How to Start Farming with Chickens in 6 Steps

Farming with Chickens in 6 Steps

Chicken Farming – What you need to Consider to start Chicken a Farming Business in South Africa – Explained: How to Start Farming with Chickens in 6 Steps.

  • Flooring (Bedding)
  • Fresh Water
  • Feed
  • Monitor your Chickens
  • Market Research
  • Aftersale Service

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Bedding for Day Old Chicks

Chickens don’t ask much. You need to get the flooring right on day one. Clean the Chicken Coop once a week if you are farming with broilers, also known as meat chickens. You can use wood shavings or sawdust that you can collect at your closest sawmill factory. Watch the video below to see how we did our chicken bedding for the day-old chicks.

Chickens Need Fresh Water.

Chickens are very sensitive birds and freshwater must be available at all times. The larger your chicken coop the harder it gets to supply fresh water to the chickens.

In this video below I demonstrate how we made our own automated chicken waterer with recycled materials. It was an easy and fun little project yet saved us a ton of money if we would of bought them at the Agricultural Shops.

Feeding the Chickens

There are two ways to feed the chickens. Option A – Feed them two to three times per day or Option B let them eat the whole day.

We try our best to make sure that our chickens can walk freely in their coop and our chickens can eat when they want. Chicken feeders can become very expensive and as your business grows into a large scale Chicken Operation feeding becomes harder and more time consuming.

We have made homemade chicken feeders that are easy to fill and once again saved a lot of money by doing so ourselves.

We feed our chickens Starter for the first 14 days and then mix grower in the starter mix for two days. The remainder of their life they will have a grower mix with a finisher at the last week.

Watch this video below to see how we made Chicken Feeders with Recycled Material

Monitor your Chickens.

You need to keep an eye on your chickens at all times. Make sure when you produce your own day old chickens or when you buy them that they are vaccinated against all diseases like the pocks or New Castle.

When chickens are not healthy, they will show it fast. Remove sick chickens from the coop as soon as possible to avoid spreading of sickness and diseases like Flu and Merricks etc.

In this short video,How to Start Farming with Chickens in 6 Steps you can see the growth comparison from one week old to five week old chickens

How to Start Farming with Chickens in 6 Steps – Market Research

The most important step about farming with chickens is the ability to sell your chickens. You need to make sure you have are market ready to start selling your chickens before you consider a chicken farming business.

Selling live chickens to your local market and communities is hard work, risky and takes a lot of time. You need to consider your fuel and wages before you determine the sales price of the chickens. Another risk is that, when you are selling live chickens and you don’t sell out, you need to keep on feeding them and again you will lose money if you don’t plan correctly.

FindIng an abattoir that is willing to slaughter your chickens for a good price is a challenge. Chicken abattoirs are not cheap and do take a huge chunk of your profit. Plan ahead and make sure that your production and nominal costs are in place before you start a chicken farming business.

After sale Service

So many farmers ignore or don’t even care about aftersale service.

Once you have made a sale to a client, follow up and see if they are happy with your products and find out where you can improve. Remind them when your service will be available again and offer them a better deal if they take more than usual. Make sure that they have your contact details and business name.

How to Start a Chicken Farm in South Africa – Chicken Farming in South Africa

Farmers Weekly Suggest:

The difficulties experienced by new and small-scale poultry producers can generally be attributed to three factors: ‘farm blindness’, poor access to markets resulting in cash-flow and production management problems, and inefficient disease management.

Walter Gwala, a facilitator at the KwaZulu-Natal Poultry Institute, defines farm blindness as farmers’ lack of knowledge resulting in them regarding the situation on their farm as being the norm everywhere.

“When farmers do not know enough about farming poultry, they end up [with] poor bird performance and animal welfare. They are, however, unaware that this is a problem because they do not know any better,” Gwala explains.

Training and information sharing is the solution. Farmers who are equipped with the correct knowledge will learn and so become accustomed to what ‘normal’ is, he explains.

“Through constant monitoring and observation of birds, they will in effect be able to identify stress signals early and address these before a situation gets out of control,” Gwala says.

Market access:
Most small-scale farmers sell live birds because they do not have the facilities to supply formal markets that require slaughtered and processed chickens.

However, the market for live chickens is cyclical and unpredictable. Dr Charlotte Nkuna, CEO at the South African Poultry Association (SAPA), explains that during some cycles, farmers sell off all their chickens within a couple of days, clean the farm and are ready for the next batch.

During other cycles, however, it may take weeks to sell the birds, causing delays in the preparations for the next batch.

Added costs
The erratic nature of the market has several negative knock-on effects. Firstly, uncertain cash flow makes it difficult for farmers to make advance payments for inputs, such as feed, chicks or point of lay pullets.

“Cash flow can become severely strained by delays in sales and [an inability to recover] funds spent in the previous cycle. Access to funds without security is also near impossible, which means that these farmers are only able to procure inputs when they have money in hand,” Nkuna says.

She adds that poor cash flow and not being able to achieve economies of scale, resulting in farmers not being able to buy products such as feed in bulk, and thus reap the benefit of resultant cost savings.

READ Basic infrastructure for small-scale pig farming

Secondly, it results in birds being kept longer than necessary, which in effect delays the commencement of a new production cycle. Broilers are usually kept for 35 to 39 days before they are sold live.

Your profits will be affected if you keep them longer due to ongoing feed costs, she explains.

“Money is also lost because these birds prevent the facility from being used to its full potential. Just imagine how much money a farmer loses by keeping 20 birds instead of his [full] production capacity of say 100 birds,” Nkuna says.

Advance orders
Thirdly, it interferes with production planning. Nkuna explains that most chick and point of lay pullet producers need to confirm orders with their suppliers months in advance so that they can adjust their planning to ensure sufficient supply for their customers.

If a farmer is unable to confirm an order in advance, there is no guarantee that he/she will be able to get chicks from a hatchery or secure point of lay pullets when they are needed.

How to Start Farming with Chickens in 6 Steps

Farmers Weekly

How to Start Farming with Chickens in 6 Steps

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