Gauteng Smallholder October 2015 - Page 23

From page 20 POULTRY investment when setting your indicate how eggs will be price. classified as Grade 1, 2 or 3. If you are going to raise There are also regulations chicks until they are old governing the packaging of enough to start laying, you the eggs. will not have any income The whole document can be from them for at least 18 found at weeks. Obviously choose a breed that is known to b3/Branches/Agriculturalproduce. Some experts Production-Health-Foodrecommend commercial Safety/Food-Safety-Qualitybreeds such as Amberlink or Assurance/Local-and-ImportHy-line laying hens, while Regulations/Animal-Products. more traditional good layers are Leghorns and Rhode The second step after establishing your market is to Island Reds. You might also formalise your plan by writing consider an indigenous breed such as the Potch Koekoek. a business plan. The other option is to buy A smallholder's business plan point-of-lay pullets. They are will not only identify your target market, it will also look much more expensive than day-olds or week-olds, and at how you might grow your more difficult to source, but business in the future, what price to set your eggs at, what the upside is that you will costs contribute to producing start receiving a weekly cash the eggs, and what profit you flow almost immediately, as they will start laying within can hope to generate. two weeks after being With your business plan in bought, when they are 20–21 place, you can work backward from the number of eggs weeks old. you plan to sell each week, to The hens you buy must be of how many chicks you need to very good quality and be fully vaccinated against all known get to meet that goal. poultry diseases. During her prime, a good The number of eggs laid also laying hen will, on average, peaks halfway through the produce three to five eggs a week, with more in the peak year and then starts dropping. The hens should be kept for laying season and less in the one year and then sold as winter. If you plan to sell ten laid-out hens. dozen eggs a week, or 120 eggs, you will probably decide Poultrymen will not admit to that 25 or 30 chicks will be a it (because the practice is good number to start with. frowned upon by animal rights activists, if not simply Make sure you've done your homework and that you have illegal) but some undertake a a market that can support the process called forced moulting where they withhold number of chicks you are food from the laid out hens to getting for your flock. Here, you can also figure out bring on a moult. This in turn persuades the hen to come pricing. What are your expenses each month in feed back into lay when feed is reintroduced after a few days, and other costs? Divide that extending her laying life, by the number of dozens of albeit at a slightly lower rate, eggs you plan to sell, and to two years or more. make sure you're charging How you collect and clean well above your break-even eggs is extra important when point. You may have to you are selling them. Make spread the investment of sure that you know how to building a chicken coop or properly clean your eggs so putting up fencing over several years in order to make that you minimise the risk of salmonella poisoning. a profit, however, so don'