Chicken bred specifically for meat are broilers. They are fast growing and reach slaughter weight in 7 to 14 weeks. The growth rate depends on the breed and care under intense farming conditions.
Common features in this bird are its yellowish skin and white feathers. The birds although attaining slaughter age are still young. The immature birds due to selective breeding are susceptible to disease, dysfunction behavior, and lesion.
They also suffer from congestive heart conditions, physiological conditions and behavior. They are ravenous eaters and consume huge amount of feed daily. Investors interested in going into this business need adequate capital.
Most of the expenditure will go on feeding, vaccinations and maintenance. Other considerations are labor wages including a large poultry shed. The farm should be located in a designated area with basic utilities like electricity and water.
Write a Business Plan
Write a broiler poultry farming business plan. Then carry out a feasibility study and survey. The plan should have in-dept analysis of financials, breeding stock and feeding program.
It should estimate profitability, startup cost and marketing. The plan should include industry analysis, cash flow, SWOT and PEST analysis. It needs an operational strategy, view the technical aspect and ways to raise capital.
The business is capital intensive and requires huge investment. The cost considerations are purchase of birds, feeding, and procurement of land. Other costs include labor, pen management, utility bills and waste management.
Approach a commercial bank for loan. Make sure you have an account in the bank, business plan, projections and marketing strategy. You need 1/3 startup capital, collateral and guarantors.
Modern Meat Birds
Modern broilers are different from their predecessors because they are fast growing and sluggish. They have large pictorial muscles and reduced mating drive. A product of selective breeding, artificial insemination the immature birds reach table size easily.
The birds have high feed conversion rate and gain weight fast. Selected for large scale meat production they reach slaughter weight of 2.3kg in 30 to 48 days. Common features are the yellowish skin achieve through hybridization and white feathers.
Best Chickens Bred for Meat
Although broilers are the top choice for commercial production, there are many breeds perfect for meat. Meat producers are the Jersey giant, Bresse, freedom rangers and Orpington.
Others include the Cornish Cross, Chantecler, Buckeye, Turken, Brown Leghorn, Fayoumi. The birds weight from 5Ibs to 13Ibs, taste great and have different plumage.
- Jersey giant
- freedom rangers
- Cornish Cross
- Brown Leghorn
Broiler Behavior and Health
The bird ground peck significantly and hardly free ranging. The males display low libidos and might experience an abnormal gait. This could be attributed to huge weight and weak legs.
Broilers experiences genetically induced problems. They suffer metabolic disorders and in some cases sudden death. Some suffer from acute heart failure disease, dilation of the heart.
The skeletal dysfunction due to increased breast muscles affects their balance and center of gravity. With age they suffer reduced movement, have painful walks and suffer integument lesions.
Behavior and Heath Issues
- Broilers ground peck significantly
- hardly free range
- males have low libidos
- abnormal gait
- weak legs
- they experiences genetically problems
- suffer metabolic disorders
- some cases sudden death
- some suffer acute heart failure disease
- dilation of the heart
- skeletal dysfunction
- balance issues
- suffer reduced movement
- painful walks
- suffer integument lesions
Selection of Broilers
There are different types of broilers so careful selection is advised. The day old chicks should be healthy and sourced from a reputable hatchery. They should weight from 36 to 42 grams and good breed. It is essential the breed has a high feed to weight conversion rate.
- They should be healthy
- sourced from a reputable hatchery
- should weight from 36 to 42 grams
- good breed
- high feed to weight conversion rate
The amount of land depends on the size of the operation. The land should conform to zoning requirements and proximity to market. The property should have a large shed, drinking water and electricity.
The farmer has a choice of free range, deep litter system or battery cage. Free range birds are allowed to move about freely. In commercial settings this system is not effective for broiler meat production.
The battery cage system requires specially constructed cages for the birds. The system is cleaner and easier to maintain however the number of birds kept in this housing system is limited. The best alternative for broiler farming is deep litter system.
Deep Litter System
The preferred choice for broiler farmers is the deep litter system. The chickens are raised in a room with concrete floor covered in sawdust. The only drawback is congestion making the birds susceptible to infection and disease.
Proper heating system, ventilation, feeding and vaccination are required. The pen should be secured from rodents, pests and snakes. Proper temperature control is essential to the development and wellbeing of the birds.
The major disadvantage to deep litter system is nitrogenous feces. The feces contain high levels of ammonia that is harmful to the birds. Regular maintenance and cleaning of the pen would reduce this problem
The stocking density is very important for the growth and wellbeing of the birds. Boilers are usually kept at high stocking density. Under deep litter conditions stocking density should not exceed 30 kg/m2 or 10 to 25 birds per square meter.
The birds need space to metabolize and lose heat as appropriate. Overstock causes major problems such as soiled plumage, breast blisters and dermatitis. It is important to maintain good litter conditions, control humidity and temperature.
They grow under intense farming system and the feed contains high level of 22% protein, vitamins. Other ingredients are lycine, methionine, amino acids, and fiber. Each bird would consume about 4kg feed within 6 weeks and should reach 2.kg weight before sale.
The feed types are the starter feed for day old chicks, grower feed and finisher feed. Feeding accounts for 72% entire expenditure in poultry farming. Apart from high quality feed they need lots of clean drinking water. Other requirements include vaccination and waste management.
The equipment is standby generator, deep litter pen. Others are waste disposal system, drinkers, feeders and heating system. They require light, water troughs, packing crate, hand rakes.
- standby generator
- deep litter pen
- waste disposal system
- heating system
- water troughs
- packing crate
- hand rakes
The fast growth guarantees restocking and sales. The birds are in high demand both locally and internationally. The birds are a good source for protein and are used in preparation of different delicacies.
To market the birds you can approach wholesalers and retailers. Top customers are supermarkets, frozen food dealers and hostels. Others include restaurant, fast food outlets and hotels. Use both electronic and print media to spread the word.