How to Run a Poultry Business 

Updated on 25 May 2022

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poultry business

When looking at agriculture trends, starting a poultry business is always one of the most popular options. The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform, and Rural Development has called on young people to take advantage of the growing poultry industry and start small farming businesses. If done right, it can be seriously profitable.  

Poultry farming is relatively easy to start. You don’t need huge amounts of space or enormous startup capital. In fact, you could even start a poultry business in your back garden. 

In this guide, we’ll break down how to start a poultry business in South Africa, what specific requirements are needed, and how much a poultry business costs to start.  

How Can I Start a Poultry Business? 

Compared to other agricultural businesses, poultry farming is one of the easiest to get into. The startup costs are on the lower side, and the profit potential can be great.  

To start a poultry business, you will first need the right land. The good news is that, in comparison to other types of livestock farming, poultry requires significantly less land. The amount of land you need depends on how many birds you plan to keep, what type of poultry production you plan to run, and what type of poultry housing system you will use. Poultry housing systems include free-range systems, battery-cage systems, and deep litter systems.   

You’ll also need to establish what sector of poultry farming you will be focusing on. Will you be farming poultry for eggs or meat? You could also raise day-old chicks and sell them to other farmers or hatch eggs and sell them to companies and small farms. Your poultry business will require suitable bird housing for whatever type of business you choose to create.  

To keep animals for farming purposes, you will need to understand your local municipality’s specific animal-keeping bylaws. These regulations will determine where your poultry farm can be located, how the animals are maintained, and various other regulations. Contact your local municipality for this.  

Some other considerations when starting a poultry business include feed, vaccinations, and transport costs. Your poultry business should be within close range of the market or abattoir where you plan to sell the chickens. The further away it is, the higher your costs rise. The type of chicken feed you need changes depending on the age of the chicken. This feed can be expensive. Chickens also need to get vaccinated when hatched.  

Which Poultry is Most Profitable? 

Chicken farming can be highly profitable in South Africa as the market is large and continues to grow. The demand for chickens and eggs is high, presenting plenty of opportunities for new farmers.  

Farming with layers on a large scale is generally more profitable than broiler farming.  

It’s important to choose the right breed of chickens for your poultry farm. This should be determined based on egg or meat production and where you will be raising them. The types of chickens you raise should also determine the type of poultry housing you use.  

How Much Does it Cost to Start Poultry Farming in South Africa? 

On average, it costs between R 20 000 to R 50 000 to start a chicken farm poultry business in South Africa. This will differ depending on the size of the farm, what type of housing you will be using, where the farm is located, and the breeds you will be farming.  

Growing a day-old chick typically costs around R 40 to the point of sale. Raising a box of 100 day-old chicks typically costs between R 850 to R 950. 

A zinc structure to house 500 chicks will generally cost between R 16 000 to R 20 000. Brick structures are more expensive. Always consider additional costs, too, like feed, transport, and vaccines and antibiotics.  

There are many low-cost agricultural ideas available such as starting a rabbit farm or agro-processing business. Compared to other options, starting a poultry business remains one of the most popular ideas thanks to its relatively low barrier to entry combined with the high profit potential of this agricultural sector.  

Just remember that poultry farming is a numbers game. The more birds you are able to raise, the more profitable the business will be. Starting small is always a good idea, but try to leave room for growth as your business develops. If you start in an area that is too small, your profit potential will be limited.  

With the right location, business plan, and poultry stock, this could be one of the most rewarding agricultural ventures possible.  

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