Before you invest in poultry, you must draw up a business plan. You must also seek information (which you are doing now). This information must explain basic but important aspects such as breeds, farm management and market for the products.
There are largely two ventures in poultry. One is keeping birds for eggs (layers) and the other is keeping birds for meat (broilers/kuroilers).
Irrespective of the amount of money one intends to invest in the venture, one should start with more than 1,000 chicken. In fact, on a small-scale, 500 can do. These will help one understand the trade properly.
There are no specific places where one can go for training, however, make sure that you visit experienced farmers to gain experience. The Harvest Money pullout has profiled some of the big farmers — including some of the best farmers Ceclia Kansiime from Kiwenda, Gayaza, Robert Sserwanga from Agrarian Services and Johnson Basangwa from Kamuli district. These farmers will give you practical 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 of 2×2 square feet. If the structure is constructed using bricks and iron sheets, it will cost at least sh8m to. If you use iron sheets and timber, the cost drops to sh5m.
Each of the day-old chicks costs sh2,700 which comes up to around sh2.7m for the birds. If you are using an automated drinking system, each drinker for 50 birds costs sh50,000. 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 and this will cost you sh500,000. 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 you have to put aside sh190,000 for feeds per day.
Because the layers will only start giving you money after five months, you need to set aside money from your own pocket to feed them up to that time. There is a big market for eggs. At the moment, a tray costs sh9,000.
The space for broilers is one-and-half square feet for each. Each day-old bird costs sh2,200, which means that if you go for 1,000, you need sh2.2m.
Broilers are fed through two months before they are sold off, this means that with daily feeds of 150g for each bird, 1,000 broilers consume at least 150kg per day. You need to stock broilers feeds through this period.
At the moment, broilers cost sh9,000-sh12,000 each. But the bottom line is, be there for your birds, because ‘a farmer’s foot is the best manure’.