When you intend to start a poultry project, sometimes budget constraints may be very discouraging . That is not an excuse to shelve the project though. To cut on production costs, you can substitute as follows:
Feed accounts for the greatest cost in broiler production. If you have maize stocks or can find cheaper sources, instead of giving straight feed, you can buy concentrates and mix with course ground maize and make your own feed. Feed manufacturers can advise you on the best mix ratios.
Infrared bulb (heating)
To save on electricity and cost of buying an infrared bulb, you can use charcoal. You light the charcoal and leave it burning for some time. When its no longer producing smoke, put the glowing charcoal in a specially-designed charcoal burner (mbaura) or clay pots and put in the brooder or poultry house to provide warmth to the birds.
Clay pots retain heat for longer hours. Always ensure the pots are covered with mesh wire on top to avoid birds trying to get inside the pots. Ensure there is adequate ventilation to avoid suffocating the birds as well.
You can also put hot water in 2 litre water bottles and securely cover the tops. Put in fowl runs at strategic places to ensure heat from the water bottles evenly provides warmth throughout the poultry house or cage.
To reduce budget costs, you can cut aloe vera (gavakava) into pieces and crush to extract the juices. Place the cut pieces into water containers or drinkers and give the birds to drink. Give at least twice a week.
To save electricity required for providing light to the birds, use solar systems or portable solar lights. For suppliers of these you can check Classifieds and Business Directory sections on this blog.
Instead of buying wood shavings, you can replace with grass as bedding which you can freely cut or get from the roadside. Always disinfect the bedding first before use.
Drinkers and chick fonts
You can get creative here! Some poultry farmers cut 5L plastic containers and put a stone in the middle to ensure the birds do not tilt the container and wet the bedding. Plastic containers are more preferable to metal ones as they are easier to clean and do not get rusty over time.
You can cut plastic containers or even use metal containers for putting feed. It works fine. Ensure there is a stone in the middle to avoid birds spilling the containers. Chickens can be messy sometimes and you cannot afford to lose feed through spillages.
On average it takes 6 weeks at most to raise a broiler chicken to be ready for market. Due to new feeding methods, its possible to sell at 5weeks or even less especially for baby chickens if you find a market for such birds.
Instead of selling full chickens, another option is to sell cutlets such as legs, heads, intestines, livers, gizzards, wings and you neatly pack these in plastics.
Its much affordable for clients as compared to buying a full chicken. Study your market and offer what they are willing to pay for as long as you remain with a profit in your pocket.
As you can see, these tips can help you cut on budget costs as you start your broiler project. You will realise that as the number of birds you keep increases, you will also have more capacity to buy proper equipment for running your broiler business.
Advice on Keeping Broilers:
Do proper research to find out if there is a market in your area for your chickens. Check out the level of competition in your area and how much current producers are charging. Do not start a business without an idea of who your target market is and if there is demand for your product.
The temptation to start with a large batch from the onset is always there. Start small and learn the production processes, vaccination procedures, diseases, slaughtering processes, marketing, etc. Avoid starting with too large a batch without adequate knowledge and experience in the business. You will be disappointed if things go wrong. Once you get more confidence and knowledge in the business, increase batch quantities gradually.
Selection of chicks
To avoid losses, always buy chicks from reputable suppliers. Avoid buying chicks from cheap sources as you run the risk of getting “reject chicks” which hardly grow.
Always use good quality feed
Always buy feed from reputable suppliers. Avoid cheap feed from roadside merchants.
Avoid changing feed suppliers unnecessarily as this affects consumption and growth of birds. Introduce feed gradually from one stage to the next for instance from broiler starter to grower.
Endeavour to get adequate training or knowledge on proper broiler management practices. This will help you cut on unnecessary costly mistakes. You can subscribe to my free Email Newsletter for tips and advice that I post regularly on this blog.
Practice proper hygiene and good bio-security
Passion and hard work is required in this business. Broilers require extra care and attention. Never compromise on hygiene.
Always clean and sanitize your hands before handling the birds. Ash is a good sanitizer too.
Have a foot bath with disinfectant at the door entrance of the poultry house to prevent bringing diseases into the fowl run. Do not allow visitors near the birds as they may transmit diseases from outside unknowingly.
Control rats, dogs and cats from accessing the poultry houses as these may introduce diseases such as salmonella. Fumigation tablets work very well to keep rats away.
Allow proper ventilation in the brooder or poultry house. Birds need access to clean and fresh air all the time which also helps keep the bedding dry. Wet bedding is a haven for bacteria that causes diseases.
Provide cool and clean water all the time when its hot. In cold months, warm water is the best to encourage birds to drink. Water is good for appetite and increased feed intake which results in big and healthy birds.
Rearing and selling broilers is a profitable venture which has sustained many families over the years. As long as people need to eat, the demand for broiler meat will always be there – an opportunity for you to make money! – The Poultry Shop