What is chicken farming as an Agribusiness?
Keeping chicken for purposes of selling them later or for the purpose of selling chicken products is what is termed as an agribusiness.
This definition can also be extended to running a business that supports chicken farming such as an agro vet or equipment store.
Is poultry farming profitable?
Yes. Chicken farming is profitable. If you have money to invest, space and the passion to start a chicken farm then, you can start a poultry farm. Study carefully the type of poultry farm you would like to keep before starting since not all poultry or indeed chicken require the same setup.
As far as chicken is concerned you need to think about whether you want to keep broilers, Layers or kienyeji. The market for the products is a major determinant of what to keep.
But how do you start a profitable poultry farm?
Like any other business, it is all in planning. You must look out for loopholes and as much as possible seal them during the planning stage. The scale of your operations will also dictate what measures you need to take to make your chicken farming pay. The biggest challenge for the farmers in Kenya is the cost of feeding the chicken. Chicken feed has always been expensive in Kenya and that is not all. The prices fluctuate a lot.
The other problem is the selling price. Since chicken farming is not controlled, anyone can engage in it and can quit at any time. As a result, the prices of chicken and chicken products fluctuate a lot. Having a means of controlling your inputs and your market price goes a long way in making your chicken farming profitable.
For particularly large farms see How can I start a chicken farm in Kenya?
How much money can a chicken farmer make?
How much a chicken farmer can make depends entirely on how well the farmer controls the inputs, particularly feed and labour in order to sell at the anticipated selling price. Having already market also plays a big part. The volume of your sales will also boost the economies of scale.
Broilers chicken farming
Broiler farming is the most popular chicken farming. Boilers attract many farmers because of the short turnaround of capital. From receiving your day-old chicks to selling them at 1.2kg, can be as short as 5weeks. Compare these with layers where you have to feed them for 18 weeks before you see your first egg.
Layers chicken farming
Layers are breeds of chicken that lay a lot of eggs per year. They are kept primarily for purpose of selling eggs. But after their economic laying period, they are sold for meat as ex-layers.
The capital overlay for starting a layers chicken farm is quite high. They require continuous feeding for 18 weeks before they start laying.
Kienyeji chicken farming
What is a Kienyeji chicken?
Kienyeji chicken refers to indigenous breeds of chicken that can be reared on a free-range environment? Different regions of the country have a breed that is prevalent.
The main attraction to kienyeji chicken farming is their low capital input and their survival rate in harsh conditions. Kienyeji chickens do not eat as much as the breeds mentioned above. In fact, kienyeji when reared in a free-range environment can survive with very little supplementary feeding.
They are kept for both meat and eggs.
For more Kienyeji see the article Rearing Kienyeji (indigenous) chicken