How To Set Up Your Own Profitable Poultry Farming Business In Nigeria or Africa And Make Millions

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Poultry farming business is one of the most lucrative agricultural businesses anyone can get into. This is one business that can be done on a small-scale and on a large-scale. If you start this business on a small-scale, if well-managed, you can grow the business into a multi-million-dollar business and create jobs and foreign exchange.

Everyday people consume poultry products like chicken, turkey and eggs at home, restaurants, eatery, hotels, fast food centers and at events. This gives you an idea of how large the market for poultry products is.

Imagine the amount of frozen chicken and turkey and other poultry products imported yearly into Nigeria and other African countries from Europe and Asia. We spend millions of dollars annually to import these products as a country and as a continent.

The monies spent on importation would be lower if our local production is enough to satisfy the demand for the products. Lower importation and higher exportation can increase our foreign exchange revenue and boost our economy by creating more jobs.

Poultry farming, involves the keeping or rearing of domestic birds like chickens, turkeys, geese and ducks to produce meat or eggs. Chickens are mostly raised in poultry farming. Broilers are breeds of chicken raised mainly for production of meat while layers are breeds of chicken raised mainly for production of eggs.

Business opportunities in poultry farming

There are numerous business opportunities in poultry farming that anyone can venture into. They are as follows:

1. Rearing of broilers for meat production.

2. Rearing of layers for egg production.

3. Setting up a hatchery.

4. Setting up a poultry feed milling plant.

5. Setting up a cold room for storage & sales of frozen poultry meat.

6. Veterinary services for poultry farms.

7. Sales and distribution of poultry feeds.

8. Production and sales of battery cages.

However, in this article I will focus on the first four.

1. Rearing of broilers for meat production

Broilers are chicken breed raised for meat. Their ability to grow fast make them suitable for commercial meat production. Within 8 to 12 weeks in age, most broilers have grown to maturity.

Broiler farmers make more sales during festive seasons like Easter and Christmas. Day old chicks are bought and raised to 12 weeks just before the festive season.

With proper marketing plan, you don’t need to only rely on the festive seasons sales. You can produce and under special agreement, supply to eatery, fast food restaurants, hotels and even to the local market. With the aid of cold room services, you can sell processed and frozen chicken.

Tips for success in broilers farming

  • Buy healthy day-old chicks from a reliable hatchery.
  • Fumigate the brooding house (house for the day-old chicks) few days before the arrival of the chicks.
  • Brooding room temperature should be about 35degrees Celsius in the first week and reduced every week by 1.8 degrees Celsius until it is around room temperature.
  • Broilers require a floor space of 0.06 square meters from day old to maturity.
  • Proper ventilation should be provided for the broilers.  Good oxygen levels should be maintained in the pen. Avoid excess ammonia, dust, moisture.
  • Keep the broiler house clean always. Clean the pen frequently. Accumulation of waste in the pen can cause diseases.
  • The floor of the pen should be covered with at least 5 cm deep clean litter each time cleaning is done.
  • Ensure adequate lighting. Good lighting is needed by the birds to see the food while feeding.
  • Give proper vaccines and drugs to the chicken. You can contact your veterinary personnel to do this for you periodically.
  • Do not allow entry into the pen unless entrants wear clean and disinfected clothing and boots.
  • To ensure proper growth of the broilers, do not compromise on the feed quality. Source your feed from reliable producers. Ensure that the feed has all the required nutrients like vitamins, minerals, protein, fats and carbohydrates. At 0 to 10 days old feed with pre-starter feed, at 11 to 21 days feed with starter feed and from 22 days till they are sold feed with finisher feed.
  • Isolate ill birds immediately while you administer drugs to them or call your veterinary personnel.
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2. Rearing of layers for egg production

Layers are poultry breeds raised for egg production. This is one of the most lucrative aspect of poultry farming as it provides you with all year-round sales regardless of the season. Also, eggs are easier to market. When the chickens have exceeded the peak of their laying period, they are sold for meat and more revenue is accrued to you.

Layers begin to lay eggs for sale from 18 to 19 weeks of age and keep laying consistently until about 72 to 78 weeks of age. After this period, it is no longer economically and commercially profitable to keep the chickens. They are sold for meat.

To start the layers poultry farms, you can buy layers day old chicks from a reliable hatchery or buy already grown layers, that have just started laying, called point of lay, POL. POL layers are about 22 to 24 weeks of age, depending on the breed.

I recommend starting from day old, as it may be more economical, less capital-intensive and when the chicks reach the point of lay, they are already used to their pen.  Some people also prefer starting from the point of lay, as they start making money immediately after their investment.

Also see: How to Become a Millionaire and Employer of Labour Through Palm Oil Business

Tips for success in layers farming

  • There are several breeds of layers. White egg layers are smaller in size, eat less food and their eggs are smaller while the brown eggs layers are larger in size, eat more food and produce larger eggs. Ensure to select the breed that best suits your market.
  • Light stimulate egg production by stimulating the pituitary gland to release some hormones that help in ovulation.
  • Intermittent noise negatively affects layers egg production.
  • Ensure adequate ventilation in the pen to aid body metabolism.
  • Give the right quality and quantity of feeds sourced from reliable source for fast growth of the birds and production of quality eggs. Chick starter feed is given to the birds from day old to 6 weeks, pullet grower feed is given to the birds from 6 to 20 weeks and layers feed is given to the birds from 20 weeks on.
  • Maintain a relative pen humidity of about 50 to 80%. High relative humidity can cause wet and moldy litter.
  • Maintaining a good pen temperature of about 12.8 to 26 degrees Celsius helps the production of high quality eggs.
  • Remove dead birds immediately and isolate ill birds to prevent cross contamination of the live birds.
  • Collect eggs at schedule time, say morning, afternoon and evening. 9am, 12pm and 4pm is usually recommended.
  • Do not allow entry into the pen unless entrants wear clean and disinfected clothing and boots.
  • Carry out frequent cleaning of the pen house, remove old litter and replace with clean one.
  • Debeak the chickens periodically to prevent breakages from pecking.
  • You may begin with deep litter poultry house system, but plan to get a battery cage system, as this helps to reduce eggs breakages, reduce stress for the birds and thereby increase the egg production. It also avoids mixing of the feed and droppings.
  • Carry out proper record keeping. Keep a record of the number of chicks bought, number of deaths, amount of feed consumed daily and monthly, number of eggs laid, and spoiled, amount of eggs sold etc. This will help you to monitor the feed efficiency (feed consumed/kg of eggs produced), mortality rate ((no. of birds dead/no. of birds started with) x 100). All these figures will help you in planning your growth and expansion and improve the overall efficiency of the business.
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3. Setting up a hatchery

This is not too popular among poultry farmers. This often-neglected aspect of poultry farming has great potential to yield good revenue.

Poultry hatcheries are set up to produce chicks of several breeds for sale by artificial means of incubation of eggs. Most Broilers and layers farmers source their day-old chicks from hatcheries.  Hatcheries are very important part of poultry production as the traditional means of egg hatching cannot sustain the demand for chicks.

A large hatchery can produce thousands of chicks daily. This is a profitable business if well-managed.

At the hatcheries, eggs produced by hens are put into incubators where the humidity and temperature is controlled. The eggs are turned until three days before the eggs are to hatch, when they are then moved to the hatcher unit where they are finally hatch. At the hatcher unit the eggs are not turned to allow the embryos enough time to get ready for exiting the shell.

Hatchery managers and operators should be well-trained to operate the facility. Optimum cleanliness should be maintained in the hatchery.  Appropriate vaccination, disinfection and fumigation program should be carried out to prevent disease transfer.

4. Setting up a poultry feed milling plant.

Feeding of poultry birds is one of the highest production cost encountered by all poultry farmers. Experienced poultry farmers don’t compromise on the quality and quantity of feed that they give to their birds as it has major impact on the growth and egg yield of the birds.

Therefore, the market for poultry feeds is available. Poultry feeds like starters, growers, finishers are produced by poultry feed manufacturing companies and bought by wholesalers who buy many bags of the feeds which then sell to retailers that finally sell to small farmers.

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Some big poultry farms either have their own poultry feed milling plant or buy directly from an external feed milling plant.

Also See: 10 Steps to Start a Profitable Car Wash Business in Nigeria

Poultry farming equipment

Equipment needed to set up a poultry farm includes:

  • Brooders – for providing heat for the birds.
  • Crates – for collecting and storing eggs.
  • Perch – used in deep litter system to provide resting place for the birds.
  • Drinkers – Used to provide drinking water for the birds.
  • Feeders – used to provide feeds for the birds
  • Nests – compartments for laying of eggs.
  • Miscellaneous tools like when barrows, shovel, buckets, scoops, saw, hammer, rakes etc. for sundry farm operations.

Poultry Housing

The two main types of poultry housing are as follows:

  • Deep litter: This is the traditional poultry housing where the birds move freely in the pen. Saw dust or straw is spread on the floor of the pen to be used as bedding for the birds and the birds also defecate on it. A new layer of litter is added when the litter is soiled, after some time the litter can also be replaced completely. This method of poultry housing is mostly used in Africa because it is less capital-intensive.
Deep Litter. Image Credit –
  • Battery cage: This system of poultry housing involves the arrangement of similarly looking cages in rows and columns closely knitted together with same divider walls like the cells of a battery. Battery cage system is well suited for layers as it prevents egg breakages and improves the egg yield.
Battery cage. Image credit-

Marketing your poultry products

Use all available avenues to market your poultry product. Effective marketing is very necessary to your success in this business.

  • Meet restaurants, eatery and hotels and seek to be their supplier.
  • Look for distributors or sub-distributors that can buy from you.
  • Advertise your business online and on social media. You can even create a website for your poultry farm business. You can contact us to do that for you.
  • If your farm and product is large, employ marketers.
  • You can process your chicken, store and sell them as frozen chicken if you have the facilities.
  • Print handbills and distribute in public places to reach your potential customers.

Poultry diseases and how to manage them.

There are several nutritional, viral, fungal, bacterial and parasitic diseases of poultry. However, many of these diseases can be prevented by periodic vaccination, ensuring cleanliness in the pen, ensuring that feed and droppings do not mix, sanitizing clothes, shoes and hands of all entrants into the pen, giving quality feeds with the required amount of nutrients and clean water, isolation of sick birds from others and contacting your veterinary personnel once you notice any ailment.

Some common poultry diseases include

1. Newcastle or Ranikhet disease – a very infectious and fatal viral disease that attacks poultry of all ages. It is transmitted through contact with other birds.

Symptoms include drowsiness, distended crop, inactivity, diarrhea, paralysis and death.  When a high number of birds deaths occur, Newcastle disease could be responsible.

Affected birds should be isolated and destroyed immediately as there is no treatment for this disease. However, this disease is preventable by vaccination.

2. Marek’s disease – a very contagious viral disease that affects younger chickens, mostly between 6 to 26 weeks. It is transferred by contact, droppings, poultry dust and air.

Symptoms include droopy wings, weight loss, paralysis, blindness, poor respiration and death.

Affected birds should be isolated and destroyed immediately as there is no treatment for this disease. However, this disease is preventable by vaccination.

3. Fowl Cholera or Pasteurellosis – a highly contagious bacterial disease that leads to high bird’s mortality.

Symptoms include greenish or yellow diarrhea, joint pain, difficulty in breathing, swollen comb and wattles, weight loss and low appetite.

Vaccination can help to prevent this disease.  Affected birds should be isolated to prevent cross contamination.  Litter should be changed and proper disinfection of all equipment done.

3. Coccidiosis – caused by a protozoan parasite in the wall of the intestine of chicken and can lead to death.

Symptoms include watery and greenish and bloody droppings, loss of appetite, ruffled feather and pale combs.

Adding coccidiostat to the drinking water of the birds can help. Sick birds should be isolated and proper disinfection of the pen carried out after the disease has stopped.

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 Also see : How to Start and Run a Catering Business

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