Layer farm which is the rearing of layers bird for egg production has been around in Nigeria for quiet a while though it is just gaining attention now due to economy diversification program of the federal government.
It is one of the agric business that have potential to become a source of foreign exchange if entrepreneur can come into it and stop leaving it in the hand of local farmer.
It profitability has been proven time without number, so if you are planning to go into it you have little thing to worry about, though it has some level of risk which is characteristics of every business, and that also can be averted if you can equip yourself with knowledge and hire professional.
To start layer farming business is not that hard it just require some steps which is highlighted below. But before we go into the steps I will like you to take note of the following
Types/breed of layer hens
There are different types of layer but i categories them into two according to the color of egg shell they produce.
1)white egg laying
Layers in this categories lay white shell egg and their egg is usually small. Some of the breed in this categories are
Hi sex white
2) Brown egg shell layers
Brown egg laying birds have high growth rate and consume a lot of feed, also they lay large egg compare to white egg layers. Their egg shell is brown in color. Some of the breeds are
Hi line brown
Before you choose your breeds
Since the common breeds of layers in Nigeria is lehman brown, isa brown, arco black it is imperative that you will chose between this breeds, but before you do so make sure they tick all your boxes.
What type of egg does your target market want?
Do you have enough capital to cater for feeding of large egg layers?
Do you want to sell the egg or process it?
If it is process egg you want venture into you can raise any type since yoke is the same.
What is the percentage production you desire?
While brown egg layer produce large egg they have low percentage production but white egg have high percentage production.
Equipment needed in layer farm business
Water through/ pipe
Steps to starting layer farm for egg production in Nigeria
Layer farm produce egg which are then sold to whole seller or retailer, it is rare to see layer farm selling egg to final consumer, so carry out feasibility study that will let you know if there is enough whole seller in your proposed location.
Asnswer the following questions in your feasibility report
Is there a good road network in your proposed location?
Is the location suitable for layer farm?
How easy it is to get labour?
Where do you see your business in the next 5 years and how do you get there, write it down in concise manner that can be easily digest by any body because you might want to use it to obtain loan or investment in the future.
Register your business
You might overlook this step which is typical of every farmer, but please don’t there are usually a grant for farmers from the government you will miss out on this, if you did not register your business, also you will want to avoid any future confrontation with the government by registering your business with Corporate Affairs Commission.
Housing and housing system
Once you secure a good location the next in line is to build your layers house. Take note of the following when building a layers house.
To have a good ventilation the wall should be made of block , wood and net such that the wall is three coaches to the ground.
The house should have two entrance and the entrance should face east west direction while the wall should face north south direction to avoid heavy rain and direct sunlight.
Set up footbath in the entrance where visitor can dip their leg before going in to avoid disease outbreak.
The temperature of the house should not be more than 25 degree to avoid heat stress.
Block all hole that predator like cat, dog, and snake can pass into the pen.
The height of the wall should not be more than 3-4 meters.
In commercial layer farm you have two housing system to choose from, they are
Battery cage system
In battery cage system your birds are kept inside cage has pipe for feeding, drinking and space for collecting eggs.
Once they lay, the eggs will role to the front preventing them from braking (Pecking) it. It is the best housing system for commercial layer farming.
Deep litter system
You should use this if you have little capital and more so you should have a plan to upgrade if you use this system. Here your birds will be raise on the floor cover with wood shaving. They lay their egg on the floor.
You should collect or pack egg five times a day in this system to avoid breakage.
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Chicks or grower
Here you need to decide how you want to get you layer birds. Do you want to start from chicks or growers?
If it is chicks, you will need to procure them from reputable hatchery near you and rear them for six month before they can start producing eggs.
If it is grower, you purchase grower (point of cage or point of lay) which are usually between 15 to 18 weeks In age. It won’t take more than 2 weeks before they start laying.
In all, make sure you purchase your birds from reputable hatchery, this can make or mar your business.
Feed and feeding
As petrol is to car so feed is to layers. Your layers need to have access to good quality feed if you want them to better. You will want to buy feed from good source because some feed company do reduce their energy and protein level which is essential for layers.
Usually, 1000 chicks (0 to 6 weeks) will consume 3 bags of chick starter
1000 grower (6 to 18 weeks) will consume 4 bags of grower mash.
1000 layers will consume (18 weeks and above) 6 bags of layers mash.
Feed your birds twice daily: early in the morning and afternoon.
For instance if you need to feed five bags, give them three in the morning and two in the afternoon.
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Make sure they have access to water at all time because lack of water can cause reduction in egg size and production.
Do you want to have a disease free farm manage your farm and birds well. Below is how to care for chicks, grower, and layers.
During brooding, provide enough heat
Provide enough space to avoid stampeding
Give adequate water, feed, and drugs
Always monitor their house temperature
Space them well to prevent disease outbreak
Give them drugs and vaccine on time.
Feed them well if you want steady supply of eggs.
Do not over stock
Provide adequate ventilation.
There are some disease agent that might prevent you from reaping the fruit of your labour, you need to know them and how to fight them.
You don’t need to worry about this, if you procure your layers from reputable hatchery
This is a viral disease which can affect your egg production. To fight it make sure you vaccinate your layers at least every 6 weeks.
This ones can be easily defeated with drugs.
If you do your feasibility study, you will have little or no problem with this step. Identify your taget custormer and know the best advertising medium you can use to reach them.
Some of the advertising medium are
Logo and flyers
Create a website
While all this is a good medium, you need to walk outrightly to your custormer let them know you have what they are looking for.
10% of your birds will start laying at 20 weeks.
Your birds will start laying with pewee eggs (small) and increase gradually.
Your birds will lay at least five times in a week.
Egg rate will start droping at 40 weeks of age.