More people should farm with chickens

Why more South Africans Should Farm with Chickens

If you have a backyard, you can farm with Chickens. Let me explain why more South Africans should farm with Chickens for meat.

Whenever you go to Pick ‘n Pay, Shoprite or Checkers and go to the meat department something in your mind triggers and you become slightly angry before you even see the prices of the products. Do you know why? South African meat, poultry and fish prices are ridiculously expensive. Even so, you know that the chicken product is full of brine and shrink almost to halve the size when you have a Barbie (Braai) or roast it in the oven. Yet you think there is nothing you can do, but this is where so many people are wrong.

South Africans Should Farm with Chickens

South Africa import 5.5 million chickens per week from South America alone. That is money that could of stayed in our Country and help make our economy stronger. I don’t want to pry on this subject right now, but the truth is, somewhere in South Africa, in a smart leather chair and a fancy big calculator, someone is making big bucks and we as a nation have to settle for another country’s reject, off-cuts and low grade chicken. We need to stop it right now and by doing backyard farming we will be taking the first step.

Is it really possible to farm chickens in my Backyard?

Yes, yes and yes again. Even if you live in the city, as long as you have enough space for roughly 12 chickens, you can enjoy two chickens every week at only the cost of buying and feeding a couple of day old chicks.

Broilers are quiet birds so your neighbours won’t even know that you are farming in your backyard. (They only become noisy when they are in large flock – like hundreds or thousands birds in a cage.)

Feeding 12 chickens is not expensive and do not require a lot of your time.

What does it cost to farm chickens compared to buying them in the shops?

Before we dig deeper into this question, let me briefly explain how to purchase day old chicks. Most companies selling day old chicks will not sell you small numbers, but as a s general rule you can still get a box of 100. So this will also give you an opportunity to make extra cash to sell day old chicks in your neighbourhood and make a a little profit on the side.

The price in South Africa for old chicks is around R7 to R8 per day old chick. So that will add up to R700 or R800 per box of a Hundred.

Lets compare backyard farming vs buying

Price of Day Old Chick R7.50
Starter Feed R7.60
Grower Feed R15.20
Total R30.30

The total cost (excluding water and labour) to raise a chicken weighing around 2.4 kg to 2.8 kg is roughly R30.30 ($1.59) .

After slaughter at a yield of 66% -70% gives you roughly 1.6kg of chicken meat. That is a lot of meat for R30.30 compared to the current prices of R55 per kilogram or R88 per Chicken at retails shops.

Frozen Chicken Whole at Price Range 200.00 - 300.00 INR/Kilograms ...

Not only do you get a better deal by raising chickens in your backyard, but you get 100% pure homegrown chicken meat compared to low quality imported produce from South America and Taiwan.

If you have backyard space, why not give it a go, it’s fun and rewarding.

Question: Can I feed chickens with kitchen scraps like rice and vegetable peels?

Answer: Yes, there is no reason why not and you will save a lot of money on feeding cost, but keep in mind that your chickens will take longer to grow and reach slaughter point.

Important note: These estimates is for backyard chicken farming only – Big scale farming has more setup and running cost than a small scale or backyard chicken farming

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24 Replies to “Why more South Africans Should Farm with Chickens”

  1. Thanks for all the info.
    My questions are more around the financial side:
    1) What is the amount back to the farmer if the retail price is R 55 per kilogram?
    2) What are the estimates for the capital outlay at the start? For a proper 1000 chicken COOP for Ross broiler meat chickens? Watering and feeding equipment, etc.
    3) How big should the COOP be for 1000 chickens? If you want to farm Free range? Around 1 m2 per chicken?

    I would like to start a free raange chicken farm ASAP. And I have the capital available, but the detail of profitability etc is not readily available and difficult to get hold of.

    Can you please help?

    Thanks very much

    1. I posted my name and email adress to you would you please sent me the price of layers cages and where to find them . Please

  2. Whoever wrote this article doesnt know alot about farming. What about heating small chicks? And the cost of that? Mortalities and the impact on cost per kg? It is easy to sit in your office and work all this stuff out on paper. Not so easy and cost effective in practice. In theory it does make sense but theory and practice are far apart

    1. Hi Gert, thanks for your input. Please be advised that this article is about backyard farming and as mentioned more than once, 4 to 12 chickens, If you read more about my chicken farming blog you will see post of a larger scale, including heating, costing etc. All my post’s are based on first hand experience

      1. Hi Malcolm. If you raise 1 chick or a 100 000. Every chick needs heating from day old. Mortalities are a factor at any amount of chicks. Can you just brinf that into account. Regards. Gert

  3. I need a the cost of a structure that can houses 1500 broilers for a start, I have 3 separate pieces of land. A 1 hectare, 8 hectares and 50 hectares respectively . They are all reserved for poultry farm in right now. Can I get contacts of structure builders close to Mafikeng. On Facebook I am Mafikeng Crytopalpable Poutry Cooperatives. I want to start ASAP

    1. Hi Peace, what I can advise you is to build a structure of 36 x 10 meters. That will easily host 3000 chickens and allow for growth. You can always design your coop so that you build the one half 36 x 5 meters (for 1500) and then complete the rest as you make money.

  4. I am so interested, and I got enough experience to do that job but unfortunately I am worrying about the feeding products are so expensive. Please can you advise me regarding the growing mash, or any where else I can get the supplies.

    1. Hi Abia, I did a article about how to make your own chicken feed. Keep an eye on Facebook as lot of people sell chicken feed at good prices, however, I can’t guarantee you the quality.

  5. Good day.

    Are we allowed to keep cocks? Are they not too noisy? Dont want to have unhappy neighbours.

    1. If you are going to farm with broilers you might want to consider buying day old chicks, however farming with layers you might want to go and chat with the neighbours…..maybe offer them some of you produce at a good price

  6. Hi thanks for the informative read. You mentioned an estimated cost of day old broilers to be at around R7.50. Kindly assist me with some supplier details, I am based in Soweto. Once again, thank you.

  7. I like the valuable info you supply for your articles.
    I’ll bookmark your blog and check again here regularly.
    I am moderately sure I’ll be told a lot of new stuff right here!

    Good luck for the following!

  8. Hi Malcom
    I commend you for providing free good advice.
    Gert should first get the facts straight before making a comment.
    Way too many negative nay sayers in this world, people should rather focus on good positive things to say.
    If Gert had just taken the time to watch the videos he would have seen you are talking from personal experience and he would understand that you were talking about DIY small home scale growing.
    Gert, think before you speak.
    Malcolm, well done keep up the good positive work.

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