What a great time to start a chicken farming business. With a small chicken house you can be supplying eggs and broilers to your local shops, neighbours and friends. You can do intensive poultry farming or you can go the organic chicken route. If that is too hard you can free range. Many grocery stores are now looking for free range eggs - and free range chicken farming and free range egg farming is not difficult. Farming eggs and broilers are quite different - and you cannot do both in the same poultry house. Note that pig farning and chicken farming on the same farm - especially a very small farm, is not a good idea!
A comment came in on the site as follows:
- Small Framer: I am interested in starting a poultry farming business. I have a land but I have no idea where to begin. Please assist where you can. Thank you
- Answer: Do you want to do layers or broilers? How many chickens do you want to farm with?
- Small Framer: Thank you so much for the information you have provided, it is very helpful. I want to do 20% layers and 80% broilers and I would like to start with 2000 broilers and 200 layers. I believe the below will apply for me. I will work on getting funding and on the business plan. Thank you so much
- Answer: You cannot do layers and broilers in the same house – and in fact the houses cannot even be too close to each other. The chances of the baby chicks dying from disease from the layers is too great.
If your farm is big enough, and you can space the chicken houses, and pig houses, far enough from each other then you can try and do layers, broilers and pigs. You will need to have foot baths with the right disinfectant, outside all 3 facilities - and wash your hands properly between each process. Be especially careful when dealing with the day old chicks in your broiler house - they are the ones that will be most susceptible to disease. Visit then first, feed them etc. and then move on - pigs last!
The other mistake many small farmers make - apart from doing layers and broilers too close to each other is they want to farm with pigs on the same smallish plot or farm. This is not a good idea - disease is the threat, especially if the farmer is not following good bio security procedures. I have yet to visit a small chicken farm where I am asked to shower in, or given a pair of gumboots. The small farmer allows me into his chicken production unit without even asking me to step into the foot bath. This is just lack of traing and procedure.
A small broiler production unit that is 12m x 3 meters long will be able to house 500 chickens - with such a small poultry house you could set it up on a small plot. The other option is to grow chicken eggs for your own use - a small chicken coop with 5 hens will give you about 25 eggs a week. Eating fresh free range eggs for breakfast is a good thought. If you have a vegetable garden it is not a big step to start growing organic eggs - at least this way you know what your chickens are eating - and that means you know what you are eating.
Government funding is available for people who want to start a chicken farming business. With food security becoming a big problem in South Africa the government is actively trying to help people with food projects around the South Africa. They also fund pig farms and vegetable farms (the vegetable farms are set up with tunnels) - and if you are planning a chicken farm, especially in a remote area where chicken feed deliveries may be a problem, it would be an idea to apply for funding for both a vegetable farm with tunnels and a chicken house. The beuty of this is you can grow the feed for the chickens - they love to eat most vegetable.
With the right government funding food security in South Africa can be aided. Pig Farming and the poultry business is growing and having your own eggs at home is one way to start a chicken business or to start a farm. Government funding falls under the food security program. If you want to start a poultry business, whether that is a broiler farm or a layer farm you can apply for a government grant. You will possibly be required to form a co-operative. This means that there will be about 8 people in the group - and the money is released to suppliers of your equipment and you livestock. Starting a chicken business is not hard - raising chickens at home though is not the same - when you start a farm that is going to produce quantities of eggs or broilers there are certain requirement by law. Should you be using government for your funding they will need your co-operative, or project, to be registered. You will need to approach the department of agriculture in your province - they will point you to the correct people who deal with grants and loans. A loan from the government will have a very low interest rate - and a grant is basically free money - well not the actual cash, but poultry equipment and the chicken structure. It will also covers medication, poultry feed and the actual chickens - laying hens in the case of an egg production facility, and broiler chickens in the case of a broiler farm.