines, prolific layers highly favored by chicken farmers, they also produce very high quality meat so they can be placed with chickens that can be used for dual purposes. The chicken is known to have an amiable temperament that borders on docile.
Rhode Island Reds can be found in many countries like Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, South Africa, and the Middle East.
Orpington chickens are great layers and also have good meat yields; they are gentle birds, nice feathers and are larger than some of the ones mentioned earlier. They are highly adaptable, have easy going personalities and can stand extreme cold environments better than some breeds. You can find them in places like Italy, Poland, United Kingdom, and France, the Sussex breed is also very popular in Europe
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Important business decisions
Starting a chicken farm you need to determine if you use the free range or caged system, the next step is to map out a viable business plan which should be attainable. The business plan should include operational costs, sector of chicken farming you want to do, financing either by self, and bankers in terms of loans or credit.
How big is your chicken farm, determine your preferred size and structure, look for high quality equipment that would get the job done. Use correct machinery; buy correct stock from top breeding farms and land considerations.
Chicken farming requires adequate investment especially in the feed and medication; top farms even produce their own chicken feed.
Marketing your business
Marketing your business is important if you’re going to make profit, to market your goods you need to promote it through advertisements, handbills, word of mouth, visit local stores, have open store sales and use the electronic media. Always work within a budget and an accountant to keep proper records and balance your books.
You can make money from chicken farming especially if it is done right from the start.
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daniel on September 22, 2017:
thank u very much
joshua burgos from OKLAHOMA on March 05, 2017:
joshua burgos from OKLAHOMA on March 05, 2017:
this is a great and very good lead way to building your very firstt chicken coop or how i like to say it chicken house.. its the perfect way to get started for begginers ... http://bit.ly/ChickenHouse
CHRISTINE WANGECHI WANJIRU on February 24, 2016:
Hae where can I get this chick's for a Start am in Kenya thanks
bukky on August 03, 2015:
My layers are 9, they lay 7/8 per day before, but now they lay 4/5, pls what is the wrong and the way out.
femi (author) from Nigeria on June 10, 2014:
Dr Bill-Wml-Smith I am happy you liked it.
In my teens we had lots of chickens both layers and free range including some aggressive turkeys , many robin birds an electric fish and many dogs. It was educational and fun
William Leverne Smith from Hollister, MO on June 09, 2014:
Thank you for very useful information. I like to write about families and farms. Fresh ideas are always welcome! Hope you'll stop by one day... ;-)
femi (author) from Nigeria on April 08, 2014:
You are quite right dearabbysmom there are different legislation guiding different cities, before anyone interested in chicken farming starts they need to first check laws guiding that particular locality.
Hello cybershelley, thanks for the complement.
dearabbysmom from Indiana on April 08, 2014:
Also important to check local zoning ordinances. I know in my town there are some folks interested in raising chickens, but it's not legal to house chickens within the city limits. There are folks introducing legislation to get that changed, and many hope they do. Great information, voted up!
Shelley Watson on April 08, 2014:
Wow, what an extremely well thought out, informative article. Thank you for taking the time to share your extensive knowledge. Up, interesting and useful