Poultry production is an important economic activity. Beside its social and cultural benefits, it plays a significant role in family nutrition and poverty reduction.
Small scale Poultry production are used by farmers in order to generate cash income and as a source of food for domestic consumption however, the production sector is constrained by poor housing, poor management, lack of feed, low market prices and lack of markets.
Major Steps in Small Scale Poultry Production:
1. Assess your goals and resources: Begin your poultry operation by assessing your personal goals for the business (income, time availability, lifestyle, etc.) and listing your available business resources (your labor and that of family or employees, cash, skills, existing structures and systems, waste products that can be utilized profitably, etc.) on paper.
By identifying your goals and assets right from the start, you establish a solid foundation upon which to build your operation and guide all your business decisions.
2. Decide poultry products to sell, and where: Once you have identified your goals and assets, you must answer three important questions:
a) To whom will you sell your poultry products? Your choices include the general public, restaurants, wholesalers, retailers, or a combination of outlets. As you answer this question, be certain to study your local markets to see what products exist and what new products are needed, assess demand and prices for existing products, and identify possible niche markets you might serve.
b) Where do you want to sell your poultry products? Do you want to sell directly from your farm, at some venue off the farm (like a farmers’ market), or through wholesale distributors? The answer to this question will strongly influence the size, scope, and design of your operation.
3. Choose your breeds.
4. Nutrition: Like all living creatures, chickens require a balanced diet of proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. Protein requirements vary from 16-20% of the total feed weight, depending on the chickens’ stage of development and output.
Most feeds consist of corn, soybeans, and wheat, as well as vitamin and mineral supplements. Since chickens do not have teeth, they also need some form of grit (tiny stones or oyster shells) to aid the gizzard (an organ located before the small intestine) in digestion.
5. Plan sustainability: Before, during, and after you’ve designed and established your poultry operation, you must regularly evaluate its ecological and economical sustainability. Recycling resources within your farm is the key to both; it reduces the number of inputs that must be purchased from off the farm and replaces many of the resources that are lost through off-farm exports.