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Hello there, this post can simply be described as the manual for poultry farming in Nigeria and we’ll not disappoint you at giving you all you need to layers poultry farming and the cost rearing chicken.
Currently, there are a variety of poultry birds available for human consumption. While some are known for egg production, meat production others are a combination of both.
You don’t really have to a millionaire to start a chicken farming business if you already have a plot of an unused portion of land in your compound you kick start on a small scale and key into the Buhari Young Farmers Network which was launched recently across the country.
Basically, poultry birds can be grouped into 3 types based on what they produce.
Group of Chicken breeds
- Layers (egg producers)
- Meat Productive Poultry Breeds (Broilers)
- Dual-Purpose Poultry Breeds
Here are the names and features of some poultry birds.
How much is a day-old chick?
If you want to start chicken farming, the price of chick depends on its breed and the farm you’re buying from. But for the purpose of this guide, we’ll give some tips to guide you.
- Commercial SAYED Broiler is N390 per chick
- A pack which contains 50 chicks is N19, 500
- A carton of this breed is N3,250
Pullets Commercial Day-Old Pullets by Zartech (ISA Brown)
Major farms across Nigeria have different breeds of chicken, but the pullets commercial day-old pullets by Zartech is famous for its high intake capacity.
Features of Pullets ISA Brown
- It has an improved feed conversion ratio.
- It is resilient as such, it has the capacity to perform excellently well
- Considering Nigerian whether and environment, pullets is one of the best breeds of laying birds.
- Research has also shown that ISA Brown pullets perform better in battery cages.
- It also does well in a free-range and deep litter housing systems, making it a good choice for small scale and large scale farmers
- It is also is economical.
- It has a superior large egg production
In our subsequent guide, we’ll give you the complete list of chicken breeds available around the world and tell you the breeds that do excellent well in Nigeria.
Layers (egg producers)
This class of chickens are called Layers and just as their names imply, they are raised specifically for egg production. Commercial layers start laying eggs at 5 to 6 months of age and they lay about 275-300 eggs annually.
Some may even lay up to 330 eggs annually. Some very productive breeds include Fayoumi, Leghorn, Starcross, Minorca, Babcock, Ancona, Lohman, Isa brown and so on.
Characteristics of a Layer breed
- Becomes sexually mature earlier.
- Fairly weighs less than other poultry breeds.
- Less tendency of incubating eggs.
- Converting efficiency of food to egg is very high.
- Has less fat in their body.
- Reproduces within 5-6 months.
- High potential for egg production.
- Egg sizes are usually big.
Meat Productive Poultry Breeds (Broilers)
This poultry type is reared mainly for its meat production which is usually very soft and tasty when cooked. They consume about 4kg of feed and weigh approximately 2 to 2.5kg within their first 7 to 8 weeks (which is when they become ready for sale).
Types of broiler breeds
- Plymouth rock,
- rose broiler,
- asil, and so on.
Characteristics of a Broiler Farming Breed
- Weighs much than other breeds.
- They do not incubate their eggs.
- High ratio of food to meat conversion.
- Fast growth rate.
- They have the tendency to be grow very big.
- High level of body.
- Egg production potential is very low.
Dual-Purpose Poultry Breeds
These species are good for both eggs and meat production.
Types of dual-purpose chicken breeds
- rhode island,
- new hampshire,
- Plymouth and so on.
Characteristics of dual-purpose chicken breeds
- They are mostly medium sized.
- Usually weighs very high.
- Tendency for hatching eggs.
- Lay less eggs than egg productive breeds.
- They contain proper ratio of fat in their body.
- Grows rapidly.
Using the appropriate housing for poultry birds is very important to have a successful farming business. They can be raised in both free range and indoor production methods.
Where they are raised indoors, it is important to ensure that the environment is well taken care of to ensure better production and general welfare.
The ventilation, lighting, temperature, and litter conditions must be checked.
On a small scale production, moveable houses are a better option but for large scale commercial production, it is advisable to have planned and properly designed poultry house to ensure the birds are kept healthy and to maximize productivity.
Best Environment for Chicken Breeds
It is important to make sure that poultry housing is weatherproof to keep the birds safe from harsh weather conditions like extreme cold, rain, snow, and extreme heat.
Also to provide warmth for breeding and during winter/cold season. It must be well secured to keep the birds safe from predators.
Proper ventilation should not be overlooked either. There are a lot of creative designs for poultry houses. You may choose to keep it portable and mobile, or you build a fixed house with foundation.
The body temperature of an adult chicken is about 105° to 107° Fahrenheit. In an atmospheric temperature of 65° to 75° Fahrenheit, chickens can maintain their body temperature and grow normally.
Where the temperature becomes higher or lower than this, it is required that you control it by any means possible.
Chickens have no sweat glands so they begin to pant at temperatures above 85° Fahrenheit and their feed consumption and growth begins to reduce.
The solution to this is to give them water to drink frequently in order to keep them free from hydration.
Broilers grow fast and can’t tolerate high temperature, hence you have to control the weather around them. And as earlier stated, always keep adequate cool drinking water in the poultry house especially during the summer/dry season.
During cold/winter season, farmers are advised to use heaters for heating up the poultry house instead of relying on the body heat/warmth from the birds.
Since it is known that birds feed more in cold/winter season, some farmers would rather see it as cost effective to feed the birds more so they would keep themselves warm through internally generated heat.
To heat up the poultry house, you can make use of gas brooders or electric heaters. Have a thermometer available in all poultry houses to measure the daily temperature while you pay attention to daily weather forecasts.
A properly ventilated poultry house plays an important role in removing moisture, gas, heat, and allows fresh air into the indoor space. You can use either natural or artificial ventilation system.
Though most farmers prefer the natural method in poultry production because it just has to do with creating large windows with side curtains to allow air to come in and make the place cold. However, it is easier to control artificial ventilation than natural.
A roof which is at least 6 feet from the ground with a pair of vent on the top is enough to let out hot air. During winter season, there should be proper ventilation put in place to preserve heat.
Some farmers have a practice of closing the windows and curtains during winter/cold season, due to the fact that warm air traps more moisture than cold air. But there should be periods during the day when you allow air come in.
On the other hand, if you are using the artificial ventilation system, it is quite easier to control the movement of air inside the poultry house.
This is a very important factor in poultry farming and natural lighting is the common form of lighting used by most poultry farmers. Generally, poultry birds require at least 8 hours of darkness and 16 hours of light.
They need light to find their feed and generally stimulates them for production. Also, low lighting is needed in the production of melatonin hormone which helps in boosting immune functions.
Some species of broilers require darkness as it helps reduce legs disorders and develop their body frame. The chicks, on the other hand, need 24 hours of light daily after hatching to be able to fine their feed and water pot.
Some poultry farmers use long period of lighting to encourage birds to feed more which in turn makes them grow faster. This is because broilers do not eat or drink in the dark.
However, if the birds are kept in the dark for a while, they will be more active and eat more once they are reintroduced to lighting unlike if they are kept under continuous light. This practice keeps the birds healthy.
For artificial lighting, you can make use of incandescent or fluorescent bulb. Fluorescent bulbs are preferable (though more expensive) because they are efficient and last longer.
Observe the lighting period for layers very carefully if anything goes wrong, they could lay eggs too soon or completely stop laying eggs.
If you are using incandescent bulbs, then fix a 60-watt bulb for at every 200 square feet area, and always use a wide reflector to maximize the light. Ensure to keep the bulbs clean regularly.
An automatic controller can be used for maintaining a regular lighting period. Because if you fail to switch on the light manually at the right time, it can affect the meat and production of the birds.
Also, use waterproof sockets inside the poultry housing system. Sustaining a lighting period in the poultry house is very effective in the morning than in the evening. Regulate the lighting period in accordance to the season and prevailing weather condition.
Litter is used to cover the floor of poultry houses which may be wooden, concrete, or earthen. To be successful in poultry farming, how you manage your litter matters a lot.
Litter soaks up the moisture and dilutes manure remnants, and serves as poultry beds. The common materials used by farmers for litter are rice hulls, and soft wood shavings.
Other materials that can be used include; sand, dried wood fiber, recycled newspaper, hay and straw, chopped pine straw, peanut hulls, and so on. Whichever materials you may choose to use; ensure they are healthy for the birds.
A litter with 20% to 30% moisture and a depth of about 2 to 4 inches is considered good for the poultry. Ensure adequate ventilation of the pulse to help to eliminate moisture from the litter because high moisture content is most harmful for poultry health.
Damp litter could cause problems like blisters, and sores on poultry birds and also produce ammonia gas that impedes the proper respiration in poultry. You can use hydrated lime or aluminum sulfate reduce ammonia gas in the litter.
Litters can be reused after the materials are properly dried provided the poultry is not affected by any kind of disease. Litters can serve as a good source of manure for crop cultivation.
Poultry manure and litter are a good source of earning extra income. Dry poultry manure contains about 2.01% phosphorus, 3.84% nitrogen, and 1.42% potassium.
That is to say, poultry manure is good for improving soil fertility and can also be used in organic farming.
These are the factors to consider when making a poultry housing system for your birds. Carefully follow the instructions when setting up your poultry house.
Chicken farming in Nigeria is a good business and we hope you learnt something new on this post. This kind of business in consonance with the Livelihood Improvement Family Enterprise of Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture. You can also check out our guide on turkey rearing business.
The complete manual for chicken farming and breeds in Nigeria is available along with how to prepare local fishmeal meal for your poultry for rapid growth.