Poultry Farming in Nigeria: How to Get Started

Nigerians love poultry meat, it is the third most consumed meat in Nigeria, after beef and goat meat, reports indicate that Nigerians consume over 1.5 million tons of poultry meat annually, and the demand for poultry eggs and meat continues to rise steadily. However, local production of poultry in Nigeria only meets about 30% of demand, while poultry imports meet up the rest of the demand. This clearly indicates that poultry farming in Nigeria is a highly lucrative field of agriculture that is still largely under-exploited in Nigeria. Thus, if you are thinking of starting a career in agriculture, you should definitely consider poultry farming. 

Poultry farming refers to the raising of domestic birds like chicken, turkey, ducks etc for the purpose of producing meat, eggs, feathers and manure for human consumption and other purposes. It is a highly profitable venture with a lot of exciting opportunities, and if done right, you’ll be killing two birds with one stone– you will make a lot of profit due to high demand for poultry meat and eggs in Nigeria, and you’ll also be doing your part to ensure that local production of poultry meets demand, thus minimising importation of poultry products. If you want to get more insights about the facts, figures and statistics about poultry farming in Nigeria, read this blog post.

Continue reading this blog post if you want to learn about how to get started with poultry farming in Nigeria. It contains everything you need to know about starting a poultry farm in Nigeria.

HOW TO GET STARTED WITH POULTRY FARMING IN NIGERIA

Learning About The Cost And Creating A Budget

The cost of starting and operating a poultry farm depends on the size of the farm and the scale of operations. A small-scale farm requires less capital due to the low cost of housing and feeding involved. Large scale poultry farms require well-constructed housing systems, large quantities of highly nutritious food and appropriate measures for disease and pest control which can be quite expensive. Before starting a poultry farm, decide the kind of farm you want to start, find out the cost of everything you need to start the farm and create a budget accordingly. You can start a small-scale poultry business in Nigeria with less than N100,000. Medium to large scale farms require a lot more money, but it is advisable to start small even if you have more than enough funds to spare.

Choosing The Type of Bird to Rear

The most common birds raised by poultry farmers today include chicken, turkey, geese, quail, pigeon and guinea fowl. However, chicken remains the most widely consumed bird in Nigeria, making it a suitable choice for farmers who want to take advantage of the growing demand for poultry meat and eggs in Nigeria, Turkey is a close second. However, if you prefer a niche market with less competition, you can consider rearing quails, pigeons or ducks. 

After deciding the type of bird, you want to rear, the next step is to identify the different breeds of the bird available and choose the most profitable breed(s) for your farm. For instance, if you decide to start rearing chickens, you can choose to raise only broilers, layers, cockerels or a mixture of all the different breeds. Broilers are young males and females raised for the sole purpose of providing meat, cockerels serve the same purpose but they grow at a slower pace than broilers. Layers are considered valuable and highly profitable because they provide both eggs and meat. Once you have decided the breed(s), you can now decide on a suitable location for your farm.

Selecting A Suitable Farm Location for Poultry Farming in Nigeria

To start a poultry farm, you need a suitable farm site. Ideally, poultry farms should be situated far away from residential buildings due to the offensive odour that typically emanates from them. However, If you cannot afford to acquire a new site, you can start with any available space in your place of residence, but as your poultry farm expands and demands get higher, you will need to move your farm to a new site. 

If you can afford a new site away from your place of residence, select a location that is calm and free of pollution, predators and other threats. Also, ensure that the location is close to a good water source, if you cannot afford to install a borehole on your farm, to ensure an adequate supply of clean water to the farm. A good poultry farm should also be easily accessible, it should be situated in a location with good roads, to ensure easy transportation of farm products when they are ready for sale.

poultry farming in Nigeria - Babban Gona WEDI member tending to her poultry

Providing Good Housing Or Shelter For poultry farming in Nigeria

To keep your birds, secure and safe, you must create a good shelter for them on the farm site. There are four major housing systems in poultry farming; The free-range or extensive system, the semi-intensive system, folding units’ system and the intensive system.

Free-range Poultry Housing System

This is the oldest system of housing birds in poultry farming. In this system, the birds are allowed to roam freely around the farm during the day and are kept in a shelter at night. The shelter is usually provided by temporary roofing supported by ordinary poles. The free-range system is perfect for new poultry farmers because it requires less capital investment than other housing systems. It minimises not just the cost of housing construction, but also the cost of feeding the birds as this system allows them to get most of their food by searching around the farm. The major disadvantage of this system is that it may lead to loss of many birds due to exposure to predators, contaminated food and other dangers they may encounter while roaming around the farm.

semi intensive housing system for poultry farming

Semi-intensive Housing System

This type of housing system is partly free-range and partly intensive. In this system, a small land surrounded by a wire mesh is attached to a poultry house. The small land area is called a run. The birds spend the daytime in the run and take shelter in the poultry house at night. 

Folding Unit System

This system also comprises a poultry house attached to a run but the space requirement is less and the total poultry unit can be shifted from one place to another.

Intensive System

This system is the most suitable and efficient housing system for large scale poultry farming. Commercial poultry farming is done only with this system. There are different types of intensive poultry housing systems:

  • Deep litter system
  • Slatted or Wired-floor system
  • Combination of the slatted floor and deep litter system
  • Aviaries
  • Cage system or Battery system

The intensive poultry housing system enhances productivity in many ways. It makes day-to-day management easy and the birds tend to save more energy because of the restriction of their movement. With this system, you can easily and accurately apply scientific management practices like breeding, feeding, medication and culling. This system also makes it easy to identify, isolate and treat sick birds, thus preventing disease outbreaks in the farm. The major disadvantage of this system is the high cost of construction and day-to-day management involved.

feeding poultry

Feeding And Caring For The Birds

In order to attain maximum productivity, you must ensure that the birds in your farm receive adequate nutrition, care and medication when necessary. The birds must be fed with good quality food and clean water daily. Poultry feeds are usually in three forms: Crumbles, Pellets & Mash. Maize and soybean are the most common feed given to poultry in Nigeria and they are a cheap source of energy and protein respectively for your birds. There are other feeds which you can add to their nutritions such as balancers, concentrates, millets, fish oil and more. You can get all these from poultry feed companies.

If you are rearing chicks between 0-4 weeks old, you will want to get a starter feed or starter mash.

To prevent disease outbreaks, the poultry house must be kept clean and dry at all times, and measures such as vaccination and medication should be taken when appropriate.

Marketing And Selling The Birds And Their Products

Poultry farming in Nigeria is known to be very profitable, thus, many go into poultry farming with the sole aim of making money or profits. The cost of running a poultry farm in Nigeria can be very high, thus, if marketing is not done properly, the farmer may incur enormous losses that will cause the business to crumble. Do not be caught up in the operational aspect of your business so much that you ignore the sales aspect. You can advertise your business online through your social media accounts, WhatsApp status and groups, employ marketers, sell to hotels, restaurants and event caterers. If you run a small-scale poultry farm, inform friends, relatives and neighbours that you sell poultry meat and eggs. Also, try to boost your sales during festive seasons by giving discounts, encouraging referrals, offering home delivery etc.

Although the demand for poultry is high in Nigeria, not every poultry farmer will find success. Running a successful poultry farm can be very challenging, it requires adequate knowledge, finance, patience, attentiveness and good marketing skills. Before venturing into poultry farming in Nigeria, consider the cost involved, acquire extensive knowledge about the business and plan well. 

In 2021, Babban Gona supported over 40 poultry entrepreneurs to successfully raise over 40,000-day-old chicks across 10 cycles. 

You may also be interested in:

Farming in Nigeria: How to get Started.
Maize Farming in Nigeria: How to get Started.

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