Chicken Farming in South Africa

Chicken farming in South Africa is trending right now and never has this country seen so many small scale or backyard farmers. Our mission is to help both intensive, free range and small scale farmers to grow their farming operations into a profitable and successful business.

Chicken farming is a highly profitable and easy business to run and you can see return of investment in only six weeks. Chickens don’t require a lot of space which means you can farm with large numbers on a small area.

We will discuss many topics regarding chicken farming and growing your business successfully.

Farming with Chickens in South Africa

  • Flooring (Bedding)
  • Fresh Water
  • Feed
  • Monitor your Chickens
  • Market Research
  • Selling your Chickens for the best profit
  • Cash Flow and Financial Planning
  • After sale Service
  • Bio – Security
  • How profitable is Chicken Farming in SA
Chicken Farming in South Africa
Chicken Farming in South Africa

Bedding for Day Old Chicks

Chickens don’t ask much. You need to get the flooring right on day one. Clean the Chicken Coop once a week if you are farming with broilers, also known as meat chickens.

You can use wood shavings or sawdust that you can collect at your closest sawmill factory. Sawdust works well for broilers, they only need bedding for 6 to 8 weeks before you sell them. We do not recommend that you use sawdust for layers. You should use wood shavings to top up the bedding for the whole layer producing cycle. Watch the video below to see how we did our chicken bedding for the day-old chicks.

Chicken Farming in South Africa - Bedding for Day Old Chicks

Chickens Need Fresh Water.

Chickens are very sensitive birds and freshwater must be available at all times. The larger your chicken coop the harder it gets to supply fresh water to the chickens.

Day-old chicks and older chickens go into shock once you move or transport them from one coop to another. Try not to move them, but if you should, ad some brown sugar to their water to calm them.

Water drinkers for chickens

There are many type of water drinkers you can buy for your day old and fully grown chickens and making your own is not hard. Bell drinkers and drinking holders can be bought at most Agricultural stores in South Africa

Feeding the Chickens

There are two ways to feed the chickens. Option A – Feed them two to three times per day or Option B let them eat the whole day.

We try our best to make sure that our chickens can walk freely in their coop and our chickens can eat when they want. Chicken feeders can become very expensive and as your business grows into a large scale Chicken Operation feeding becomes harder and more time consuming.

We feed our chickens Starter for the first 14 days and then mix grower in the starter mix for two days. The remainder of their life they will have a grower mix with a finisher at the last week.

Monitor your Chickens.

You need to keep an eye on your chickens at all times. Make sure when you produce your own day old chickens or when you buy them that they are vaccinated against all diseases like the pocks or New Castle.

When chickens are not healthy, they will show it fast. Remove sick chickens from the coop as soon as possible to avoid spreading of sickness and diseases like Flu and Mareks.

Market Research – Know how to sell your chickens

The most important step about farming with chickens is the ability to sell your chickens. You need to make sure you have are market ready to start selling your chickens before you consider a chicken farming business.

Selling live chickens to your local market and communities is hard work, risky and takes a lot of time. You need to consider your fuel and wages before you determine the sales price of the chickens. Another financial risk is that, when you are selling live chickens and you don’t sell out, you need to keep on feeding them and again you will lose money if you don’t plan correctly.

Finding an abattoir that is willing to slaughter your chickens for a good price is a challenge. Chicken abattoirs are not cheap and do take a huge chunk of your profit. Plan ahead and make sure that your production and nominal costs are in place before you start a chicken farming business.

Cash Flow and Financial Planning

Like any other business, chicken farming has hidden costs and need financial planning. When planning your chicken business it is vital to think about all the details to determine that your profit is 100% correct. Fuel, packaging and slow sales are mostly not calculated in a business plan and can demotivate a farmer if he does not understand why he/she is not making money.

After sale Service

So many farmers ignore or don’t even care about aftersale service.

After sales can lead to more sales – Once you have made a sale to a client, follow up and see if they are happy with your products and find out where you can improve. Remind them when your service will be available again and offer them a better deal if they order in bulk. Make sure that they have your contact details and business name.

If a farmer is unable to confirm an order in advance, there is no guarantee that he/she will be able to get chicks from a hatchery or secure point of lay pullets when they are needed.

Bio – Security for Chicken Farmers

What does Bio – Security mean? Biosecurity, as originally conceptualized, was a set of preventive measures designed to reduce the risk of transmission of infectious diseases in crops and livestock, quarantined pests, invasive alien species, and living modified organisms.

Having Bio-Security in place is a win win for both your business and customers. Containing diseases and the prevention of virus spread should be considered as important as your farming business. If not done correctly you can loose your flock in days and many won’t recover from disasters such as the New Castle Disease.

What steps should I take?

  • Keep unwanted visitors out of your coops
  • Spray vehicles down with Virukill before they enter your property
  • Have water traps or water buckets at the entrance of your coops so visitors and helpers can clean their boots before entering the coop
  • Clean and Spray coops with Virukill after every cycle and rest the coop for at least 2 to 4 days before placing new day-old chicks
  • Workers should sanitize before entering the coop
  • Workers with Flu should not work in the chicken coop

Question: Is Chicken Farming a Profitable Business?

Answer: If planned correctly, Chicken farming can be very profitable. Your profit margin should be around 52%

Question: Do I need a License or Permit to start farming with chickens?

Answer: By South African Law, no you do not need a permit. If you are selling slaughtered chickens from your farm, there is a protocol to follow.

Poultry farming is the form of animal husbandry which raises domesticated birds such as chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese to produce meat or eggs for food. Poultry – mostly chickens – are farmed in great numbers.

Chicken Farming in South Africa