A Beginner’s Guide to Broiler Farming

People across the globe consume thousands of broiler chickens every day. Unlike layers that are reared with the major aim of egg production, broilers are raised for obtaining meat.

Thus, layer farming and broiler farming are two key aspects of poultry farming. Broiler production in this country is quite a popular livestock business, which many people are into.

Commercial broiler production — also known as broiler poultry farming — is the keeping or raising of broiler chickens mainly for meat production.

In this guide, we’ll hold you by the hand and explain how to start a broiler farm.

The Best Breed of Broiler

Entrepreneurs mainly choose broiler farming because, compared with other poultry species, raising chicken broilers is a fast and reliable means to feed lots of people and generate income steadily simultaneously.

It typically takes between 45–60 days for a healthy broiler to grow. Also, chicken meat has quite a delicious yet soft taste.

It provides a sizable nutritive value for the body.

Additionally, people grow fowl for egg production as well as breeding. Before you set up a business, it’s important to first determine the best breed of broiler available.

We’ve many broiler species that differ from one another based on several characteristics.

Here are some breeds that are very common among farmers:

  • Cobb
  • Ross
  • Arbor Acre
  • Marshal

How to Start a Broiler Chicken Farm

Draw a business plan

Every profitable business requires a plan. Draft and stipulate in it things like your estimated investment costs (such as cost of housing and equipment), cost of the chick to buy, cost of feeds, cost of labor, electricity, farm rental (if available), cost of medication and medication/vet services.

After getting all this documented, you’ll be able to determine if you’re gaining or losing after selling your broiler chicken.

Get trained by an experienced poultry (broiler) farmer

Anyone that doesn’t have the knowledge or idea of broilers can rear chickens and do so successfully. However, it’ll be based on a trial and error approach.

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Few or many chickens could have died before such a farmer gets the hang of the business.

Since your aim is to set up a commercial broiler poultry farm, it won’t be a smart idea to involve your chicken in this trial and error procedure, which could make you to incur a loss of your investment.

Thus, it’s important to read and research broiler production before venturing into it.

Also, since broilers are fragile chickens, you’d want to handle them with great care.

Find a strategic location for the broiler farm

When seeking land or a site for rearing broilers or setting up broiler production, ensure the land is near the market.

Also, ensure it’s not closer to streams, rivers, or lakes because this could cause and expose your broilers to the dangers of floods. And, it can also result in water pollution by the wastes/feces coming from your broilers during raining season.

When you’re searching for land, you might have to consider the one that’s slightly far away from the neighborhood as chicken farmers, who’ve been raising chickens within a neighborhood, have faced a situation in which neighbors have complained about the disturbing odor emanating from the chicken smell.

This dispute was a beleaguering experience for the farmers and led to a court settlement.

Do your broiler pen setup for the production

  • Before buying your day-old broiler chicks, prepare and set up the broilers’ house, which is known as pens.
  • Broilers are warm-blooded birds and can maintain a rather uniform temperature of their internal organs. Thus, the house to use for them must be of the same uniform temperature as theirs.
  • Also, the poultry house needs to be from an east-to-west position to ensure wind control and allow for proper ventilation. Furthermore, reliable water supply and electricity have to be made available in this pen.
  • Make sure there’s enough spacing for the broilers and determine the number of chickens you intend to put in a room to avoid the problem of suffocation. 
  • The housing shouldn’t be difficult to clean.
  • Apart from that, it must be built in a way that will ensure the protection of broilers from predators and give assurance of good health for both humans and chickens.
  • Poor housing can result in the collapse of chickens, regardless of how well you’ve taken care of them.
  • Furthermore, a concrete floor is mainly recommended as it’s not difficult to clean and also helps keep parasites like mites under control. Such parasites hide in the soil and cause soreness on your chicken’s legs.
  • Endeavor to spray sawdust on the floor for maintaining a moderate temperature on the floor.
  • Also, you can opt for battery cages as they aid broiler production.
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Equipment for feeding and watering your broilers

We recommend that when you’re setting up your broiler pens, mechanize the water trough as well as the feeder. Don’t put them on the floor because this might make the ground wet, which will make the place smell and your broilers to contact diseases.

Putting the water trough or feeder on the floor could make your chickens defecate on it, thereby causing the feed or water to be contaminated, and that’ll be unhealthy for the broilers.

Buy the right breed of broilers

When looking to buy chicks for broiler farming, here are some tips to follow:

  1. Purchase your broiler chicks from a trusted and experienced hatchery
  2. Ensure they’re day-old chicks (DOCs) that weigh between 35 to 40g
  3. Ensure they’re healthy chicks that have dry fluffy feathers, bright eyes, with an active and alert appearance
  4. They’ve to be free from diseases or any abnormalities (vaccinated before purchase if possible)
  5. Request a vaccination history when buying DOCs from your vendor as this will help you determine what was done, what wasn’t done, and where to start
  6. The chicks must be of uniform color and size

Put your day-old broilers (brooding period) in the pens

Because broiler chicks are quite fragile, they must be handled with special care. Here are some tips on ways to take proper care of them:

  • The chicken pens, and surrounding areas, in addition to all equipment, have to be cleaned and disinfected prior to the arrival of the chicks.
  • You’ve to pre-heat the house in which the chicks are to stay 24 hours (at least) before their arrival.
  • Ensure there’s a provision for clean water at room temperature since water is crucial in the early developmental stages of chicks.
  • Consider spraying a few sawdust on the concrete floor for maintaining a warm temperature.
  • Ensure there’s easy access to food and water for your chicks, and the proper size of feeder and watering trough must be used.
  • Provide sufficient artificial heat (such as a lamp) for keeping your DOCs warm during the day and night.
  • Allow for proper ventilation in the pens because this will help you in preventing future respiratory diseases.
  • Allow adequate space in the house because this helps to avoid death and poor growth.
  • Don’t allow any sudden temperature change in the house because your chicks may not know how to adapt to such a sudden temperature change. The temperature in the room is required to stay as uniform as possible. Temperatures of 350 degrees Celsius are recommended at the beginning stage, then lower them at the rate of 2.8 degrees Celsius each week as the chicks grow.
  • Dispose of any dead chicks immediately by burying or burning them to prevent rodents, flies, or diseases.
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Please Note: As the broilers grow, know when to transfer them into a grower house.

Feed the Broilers

Different stages of raising broiler chickens require different kinds of feed.

This table describes their feeding process:

Feed typeAge of broilers (days)Feeding duration (weeks)
Starter’s feed1 to 142 weeks
Grower’s feed15 to 221weeks
Finisher’s feed23 to 423 weeks till it’s mature for marketing

Ensure the feeds you give to your boilers are highly nutritious and contain a high ratio of protein, amino acid, lysine, and methionine, in addition to low fiber content for optimal growth.

Also, provide them with feeds containing supplements of vitamin A, B2, D3, B12, and K.

As regards the water intake, provide adequate water for the broilers, to be taken around 3 times the amount of feed they consume daily.

Also, during hot weather and when a high protein ration is given to the broilers, there’s a high increase in water intake.

Avoid giving them too cold or too hot water. You should rather use water at a moderate temperature of around 10 – 12 degrees Celsius. 

Market the Broiler Chickens

The marketing stage is vital as after all the work, this is the part when you get to reap profits.

Consider conducting market research on the current price of broiler chickens in your target market (this is best done before setting up a broiler production business).

You can sell to interested persons directly, to shops dealing in frozen foods or to companies in need of broilers in large quantities. Consider weighing them when selling.

Also, start marketing your broilers days before they attain their growth period to prevent having to incur an extra cost of feeds.

By following the steps we’ve outlined above in this guide, you’ll find raising broiler chickens productive and rewarding.

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