‘Love your chick­ens and they will re­ward you’

CityPress - - Business -

Ruth Myl­roie is a chicken farmer and the owner of New Har­mony Farm in Ma­galies­burg, Gaut­eng.

“I have been a chicken farmer for five years. I have been in the class­room and made the mis­takes. I have been knocked down and faced [ques­tions] that no one can an­swer be­cause I was free-rang­ing my chick­ens,” she says. This is her ad­vice for Eric:

Why? You need to un­der­stand how to grow chick­ens prop­erly; you lose less while learn­ing.

Try not to travel far; be the best

Start small. Find your mar­ket.

close to home.

Know your mar­ket.

Do your po­ten­tial cus­tomers want smaller or big­ger chick­ens? Do they want them slaugh­tered or live?

Be pas­sion­ate

about chicken farm­ing. You need to mon­i­tor the chick­ens daily. One sick chicken to­day will be seven to­mor­row. By day three, it will be out of con­trol.

Find out every­thing you can

about chick­ens. Ask ques­tions and do on­line re­search. Never stop ques­tion­ing, and never stop learn­ing. so you can in­stil

Be con­sis­tent and re­li­able

con­fi­dence in your cus­tomers. Ac­cord­ing to Myl­roie, there are spe­cific chal­lenges Eric should be pre­pared for: Build­ing a zinc chicken house. Th­ese are hot in sum­mer and cold in win­ter, so you need a lot of power and me­chan­ics to con­trol the tem­per­a­ture, which is cru­cial for rais­ing young chick­ens. In­stead, a brick house with a tile roof will keep chick­ens cool in sum­mer and warm in win­ter, with the min­i­mum heat­ing re­quired.

You need to have a re­li­able in­cu­ba­tor (with re­li­able elec­tric­ity), and the mois­ture con­tent and tem­per­a­ture need to be mon­i­tored care­fully. One mis­take costs you every­thing, plus time lost.

Find a good sup­plier of day-old chick­ens: they would have been given the right med­i­ca­tion.

Keep­ing chick­ens warm for the first five days is cru­cial to their fu­ture growth. Find a good sup­plier of chicken feed. Make sure chick­ens can be locked up at night to keep them warm and safe.

Make the area se­cure from preda­tors such as dogs, hawks and jack­als.

Wa­ter must be avail­able 24/7 for chick­ens. It is even more im­por­tant than food. Chick­ens will not eat if there is no wa­ter. On a per­sonal note, Myl­roie says:

Be your own per­son. Why pay fran­chise fees and fall into a mould?

Pro­duce a good prod­uct, at a fair price, close to home.

Take ad­vice re­gard­ing the busi­ness plan, but you do not own it un­til you have worked through it; it is your busi­ness.

Open a bank ac­count and keep con­trol of your money.

En­sure you have enough money to re­plen­ish stock.

Love your chick­ens and they will re­ward you.

PHOTO: TEBOGO LETSIE

Eric Thoka

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