I would like to venture into rearing layer chicken farming, but I have never done it before. I would like to know; What is a good number of birds to start with as I learn the trade? Where can I get help to start out, i.e, training? How much would be the startup capital to cover construction of a chicken house, farming equipment, costing of the project and availability of vet services? Where can I get an example of intensive chicken farming (factory chicken farming or cage farming) in the Kampala area? I live in Namulanda area on Entebbe road, near Kisubi un Wakiso district. This is where I expect to start my chicken farm. (Margaret)
Answer: Before you invest in a poultry business, you must develop a business plan. You must also seek information (which you are doing now). This information must explain basic, but very important aspects such as breeds, farm management and market for the products. There are largely two categories of poultry. One is keeping birds for eggs (layers) and the other is keeping birds for meat (broilers/kuroilers).
For starters, irrespective of the money that one intends to invest in the venture, you do not start with more than 1,000 chicken. In fact, for small-scale practices, 500 can do. These will help you understand the trade properly. There are no specific places where one can go for training; however, make sure that you visit experienced farmers and learn from their experiences. Harvest Money has previously profiled some of the big farmers, including one of Uganda’s Best Farmers Celia Kansiime from Kiwenda near Gayaza, Robert Sserwanga from Agrarian Services and Johnson Basangwa from Kamuli. These farmers will give you on-spot experiences that will help shape your enterprise.
The cost of starting the enterprise depends on the size of the flock. But for every 1,000 birds, say layers, each of them occupies an average 2×2 square feet. If the structure is constructed using bricks and iron sheets, it will cost you at least sh8m to complete. If you use iron sheets and timber, the cost drops to around sh5m for the structure. Each of the day-old chick costs sh5,000, so, this comes up to around sh5m for the birds.
If you are using an automated drinking system, each drinker for 50 birds costs sh70,000. With 1,000 birds, you need 20 of them and this costs sh1m. Automated drinking systems keep water free from contamination.
You need at least 20 feeders 1.4m. Each of the birds feeds on an average 140g per day, so with 1,000 birds, that is 140kg of feeds per day. Each 100kg sack costs sh130,000 at the moment, which means that you have to put aside sh190,000 for feeds per day. Because the layers will only start giving you money after 5 months, you need to set aside money from your own pocket to feed them up to that time.
There is no shortage of market for eggs. Each layer will give you about 10-13 trays of eggs in its lifetime. At the moment, a tray of eggs costs sh9,000-sh10,000, which means that the total from each hen is between sh90,000 to sh117,000. Then after one-and-a-half years, you sell it off as an off layer at sh14,000.
Answered by Robert Sserwanga, a poultry farmer and consultant