With the increase in the number of people consuming chicken and chicken eggs as food, there is a growing demand for poultry. Starting your own chicken farm can therefore prove to be a profitable business. However, before you purchase your first chicken, undertake accurate research and analysis of all the elements involved in setting up a poultry business, including rearing chickens, the type of chickens you want to raise, housing and the associated costs.
Read informative books on the lifestyle of chickens, such as food and shelter requirements, breeding, egg-laying and relevant care at different stages of the life cycle. You can also source the information online; there are several web resources such as My Pet Chicken that are dedicated to providing information on everything you need to know about chickens.
Build or purchase a coop to house your chickens. If you have many chickens, you will need a larger area to house the coop. Chickens raised in a coop require at least 10 square feet of space per bird. If you want to raise your chickens organically, they will need a run, which is an outdoor area to freely forage and roam.
Check with your town's health board and zone authorities about regulations on raising chickens. Research the minimum distance requirements from the coop to property lines, if you are allowed to raise chickens in your town. Take into consideration local noise regulations, if you are planning to keep roosters.
Estimate the total costs of setting up and operating a chicken farm. Account for ongoing operational expenses including food, water systems and heating for chicks. If you intend to start a large-scale chicken farming operation, consult your bank to discuss the possibility of giving you a loan to finance your business.
Ensure that you have the appropriate chicken breed to match your goals. If you want to rear chickens for their eggs and not for the meat, you should raise chickens that are good egg layers. For instance, a black leghorn chicken lays more eggs than a white leghorn chicken. However, since this breed is strong, you may need to adjust your housing and feeding requirements to accommodate this breed of chicken.
Arrange for supplies that need to be installed in your chicken coop, such as feeders, hay and chicken feed. Purchase baby chicks from a small farm or a private breeder to ensure that the quality of the chickens is good. Consult a veterinarian to recommend a healthy breed of chickens, vaccinations and vitamin and mineral supplements for your poultry.
Register your chicken farm as a business. Check business regulations in your area for information on whether you require a permit or a license to sell chicken eggs or meat.
Raise a few chickens prior to setting up a full-scale poultry farm, for an idea on whether you will be able to rear and accommodate chickens on a long-term basis.
Chickens reared in coops which offer restricted space tend to dirty their habitats quickly and easily.