What do you need to start chicken farming? You will need chicken feeding equipment, chicken drinking equipment, fans, heaters. Depending on how many birds you wish to raise, and depending on whether you are doing broiler chickens or layer chickens – broilers are for eating and layers are for chicken eggs. The first question is “how many birds” this will determine the size of you chicken structure and secondly will determine what kind of equipment you need. If you plan to raise under 2000 birds you can start with a steel chicken house, and you will not need any automated equipment. If you plan to raise 20 000 chickens you will need a chicken house that is 150 odd meters long – and some serious automated feeding equipment and automated drinking equipment. If you are planning to do small scale chicken farming then simple tube feeders and bell drinkers will suffice.
In a laying house you will need layer cages or nest boxes – plus some way to feed the chickens – usually a wire trough built into the layer cage and nipple lines, also built in. In a broiler house and a layer house with nest boxes you will use bell drinkers and tube feeders.The quantity of birds will determine how many of each. Your chicken house will need poultry curtains – usually driven by a winch to raise and lower them. Both layer houses and broiler houses have a header tank on the roof to supply water to the chickens.
Looking for what you need to start chicken farming, finding chicken feeding equipment and chicken drinking equipment, fans and heaters can best be answered by www.chickenhouses.co.za – they carry a full range of poultry equipment and spares. They also do installations and build small poultry houses. You could also look at the poultry forum – this is a place where chicken farmers can ask questions about chicken farming and poultry equipment and suppliers.
So the first thing to decide:
- Farming with eggs or chickens (layers or broilers)?
- How many chickens do I want to raise?
- How much land do I have to raise chickens?
- What size chicken house do I want (will depend on land and number of chickens)?
- How much money do I need?
- How far am I from my markets and suppliers?
- What special conditions exist in my geographical location (temperature, wind etc.)?
One you have answered these questions you can start to construct a business plan. If you are trying to raise money through a bank loan, or government grant you will need a comprehensive business plan – including a marketing plan and a production plan with cash flows and cash forecasts. You will need to, in detail, list all the items you need to start chicken farming including chicken feeding equipment, chicken drinking equipment, fans, heaters. Don’t forget about the cement slab, the leveling of the ground for the chicken house, store rooms for chicken feed (or silos), water connections (borehole), and electricity connections. If you are applying for a grant from the department of agriculture, and you leave items off your list you will need to find the money yourself. The more careful you are, and the further you think ahead about labor, sales, customers, growth plans – the better prepared you will be when you finally start farming. A chicken farm takes dedication and effort – and if you are a small farmer you will be doing most of the work yourself – if this is the case think carefully before buying cheap, labour intensive poultry equipment. Thins like nipple drinkers and chain feeders can save you lots of time and effort – but they do cost!