Main causes of high failure rate in poultry business in Kenya today
As a poultry farmer, you must have observed that not every poultry business succeeded around you, yours must have experienced some challenges as well.
It is difficult to give specific reasons why poultry businesses fail because poultry production is a complex farming enterprise that can be compared to a wheel with spokes – if one or more spokes break or malfunction, the wheel collapses.
In this article we have highlighted some common reasons why some poultry farms fail.
Lack of Technical Know-how
It is regrettable that many people and organizations have ventured into poultry farming without technical knowledge. Knowledge of poultry farming techniques are required before anyone can operate the business profitably.
An incompetent management may not be able to operate a profitable poultry farm. The managers of the farm must know what they are employed to do and possess the ability to do it. Some poultry managers fail to recognise the peculiarity of poultry farming in their management style, thereby preparing good ground for losses in the venture. Many managers do not recognize the need for timely planning and control in running the farm.
Some fertilized eggs meant to be hatched in the incubator could be infected with disease from the parent stock. This means that before the eggs were hatched they had been diseased. If the disease are not detected and treated on time, the affected birds may die sooner or later.
There is a minimum hygiene condition that must exist in any poultry farm if the birds are to remain healthy and produce maximally for profit. The poultry farm must be kept clean always; the droppings should be cleared on time before they constitute an agent of disease.
Poor feeding condition and wastage of feed
The birds need to be fed well in the pens in order to produce maximum meat and eggs (either of which may be the purpose for running the farm). The birds are fed with varying quantities of feed at different stages and with the appropriate feed. The various feeds are chicks mash, grower mash and layer mash, which must be sufficiently rich to give the birds the required nutrients to grow healthy and produce optimally.
A poultry farm must be established in a secured place to ward off enemies of birds, such as rats, soldier ants, snakes, wild birds, etc. Most of these enemies are agents of disease that could lead to an epidemic on the farm, and they kill the birds directly as well.
There must be strict check on the farm workers who may be stealing the fowls and the eggs. Also, visitors may constitute a problem to the farm if they are not properly checked.
Birds need minimum space and convenient place to grow well and produce maximally meat and eggs. Birds are spaced on the farm according to their ages; while the chicks need little space, growers and mature birds need more space and ventilation to perform well. The services of a consultant may be needed to determine the appropriate spacing for the birds without which they may suffocate to death, which will be a big loss to the business.
Inability to prevent, detect and control disease
It is often said that prevention is better than cure, as far as disease are concerned and this is a true statement and relevant one to poultry farming. A poultry farmer should know how to prevent poultry disease, as well as how to cure them. If he or she does know anything about preventive measures, the services of consultants in the field should be engaged for good result.
A marketing plan is absolutely necessary for successful commercial poultry farming, as any farmer ignorant of his or her marketing needs is bound to run into serious losses and eventual failure. It will be ridiculous to start poultry production without knowing when, where, how and to whom to sell the fowls, eggs, feathers and droppings as they are produced. We cannot talk of profit if the meat and eggs have no ready market. Eggs have a very short shelf life and if they are not sold quickly, they will go bad, and no one is interested in buying bad eggs. Also, birds not sold at the appropriate time will be fed at an extra cost that may make the business unprofitable. Therefore, adequate marketing strategies are needed to sell all the poultry products at the appropriate time and prices.
Ignoring the role of livestock consultants
There are always practicing experts in every profession or occupation who function as consultants. They are there to proffer solutions to problems that exist in such professions at a minimum cost. Where a livestock farmer doesn’t have adequate technical and managerial experience, he or she can consult experts for necessary advice to bridge the gap. Even where the farmer thinks he or she has all it takes to run a farm successfully, there may be need to seek the services of experts in the field, as it is usually said that two heads are better than one.