This article is about the Broiler Chicken Farming Project Report which includes management practices, investments and returns of the broiler poultry farm. The varieties of chicken raised for meat are called broiler chicken. Initially, broilers were considered to be young male chickens selected from the entire farm flock, but the modern commercial meat breeds have changed this definition. Now, commercial broilers are selected as the hybrid Cornish chicken, etc., and are bred for large-scale efficient meat production. Broilers grow very fast and have a high feed conversion ratio. The minimum weight of the broiler at the time of slaughter is expected to be 2 kg and this should be achieved within 40 to 45 days according to the commercial breeding practices. The artificial breeding in birds makes them immature physiologically when compared to slow-growing free-range or organic breeds, which generally take 12 to 16 weeks to attain slaughter weight. The broilers typically have white feathers with yellow skin and the reason for this yellow skin colour is due to the hybridization of domestic birds with grey jungle fowl genes. In broilers, both the male and female birds are reared for their meat. The behaviour of the broiler changes according to the environment. Modern broilers are considered to be omnivores and are given, a special diet of high protein so that they attain the desired weight. The feed conversion ratio of the birds depends greatly on the breeding practices and varies for different locations. In India, the average feed conversion ratio is determined to be in the range of 1.70 to 1.75, whereas in the US the average Feed conversion ratio of broiler chickens is 1.90 pounds of feed per pound of chicken. Similarly, the feed conversion ratio in Canada is 1.72 and the best feed conversion ratio is observed in the broiler chicken farms of New Zealand which is estimated to be around 1.40 or lower.

The world production of meat chicken was estimated to be around 50 billion in 2004 out of which the contribution of the US is 20%, China- 15%, the EU- 13%, and Brazil-11%. With the increasing demand for meat chicken in the world, it is probably estimated to increase to 90 million tonnes within a decade.

Scope and importance of Broiler Farming

India is considered the fifth largest producer of broiler meat in the world and is estimated to produce around 3 million metric tonnes annually. The government has made facilities available for the maintenance of high-quality farms owing to the increase in the growth of the industry. Assistance is being provided to help the farmers manage their farms and livestock. The demand for chicken meat has boosted the industry in India. Farmers are being trained on raising the chicken, maintaining healthy farms and increasing their income through proper establishment and choice of breeds. The poultry industry contributes around 20000 crores approx to the national economy. The poultry industry has a large scope for providing employment opportunities to the rural population of the country. The demand for broiler chicken is expected to increase dynamically in the near future, thereby providing great scope for investment in this sector.

Broiler Breeds

The broiler breeds suitable for commercial farming are:

  • Colour broiler
  • Hy-bro
  • Vencobb
  • Cariboo
  • Babcobb
  • Krishibro

Sometimes broiler farms use the term called squab broilers, which refers to tiny chickens of 0.9 kg weight at 28 days of age. They are raised on the farm, processed, and sold fresh.

Broiler Performance

The efficiency of broiler chicken is measured by four parameters such as:

  • Liveability – the normal value of this parameter is 97 to 98%
  • Feed conversion ratio – average value should be 1.8 for 6-week old chicken
  • Broiler performance efficiency factor – a value of 100 or more is expected
  • Broiler farm economy index – the value of 2 indicates better farm management and a value less than 1.3 indicates poor management and performance

Space Requirement

Before bringing the day-old chicken to the farm it has to be thoroughly cleaned and all the litter has to be removed. The area should be sanitized and properly disinfected. Fumigation is practised by some farmers to disinfect the surroundings. The temperatures within the shelter are adjusted accordingly one day prior to the arrival of the baby chicken. These 1-day old chickens are more susceptible to diseases, so they should be closely observed for the first few days and if there is any sign of infection then they should be quarantined. The house for broiler chicken can be constructed using wood, concrete, steel trusses, etc. The floor is covered with bedding material like rice hulls, sand, wood shavings, and peanut hulls. The average dimensions of the broiler farm should be 40-50 ft wide, 400-600 ft long, and should have sidewalls of 8 ft height and a centre of 11-12 ft. The dimensions of the farm may vary depending upon the number of chickens being raised because in a deep litter system each chicken is expected to have 1 sq ft of space. The temperature within the farm has to be maintained until the baby chicken is 14 days old. Circulation fans in the house move hot air from the ceiling to the floor, which is useful to dry the litter. Good ventilation is highly important for the poultry house to remove excess heat and allow fresh air. Generally, two types of ventilation systems are known; cold weather and hot weather ventilation systems. The environment around the poultry house is of extreme importance and the following things should be remembered while building a house for poultry:

  • The altitude of the farm (higher than flood areas)
  • Away from the residential area
  • Proper drainage facility
  • Litter inside the house should be dry
  • Sufficient lighting facility
  • Good ventilation
  • The house should have dropped ceilings
  • Doors and windows should be large
  • The house should face south
  • Proper fencing
  • Aged broiler chicken should be housed separately
  • Provision for sufficient feeders and waterers.

In general broiler chickens can be housed in deep litter, slatted, or wire floor housing systems, but the deep litter system is the most popular way of housing because the other systems cause problems like leg weakness, breast blisters, and high investment. It is also found that broiler chickens can either be reared in cages or be separately reared.

Cage rearing refers to growing the chicken in cages, which needs 50% less space than the deep litter system, but has both advantages and disadvantages.

  • The density of birds is high
  • Less bruising
  • Less expenditure (no litter)
  • Infection due to coccidiosis is less
  • Lower cannibalism
  • Cleaning is easier
  • Good growth and efficiency
  • Higher incidence of the crooked keel
  • Non-labour friendly
  • High investment (on cages)
  • Not comfortable during summer

Separate rearing refers to growing the male and female birds differently because the growth rate, space requirement, and nutrient needs are all different for these birds. The male birds grow faster and need more nutrients and floor space than the female birds. Some of the advantages and disadvantages are specified here.

  • Accuracy in feed management
  • Uniform rearing of the birds
  • Greater efficiency in managing the farm
  • Less cannibalism
  • Requirement of large breeding flocks

Raring of Broiler Chicken

The broiler chickens have two modes of rearing; single batch or multiple batches. These systems are discussed in detail.

Single batch system

  • Also referred to as all- in- all-out system
  • Consists of one batch of broilers
  • Reared and marketed at the same time
  • Hygienic, lesser infections, less spread of diseases
  • Low mortality rate
  • Better growth and feed efficiency
  • Not suitable for commercial large-scale farming due to higher investment in birds

Multiple batch system

  • More than one batch of birds is reared
  • The hatching interval is 1-4 weeks
  • The chicken is reared for six weeks and sold
  • A new batch is introduced either weekly or fortnightly
  • The ideal number of batches introduced in a year is 5 or 6
  • Rearing time is 40 to 50 days (depends on body weight and age of the chicken)

Feed Requirement

Feed is the most important factor which affects the performance of the chicken. An improper and unhygienic feed can cause deficiency diseases in the birds. The feed is divided into three categories depending on the age of the chicken such as pre-starter (0-10 days), starter (11-21 days), and finisher feed (22 days till sale). Broiler chickens are generally raised for meat and they efficiently convert feed into meat within a short time. Feeding the chicken with quality ingredients is highly important for a successful farm. Both animal and vegetable protein in the feed of broiler chicken can help add extra nutrients. Feed that can be given to chickens is fish meal, meat, milk, liver, dried animal blood, corn, vegetables, grains, etc. Some other nutritious feed could be bone powder, broken wheat, oyster shell powder, salt, sesame cake, rice bran, etc. Care should be taken to provide them in the required quantity and not overfeed the chicken. Apart from these provisions, fresh and clean drinking water should be always available for the chicken on the farm because the water consumption rate of broiler chickens is 1.7 times the feed consumption.

Health and Management

While managing a poultry farm, more emphasis is given to preventing and controlling the diseases rather than curing them when they occur. There are certain important aspects to follow in order to control the diseases such as:

  • A farm should be started with disease-free chicken stock.
  • The chicks should be vaccinated properly against diseases.
  • The feed should be kept in a hygienic place and should be free from aflatoxins.
  • Outsiders should not be allowed into the farm.
  • The floor of the farm should be covered with clean litter at least 3 inches deep.
  • Providing a foot bath at the entrance of the farm is necessary.
  • Clean and fresh water should be available for the broiler chicken at the time.

Common diseases of the broiler chicken

  • Ranikhet or the new castle disease
  • Marek’s disease
  • Salmonellosis
  • Colibacillosis
  • Brooder pneumonia
  • Helminthic disease
  • Coccidiosis

Bio-security measures can help prevent the spread of diseases onto the farm. They include;

  • Fencing around the farm
  • Minimum visitors
  • Restrict other animals and birds around the farm
  • Rodent and pest control mechanism
  • Regular inspection of the chicken
  • Proper ventilation and cleanliness
  • Disinfect the farm and its equipment properly

Vaccinating the breeds is an important step in the health care management of broiler chickens because it helps prevent the diseases from occurring. The breeder chicken can transmit pathogens to the eggs so they are vaccinated against all the above-mentioned diseases. Vaccines are either sprayed or given through drinking water. When there is a risk of respiratory diseases, then spray vaccination is preferred. The nipple water feeders should be flushed properly after providing vitamins or vaccination through them otherwise they could be blocked by the residual content causing bacteria in the feeders.

Cost and Profit Analysis

This is an estimation of a small broiler chicken farm, the values and prices included in the model may vary depending on the location of the farm and the variety of chicken being raised. The land cost, transport, electricity, etc. charges have not been included in this model. Only the basic requirements and their cost have been presented here for reference. It is advisable to check in the local market for the availability and price before actually starting the investment in the farm.  There are so many other factors like insurance of the chicken, shed, and other materials which have not been discussed here but would definitely be included during the real deployment of the farm. This model describes the materials and other amenities needed for 2000 broiler chickens.

Material charges:

Size of the batch: 2000

The time period of raising the birds: 45 days raising period

Bird mortality rate: 5%.

So the total size of the batch is 1900.

Cost of 1-day-old broiler chickens: Rs 20 per piece

The average cost of chicken feed: Rs 30/kg

The cost of feeders and waterers per bird: Rs 30 (average)

Feed required by the chicken to attain 2 kg weight: 3 kg

A batch of chicken produced in the first year: 6

Batches sold in one year: 6

New introduction of batches from 2nd year till 5th year: 7

Batches sold during these years: 7.

The weight of the bird when matures: 2 kg approx

Age of the chicken when sold: 40 days (average).

The sale price of a live broiler: Rs 90/kg (this price may vary depending on the age and weight of the chicken).

The space required by a single bird: 1.5 sq ft

The cost of constructing a house for birds: Rs 300/sq ft (the price may vary depending on the construction materials).

Construction and installation chargesInvestment in (Rs)
Cost of the shed or house for 2000 birds6,00,000.00
Cost of feeder equipment for birds60,000.00
Cost of installing electrical equipment like lights etc.30,000.00
The cost of constructing a feed store of area 150 sq ft @ Rs 350/sq ft52,500.00
Cost of (2000) day old chicken @ Rs 20/piece40,000.00
The cost of the feed for 2000 birds @3 kg per bird1,80,000.00
Other expenses like vaccination, etc.20,000.00
Total cost for the project9,82,500.00

The profit from the farm is calculated on the working capital i.e. the investment into buying birds, their feed, other bird management charges like vaccination, etc.

Calculation of variable charges:

The cost of buying day-old birds is done 6 times in a year: Rs 2, 52,000.00 (annually).

The feed is also bought 6 times in a year: Rs 13, 44, 000.00 (annually).

Cost of other expenses: Rs 1, 20,000.00 (annually).

Total annual investment in the farm: Rs 17, 16,000.00 (variable).

Total chicken sold @ 6 batches/ year: 12,000.

Total sale value/ income from the chicken @ Rs 90/kg: Rs 21, 60,000.00.

The total profit on the investment is around: Rs 4, 44,000.00 (annually).

The sale of other by-products of the farms like manure and gunny bags can bring in an extra income of around Rs 20,000.

Loans and Subsidies

Generally, the animal husbandry department situated locally should be consulted to discuss the project details and the help they expect. Banks do provide loans to farmers depending on the individual requirement and size of the project. NABARD also provides subsidies for GOI schemes as well as state schemes. The minimum loan or subsidy is 75-80% of the capital cost.

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