It’s one thing to start a chicken business, but to start an actual business out of it is something else entirely. You are not only going to become a chicken farmer, but a businessperson as well, depending on what markets you want to target and what part of the chicken industry you want to tap into. In the chicken industry there are two main sectors: Layers, which are chickens bred and raised to produce eggs, or broilers, chickens raised and bred to be slaughtered. Whatever sector you choose, you have to make responsible managerial and financial decisions to make your chicken farm business a profitable one.
1 Formulate a business plan. This is one of the most important things to draw up as part of your operation. It tells of what goals you wish to achieve and how you intend to get there. It’s also a plan of how you want to operate your business from not just a producer’s standpoint, but the banker’s, lawyer’s, accountant’s and even possibly the hired hand’s standpoint.
2 Have land, capital and equipment. You cannot start up nor maintain a chicken farm or a chicken farming business without these dire necessities. You will need buildings to raise your chickens in, whether they be barns or hutches depending on how you are wanting to raise your chickens: conventional or free-range? Land is to have the buildings on and to grow crops on to feed your chickens. Equipment and machinery are needed to clean barns, dispose of deadstock, work crops, etc.
3 Make a decision how to best raise your chickens. There are two main ways to raise them. Conventional systems have chickens confined to barns that are temperature and photo-period controlled areas. Free-range systems allow your chickens to just about have the run of the farm to behave as naturally as possible.
4 Decide what sectors of the poultry industry you wish to pursue. Ultimately there are two types to choose from: broilers, which are chickens raised for meat, or layers–chickens raised for their eggs. However, there are also the other sectors of the industry that you can pursue. Eggs which are not to be put on the market for human consumption (these can be from both broilers and layers) are incubated and the chicks hatched and raised until they are at the right age to be sold to farms to be raised as layers or broilers. Often the business of incubating eggs and raising chicks is separate from that of raising the chickens themselves. There is also the part of slaughtering chickens for meat that is a separate sector in itself you may wish to pursue.
- Many chicken farms (primarily those that are not conventional) have more than one sector of the chicken farming business to operate. Whether you wish to operate all sectors or just one or two is your choice.
5 Find a niche market, if possible. If the area you are in is popular for raising chickens a certain way (more conventional than free-range), you may wish to pursue a niche market that targets the consumer’s interest in free-range chickens rather than the conventionally-raised ones.
6 Make yourself known to potential customers and consumers. Advertise yourself by simply letting other people know you have eggs or meat you want to sell. Often selling by word-of-mouth is a lot cheaper and still the most popular means of advertising than paying for an advertisement in the local newspaper that may get read by only a few people. However, there is no harm in doing that either, nor is there any harm in setting up a website promoting your product.
7 Keep up with records and accounting of your business and operation. This is so that you can always tell if you are making money or not.
8Raise your animals in accordance with county/Kenyan law