The first thing is to identify the market you will be producing for. Having an idea of the market will help you plan the location of the farm to reduce production costs and maximise profits.

Location dictates your proximity to the market to deliver to target customers as well as the cost of acquiring raw materials for feed formulation or already compounded feeds for the birds. The next crucial aspect is housing.

The ideal house should provide the birds with a comfortable environment and protect them from the extremities of the prevailing weather conditions.

The house should provide adequate space for the flock. The ideal stocking density is two square feet per bird. Having this in mind will help you in planning the size of the house if the birds are to be kept in deep litter system.

Once you are set with housing, the next thing is to know where to source chicks.

One can use day-old chicks from hatcheries. You can also opt to buy chicks that are more than a day old up to about six months old from reputable farmers.

In either case, remember to ask for the vaccination programme for the birds so that you know what vaccine has already been administered and what is yet to be. The feeding of the birds is also key.

If the birds are from another farmer, inquire on the feeding regime previously used to reduce stressing them due to change of feeds.

This can impact on growth as well as production. For day-old chicks, start with chick mash for the first eight weeks of life then gradually transit to growers’ mash as from week 9 to 15 then again gradually introduce layers mash from week 16 to week 20 onwards. Average feed per bird is around 120g as from around point of lay.

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All through the growth stages, water should be provided all the time. Remember, for a farmer to break even, a higher number of birds is recommended.

Ideally, I will advise 300 birds for a start and as you expand production, consider increasing the population to 1,000 birds and above.

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Location dictates your proximity to the market to deliver to target customers as well as...
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