How to Start Chicken Farming in South Africa
There is a lot of planning and research that goes into starting a chicken farming in South Africa. Before you invest in the housing or even acquire chicks, it is recommended to begin by researching as much information as possible, visiting farms and if possible, even signing up for farmer training. You will need knowledge and expertise when you are planning to start a chicken farm. You need to know all the little details in the entire poultry value chain.
How to start chicken farming in South Africa – Overview
- Define your chicken farming objectives
- Would you like to go free range or commercial or factory farming?
- Would you like to raise your birds for meat or eggs?
- What poultry breeds should you choose? There are commercial layers, commercial broilers, hybrids as well as the indigenous South Africa chicken breeds. The kind of birds that you will rear will ultimately depend on your farming objectives.
- How will you build chicken housing a structure?
- What will it cost you to build chicken housing structure?
- Should you build it yourself or hire commercial chicken houses contractors in South Africa?
- What will be the flocking density
- Would like to purchase day-old chicks or older chicks?
- Where will you acquire your chicks?
- How much will it cost you to feed your chickens on a weekly or monthly basis?
- What is the cost of disease management?
You Also Need To Consider
How will you maximize your management techniques so that your chickens hit their genetic potential and make you money? Chicken farming in South Africa is only profitable if you hit certain levels inefficient poultry management. For example, if you are rearing layers and you have managed to minimize mortality to less than 4%, you are going to be profitable if you layers can maintain a yield of 70% and above. Below that, you will be running losses. You hens might still lay many eggs and you will be selling them daily but if you factor in that feeding alone costs 70% of the total production costs, and factor in costs such as labor and disease management, you will realize that you are making losses overall if your layers are not at their optimal best with over 70% yield.
How will your finance your chicken farm in South Africa: There are plenty of ways to procure poultry financing. You can save money over time, apply for bank loans, get cooperative loans, get loans from friends and colleagues amongst others. Whether you are planning to start a free-range chicken farm in South Africa or a commercial battery cage farming, poultry farming startups are generally capital intensive.
Regulations: Check with your local extension officers on the various regulations that you need to comply with. There are general health regulations regarding the slaughter, transportation of chickens as well as the disposal of dead chickens etc. There are regulations on packaging and labeling of eggs amongst others. You can download these from the South African Poultry Association website and study them in order to ensure compliance.
Certifications: South Africa does not have a regulated certification regime for organic or free-range chickens but if you would like to commercialize your produce, you can take the initiative and apply with any of the organic certification bodies in the country although the certification process for organic us generally time-consuming and costly. For free range, there is no certifications regime but you must try to be as transparent as possible to your buyers with regards to the free-range chicken farming practices that you use to raise your chickens.
There is a brief breakdown on how to start chicken farming in South Africa. If you are looking for more information on how to start free range chicken farming in South Africa, check out our free-range chicken farming manual below.