How to start a poultry farming business –a beginner’s guide to successful poultry farming

I began my poultry farming business in early 2021 and my biggest challenge when starting up the poultry raring project was how to start? By then, I had visited a few of my friends who kept birds for commercial purposes. From their stories and based on what I saw from their farms, I understood that poultry farming was truly a lucrative project. I was eager to start my own poultry farming business. But the lack of skills was my biggest challenge.

You know, ignorance is a dream killer. Every single day, millions of youth see their agribusiness dreams immaterializing not because they lack the resources, but the expertise to implement their life-changing desires. I did not want to be a victim of ignorance.

So, I embarked on a knowledge-searching scheme to discover what it really takes to raise birds and run a successful poultry business. And yes, today, I hold the testimony of success in the poultry business.

In this blog post, I leverage my poultry farming skills as well as the experiences I’ve gained from other experienced poultry farmers and professionals over my long period of interactions with practitioners in this field to write a detailed poultry farming startup guide for beginners. My aim is not just to motivate, but also to teach how to kick off your profitable poultry farming business.

Know it before you invest in it!!

First off, starting a poultry farming business (in Kenya) demands more than just agricultural skills. That’s true because you just don’t want to be a chicken farmer, but a highly profitable poultry farming business person. You must think like a business person while starting out with this lucrative venture.

Steps in starting a poultry farming business in Kenya

Here is the outline of our complete poultry farming guide for beginners. I’ll be updating this guide regularly because I want to make it as honest, reliable, and comprehensive as possible, yet brief and to the point

Step 1: Learn about poultry farming first

Have you ever been told a heart-breaking story of a failed poultry business? Have you wondered why the investment failed?

Of course, many factors can lead to the failure of a poultry farming business, but the major cause of failure is a lack of skills.

Most beginner farmers rush into poultry farming after hearing that it’s a lucrative investment. Sadly, regrets almost always follow afterward.

As you prepare to invest in poultry farming, you need to understand its nature as a very dedicating and skill-demanding business. That is, to succeed as a poultry farmer, you’ve to know and adhere to the rules.

As an example, you’re not going to mishandle day-old chicks and escape without the pain of losing your birds over a night.

So, invest your money and time in learning about poultry farming before you pump money into it. Here are 10 ways to learn poultry farming.

Step 2: Evaluate your objectives to choose a poultry sector

Poultry farming is no different from other businesses. To succeed in a poultry farming business, you need to be clear on what you want to achieve.

Here, I would define business objectives as the short- and long-term accomplishments you’re hoping to make through your poultry farming project. Knowing your aims is extremely important. This knowledge will help you to identify which specific niche of poultry farming to focus on.

There are several poultry segments to consider and chances are that you’ll be leveraging one or more of the niches to attain your desired outcomes. The two major chicken farming niches are as follows

  • Keeping layer chicken –for egg production
  • Raring broilers –for meat production.

In addition to these, opportunities are huge in other areas as well. For instance, you can make money by investing in

It is worth mentioning that as a beginner farmer, trying to spread your investment across many niches is obviously a bad idea. My word of caution is that taking a diversification approach minus having the relevant skills and a huge chunk of resources to fund multi-poultry farming projects will only increase your chances of failure!

Therefore, dear aspiring farmer, narrow down your focus. Again, take your time to critically evaluate your business objectives. Pay attention to your interests, abilities, skills, and resources as all these will equally influence your long-term success as a poultry farmer.

Step 3: Create a business plan for your poultry farming project

A “business plan” is a must-have tool for any business person. The plan is simply a document that outlines your business’ goals, operations, industry, market objectives, and financials.

It also gives a snapshot of your business and serves as the roadmap to guide you through the process of implementing your poultry farming idea.

There are many benefits of having a poultry business plan as discussed in our article, Why you should have a poultry farming business plan?

Here is our free business plan template that you can download and customize to suit your needs.

Step 4: Consider the financial investment required

As I mentioned previously, a statement of capital is one of the important components to include in your poultry business plan. In other words, your business plan should answer the questions: How much does it cost to start the poultry farming business? How much capital do I need to begin my first poultry farm? I already tackled these questions here.

The simple reality is that starting a poultry farm is an expensive undertaking. The bulk of your initial costs will go to acquiring land, buying the first birds, purchasing equipment, constructing a poultry house, and paying employees.

The amount of money you’ll spend is determined by a broad range of actors which we discussed in the “How much does it cost to start a poultry farming business?” A good way to lower the startup capital is to start small.

I love Shawn Lam’s “5 reasons why starting small is the key to success.” Starting small;

  • Simply is the first step [to learning something you don’t know yet]
  • Takes less time and energy
  • Prevents overwhelming
  • Grows your confidence and motivation
  • Gives you the ability to pivot

Step 5: Select a suitable farm location

Site location is definitely a determinant of success in the poultry farming business. A strategic site location will aid your marketing efforts, provide you with access to basic utilities, and even secure and protect your farm from many potential problems including theft.

On the contrary, choosing a bad site for a poultry facility will result in environmental-related problems: litter application, odors and flies, and water quality. Also, birds often produce a lot of noise and a strong, offensive smell. No one will like such interferences close to their homes or public places.

So, choosing a suitable location or site for your poultry farm is a good way to avoid running into problems with other businesses, authorities, neighbors, and operators of public settings like parks, schools, and churches.

We wrote an article on selecting a site for a new poultry farm in which we detail specific factors to consider when choosing a site for your poultry farm. As we mentioned in that article (you can access it here), you need to pay attention to local policies, utilities and road networks, existing buildings, prevailing wind, topography, public areas, your neighbors, and setbacks.

In the long run, a proper selection of a poultry site will save you money and time.

Step 6: Establish a suitable poultry house

A good poultry house is a fundamental requirement for successful poultry farming. Whether you want to start a small-scale or commercial poultry farming project, you’ll need to have a safe housing or shelter facility where your birds can be happy and secure.

There are many types of poultry housings, but your choice of the model to construct will depend on certain factors. Here are a few considerations you want to take in establishing a poultry house

  • Construction costs –the cost should be as low as possible because you don’t want to spend too much as we stated here.
  • Your farm’s objectives –birds will require specific housing types or models (see this article on constructing a chicken house).
  • Your financial capability
  • Construction space –Choose a location with sufficient space considering the need for future growth. You may find helpful tips in our article on selecting a site for a new poultry farm.
  • Climate condition

It is also worth noting that the housing facility should be able to achieve the following

  • Protect the birds from predators and adverse climatic conditions
  • Support economic and easy operation and supervision
  • Allow good feeding, diseases, and paste controls
  • Facilitate proper micro-climatic conditions
  • Accommodate the necessary poultry equipment and other facilities.

Do not make rushed decisions when it comes to establishing your chicken coop. Take your time to evaluate all important considerations as this will enable you to avoid additional redesigning expenses in the near future.

I always advise beginner farmers to learn through farm visits. I wrote an article on five ways to learn poultry farming. Visit a poultry farmer in your neighborhood as this will help you a lot with discovering what to or not do. Further tips on how to

I found this YouTube video very insightful.

Step 7: Acquire poultry farming equipment

Poultry farming equipment are simply the facilities you need for feeding, brooding, temperature regulation, and hatching purposes on your farm. What we’re talking about here are things like feeders, heaters, drinkers, and many more.

With inflation rates historically high globally, poultry equipment are more expensive today than ever before. The good news, however, is that there are ways you can use to secure equipment at affordable prices.

If you are in Kenya, here are a few tips on how to find poultry equipment cheaply.

  • Search from online retail websites. Jiji.co.ke is a good place to begin from. With just a few clicks, you can easily find good deals from wholesalers or retailers who are ready to sell at a throw-away price.
  • Go for second-hand equipment. You can find used equipment from Jiji.co.ke or from” used-items-on-sale” dealers in your town or on Facebook Groups.
  • Did you know about Facebook Marketplace? If not, start experimenting with it. There are a lot of chicken equipment items being sold by farmers, retailers, and wholesalers on Facebook Marketplace.
  • Experienced farmers can help you! Yes. That’s why I repeatedly ask you to network. There are many farmers and agribusiness professionals out there who know a lot more than you do. Talk to them and you’ll be surprised how helpful they can be to you and at no cost.
  • Inquire from social media groups. Poultry Farmer Groups are everywhere. Join one and make use of the fee advice. Am sure you’ll definitely get referrals.

Step 8: Buy experimental or starter chicks

Step 9: Employ reliable, experienced employees

Step 10: Network and seek guidance

Step 11: Manage the farm properly

Step 12: Do your marketing homework

Step 13: And now, enjoy the profits

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