Agribusiness Series;Broiler 101

Have you been thinking of starting a poultry business, but you don’t know how to go about it? Good thing you have me right? I’ll walk you through the basics of broiler production.

Some characteristics of broiler production include

  • It can be highly profitable ( between 20-50% return on capital if well managed)
  • It is NOT environmental friendly, terrible odours and greenhouse gases are frequently produced
  • It entails some degree of hard work (back breaking if you ask me).
  • Waste materials can be recycled/ sold for extra cash (poultry droppings, used feed bags, etc.)

Steps to setting up a poultry farm

  1. Determine the number of birds you want to start with.
  2. Get an area suitable such as a cage, a pen or an empty room
  3. Based on the number of birds you want, you will need a light source (e.g. electricity, charcoal, kerosene stove or gas stove), wood shavings, drinkers, feeders, nylon or polythene bags(for brooding) drugs, vaccines and of course poultry feed.
  4. Get your area ready; wash, disinfect, fumigate (if necessary) and allow to sit for two weeks, so as to starve any surviving disease causing agents. If you are purchasing already brooded birds, skip to step 10
  5. Book for your birds; if you would like to purchase day old birds, popular farms such as CHI, Zartech and Obansanjo farms have hatcheries and deliver day old birds every Tuesday and Friday. Look up their contacts online, place your order, pay and wait for your birds to get to you (I’ve been doing this with Zartech for a while with no trouble).
  6. On the day of the arrival of your birds, re-prep your space; rewash if needed, spread your wood shavings, arrange your feeders and drinkers, turn on your heat source. I like to place old newspapers on the wood shavings to monitor the droppings for the first few days.
  7. Prepare a foot dip, this consists of a disinfectant in a bowl or tray placed at the door of the pen or room, attendants are to dip their feet before entering the pen. This helps to prevent the spread of diseases
  8. On the arrival of the birds place them immediately in the pen, count quickly if you need to do so, remove and burn/bury dead birds.
  9. Monitor the birds for 30 minutes – I hour. Administer drugs, water and food as required.
  10. Ensure the heat remains constant until your birds have developed sufficient feathers to withstand the cold. It takes 1-3 weeks depending on the weather.
  11. Follow daily routine management practices, they include;
  • Remove dead birds.
  • Run your fingers through overnight feeds to remove faeces and particles of wood shavings.
  • Refill feeders if necessary.
  • Remove drinkers, wash and serve clean cool water.
  1. Occasional management practices include;
  • Change the litter if it becomes wet and smelly.
  • Administer vaccines as required
  • Observe your birds for any signs of illness such as droopiness (uncontrolled sleeping), difficulty in breathing and blood in their faeces. Isolate sick birds and consult a vet doctor immediately.

Vaccine and drug schedule for broilers

DAY DRUG/VACCINE
1 Glucose in water for 1 hour upon arrival

Neoceryl and vitalyte for 3 days

7 1st Gumboro vaccine
14 1st Lasota vaccine
21 2nd Gumboro vaccine
28 2nd Lasota vaccine

*this is a personal schedule, feel free to use any variation that suits you.

Feed regimen for broilers

DAY FEED TYPE
1-14 Broiler pre-starter or super-starter
15-28 Broiler starter
29-slaughter Broiler finisher

*this is a personal regimen, feel free to use any variation that suits you.

*some commercial feed companies do not produce pre-starters or super-starters, starter ration is fed for the first 4 weeks.

*birds should be provided with constant feed and water for the first 4 weeks (ad libitum).

Did I miss out any step? Is there something else you would like to know? Let me know in the comments. See you in my next post!

Abisola Oladele

The farmer, the Market and the Middle men.

Less than two weeks ago, my mum and i visited dei dei market (one of cheapest tomato markets in abuja). We wanted to buy a basket of tomatoes, needless to say, the prices were through the roof, but that is not the reason for this post.
I would like to share our experience;  we got to the tomato section and we saw groups of tomato sellers with thier baskets in front of them, each screaming his price. The prices ranged from 14,ooo naia to 16,000. But there was this man that kept screaming his basket was 20,000 naira, his fruits looked healthier and stronger than all the others, but nobody would go close to him because nobody likes nice juicy tomatoes because we all want awuf
We ended  up buy the 14,000 naira basket for 13,000 the fruits looked relatively strong, with little or no water underneath, but on opening it, we were devastated. Half of the tomatoes in it were spoilt  (baje). Obviously, we had been cheated.
In this situation who do you think made more profit? The farmer? The middle man? Ofcourse its the middle man or men, he must have purchased the tomatoes at a very cheap price from the farmer, telling them they were already getting spoilt and selling it to us at a high price while swearing and promising that there wasn’t even one spoilt fruit in it. The same applies to poultry and other food produce,these middle men and women purchase them at a very low prices and then sell to the consumers in markets at high prices, leaving both the farmer and consumer feeling cheated.
This brings me to a burning question, is it possible to eliminate the middle men?  Or at least limit thier ability to rip off both the farmers and the consumers. Would the farmer still be able to sell thier produce in time and maximise profit without the help of these people? Why are farmers so dependent on these midddle men? My friend Bukar Ismail says its because we  are lazy, i think its because we do not have the capacity make contact with as many consumers as we’d like in a short period of time.  So what do we we need? Government policies? Farmers markets? More work on the part of the farmer at reaching more consumers?
I’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments section.
Abisola Oladele