Broilers vs Layers – The Highs and The Lows

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You’ve probably leant about the huge gold mine that exists in the poultry industry would love to be a poultry farmer but you’re not sure what kind of chickens to start with. While broilers and layers are both very profitable, you may want to consider some more factors before taking the big jump. As always, I will make things much easier for you with this one piece article containing all the information you need to make the right choice.

Intro

Broilers – Chickens specifically bred and raised for meat production.

Layers – Chickens specifically bred and raised for egg production.

Feeding

Broilers – They require a lot of protein to grow quickly. Hence, the feeds are quite expensive.

Layers – They require less protein than broilers. Hence, the feeds are cheaper.

Growth Rate

Broilers – They are fatteners, they reach maturity in 3 – 4months. They tend to grow faster when placed on the right diet. composition

Layers – Layers are said to be matured as soon as they can start producing eggs (about 4 – 5 months).

Marketing

Broilers – It is very important that there are ready buyers for broilers once they mature. This is because the chickens will continue to consume the feed (you must feed them whether you have someone to buy the chickens or not). This means that if you do not get people to buy the chickens even after they reach the market weight for selling them, you will continue to feed them until you get buyers. The more the broilers stay without selling, they more your loss because no matter the weight the broilers gain, it depends on how much the customer is willing to pay for them.

Layers – The eggs produced by layers can be stored without getting spoilt. It means you don’t have to get desperate about selling them. Even though you will be feeding the chickens every day, they will be laying more eggs that you get to sell when you find customers that want to buy.

Demand

Broilers – The demand for broilers in Nigeria only reaches its peak during festive periods. Most families go for regular cow meat, fish or eggs at other times of the year.

Layers – The demand for eggs in Nigeria are usually higher than the supply almost throughout the year. No wonder Danyaye eggs get sold out so quickly!

Diseases

Broilers – Rearing of broilers to attain market weight only takes about 42 days or 6 weeks; sometimes it may extend to even 8 weeks. This is a relatively short period of time. It means you can rear many sets of broiler chickens in one year. This can help you especially when there is a disease outbreak. In cases of disease outbreak, you will lose some chickens and within 3 months, you are back rearing another set of broiler chickens.

Layers – The money you will spend on treating diseases will be more with layers than broilers because layers stay longer (you don’t just sell them off and start all over). Hence, you have to spend money on their drugs, their vaccines regularly over an extended period of time.

Skill Level

Broilers – If you intend to rear broilers, you can easily start as a novice and become a professional after few sets of chickens. This is because the birds need fewer vaccines as they do not stay for a long time as layers. You can start with 10, 50 or 100 broiler chickens and use them to gain experience before continuing on a larger scale after a few months.

Layers – Breeding layers takes time and a lot of knowledge. If you lose your layers due to poor management and lack of necessary skills, you may have to wait another entire year before you make returns on your investment unlike broilers that sell out in a few months. Therefore, it is not advisable to start as a novice. You should have a partner who has some experience with layers in order to leverage on his/her knowledge.

Start-up Cost

Broilers – Broilers need light, clean water, space, few vaccines and food and within 8 weeks (2months) you are ready to sell them out and start another set of chickens. Hence, the start up cost is relatively small when compares with that of layers.

Layers – Layers require all that broilers require with additional vaccines and cost for debeaking. You could use battery cage to avoid debeaking but imagine how much extra cost will be needed to set up a battery cage system.

Long Term Revenue

Broilers – Broilers can only generate optimum revenue when you already have a large market demand. This can occur when you need to supply fixed numbers of broiler meat to companies (hotels, eateries, schools etc.) or when you have enough customers from your location. In this case, you can produce at a large scale, sell out within 8 weeks and start another round of chickens again. The advantage here is that you can make your profit just 3 months after your investment.

Layers – On a large scale, layers will bring in more revenue than broilers. When the layers grow old and the rate of their feed consumption is higher than the egg production, you should know it is time to sell them out and start another set of layers again. This selling out of old layers can be additional revenue added to the revenue generated from selling of the eggs they produced during their lives. However, you often have to wait for over five months before you start making any significant profit.

 

As you can see, broilers and layers both have relatively equal high points and low points. Weigh your options carefully and pick what best works for you. However, if you’re financially buoyant enough, starting with both broilers and layers may not be a bad idea. Don’t forget to leave your questions or suggestions in the comment section below.

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