No homestead feels complete without chickens, whether you live in a rural or urban area. However, what if you want to make your birds more than backyard pets? Do you know how much you would be earning this Christmas season if you kept indigenous or backyard chicken? Well, here are tips to make money with poultry in a homestead.
Tap into the local chicken potential
Local chicken is a viable business that many Ugandan farmers have shunned due to a perception that they take longer to mature than exotic chicken and their returns are lower. However, because they taste better and produce better quality eggs, they cost higher.
Currently, 90% of local chicken consumed in Kampala are got from either Teso in the east or Lango in the north and this is what makes them quite expensive compared to exotic chicken. However, there are farmers who have started rearing real local chicken in Kampala and Wakiso for money. Compared to hybrids, these are easier to keep and maintain. This is because they consume other foods other than processed feeds, are hardy hence resist diseases.
It is always good to start small if you are keeping chicken for the first time. Even 10 to 20 hens mixed with at least two cocks can earn a decent income. However, for a business farmer, you must have at least 300 chicken since all inputs like vaccinations are packed for over 300 chicken. Therefore, keeping less, will be reducing your profits.
You will need about sh3m to rear the 300 chicken to maturity, about four months, to cater for buying chicks, feeds, vaccines, charcoal for brooding, water and all others.
At three months your cocks will be ready for sale at a minimum of sh25,000 to sh35,000 and at five months the hens will start laying eggs.
You need to sell off the cocks because they may be related to the hens which is not good for reproduction. From 300 chicken if you have 100 cocks which you sell at sh25,000 and sh30,000 you get between sh2.5m to sh3m. For the 200 hens left, you get at least 170 eggs (5.5 trays) a day. If you sell eggs at sh12, 000 each tray, you get sh60,000 per day. Then after about 18months of laying eggs, you can sell each of the hens at sh25,000 getting sh5m.
Depending on the numbers, a chicken house for 300, constructed using timber and wire mesh can cost you at least sh1m.
When the hens are ready to lay eggs, get cocks at a rate of 1 cock to 10 hens. These can be changed at least every six months to avoid in breeding.