It could be argued that the chicken industry today is in a bad state. Cost cutting has led to an all round lower quality in poultry that have had incredible impacts on nature and the environment. People are desperate for ethical and local choices and there is huge potential for the right people that are willing to put in the effort. Running a chicken farm though is hard enough and making a business out of it is something else all too different however it is possible. Not only will you have to be a farmer, but you will have to be a business person.
There are two different areas within the chicken industry:
Layers: Where chickens are bred and raised for their eggs.
Broilers: Where chickens are bred and raised to be slaughtered for their meat.
You will also need to ask how you wish to raise your chickens.
Conventional: Chickens are confined to barns at certain temperatures and space.
Free Range: Chickens are allowed to roam free and try to live as natural life as possible.
Once you have decided how you are going to raise your chickens and how you want to raise them for you should find the correct market for yourself. There are huge gaps in the market for locally sourced free range chickens so this could be a good idea. The same could be true for free range eggs. Obviously if you wish to go for the mass market then you face a lot of competition in this area from already large established businesses.
How to go about running your business:
First of all this is a business so treat it as one! Get yourself an action plan built with what you want to achieve. Create a document that lists your budget and how much you expect to spend and earn each month. This will help a lot with how and where you want to be and also perfect to manage you expectations from your business.
Make sure that you have the basic requirements that a farm needs. You will need land, capital and equipment. These are just the basic necessities. You need barns or hutches where the chickens go to sleep at night. You will need land where the chickens can wander and grow, whether conventional or free range. You will also need equipment and machinery that are needed to help with you looking after the chickens like cleaning equipment.
Secure your business! The biggest threat against a chicken farm are predators .The equivalent of a robber coming into an office and stealing all the computers is like a fox in the dead of night razing the hen house and destroying all the chickens. You will need to provide security and make sure everything is locked and secured from predators. Foxes are known to check chicken coops every night in the off chance that something is not secure properly one night. Foxes have no mercy; they will often kill whole packs of chickens just for fun. You don’t want to lose all your hard work just because of one small mistake of forgetting to lock the hutch.
Make sure that you market your business – You have worked so hard and now you need to make sure people are aware. First, let your friends and family know and what makes your business different from the others. If it is interesting enough then word of mouth can spread which is amazing. After that, work carefully and see if it is worth investing in paid advertising. You can also setup a website including a Facebook page and Twitter page where you can share the latest developments and offers too.