Published December 27, 2019
It is a season of celebration and poultry is in demand as people cook to feed family and friends.
As a poultry farmer, you must have observed that not every poultry business succeeded around you, yours must have experienced some challenges as well .
It is difficult to give specific reasons why poultry businesses fail because poultry production is a complex farming enterprise that can be compared to a wheel with spokes – if one or more spokes break or malfunction , the wheel collapses .
Poultry production is dependent on various role players and crucial management procedures . In this piece from www .farmersweekly.co . za , Jan Grobbelaar , training director at Dumela Poultry Solutions suggests common reasons why some poultry farms fail:
No feasibility study
In most cases , farmers and donors do not carry out a feasibility study to establish suppliers and other important role players within the vicinity of their farms .
The most important of these are the suppliers of day – old chickens , point -of -lay hens , feed , medicine, disinfectants and vaccines .
Also , veterinary services , reference laboratories, abattoirs , processing and, crucially , a reliable market , ought to be located in the area close to the poultry farm .
A farm will fail if the facilities are located in areas difficult to reach, especially during rain .
A biosecurity programme is designed to prevent diseases from entering or spreading on the farm. Two of the most critical aspects are access control and disinfection of persons and vehicles entering the premises .
If people and vehicles are allowed to enter and leave the poultry farm premises at will , and buyers are allowed to enter chicken houses freely , the farm would be susceptible to diseases.
To become commercially viable and sustainable , an emerging farmer must provide the chickens with the correct type of housing for the production system practised . Many enterprises fail to do so .
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The main purpose of poultry housing is to provide chickens with a healthy, comfortable environment to ensure optimal production at an affordable price .
The following are important environmental conditions inside chicken houses:
Chickens are warm -blooded animals with a body temperature between 40 , 6° C to 41 ,7 ° C . When a chicken hatches , its body temperature goes down to about 39 ,7 ° C . Chickens cannot maintain their body temperature. So in order to maintain it inside the house , the roofs and walls must be insulated .
If the roofs and walls are not insulated and if they are built with corrugated iron or IBR sheeting , what happens is that a corrugated iron chicken house becomes an oven during hot season and a fridge during cold season .
When it is cold, the chicks gather at a corner and climb on top of each other , resulting in several suffocating. Hot temperatures also result in fatalities .
The purpose of air flow is to introduce fresh air , remove stale air and control the temperature in the house . In open -sided houses, this flow is controlled by means of plastic curtains .
It is therefore important for these curtains to open from the top to bottom , leaving a ‘skirt ’ at the bottom ; this prevents cold air from blowing directly onto the chickens .
In addition , the curtains must be held in place on the side by solid panels to prevent them from moving away from the house . Many of the curtains at failed projects closed from the top to bottom or were controlled with poles.
Many emerging farmers do not have any experience in rearing chickens and cannot manage a high number per square metre . A farm is bound to fail if there are up to 17 chickens per square meter of floor space .
A beginner farmer should have no more than 10 chickens / m 2 .
Broilers have been specifically bred to grow fast ( 38 g to 2 ,5 kg in six weeks ) but to reach this , the chickens must be provided with the correct feed . Because feed cost is high ( about 70 per cent of production cost ) , some farmers mix good quality feed with lower grade feed , resulting in poor growth performance .
In addition , some projects are up to 100 km from the nearest feed company. Many farmers rely on public transport, which increases the price of a 50 kg bag of feed by about N800 .
This is one of the greatest problems . There were two aspects – a lack of abattoirs and the claim that emerging farmers are unreliable . Some fail to honour their contracts while others cannot handle their finances .
Most do not put money back into the business . Because of these problems , many end up selling live birds, an unreliable market as farmers often have to keep chickens for up to eight weeks before they are sold . During this time , they consume the profit .
Most farmers do not receive training , a fact evident in the way they rear the birds.