Poultry farming is one of the most lucrative businesses in Uganda and the world at large.
The increasing demand for chicken (call it chicken meat) and eggs resulting from the growing population and townships across the country provides an opportunity for new and existing farmers to cash in on this enterprise.
Apart from earning from your poultry business, eggs and chicken can provide proteins to your family members. The enterprise can also be resourceful in providing manure to your other agribusiness enterprises.
Those with limited land in towns, they can sell the manure which also lucrative.
However, there are a number of things farmers must consider to run a profitable poultry enterprise, according to Hadad Ssekabembe, an expert in poultry breeding and commercial birds. He is also a farmer and well traveled.
His experience in poultry business spans over 23 years. He was a Breeder Manager at Ugachick Poultry Breeders Uganda Limited for 19 years and has spent over four years offering consultancy services.
Whether you’re just starting out in poultry farming or you’re already in the chicken rearing business, this article can help you maximize profit from your poultry farm.
He says a farmer must draw a budget for his or her poultry enterprise.
Do I have the required workers? Is the available equipment? How about feeds and clean water? Is market readily available? The questions must be answered before a farmer ponders starting a poultry farm.
After looking at costs involved, ask yourself; will the business be profitable?
“It is important to look for breeds with high production of meat and eggs,” he says.
Location of Enterprise
Ssekabembe says location of your enterprise is crucial.
What’s the history of the place? How is the geography of the place? Will it be safe from the neighborhood? Is it free from noise? Those are key questions one must answer before pondering joining poultry farming business.
“Remember the [poultry] building must be facing East-West,” he says.
Choosing The Enterprise
While you can rear layers for eggs or broilers for meat, Ssekabembe says specialization is key especially at the start.
“You can’t be everywhere,” he says, adding that a farmer must decide on whether to rear layers or broilers right from the start.
“One can also choose to rear local birds. Passion is also key in this business. What’s your passion,” he said, revealing that while he is an expert in birds, he has passion for layers.
Reliable Sources Of Raw Materials
You need a reliable source of chicks. A number of farmers have made losses after procuring poor quality chicks from unscrupulous sources.
“Chicks should be free from endemic diseases like Mycoplasma,” says Ssekabembe.
Other key materials include maize, cotton and fish among others. These help in making feeds. A farmer must pay attention to the source of feeds/feed ingredients because some of them are fake.
“You must also pay attention to litter materials/beddings. Some unscrupulous people mix coffee husks with timber/saw dust. If eaten by birds, they become stunted and many farmers have been a victim,” he says. He adds that farmers should maximize feeds.
He says risks involved in business include disease outbreak, unskilled labourers and the neighborhood.
“You need professional back-ups; a veterinary doctor should be a phone call away,” he says, adding: “Everything must be done right.”
He urges farmers to stop carrying out business on telephones.
“You need proper and close supervision,” he says.
Ssekabembe says farmers should avoid visitors on their farms and employ measures (bio-security) to avoid spread of diseases.
A farmer should record the number of birds he starts with, mortality and closing stock of birds. Others things to record include age of birds, feed consumption per day and per bird, vaccination records/schedule and drugs administered to the birds. It is also important to look at the growth of birds; uniformity growth of birds ensures consistent production for layers as well as bulky sale for chicken.
“This should be done daily until depletion of stock,” he says.
He says transport is key in poultry business. It helps in bringing in materials, feeds, chicks, equipment and poultry products.
For poultry farmers to succeed, Ssekabembe encourages them to attend workshops and seminars, read a lot, interact with fellow farmers and also carry out home research.
In our subsequent stories, we’ll bring you detailed stories on rearing layers, broilers and local birds.
For feedback and success stories, contact: 0775170346, firstname.lastname@example.org