Setting up a Poultry Business
Farmers have been considerably investing in poultry units for both free range and broiler chicken production, in particularly over the last five years. Although investment is very high, on average between 1-3 million, returns on such investment have been quite lucrative, this has been mainly driven by the increase demand for free range eggs and chicken meat. By 2025 the majority of supermarkets are declaring that they will no longer stock eggs produced from caged hens, so it looks like the demand is not going to quieten down anytime soon.
Larger processors in particular are involved at all stages of the process, from managing the supply of the chicks and laying hens to providing feed. There are two set ups that are commonly used within poultry systems. Processors will either rent sheds and manage production with their own staff or with a managed contract. Farmers would be responsible for operating the unit with varying degrees of input from the processor, quite often with a set feed and boiler/egg price to reduce volatility in financial returns. Due to the highly competitive market, there have been an increase in mergers taking place to enable necessary co-ordinate investment and to increase business growth.
If you are considering setting up a poultry business on your farm or estate there are many considerations that need to take place to ensure such an opportunity is feasible. One of the biggest hurdles is normally obtaining planning permission, as although modern boiler units are clean, odour free, and provide very high welfare standards, neighbours may still have something to say about your new construction. It is very important to make sure you have expert advise and guidance from the early stages to ensure you meet all the planning and environment requirements, and to raise any potential obstacles or concerns before you have invested seriously money into your new venture. Other factors you will need to consider are finding a processor who will offer a contract, your location, financial feasibility, and the time frame it will take to build the units and get your business up and running. All these considerations will influence securing the initial interest from a processor. However, another option that you could consider is renting the new units to a processor, this will enable you to create a fixed return which will lower risks but ultimately will also bring you a lower return.
Starting Your Own Poultry Business
When starting your own poultry farm there are many aspects of the business that you need to consider, from setting up basic equipment, to raising the birds, as well as marketing your business. We are going to talk you through some of the elements that you need look at to help your poultry business have the best chance of success.
- First of all you need to choose your poultry section, there are two main areas you can go into - broilers and layers. Broilers are chickens that you raise for meat and layers are chickens that you raise for eggs. You will also need to consider what type of bird you would like to specialise in, most poultry farms raise birds such as domestic fowl or chickens as boilers and layers. But you may also want to consider duck, goose, quail, guinea fowl, turkey and pigeon.
- Create your farm logo - this is an essential step that is often forgotten about or not given enough time and attention as needed. However, your logo is what represents your business, it will be one of the first things potential customers will see as it will be on everything. From business cards, promotional material and product packaging to your website and social media pages, so your logo really needs to be representing the right message to your target audience and show that you run a professional poultry business.
- Location - when setting up a poultry business you need to make sure that it is in the most appropriate location, you could have the best poultry farming business but if you have no way of getting your eggs to your customers unfortunately you don't have a successful business. Try and build your poultry farm a little way from town, as land and labour are cheaper, however make sure you don't go to rural as you will have to pay more for transportation costs, as well as making it harder for yourself to reach your target audience and customers. As local free range eggs are of high demand for consumers and food outlets, you want to make sure you don't isolate yourself by being based too far away.
- Get financial help - setting up a poultry business requires sufficient funding that you may not have to hand. There is a lot of financial outlay in the beginning of setting up your new venture as you will need to purchase a lot of equipment - feeders, drinkers, perches, lighting system, incubators, heaters or brooders to name a few. You will also need a large amount to purchase land, as well as funds for the birds, staff and labourers and promoting and marketing your business. Due to all these initial outlays you may need to consider applying for a bank loan or pitching to investors. If you need to go down this route make sure you have a detailed business plan ready to present, this will need to include initial outlay costs as well as predicted earnings and business growth.
- Spread the word about your new venture - you meet people on a daily bases, whether thats friends, family or strangers, make sure you tell everyone about your exciting new business. Ask to leave promotional material in your local shops and food outlets, and ask friends and family if they also will be happy to hand some out to. Have business cards to hand at all times so you can introduce yourself in a professional way to potential customers and stockists.
- Hire professionals - there are many aspects of poultry farming that should be handled by only experienced people. To give your business the best opportunity make sure you only hire professionals who have many years of experience in farming. You will also need to consider hiring an administrative officer or manager to keep a close eye on day to day affairs of the business.
- Put your business on the web - many potential clients will be searching and shopping poultry products online. If your business is not on the web you will be missing out on a massive chunk of business opportunities. But just like your logo you need to make sure your website portrays the right message to your potential customers, it also needs to be user friendly, visually appealing, easy to navigate and quickly loadable. You also need to make sure your website has SEO set up so you appear in google. Another invaluable tool is to submit your business to google, that way your business will be one of the first to come up when someone googles poultry farming business in your area.
- Market your products - one significant thing to keep in mind is marketing your products and business, without having a marketing plan its very hard to achieve your business goals. It is very important that you know your target audience inside out so you know how to communicate with them and know how to reach them, without this knowledge you are simply shooting in the dark. To make sure you are reaching your target audience each time, it is very worthwhile to create target audience profiles. These need to be covered in as much depth as possible from name, age, appearance, job role to their hobbies, where they hang out and shop. All this information will help you create relevant content for your target audience, how to connect with them and where to find them.