‘Love your chickens and they will reward you’
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?
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.