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High Demand for Village Chicken

Business Section

By Sipho Shongwe - TIMES OF SWAZILAND-24-Jun-2009

Swaziland Livestock Technical Services wishes to advise farmers in Swaziland that there is high demand for village chickens in Swaziland.

Farmers who are producing village chickens commercially in Swaziland are happy with the profit margins they get when selling their chickens.

There is a growing number of consumers that demand organic food and village chickens produced organically are in high demand. Due to the limited supply of village chickens in the market today, the consumer is willing to pay a premium for them. The catering industry and supermarkets are failing to get suppliers of village chickens in Swaziland and they are unable to satisfy customer demand.

Village chicken production in Swaziland offers serious chicken producers and entrepreneurs good business opportunities and a bright future. Village chicken production also offers the small-scale chicken producers an escape route from the congested and highly competitive broiler production business in Swaziland.

It is worth mentioning that big broiler producing companies in the country are expanding their business and many small-scale broiler producers are being pushed out of business. Secondly, medium-scale broiler producers claim that their live broiler market has been taken by big broiler producing companies. Consequently, many medium-scale broiler producers are expected to go bankrupt in the near future, as big broiler producers continue operations horizontally and vertically aggressively.

The elimination of the middleman by the big broiler producers has given a big financial muscle and is punching small-scale broiler producers out of the market.

Your friend would like to urge farmers who wish to venture into chicken production and farmers who want to stop broiler production to consider village chicken production as a life saving alternative. Since village chicken production is not too expensive, one is convinced that village chicken production is a safe escape route from the congested and broiler industry and eminent bankruptcy. Village chicken production offers an entrepreneur three unique business opportunities in Swaziland.

1. Village chicken breeding. Demand for breeding village chicken is far higher than supply and there are no known village chicken breeders in Swaziland. The few farmers that are producing village chickens in Swaziland cannot be classified as true breeders. There is a need for farmers to start producing village chicken breeding stock. We need farmers who can produce pure breeds village chickens so that we can improve the quality, size and growth rate of village chickens in Swaziland. At present village chicken producers spend a lot of time looking for good breeding stock and still many farmers fail to find what they want and end up buying any kind of chicken the markets can offer. Therefore there is a big business opportunity in producing high quality village chicken breeding stock in Swaziland.

2. Village chicken hatcheries. Village chicken production improves when the eggs are collected and incubated artificially in batches. Artificial incubation relieves the chicken of the stress of sitting in the next for 21 days incubating own eggs. During the incubation period chickens lose a lot of weight because they spend less time looking for feed. However, when the eggs are collected daily and stored at the right temperature until the eggs are enough to make a good incubator batch, chickens do not pose laying and this improves egg production per chicken per year. Secondly, artificial incubation of eggs gives the farmer an opportunity to hatch eggs in large numbers and chickens become easy to manage because they come in batches. This makes it easy for the farmers to feed, vaccinate and treat chickens because they are of the same age group. However, when chicken are allowed to incubate their own eggs they hatch them at different times and the chickens are very difficult to manage because they eat different classes of feed and are difficult to treat and vaccinate because of the different ages. This is why Swaziland Livestock Technical Services would like to advice farmers who want to produce village chickens to buy their own incubators and hatch their eggs professionally on the farm. This is not impossible because artificial incubators are not expensive and they are easy to operate.

3. Village chicken growers. There is a need for more village chicken growers in Swaziland. It is envisaged that demand for village chicken is going to increase as more people prefer to eat food that has been produced naturally. Therefore, village chickens that are produced naturally and spend a lot of time grazing are high on the consumers shopping list. The chickens chewy meat and special taste makes village chicken irresistible to many customers regardless of the premium price they pay for them.

Ssubsistent village chicken producers Swaziland Livestock Technical Services would like to urge subsistent village chicken producers in the rural areas to take advantage of the demand of village chickens and start producing them. Village chickens do not demand high management and expensive animal feed, but they need protection from parasites, diseases, predators and harsh weather. Farmers are urged to give their chicken clean water all the time and they must provide their hens parasite free clean nests that are not accessible to dogs. Dogs like to eat eggs and if eggs are not protected from them. Secondly, dogs also like to eat small chickens and this reduces productivity of the flock. Farmers must also make sure that their chickens stay in a dry, draft free shelter at night. Keeping growing chickens in a warm dry environment at night will reduce chicken mortality and increase profitability of the operation.

Parasites Farmers must stop throwing chicken feed on the ground when feeding them. This is very unhealthy and exposes the chicken to parasite infestation. When chicken are infested with parasites their droppings contain hundreds of thousands of parasite eggs. These eggs are found on the ground and when throwing chicken feed on the ground chickens will eat parasite eggs and get re-infested again. Farmers are urged to always use feeders when feeding chickens all the time. Further, farmers must de-worm their chickens periodically. Lastly, chicken shelter and chicken nests must be inspected regularly to check if there are no mites. Mites like to breed in chicken nests and they wait there for their hosts. If mites are detected, the environment must be sprayed with appropriate chemicals. This will reduce stress and improve the flock productivity and profitability.

Readers Comments :

Note: The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and DO NOT necessarily reflect those of Swazilive.com

Comments:im a student from the university of swaziland doing my internship at swade. i would like to have more information on village chicken as to advice farmers to switch to it as it seems to be an alternative to briler production which many farmers can not afford. we are atually working with farmers who are already practicing it at a very small scale.

From:welcome tsabedze - Swaziland (31-May-2010)

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