Do you want to start a duck farm for meat and eggs? If YES, here is a 20-step guide on how to start a duck farming business with no money and no experience. If you intend starting this type of business, it is advisable to first look at the existing laws and zonal regulations in the country or state you reside in to know what is expected of you.
You need to pay a visit to the regulatory bodies in your country to get all the information before you can legally open your own duck farm business in your city. You can start your duck farming business from a small town in the United States and if you are good at what you do, it won’t be too long before your brand becomes a nationally recognized brand especially if you go into franchising.
20 Steps to Starting a Duck Farming Business
Table of Content
- 2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- 3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
- 4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
- 5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
- 9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
- 10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
- 11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
- 12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
- 13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
- 14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
- 15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
- 16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
- 17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
- 18. Develop an Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
- 19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
- 20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
1. Understand the Industry
The agricultural industry of which duck farming is a subset of is no doubt among the leading industries in most countries of the world; it produces poultry and eggs for the populace. Ducks have many economic uses, they are farmed for their meat, eggs, and feathers (particularly their down). Approximately 3 billion ducks are slaughtered each year for meat worldwide. They are also kept and bred by aviculturists and often displayed in zoos.
The Poultry Farm and Egg Production Company industry depends on strong consumer spending to spur demand for industry products. Over the last half a decade, the economy has begun recovering from recessionary declines with both the Consumer Confidence Index and disposable income increasing. As the economy of the United States continues to recover, the industry is anticipated to thrive.
Interesting Statistics About the Industry
Statistics has it that in the United States of America alone, there are about 30,000 licensed and registered poultry farm and egg production company (duck farms) directly responsible for employing about 280,800 employees and indirectly responsible for employing roughly 1,339,900.
The industry rakes in a whooping sum of $10 billion annually with an annual growth rate projected at 6.1 percent. It is important to state that the establishments with a lion shares of the available market in this industry are Cal – Maine, Land O’Lake, Inc., Michael Foods and Rose Acres Farms.
A duck farming business is not a difficult business to start and it is not capital intensive especially if you choose to start on a small scale within your neighborhood. There are few barriers to entry into the duck farming business. Usually, there is a readily available market for eggs, duck feathers and duck meat.
2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies
- Demographics and Psychographics
The demographic and psychographics composition of those who patronize duck farms cut across all genders and age groups; male and female, adults and children all eat duck meat, eggs and make use of products made out of duck feathers hence the demographic composition of a duck farm is all encompassing.
So, if you are thinking of starting your own duck farm, then you should look beyond marketing your products to just people in your city, but also to packaging and exporting to other nations.
3. Decide Which Niche to Concentrate On
It is important to state that there are no niche ideas when it comes to duck farming because duck farm business is a niche idea in the poultry and egg productions industry, but a duck farm may decide to go beyond selling duck meat, eggs and feathers to processing duck meat for export.
The Level of Competition in the Industry
Irrespective of the line of business you decide to invest in, you are still going to compete with others who are into same area of business and duck farming is not an exemption. The level of competition in the duck farming business depends largely on the location of the business and of course the capacity of your duck farm.
If you can successfully add feather processing and packaging to your duck farming business, you are likely going to experience little or no competition. For instance, if you are the only duck farm that sell well-processed and packaged duck feathers or grooming ducks for circus shows in your location, you can successfully monopolize the market before you start having competition.
It is important to also state that the competition in the duck farm business or poultry industry depends on the scale of your duck farm. There are ducks cum poultry farms in the United States that are competing with leading farms around the world and there are ducks cum poultry farms in the United States that can only compete at the local level.
4. Know Your Major Competitors in the Industry
Here are some of the most popular duck farms in the United States of America;
- Culver Duck Farms, Inc.
- Wood Duck Farms
- Hudson Valley Duck Farm
- Ramona Duck Farm
- Crescent Duck Farm
- Cypress Duck Farm
- Funny Duck Farm
- Good Duck Farm
- Reichardt Duck Farm Inc
- Eddie’s Duck & Poultry Farm
If you are considering starting a duck farming business, you just have to get your costing cum economic analysis right if your intention of building the business is to generate profits, grow the business and perhaps expand and start exporting duck feathers within your country and other countries of the world.
When conducting costing and economic analysis for your duck farming business, you just have to critically examine these key factors; access to the market, access to feed, access to medications, access to cheap labor and of course good climatic condition.
As a matter of fact, you would have to continue to review these key factors at regular interval while running your business. As a duck farm owner, you just have to have a proper grasp of your competitive landscape if indeed you want to maximize profits and be in the frontline of the industry.
It is important to note that medication and feeds cost are some of the most important factors contributing to the overall cost of running a duck farming business and should be considered as a major factor when carrying out your costing and economic analysis.
5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch
There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing how you intend starting a business. Basically, you should be guided by your overall business vision and mission statement. When it comes to starting a business of this nature, it will pay you to start from the scratch as against buying a franchise.
Besides, from available research conducted, there are no known fully operational duck farms in the United States of America that are into franchising; most players in this business are running their business solo. Besides, it is easy to start and run a duck farming business from scratch to profitability without leveraging on a known brand name.
People will patronize your ducks, eggs and duck feathers based on accessibility and pricing as against relying on a brand name. Please note that most of the successful duck farms or poultry farms around started from the scratch and they were able to build a solid business brand. It takes dedication, hard work and determination to achieve business success.
6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face
If you decide to start your own duck farming business today, one of the major challenges you are likely going to face is the presence of well – established duck farms and even poultry farms who also raise ducks and other waterfowls in your target market location. The only way to avoid this challenge is to create your own market; concentrate on cottage industries or fiber mills who need supply of duck feathers on a regular basis.
Some other threats and challenges that you are likely going to face when you start your own duck farming business are global economic downturn that can impact negatively on household spending, bad weather cum natural disasters, unfavorable government policies and the arrival of a competitor (duck farm or poultry farm) within same location.
7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity (LLC, C Corp, S Corp)
You have the options of either choosing a general partnership, limited liability company which is commonly called an LLC, or a sole proprietorship for a business such as duck farm business. Ordinarily, sole proprietorship should have been the ideal business structure for a small-scale duck farming business especially if you are just starting out with a moderate startup capital in a small neighborhood.
But if your intention is to grow the business and have chains of duck farms across the United States of America via franchising, then choosing sole proprietor is not an option for you. Limited Liability Company, LLC or even general partnership will cut it for you.
8. Choose a Catchy Business Name
When it comes to choosing a name for your business, you should be creative because whatever name you choose for your business will go a long way to create a perception of what the business represents. Typically, it is the norm for people to follow the trend in the industry they intend operating from when naming their business.
9. Discuss with an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You
In the United States and in most countries of the world, you can’t operate a business without having some of the basic insurance policies that are required by the industry you want to operate from. Thus, it is imperative to create a budget for insurance and perhaps consult an insurance broker to guide you in choosing the best and most appropriate insurance policies for your business.
Here is some of the basic insurance policies that you should consider purchasing if you want to start your own duck farm in the United States of America;
- General insurance
- Health insurance
- Liability insurance
- Animal Mortality Insurance
- Farm Equipment and Auto Insurance
- Workers compensation
- Building/Property insurance
- Overhead expense disability insurance
- Business owner’s policy group insurance
- Payment protection insurance
10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents
If you are considering starting your own duck farming business, usually you may not have any need to file for intellectual property protection/trademark. This is because the nature of the business makes it possible for you to successful run it without having any cause to challenge anybody in court for illegally making use of your company’s intellectual properties.
But if you just want to protect your company’s logo and other documents or software that are unique to you or even production concepts especially in relation to genetic modification engineering in bird breeding, then you can go ahead to file for intellectual property protection.
If you want to register your trademark, you are expected to begin the process by filing an application with the USPTO. The final approval of your trademark is subjected to the review of attorneys as required by USPTO.
11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification
Apart from the results you produce as it relates to effectively farming ducks, professional certification is one of the main reasons why some duck farmers stand out. If you want to make an impact in the duck farming business, you should work towards acquiring all the needed certifications in your area of specialization.
Certification validates your competency and shows that you are highly skilled, committed to your career, and up-to-date in this competitive market. These are some of the certifications you can work towards achieving if you want to run your own duck farm business;
- CPD Certification & IAO accreditation
- (Cert III Level) or (Cert IV Level)
- Professional Diploma in Poultry Farming
Please note that the average local duck farmers in suburbs in the United States do not have certifications but that does not in any way stop them from growing their duck farms to enviable heights.
12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate
It is a fact that you cannot successfully run any business in the United States without the proper documentations. If you do, it won’t be too long before the long hands of the law catch up with you. These are some of the basic legal documents that you are expected to have in place if you want to legally run your business in the United States of America;
- Business and liability insurance
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital
Starting a standard duck farm can be capital intensive especially if you choose to launch a large farm with the capacity to supply ducks, duck feathers and eggs et al beyond your immediate community.
Securing a large farm land, building well – secured and conducive poultry with the right fencing, purchase of the first set of ducks, purchasing bird feed, medications and farming tools/equipment are part of what will consume a large chunk of your startup capital, but if you choose to start the business on a small scale, you may not have the need to source for fund to finance the business.
The truth is that when it comes to financing a business, one of the first things you should consider is to write a good business plan. If you have a good and workable business plan document in place, you may not have to labor yourself before convincing your bank, investors and your friends to invest in your business. Here are some of the options you can explore when sourcing for startup capital for your duck farming business;
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for loan from your bank
- Source for soft loans from your family members and your friends.
14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business
Starting a duck farming business comes with its own challenges; it is a business that cannot be started in any location of your choice. As a matter of fact, you will not be allowed to start a duck farming business in a residential estate in the United States of America.
The only location you can be allowed to start a duck farm is an area designated for poultry farms and it is usually in the outskirts of town – countryside. Before choosing a location for your duck farming business, ensure that you first conduct a thorough feasibility studies and market survey.
The possibility of you coming across a similar business that just closed shop in the location you want to open yours can’t be ruled out. These are some of the key factors that you should consider before choosing a location for your duck farming business;
- The demography, topography and climatic condition of the location
- The demand for ducks, eggs and duck feathers et al in the location
- The purchasing power of the residence of the location
- Accessibility of the location
- The number of duck farmers, fiber mills and textile mills in the location
- The local laws and regulations in the community
- Traffic, parking and security et al
15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs
When it comes to starting a standard duck farming business, you will need the following equipment/machines; hatchery, feathers and egg collectors, water trough/channel, fencing, shovel and rake, and wheel barrow/cart. This equipment can be purchased as fairly used if you have low budget.
When it comes to choosing between renting and leasing a farm land for your duck farm, the size of the duck farm you want to own, and your entire budget for the business should influence your choice. If you have enough capital to run a pretty large duck farm, then you should consider the option of long lease or out rightly purchasing a farm land; when you lease, or purchase a farm land, you will be able to work with long – term planning, structuring and expansion.
As regards the number of employees that you are expected to kick start the business with, you would need to consider your finance before making the decision. When it comes to starting a standard duck farm business on a large scale, you would need the services of the following professionals;
Chief Operating Officer (you can occupy this position), General Farm Manager, Veterinary Doctor (optional because it can be contracted), Human Resources and Admin Manager, Accountant/Cashier, Sales and Marketing Executive, Poultry Farmers/Field Employees, Cleaners, and Security Guards.
Over and above, you would need a minimum of 5 to 15 key staff members to effectively run a medium scale but standard duck farm.
The Service Delivery Process of the Business
When it comes to generating eggs and duck feathers from duck farm, the process is simple and straight forward, and as a matter of fact, a duck farm can successfully run on auto – pilot with little or no supervision from the owner.
When the ducks are matured enough to produce eggs and duck feathers, then a specific period of the day is chosen (usually in the morning) where the eggs and duck feathers are collected. Once the eggs and duck feathers are collected, they are stored in a neat container / creates or directly supplied to a customer as requested. Duck feathers are sold to artist studios, fiber mills and textile companies.
16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies
The fact that the entry barrier for starting a small – scale duck farm business is not too high means that there is bound to be more players in the industry no matter the location you choose to start yours. In essence, you must come up with unique marketing strategies if you must carve out a market for yourself within the available market in your community, city, state or country.
So, when you are drafting your marketing plans, make sure that you create a compelling company profile. Aside from your qualifications and experience, it is important to clearly state what you have been able to achieve in time past. This will help boost your chances in the market place when marketing your farm produce.
Here are some of the platforms you can utilize to market your duck farm;
- Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to poultry farmers and stores that need ducks, eggs and duck feathers, fiber mills, textile and artist studios that make use of duck feathers and related businesses in the United States (if you are just starting out, you may want to concentrate on startups and smaller businesses)
- Advertise your duck farming business in community-based newspapers, local TV and radio stations
- List your duck farming business on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- Leverage on the internet to promote your duck farm
- Engage in direct marketing and sales of your ducks, eggs and duck feathers
- Encourage the use of word of mouth marketing (referrals)
- Leverage on the internet to promote your business (when you blog regularly on key issues as it relates to your business, people who consider you an expert in the field)
- Join local chambers of commerce and industry around you with the main aim of networking and marketing your products; you are likely going to get referrals from such networks.
Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing for you
17. Work Out a Reasonable Pricing for your Services & Products
One key factor that will help you sell your ducks, eggs and duck feathers at rock bottom prices is to purchase your ducks, duck feeds, medications and other tools and equipment directly from the manufacturers in pretty large quantities. The truth is the higher the quantity of items that you purchase directly from the manufacturers, the cheaper you tend to get them.
Another strategy that will help you retail your ducks, eggs and duck feathers at the right price is to ensure that you cut operational cost to the barest minimum, operate your own hatchery, channel your efforts towards marketing and promoting your brand name.
Aside from the fact that this strategy will help you save cost, it will also help you get the right pricing for your products. So also, if you are able to secure business partnership as it relates to getting referrals, then you will be able to get the right pricing and of course maximize profits from your business.
18. Develop an Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win
The availability of different species of ducks in your farm, steady supply of ducks, eggs and duck feathers in commercial quantities, your business process and of course your pricing model are part of what you need to stay competitive in the industry.
Another possible competitive strategy for winning your competitors in this particular industry is to build a robust clientele base. Over and above, ensure that your organization is well positioned, key members of your team are highly qualified and your ducks, eggs and duck feathers can favorably compete with the some of the best in the industry.
19. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers
When it comes to business, no matter the industry that you choose to pitch your tent in, one of the easiest ways to increase customer retention and perhaps attract new customers is to produce results and satisfy your customers always. If your customers are satisfied with your products and service delivery, they can hardly source for alternative service providers.
If your services and customer service fluctuate, you are likely going to struggle to get your customers retaining your services. Ensure that you offer your customers incentives if you want to retain them and of course continue to generate repeated sales from them and also to attract new customers.
Part of what you need to do to achieve this is to track progress, results or outputs with the aim of improving on them quickly as the case demands. When it comes to managing your customers and building a loyal clientele base, you should purchase a customized CRM software.
With a customized CRM system, you can easily stay in touch with your clients (you can carry out quick surveys, you can introduce new products and prices to them without any hitch, you can felicitate with them on their birthdays and other anniversaries, you can keep track of their progress, you can send bulk sms and customized e – mails and above all, you can easily receive compliant and feedback from them).
20. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity
If you are in business and you are not conscious about boosting your brand awareness and communicating your corporate identity, then you should be ready to take on whatever the society portrays your business to be. One of the secrets of larger corporations is that they are willing to spend good money to boost their brand awareness and to continue to communicate their corporate identity the way they want people to perceive them to be.
No matter the industry you belong to, the truth is that the market is dynamic and it requires consistent brand awareness and brand boosting cum promotion to continue to appeal to your target market. Here are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand and create a corporate identity for your duck farm;
- Place adverts on both print (newspapers and farm/poultry related magazines) and electronic media platforms
- Sponsor relevant community – based events
- Leverage on the internet and social media platforms like; Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google + et al to promote your duck farm
- Install your billboards in strategic locations all around your city or state
- Distribute your fliers and handbills in target areas
- List your duck farm business in local directories/yellow pages
- Advertise your duck farm in your official website and employ strategies that will help you pull traffic to the site
- Position our Flexi Banners at strategic positions in the location where your duck farm is located.
- Ensure that all your staff members wear your branded shirts and all your vehicles are branded with your company logo.