Free range chicken farming is a very profitable business, and many people are making money all over the world by raising free range and backyard chickens. However, to build a successful, sustainable free range poultry farming business, you require sufficient knowledge of how to efficiently raise free range organic chickens, good management skills, and a good poultry farming business plan. This article will outline how to start a free range chicken production business, and the business plan.
Free range chicken and backyard poultry production is a profitable business, however there are some essential things you have to do before you venture into the business enterprise. You have to decide on the size of your project i.e. the number of birds you want to keep per cycle; location of the company e.g. a poultry farm, and your target market. These options will be impacted by the total amount of funds that you have, along with the dimensions of your target industry. If you do not have a lot of funds, you can always start small and expand your business , remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day. You also need to perform market study (Who are you going to sell the birds to? At what cost?) And write a business plan before you venture into the poultry business.
The richest man in the world, Bill Gates, regards Chicken business as a good, profitable business. He is donating thousands of chickens as a means of empowering people to earn an income by starting chicken farming businesses. In his article on his website, “Why I would raise Chickens”, Bill Gates says Chickens are a good investment which can generate a lot of income for the people. as they have a multiplicative effect, due to the fact that they lay and hatch eggs frequently, thus multiplying the size of your flock.
What you need
LAND, HOUSING AND EQUIPMENT
The kind of housing you need and the size of this property will depend on the size of your poultry endeavor. When choosing the location for your poultry business, you need to balance the need for closeness to the market, together with the expense of property, labour expenses, safety, and a fantastic water source. When you are planning to construct a free range chicken house, you have to pick a location which is well-drained with lots of pure air movement. The right housing should have proper ventilation and the right lighting. Ventilation is necessary so that sufficient air exchange can happen. If you want to make eggs year-round, you will need to install adequate lighting on your own facility. You ought to have equipment including feeders, drinkers, lighting system and nest boxes.
Free range chickens need adequate space for them to develop nicely, they should not be bloated, otherwise they might suffocate to death and that will lead to a significant loss in your business. Every free range poultry requires approximately 0.1 square meters of floor area. Which translates to 10 birds per square meter. Hence the size of the free range poultry home will depend on the number of critters to be reared. Your housing may be barns, chicken conducts or hutches, and the cost of building will be dependent on the materials used, and how big the free range poultry home. Free range chickens also need pasture for them to forage. Among the significant difference between broiler chickens and free range chickens, is that broilers are raised inside, confined to the broiler house, while free range chickens will invest most of the day outdoors, foraging the pastures and plants.
DAY OLD CHICKS
You need day old chicks to start your free range chicken poultry farming business. After getting experience, you may then hatch your own chicks, which will greatly reduce your expenses as you will no longer need to buy day old chicks. You should purchase your day old chicks from a reliable accredited hatchery or company where the parent stocks are well managed. If you are new to the free range poultry business, you should enquire from other farmers to hear where they buy their chicks from. The success of your free range poultry business will partly depend on the quality of day old chicks which you buy.
There are many different breeds of chicken, and the right breed to choose will depend on your needs. You can do a free range chicken business for selling meat, for selling eggs, or for both meat and eggs. The Rhode Island Red chicken breed can be raised for both meat and eggs. They produce about 250 eggs per year. The Light Sussex chicken breed is also a dual purpose breed, for both meat and egg production. White Leghorns breed chickens are usually used as layer birds. They can lay up to 300 eggs a year, each egg weighing a minimum of 55 grams. The Boschveld chicken breed is usually found in Africa, and it can withstand varying climatic conditions. It’s also a dual purpose breed, which can be raised or both meat and egg production. There are many other breeds which include Golden Comet, Barred Plymouth Rock, Golden Laced Wyandottes, Australorp e.t.c.
FEED AND NUTRITION
Feeding is important so as to increase the production of meat and eggs from the free range chickens and backyard chickens. Lack of feed or water will reduce resistance to diseases and parasites, and subsequently increase flock mortality. In a free range poultry rearing system, adult hens and cocks ought to be given enough time and space for scavenging in the surroundings daily. The best time for scavenging is early morning and late afternoon when there are plenty of insects and less heat. Supplementary feeds should be offered in the morning and evening when the free range chickens come back for the night. Clean water should be provided in shady areas during the day to avoid heat stress. You will also need proper vaccines and medications to prevent diseases and promote growth of your free range and backyard chickens.
The advantage of rearing free range chickens is that they will get most of their food from scavenging the surroundings, thus the feed costs are minimized. However, if you are keeping free range chickens for commercial purposes, food from foraging the surroundings is not enough. You will need to supplement their diet with commercial stock feeds, or your own home made feed. You can also give them maize, sorghum, wheat, rice e.t.c.
MANAGEMENT AND LABOUR
The number of farm workers you need will depend on the size of your free range and backyard chicken project. If you are running a small business e.g. 100 birds/cycle, you and your family may be enough to take care of the chickens. However, if you are rearing 2000 birds per cycle, you will need full time employees to manage the free range chickens. There is need for good technical knowledge of free range chickens rearing techniques for success in the business. You also need good management skills.
The amount of capital required for a free range poultry farming business depends on the scale of the project. Sources of capital include bank loans, and equity investors.Don’t have access to capital? Start small, and grow your business overtime! Free range chickens are very profitable, so if you reinvest the profits you get, you can quickly grow.
MARKET FOR FREE RANGE CHICKENS MEAT AND EGGS
The market for free range chickens is high and increasing, as more people are moving towards organic and healthier food. Many people prefer organic free range chicken meat, as compared to broiler chicken meat. This is because free range chickens are highly nutritious, delicious, organic, and healthier. Thus, the demand for free range organic chickens meat continues to rise. Free range chickens have a higher price than broiler chickens, as they are considered to be more superior.
The eggs from free range chickens are also considered to be superior as compared to the eggs from commercial indoor layer chickens. Free range chicken eggs are considered to be highly nutritious, delicious, organic, and healthier. Thus, the price of free range organic eggs is higher as compared to the usual poultry eggs. You can supply your free range chicken meat and eggs to individual households, butchers, schools, restaurants, companies, supermarkets, organizations, events, abattoirs etc. You can sell your free range chicken as live birds or you can slaughter and freeze them and sell them as dressed chicken. As you grow your business, you will also be able to export your free range organic products.