Broiler meat is a rich source of protein with an ever growing demand. In broiler farming, the Day Old Chicks (DOCs) of specific broiler strain e.g. Babcock, purchased from reputed hatchery/ company are raised on specially formulated feed for a period of about six weeks, with a turnover of six flocks per year. Both rural and semi-urban areas are suitable for this business.
Success of broiler farm largely depends on good management practices. After brooding and rearing period, birds are sold at farm gate on ‘Live Body Weight’ basis to traders or transported to market. The farm gate price of live bird is determined on daily basis.
In the proposed broiler farm, the Day Old Chicks (DOCs) are raised on high protein and energy feed in a conventional open housing system for a period of six weeks (All in-All out system). The purpose built farm is acquired on rental basis. After six weeks, the birds are sold on live body weight basis to traders, wholesale markets or sold directly to the shopkeepers in the urban markets. With ever increasing demand for white meat, broiler farming can be a profitable venture. Annually, six flocks of birds are raised on the farm, depending on area climate.
In this article, all the calculations have been based on a flock size of 10,000 birds. As six flocks are produced per year, hence total 60,000 birds are reared per year. There will be a lag time of two weeks for cleaning and disinfection (e.g. fumigation) on the farm.
Controlled Shed Poultry Farm Setup in Pakistan
- The broiler farming must begin with a clean and sanitized shed. The layout of open conventional shed should be north-south to ensure clean, dry and well-ventilated shed as this provides fresh air and carries off humidity.
- The entire building and all equipment should be properly disinfected and fumigated. The equipment and walls of the shed should be checked for cleanliness, disinfection and spraying before the arrival of DOCs. Disinfectants can be prepared with Phenol, Potassium Permanganate, Carbolic Acid and Formalin. A solution of Sodium Hydroxide/Caustic Soda with warm water can also be used to clean the house.
- To sanitize the shed from germs and insects, it is fumigated with Formaldehyde gas, produced by putting Formalin on Potassium Permanganate. The house should be vacant and sealed for 30 minutes after the fumigation so that the gas infiltrates in every corner.
- Litter is spread on the floor to prevent direct contact of birds with the floor. Rice-husk and sawdust are generally used as litter. It should be dry and free of molds. Caked or moldy material should be removed and refilled with fresh materials. Extensively wet and dusty litter should also not be used. Using new litter for each flock is good for raising disease-free broiler birds.
- The DOCs should be procured from well reputed hatcheries and should be of uniform size, active and bright eyed, having healed navel. The skin of shanks should be shiny.
- The DOCs should arrive at the farm early in the morning so that the management has a full day to observe them for any issue.
- Flushing should be done by offering 250 gm glucose per gallon of water as readily available source of energy and to clear the digestive tract.
- Keep light at high intensity 20–22 hours per day for the first week. Closely regulate temperature of shed.
- Special attention should be given to temperature and relative humidity maintenance in the shed. The temperature for brooder should be 99 F, encircled by chick guard/sheets. The brooder is essential part of broiler farming, also known as ’Artificial Mother’ as it provides necessary heat to DOCs shortly after arrival till 7 days of age.
- Mostly, 24 hours light is provided during brooding and early growing period. Initially, for first fifteen days, light intensity should be 40-60 watts per 200 sq. ft of space which can be replaced by 15 watts bulb in the start of third week.
- Starter feed should be offered as a source of energy to chicks as it is easily digestible and a good source of energy. Broilers are fed two types of ration i.e. broiler starter (mash or crumb form) fed up to four weeks of age and then broiler finisher (mash or crumb form) fed from fifth to sixth week. There are many feed mills that prepare these formulated feeds.
- Feeding three or four times each day will stimulate feed intake and prevent wastage. The desired Feed Conversion Ratio (FCR) is 2.20. Check regularly the availability of water and feed for chicks.
- Keep feed free from aflatoxins. Remove all leftover feed from bins, hoppers and troughs.
- Place rodenticide out of the reach of DOCs.
- Remove dead birds immediately and dispose them properly. Send the dead birds to lab for postmortem examination if there is excessive mortality.
- Follow bio-security plans by not allowing visitors or attendants to enter sheds without disinfected boots and clothes.
- Follow the recommended vaccination schedule. Vaccination can be provided to chicks through eye drops, drinking water and subcutaneous injections.
Factors for Successful Poultry Farming in Pakistan
- Background knowledge and related experience of the entrepreneur in broiler farm operations.
- Application of good poultry husbandry practices such as timely feeding, watering, lighting, vaccination, medication, temperature / humidity control and culling of uneconomical birds to ensure flock’s best performance and higher efficiency in disease-free environment.
- Awareness of supply and demand of chicken in the market as the price of chicken meat fluctuates throughout the year.
- Efficient marketing of the project and bulk supply to wholesalers
Rural and peri-urban areas around major cities are suitable for setting up a broiler farm. Setting up a farm at an isolated place will minimize the risk of disease. Proximity of the farm to the city enables the farmer to establish links with the market for buying farm inputs and selling of grown-up birds, swiftly. Suburban and rural areas around big cities e.g. Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Hyderabad, Karachi, Peshawar and Quetta are recommended for starting a broiler farm.
Marketing of chickens follow traditional channels of distribution. Generally, grown-up birds are distributed in the market through market agents and intermediaries such as Arhti and wholesalers. In some cases, the middleman provides DOCs and other farm inputs (feed, vaccination, medication etc.) to the broiler farmers under a contract to buy back mature birds from them.
Birds are transported to the urban market and are sold to retailers or market street poultry shops. Few poultry meat processing plants process raw poultry meat into dressed chicken, quality cuts or other forms to the market. The integrated processing units distribute frozen and dressed chicken packed in whole or cut-ups to the consumer through retail shops under their brand names. Major domestic markets include all major cities across the country including Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta etc. The wholesale and retail price of poultry meat is determined daily on consumer’s demand and supply situation.