Poultry Farming – The Ultimate Guide for Beginners
The demand for poultry products is rising, making poultry farming among today’s most lucrative business ventures. Overall, poultry farming entails keeping different birds, including ducks, geese, chickens, guinea fowls, peafowls, and quails, for egg, feather, and meat production.
Beginner poultry farmers can leap handsomely from poultry farming if they adhere to the correct poultry farming principles and methods.
Types of Poultry You Can Farm
When most people hear the term poultry farming, what crosses their minds is raising chickens for eggs or meat. Poultry farming, however, isn’t all about raising chickens.
You can raise different types of domestic birds besides chickens. Below are some poultry birds you can raise if you have considered venturing into poultry farming.
- Turkeys– Turkeys are the largest birds you can include in your poultry farming business. Turkey farming is prevalent in Canada and the US. You can raise turkeys commercially for meat production during Christmas and Thanksgiving. Turkeys also lay many eggs for domestic consumption, although it’s uncommon for people to raise these birds specifically for egg production.
- Ducks- Ducks are the most commonly raised birds after chickens. These water birds are ideal for meat and egg production. Some popular duck breeds to raise include the Campbell, Indian Runner, Muscovy, and Cayuga.
- Geese– Geese are also popular water fowls to raise for egg and meat production. Geese’ feathers are also valuable, prompting many farmers worldwide to raise them for feather production. They have the most extended lifespan of all domestic birds. Geese are perfect for meat production since they are larger than ducks and chickens.
- Guinea fowls– Guinea fowls are suitable birds to raise for domestic and commercial meat production, thanks to their flavorful, lean meat. Some farmers raise them to control pests like ticks on their farms. Guinea fowls have strong vocal features, helping them provide security to other birds and farm animals.
- Quails-Quails are mid-sized birds belonging to the Phasianidae family of game birds. Farmers raise them for eggs and meat. Their eggs have potent medicinal properties, prompting people to use them to treat several diseases.
- Pigeons– You can raise pigeons on your farm as exhibition or sport birds. Pigeons, however, are more exhibition fowls than commercial-purpose birds.
- Peafowls- Peafowls are gorgeous fowls to keep for ornamental purposes. Besides raising them for ornamental purposes, you can raise peafowls for egg production because their eggs are thrice larger than chicken eggs.
Things to Consider When Choosing Poultry
Choosing the perfect poultry for your small-scale or large-scale poultry farm is vital to prosperous poultry farming. Picking the best poultry for your business can be challenging, particularly for those venturing into poultry farming for the first time.
Furthermore, beginners have multiple options to consider when it gets to poultry. Below is a complete rundown of everything you should consider when selecting poultry.
Housing and Equipment
Farmers have to think about housing while choosing poultry. After all, not all housing suits all poultry. Proper housing is significant for any successful poultry farming venture. Even if you aren’t setting a huge commercial poultry investment, having sound housing for your poultry can increase your odds of succeeding in your poultry farming.
Suitable housing will protect your birds from harsh weather conditions. It can also keep your birds warm, protect them from predators, help you control the birds, and make it easy to administer veterinary care when needed. Your poultry housing design should help you accomplish all that.
Some fundamentals of suitable housing for your poultry are that it must be durable enough to last for years and spacious to accommodate all birds. Suitable poultry housing should be well-ventilated, lighted, and insulated.
It must be easy to clean and have isolation areas for the injured and sick birds. Your ideal poultry housing should have the correct temperature, humidity, and gas concentration levels to keep the fowl safe.
Besides having suitable housing for their poultry, farmers must consider the types of poultry equipment required to set up their poultry farming business. Some of the poultry equipment a beginner poultry farmer must have include water equipment, such as nipple drinkers and manual drinkers.
Feeding equipment like linear feeders and circular feeders are critical equipment to invest in while setting up a poultry farming business. Other essential poultry equipment include brooders or heaters for keeping fowls warm in the cold.
Like in other farm animals, feeding is crucial for poultry. Poor feeding can discourage your poultry farming efforts, making you incur huge losses over time, particularly if you are raising dozens of birds. Despite the type of poultry you wish to keep, ensuring you can feed the birds with nutritious food is wise.
Different domestic birds have different feeding requirements. For instance, large birds like geese and turkeys need more food than medium-sized birds like Guinea fowls and chickens.
Furthermore, it would help to decide how you will feed your birds. For instance, if you are keeping ducks or chickens on your farm and in confinement, you must determine what foods you’ll offer the birds to meet their nutrition. Most importantly, determine how and when you’ll be feeding the birds.
The environment you raise your poultry can considerably impact your birds’ productivity. Again, not every environment is suitable for all poultry. Some environments can support some birds, but improper for others.
Failure to provide a conducive environment for your poultry can significantly reduce profitability in the long run. Furthermore, a poor environment can make your poultry experience issues such as slow growth and development, increased risk of disease, poor feed conversion, and high mortality rates.
Whatever poultry you plan to keep, you must consider whether you can provide the birds with an optimal environment while choosing your poultry. If you are raising water fowls like geese and ducks, it will help to ensure your birds can access water since it is vital for their survival.
Birds like chickens and turkeys thrive in warmer environments, so raising your birds in a warm climate is critical. Predation is an environmental factor that can affect your poultry, so ensure you raise your fowls in a predator-free environment.
Overall, poultry thrives in clean environments. Dirt and poor sanitation are leading causes of poultry diseases, making it impossible for farmers to run successful poultry farming ventures. Poultry farmers must endeavor to raise their fowls in a clean environment.
Regardless of the poultry you raise for large-scale or small-farming businesses, you must provide the fowl with a clean environment.
Many poultry farmers consider setting up a poultry farming business mainly for egg production since the demand for poultry eggs is ever-rising. While raising poultry for egg production, you must consider whether the birds you raise are suitable.
While raising ducks and chickens for eggs, you must choose prolific laying breeds for optimal profitability. Not all duck or chicken breeds are ideal for egg production, so you must ensure the birds you raise are exceptional egg producers.
Moreover, it would help to consider whether the poultry you raise is sustainable for egg production.
Raising turkeys for egg production isn’t lucrative since turkeys aren’t great layers, unlike chickens and ducks. Again, you can’t keep fowls like peafowls for egg production since these birds are suitable for ornamental and exhibition purposes.
If you consider picking poultry for meat production, raising large and bulky birds is prudent since such birds can produce tons of meat. Turkeys and geese are among the perfect fowls to raise for meat production because they are larger than other birds, such as quails, chickens, ducks, and Guinea fowls.
Even among large fowls like turkeys, you must select the perfect breed suitable for meat production since not all turkey breeds are exceptional meat producers, especially small-sized turkey breeds.
Common Challenges in Poultry Farming
Poultry farming has its set of challenges, like any other business. These are some challenges in modern poultry farming.
- Poultry diseases– Poultry diseases like E.coli, mycoplasma, Newcastle disease, and Avian flu are among the biggest threats to prosperous poultry farming.
- Poor breed selection-Choosing the wrong poultry breed is a huge challenge, particularly among beginner poultry farmers. For instance, if you choose the wrong meat breed, you won’t achieve optimal meat production despite the number of fowl you raise.
- Harsh weather conditions- Rainstorms and windstorms can threaten poultry farming. Snow can also subject your birds to frostbite and respiratory problems. Excessive heat can subject the poultry to heat stroke, particularly if it can’t access water.
- Financial constraints– Financial constraints can impact negatively your poultry farming venture. Like any business, poultry farming requires sufficient capital. Farmers with limited budgets cannot provide quality food to their birds or set up proper housing for their fowls. Financial constraints can also hinder you from getting the best breed for your poultry goals.
Breeding and Genetics in Poultry
Breeding in poultry involves mating poultry to maintain or increase the current poultry flock. It also entails selecting specific birds to improve one or many traits, such as meat quality, egg production, behavior and temperament, weight, and size.
While breeding poultry, it’s important to consider genetics because genetic changes in poultry breeds are an integral factor in enhancing production qualities in poultry. No wonder genetics play a pivotal role in selective poultry breeding, significantly increasing success rates in poultry performance.
Regulations and Permits for Poultry Farming
Legislation can affect many aspects of your poultry business. Consequently, you have to consider regulations and permits for poultry farming before venturing into poultry farming. For instance, those starting poultry farming businesses in residential areas must obtain residential chicken permits before starting a poultry facility.
Farmers raising chickens for commercial meat production must obtain a special poultry permit from their local authorities to slaughter and sell poultry. Those with more than 350 birds must register with APHA (American Public Health Association).
Your local poultry department will provide you with all details about regulations and permits before you venture into poultry farming.
Cost Analysis of Poultry Farming
While it’s among the most lucrative sectors these days, poultry farming can be a costly venture. No wonder poultry farming isn’t for farmers with limited budgets, mainly those venturing into large-scale or commercial poultry farming. So there are cost analyses to consider before starting a poultry farming business.
For instance, farmers must analyze the cost of setting up suitable housing for their poultry. It would help if you considered the cost of the material for building your poultry farming property.
For instance, if you are using wood to set up housing for your birds, you have to consider the cost of buying sufficient wood to build a good house for the fowls. It would help if you also thought about the price of chicken wire, door latches, ventilation, roofing, and insulation materials, regardless of the materials you use for suitable poultry housing.
Furthermore, it’s good to consider the cost of poultry farming equipment, such as brooders, waterers, perches, and incubators. The cost of feed is another cost factor to consider when running a poultry farming business. Most significantly, it would help if you considered the cost of vet care for your flock since birds are vulnerable to poultry diseases.
Poultry Farming as a Business Opportunity
Poultry farming is among the most lucrative business opportunities worldwide. Commercial broiler farming, for instance, is among the most successful business opportunities in the Americas, thanks to the growing demand for chicken meat.
Egg processing, which entails egg processing, eggshell processing, and egg grading, can cash-intensive business opportunities. The rise in poultry farming leads to an increase in stores selling poultry farming equipment, giving rise to profitable business opportunities whereby people sell poultry farming equipment to poultry farmers.
Poultry feed manufacturing can be worthwhile since poultry farmers constantly seek high-quality feed.
Sustainable and Organic Poultry Farming Practices
Sustainable and organic poultry farming means taking responsibility for the safety and health of poultry. Sustainable poultry farmers are excellent water, feed management, and land stewards.
They also raise birds in an eco-friendly manner to combat environmental degradation. One sustainable and organic poultry farming practice involves using poultry tractors to allow poultry access to a specific portion of pasture. A mobile poultry tractor provides poultry with a cost-free food source.
Reusing and recycling is another practice that makes a poultry farm more sustainable because it allows you to use something twice or more for the birds. For example, you can harvest rainwater to keep birds dehydrated instead of using piped water. Or, you can use poultry waste as manure instead of inorganic fertilizers.
Poultry farming is undoubtedly a rewarding investment for beginners and seasoned poultry farmers. As a beginner, you can start a successful poultry farming business, provided you embrace the best and most sustainable practices. You can start a successful poultry farming investment with a decent budget.