Poultry farming is now considered one of the most profitable businesses in livestock production systems. More commercial poultry farmers are investing heavily in building and managing large and complex poultry housing units.
Recently I saw serious businessmen and women turning into environmentally controlled highly intensive production systems commonly seen in the developed world.
As more farmers get into the commercial poultry farming business, profitable and sustainable farming will require more than just feeding and watering the flocks. Here is what most successful farmers do right to excel in poultry business today.
There are many qualities of a good leader and I believe these qualities are as relevant in poultry production. Top poultry performers are usually visionary, inspirational to their workers, communicate well, are flexible, responsible, and dependable. I have worked with hard-working farmers in Kenya and the most successful ones develop these skills overtime irrespective of their education backgrounds.
A good business leader will invest in training their human capital on good poultry husbandry practices and equip their attendants with better skills in stockmanship, healthcare, and sound management skills.
Whether one is just starting out or improving her poultry business, understanding the basic financial management of a flock can help one enhance profitability. Adopting the right financial management skills will set a firm foundation for success. For a sound business, find out what are your fixed costs in your egg or meat production venture. These are expenses to a business that don’t change even with an increase or decrease in the number of chicks and services. These include, cost of construction, or rent, cost of drinkers, feeders, weighing scales, salaries, utilities like water and power, interest expenses etc. These costs must be tabulated and managed prudently. Great performers are always doing the math and calculating the margins.
Customer-focused businesses that take time to know their customers and are providing services are listening more to customer feedback are likely to perform well. There is a competitive advantage in understanding the needs and wants of your customers. Successful farmers connect directly with customers at a personal level and do not need brokers to reach the market.
The use of technology and automation is now considered a must in any large-scale profitable commercial poultry farming. Innovation technologies in poultry feeding systems, water dispensation, ventilation, brooding, chicken processing, health monitoring, all provide new cutting edge in improving flock health and performance. Farmers who adopt these technologies are benefiting from efficient layer and broiler production performances.
Outperforming farming businesses that are continuously reinforcing more investments back into the business are driving performances to great heights. I have met farmers who started with 100-layer pullets and are currently holding 200-300,000 pullets at any given time and producing 58 million eggs annually. To reach such levels, you need time, effort, funds, or assets to re-invest into a successful venture for a great payoff.
The future of successful farmers is pegged on how well they work with retailers. This essentially means, to get to the consumers, you must endear to the one who is in direct contact with them.
The next partner a farmer will need is a good, consistent, and dependable input supplier.
Other partners like fund managers, poultry associations, government regulators, chick suppliers and hatcheries are very important supply chain actors.
[The writer is Head Vet at Kenchic]