How to Start Poultry Farming in NigeriaPoultry Farming in Nigeria is one of the most profitable businesses in the Nigerian agriculture sector, and is a lucrative, and a legitimate money making venture in Nigeria. For entrepreneurs in Nigeria, this type of livestock farming can be very profitable, and has the potential to generate high returns within a short time frame, due to the fact that chickens mature very quickly. In Nigeria, poultry farming in Nigeria is experiencing significant growth due to the fact that an increasing number of people are moving away from the consumption of smuggled birds, and red meat due to health worries. As a result, there is an increased demand for local chickens.  This is great news as it creates business opportunities in Nigeria.

The demand for poultry is rising every day due to Nigeria’s emerging economy, and the measured increase in the standard of living.  This has resulted in a rise in the number of hotels, restaurants, bars, social events and public holidays that are celebrated.

If you have the required capital available, business ideas In Nigeria are not difficult to actualize. Poultry farming can be started on a small scale, and the space you have available will determine the number of chickens that you can keep.  To maximize your profits, you should capitalize on all areas.  For example, poultry feces or droppings can be sold as organic fertilizers to farmers and used as another income source to secure the future of your venture.

The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC) has identified that there is a huge gap in Nigeria’s cold chain sector.  Cold chain consists of refrigerated warehouses or units for storage of temperature sensitive products, refrigerated transportation: Reefer trucks, containers, ships and trains for transport of temperature sensitive products.  If you have the capital this is an area I would highly recommend investing in for the future.  With Nigeria’s increasing population the need for refrigerated meat products will rapidly increase, and this will see the natural rise in consumption of local poultry.

The following business startup tips will help you understand the process of poultry farming in Nigeria.

How to Start Poultry Farming in Nigeria

Different Breeds of Chicken
There are 3 basic types of chickens – broilers, cockerels and layers. As a new business, I would How to Start Poultry Farming in Nigeriarecommend that you choose, and specialize in one breed to begin your farm.  Once you have gained the knowledge of how to maintain a farm, breed and rear your poultry, you may consider diversifying your portfolio, and possibly introduce additional breeds to your business.

You should keep in mind that broilers require around 8 weeks to grow to table size while cockerels require 6 months, and layers need a minimum of 19 weeks in order to begin laying eggs.

How to Start Poultry Farming in Nigeria

Prepare Your Space
Depending on how you have planned your business, firstly, you should acquire a piece of land, which can satisfy your current, and future demands.  This is essential especially if you plan to grow your business over time.

Once you have purchased the land, all that is left is to build your poultry house, and to protect it with secure fencing.  The main feature of a poultry house is a cross ventilation system.  This can determine the success or failure of your venture.  Temperature, which is controlled by the ventilation will determine your poultry growth and feed conversion.  If temperatures are too high, poultry will not eat as much as they could, or may not eat at all.  If they don’t eat, they don’t maximize their growth potential.  If the ventilation (temperature) is not ideal for any part of a day, the potential growth for that part of the day is lost and can NEVER be regained.

Secondly, If you have completed the construction of your poultry house, it is important that you prepare the area by disinfecting it with strong disinfectants around a couple of days prior to the arrival of your fowls, secure the area, limit and eliminate food sources. This will prevent lizards and rodents from getting into the house.  This is important because:

•    They eat chicken feed
•    They eat eggs and baby chicks
•    They contaminate feed, water & coops with droppings, urine and hair
•    They are carriers of lice, fleas and mites and other parasites
•    They can transmit an estimated 50 possible diseases, not the least of which is salmonella (fleas carried by rats were responsible for killing an estimated 100,000 people in the Great Plague of London in 1665)
•    They can damage yards by burrowing and chewing wires used to secure the coop
•    They can injure chickens (rats are capable of chewing toes off roosting birds at night)
•    They create stress for chickens, which often results in a drop in egg production

Develop Your Knowledge
The more business management tips and tricks you acquire, the more successful your poultry business in Nigeria will be. Poor business planning, results in poor farming management, and is the main factor that causes the failure of poultry farming, and small businesses in Nigeria. Learning about effective management of various areas, such as changing the food or water in the event of fecal contamination can How to Start Poultry Farming in Nigerialower the risk of disease. In case of spillage of water, you can clean the areas, which have greater risk of breeding germs, and can result in your chickens becoming diseased, and potentially dying.  You should fully understand exactly what your chicken should eat.  Feeding your chickens a complete and nutritious diet is essential if they are to stay healthy and lay lots of lovely profitable eggs! Chickens will eat almost anything, so, to prevent deficiencies and health problems, a wide range of foods should be offered. A good quality poultry pellet should be the mainstay of their diet.  This can be supplemented with grains such as maize, soya cakes, groundnut, worms, insects and any other meat produce you can afford.

Determine Your Target Market
Many poultry farmers vary the volume of chickens they stock depending on the festive period they are targeting. For example, you can stock broilers at October-end if you want to target Christmas and have them ready for sale by the 3rd week of December. Your target will determine the frequency of your stock. If you select layer farming, you will have a year-round market, as layers need over 52 weeks for the completion of the laying cycle.

Consider the Space
The space needed per chicken in Nigeria, and virtually anywhere for that matter, depends on the type of chicken that you use. For light chicken, you need 3 sq ft while for general-purpose chicken you need to allot 4 sq ft per chicken.

Check the Cost
Once you have settled on your location, you need to invest your capital. The bigger your project, the larger the investment required. Invest wisely, and stick to what you have planned.

•    Small scale – You will need around ₦70, 000 to begin rearing chicken on small scale (around 50 birds) and keeping them in cages at your residence backyard.
•    Medium scale – You need about ₦500, 000 – ₦5 million to start a mid-scale poultry farm, which needs housing and other materials over land spreading 1-2 plots.
•    Large scale – Around ₦10 million is needed for this type of intensive project.  This will involve a high degree of planning, sophistication, professionalism and the use of advanced poultry farming techniques.

You should always look for healthy day old chicks from a good hatchery. The cost can vary from ₦140 to N200. In some cases, it can be even up to ₦300.  Do your research, and know what you’re looking for.

Potential Profits
Chickens tend to grow at a fast rate.  You can get your eggs hatched within 3 weeks.  Chickens reared for How to Start Poultry Farming in Nigeriathe meat industry can be slaughtered at 6 to 8 weeks old and are considered “fully grown” as they are fed a high protein diet.  However left to their own devices most domestic chickens reach maturity around 5 months of age, the pullets will start to lay eggs and the cockerels will start to crow. They may well grow for another month after this, but you will still get them market-ready in around 28 weeks. You can begin making an income within only 6 months of setting up your own poultry farm. On the basis of this calculation, you can double your returns in a year.

You can sell a healthy, full-grown chicken in Nigeria for 2,000 – 2,500 naira. If your farm yields 12,000 chickens, you can make a minimum of 24 million naira by the time you have completely sold them.

You can also make money by selling the eggs. A single crate of small eggs sells at anywhere between ₦500 and ₦550 while one with bigger eggs sells at ₦600 – ₦650. Typically, each crate holds 30 eggs and when you have 500 layers producing 12,000 eggs in 1 month, you can make ₦200, 000 – ₦260, 000 every month if you decide to sell all.

Rules and Regulations
You are not required to register with any regulatory body before starting you poultry business. However, I would advise that you follow the guidelines set out by the National Environmental Standards Regulation and Enforcement Agency (NESREA) of Nigeria, which lays down cleanliness and hygienic guidelines that poultry farmers should follow.  In addition to this, The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) reduces the chances of smuggled poultry products being brought in to the country.  This hopefully reduces the risks of you buying damaged or diseased chickens, which will negatively impact your business.

Why wait?
Poultry farming in Nigeria is very lucrative, and many locals and foreign investors are already getting rich from it. Considering the fact that this country has more than 160 million people, you can easily understand why your poultry farming business has the potential of becoming successful. You can begin with 1,000 birds and move your way up, or only start with a few hundred, and grow your business gradually.

If you already know how to plan and manage a startup business, you will have an advantage, and be able to establish your business within the local and national poultry farming industry.

Poultry farming in Nigeria is a rapidly growing industry, so why wait, start now!