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How to Start a Poultry Farming Business in UK

There are so many lucrative business opportunities that are usually overlooked by popular culture. Everybody wants to go for the more glamorous looking jobs, businesses or ventures that will quickly communicate prestige in the hearts of those who hear it. When they ask you what kind of business you are into, it would be nice to say you are into oil and gas, transportation or even entertainment.

But say you are a farmer, and people look at you funny, but this is one of the most hidden businesses in the world. Think about it, we eat food everyday without thinking about where it comes from or how it gets to our table. There are a large number of people, associations and agencies that are behind our food consumption.

In all the food products we take, bird meat is one of the most favorite the world over. Everyone loves a well-prepared chicken, turkey or duck, but no one ever really wonders what it takes to bring such a meal to the table. Poultry farming is one of the most lucrative and challenging businesses to engage in.

It’s relevance in the world today cannot be undermined for we use these bird meats or eggs for so many things that the absence of them would be felt tremendously. It is only fair to say that poultry farming business is one to venture into if you have the right kind of information and character build for it.

The government in the United Kingdom does not support the sector financially as many Poultry Farming businesses are family owned and operated. To run a poultry farm, you must first of all identify what type of bird you want to rear.

When most people think about poultry, the first thing they think about is chicken, but there are other birds that are reared for their meat and eggs and they include; ducks, turkey, guinea fowl, pigeon, goose, quail. After picking the bird you want to rear, you have to pick which aspect of the business you are rearing the animals for.

You can raise these birds for their meat (broilers), their eggs (layers), or you can have a hatchery. Other aspects of the business that does not deal with the birds directly are Bird Feed Production, Poultry Equipment Manufacturing, egg and meat Processing, Packaging, marketing and Consultancy.

As you can see, there is more to the poultry farming business than meets the eye. First of all you will have to consider the location where you want to raise these birds. The area should not be too close to residential areas because of noise, smell and health purposes.

Most times folks who get into this business are advised to buy the land they intend to use as it is cost effective in the long run; another reason why it’s best to own the property is because those who operate the farm can actually live there as well.

However the location of the farm should not be too far away that customers and animal doctors would find it difficult to access the farm as regular vaccines are administered to the birds from time to time. Disease is one of the major challenges you would face in such a business, so taking extra precautions to prevent an outbreak is highly welcomed.

There are lots of regulations that come with this business so be prepared to keep to those standards. This coupled with various licenses may make the endeavor a bit tedious at the beginning but as with every other thing in human nature, one can adapt if they do not give up.

19 Steps on How to Start a Poultry Farming Business in UK

1. Understand the Industry

Due to the fact that eggs and meat are a cheap source of protein, both egg and meat production has seen strong output growth since 2008 in the poultry industry of the United Kingdom. Expert analysts say the cost of chicken rose far less that the rate of inflation and other meats, showing us that this product has actually become cheaper over the last two decades in spite of economic uncertainties.

The sluggish recovery of the United Kingdom’s economy after a number of years of economic downturn has been crowned by actual growths in the economy presenting good news for agriculture. But it also poses a challenge in the form of a stronger sterling and possible bank base rate increases, certain independent forecasts sets United Kingdom growth at 2.6% for 2015 and 2.4% for 2016. This shows that the economy is now getting back to the place where it was before the global economic downturn.

Because of the falling oil price, borrowing cost stands may rise and this will affect some farmers negatively. There is a strong demand for eggs and this will encourage more output, this could see prices weaken but this industry has proven itself to be both innovative and responsive to markets in the past, no reason why this will change at this time. Although the sector has been relatively okay up till now, retailer’s pressure might put this sector in challenges in the future.

There is an ongoing price war between retailers for the price of poultry at the moment. The discounters have a very different operation in the Big Four Supermarkets in the country, so they can afford to offer prices that may cause for the big four to loose in the long run.

Another issue hitting the broiler industry is the large demand on breast meat as opposed to dark meat. More Consumers prefer breast meat, putting pressure on those in the business; this coupled with the last break out of avian influenza put certain strains of the broiler industry.

When it comes to making profits in this type of business one of the key relationships is between production price and feed cost. An expert reported that due to the fact that the combinable crop sector is moving on without any significant event, there could be a price increase in ex-farm, this is not helped by the exchange rates especially the sterling and the euro.

This report states that producers may have to live with ex-farm wheat prices of 2016 and 2017 in the region of E120/t to E125/t. However not so long ago many folks were preparing their business plans and basing cost of feed between E140/t and E150/t.

Direct support is not received under the CAP by the poultry industry, but it is one of the most regulated industries in United Kingdom agriculture and is subject to animal welfare and public hygiene codes. These govern the way birds are housed, fed and transported.

Due to the strict regulations demanded across all poultry farms in the UK, its birds are raised across the industry in standardized and closely regulated environments. Individual producers and supermarkets operate on high standards and the industry has its own Assured Chicken Production Code. Routine testing is usually carried out by the State Veterinary Inspectors, to fully state the conditions of your poultry.

So these are some of the information about the industry in the United Kingdom when it comes to poultry farming. It’s a very challenging business to run and keep up to standard with any other business. The trick here is to do more in depth study into the industry and come up with a well informed decision to enter the market.

2. Conduct Market Research and Feasibility Studies

  • Demographics and Psychographics

The first sets of people you usually think about when want to open a poultry farm are the restaurants and eateries that deal with food. The entire food servicing industry will require the produce of the poultry industry, with poultry meat being one of the most enjoyed meats of which chicken and turkey usually take the lead; it is no wonder that those in the food service industry will always need supplies.

Supermarkets both big and small will also require birds in their frozen meat section, so that the average person can buy them. Hospitals also need the services of a poultry farmer as well as schools. Another set of people that will need the output of a poultry farm are event caterers.

Basically everybody eats bird meat or eggs, the eggs can be used to make all sorts of things like cake, bread and other snacks, so you can also include bakeries in the list. Looking at all the different sects that will need the output of a poultry farm, it is no wonder there is a great demand for it.

3. Decide What Niche to Concentrate On

When you think of poultry business, the major thing that comes to mind is raising chickens for meat. But there’s more to raising birds for commercial purposes; first of all, it’s not just chickens that can be raised in the poultry industry, other birds are also involved. Apart from deciding the bird or birds you want to raise commercially, there are also different aspects of the industry you could specialize in to make a difference and stand out.

  • Broilers: These are birds that are raised for the purpose of meat. Bird meat is an all-time favorite and many supermarkets, restaurants and individuals would love to purchase good bird meat for their many delicacies. You could focus your poultry business in raising these birds for meat.
  • Layers: This aspect of the endeavor focuses on raising birds for the purpose of laying eggs. Eggs are used for a great variety of food; even cosmetics have been known to utilize the rich ingredients found in eggs. Focusing on this for your business can make you an authority in the field.
  • Hatchery: You can start a hatchery where poultry farmers can take their eggs for hatching. The folks that will need your services are folks looking to start a poultry farm or get more birds for their already established farm.
  • Poultry Marketing and Consulting: I bet you never imagined any other aspect of the industry that didn’t have to do with the birds directly. But even farmers need a way to position their businesses in the market in order to sell their services to make money. You could be that unique individual that provides this for them.
  • Egg and Meat Processing, Packaging and Marketing: You could focus on just this aspect of the industry. The farmers might have done the job of raising these birds, but when it comes to processing their produce, packaging and marketing them, they may require the help of an outside service. This is where you might come in.
  • Poultry Equipment Manufacturing: it takes a lot of specialized equipment to effectively raise birds. These equipment help the farmer to effectively feed and raise the birds in a way that they are not open to infections or harsh conditions, as birds are very sensitive creatures. You could focus on not just manufacturing these equipment, but maintaining them for farmers across the country.
  • Production of Poultry Feed: In as much as birds are raised for consumption purposes, they also need to eat in order to survive. You could provide a special service in this direction.

Although there are farmers who focus on doing multiple aspects of this business, one could also specialize in one area. For folks who are just starting out in the business, it is best to focus on just one aspect of it, before venturing into others if they desire too. It has been suggested though, that producing your own poultry feed will prove financially prudent as feed is one of the major things that increase cost.

Level of Competition in the Poultry Farming Business Industry

The competition level in this type of business will depend on the particular area you want to focus. As you are deciding to start this venture, it will be wise to research the different areas you want to begin your venture in. When you do, you can effectively begin to pay attention to the level of competition in that area.

Of course with every business, you will always have competition, so it will be best to prepare for them. You could study other farmers within your area of specialization to see exactly what they are doing in order to develop solid strategies to win.

4. Know the Major Competitors in the Industry

Well-known brands could be a point of dread or a point of inspiration. Every industry has a set of big shots that have made a positive name for themselves by certain unique practices. Getting to know these brands and studying their history may help inform you on how to go about yours.

These brands are where you want to be, eventually, so it will be good to know them in order to pay attention to their general business model and emulate were necessary. Below are therefore some of the leading poultry businesses in the United Kingdom;

  • Gartmorn farm
  • Devonshire Poultry Ltd
  • Great Grove
  • Heart of England Farms
  • Vencomatic Poultry UK
  • Essex Chickens
  • Lifestyles UK

Economic Analysis

The first thing to consider in a business like this is capital. Even if you just wanted to start with a few birds, the work you will put into making it standard enough will still take a lot of finances. You also have to think of purchase of equipment and hiring of staff. As birds are prone to diseases, vaccines would need to be administered from time to time and this too costs money in the long run.

Making sure that veterinarians are available for sick birds is another factor to consider. Of course there are ways to make it out of these costs and make profits in time, but proper analysis is advised so as not to waste finances on things that were not really necessary at the expense of those that are expedient.

5. Decide Whether to Buy a Franchise or Start from Scratch

There are not many poultry farms that are looking for franchise seekers. The reason may be the meticulous nature behind the rearing of poultry. Knowing all the work that goes into making this type of endeavor a success, farmers in this branch will not willingly want to put their name on the line, by selling their methods to strangers. However more franchising opportunities can be seen in the ‘marketing, packaging and processing’ field of the business than in the actual rearing domains.

6. Know the Possible Threats and Challenges You Will Face

The food production business is now affected by many outside factors like currency exchange, world harvest gluts or shortages, various licenses, environmental restrictions, food scarcity, the big buyers bullying the smaller ones, interest rates uncertainties and sometimes bad luck in timing of production cycles. And there’s the weather and diseases posing threats to poultry farming.

Then when we talk of machinery, the cost of maintenance or repair might be high considering that most of the parts may definitely be coming from outside the country. Another thing to consider is the exchange rate between the Pound Sterling against that of other countries.

These are some of the threats that face this kind of business in the United Kingdom, but those in poultry farming have been doing it for years, so it means these threats are to be considered with the aim of looking for solutions around them and there always is if you are optimistic.

7. Choose the Most Suitable Legal Entity

Sole proprietorship stands to be the best legal entity to register this type of business. This gives you full control over what goes on in your business. But if you have other farmers who would want to be part of the business, a cooperative is also good.

Registering as a Limited Liability Company absolves the owner of any liability. All in all, choosing a legal entity for this business will depend on what exactly you want to accomplish in the long run and how far you want to go with this business.

8. Choose a Catchy Business Name

Creativity is at the heart of picking a name for your business, you may want to think of certain things when coming up with a catchy name. Maybe you want to focus on your unique edge over your competitors and use that to fuel the business name or you want to pay attention to the definite change you want to produce in the consumers.

Whatever the case may be, the name of your poultry farming business is part of the factors to heavily consider. If you are therefore considering what names to use when starting your own poultry farming business, here are some names you should try;

  • *YourName* Poultry
  • *YourName*and Sons Poultry ltd
  • Chicks and Things Poultry
  • Sound Poultry
  • Vibrant Birds
  • Birdrock ltd
  • Living Birds ltd
  • Fresh Poultry

9. Discuss With an Agent to Know the Best Insurance Policies for You

Insurance policies are the ways we protect our investments from uncertainties in business. Things that can spell the end of the entire operation can be salvaged by insurance. And in a business like poultry farming where diseases lurk around every corner and farm equipment can get damaged from time to time, it is only safe to get all the insurance you can afford to protect yourself.

Some of the basic insurance policies that you should therefore consider purchasing if you intend starting your Poultry Farming business in the United Kingdom are;

  • Farm Insurance
  • Poultry  Insurance
  • Farm Combined Insurance
  • Avian Flu Insurance
  • Workers Compensation
  • Bird Flu Insurance

10. Protect your Intellectual Property With Trademark, Copyrights, Patents

Whatever sector of the industry you choose to operate from, be rest assured that there would be no need for intellectual Property Protection as most operations in this business do not need it, since these birds are not necessarily manufactured by you.

The birds are the main commodities being sold or used here and they have been put here by nature itself. No one owns the rights to the design and functionality of the birds; however you may want to secure protection for your poultry equipment.

11. Get the Necessary Professional Certification

On the surface there are no major certificates one must acquire before they go into poultry farming in the United Kingdom. However one may need to receive some type of training to be able to handle certain things in the poultry farm like vaccination and this type of training may come with a certificate.

One could also decide if they choose, to enroll in any educational institution offering the Diploma in Poultry course. Here they may receive the much needed training required to effectively run a poultry business.

12. Get the Necessary Legal Documents You Need to Operate

Some of the basic legal documents that you should have in place if you intend running your own Poultry Farming business in the United Kingdom include;

  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Farm Capacity and Environmental Permits
  • Operating Agreements
  • Business Plan
  • Insurance Policy
  • Employment Agreements

13. Raise the Needed Startup Capital

This kind of business has a very high starting capital and in the United Kingdom you do not get any kind of funding from the government. This means you would have to look for other ways of raising the finances to kick off this type of business. Some of the financing options you can explore when seeking for start-up capital for your poultry farm business include;

  • Raising money from your personal savings and sale of stock
  • Sales of personal properties
  • Sell shares to interested investors
  • Getting soft loan from your family members and friends
  • Applying for loan from the bank
  • Getting the required capital from private investors and business partners
  • Market your ideas for business grants and seed funding from angel investors and donor organizations

14. Choose a Suitable Location for your Business

Your choice of location matters a lot in this type of business because there are laws against setting up this kind of business in a place of residence. However people have been known to set up small poultry farms with just below 50 birds in their backyards. I suspect most are doing it without the proper regulatory agencies having knowledge of the venture and most who operate like this raise the birds for their personal use.

The ideal place to set up such a business is somewhere in the outskirts of the city, where there are not many residents. The reason for the said distance is because of the noise, the smell and the health issues such an establishment may have on people.

In as much as setting up this business in a place slightly away from residents is ideal, it must not be too far away that customers cannot come to buy the products. Or so far away those veterinarians find it difficult to come to administer vaccines to the birds.

15. Hire Employees for your Technical and Manpower Needs

Every business has its set of equipment it uses to ensure effective day to day operations and the poultry farming business is no different. This aspect of the business cannot be overlooked as it takes the help of these machines or items to ensure proper running of the business.

Most of the items that will be listed can be gotten at a discount if they have been used by some other farmer but are still in good shape. On the other hand if you have the finances you can purchase brand new ones for your business. The List of items you would need is as follows;

  • Baskets
  • Nests
  • Crates
  • Perches
  • Incubators
  • Brooders
  • Drinkers
  • Feeders
  • Lighting System
  • Cages and Coops
  • Waste disposal

The number of manpower you would need for this type of business depends on the size of your farm. It will be very unproductive for you to run this Poultry Farming business on your own, hiring good hands to help is always a plus. Manager, Supervisor, Marketing and Sales rep, Bird Handler is just to mention a few are offices that can be occupied by people to help you run the business.

However, most of these positions can be part-time if your farm is not so large that you may need them full time. Help is therefore needed to run a business as sensitive as this, given all the regulatory agencies pushing for operations to be up to standard.

The Service Delivery Process of Poultry Farming Business

In this type of business, the production process highly depends on the specific aspect of the business you choose to major in. Every niche has its own course of action and production process. So after one has determined the aspect of the industry he wants to focus on, then they would engage the production process of the segment.

16. Write a Marketing Plan Packed With ideas & Strategies

If nobody knows about your business, no one would come to do transactions with you. And every business is put together for the purpose of making money, if not it would be called a charity. How then can the market know your business exists, how do you get the word out.

Usually people focus on setting up the farm itself and do not pay so much attention to how their unique niche can be marketed to people who are seeking these kinds of services. This is why you need to hire a marketing and sales executive to develop innovative ideas of getting the word out about your Poultry Business. Some of the ways to market your poultry farm business include;

  • Advertise your business in relevant financial magazines, radio and TV Stations
  • Introduce your business by sending introductory letters alongside your brochure to all the corporate organizations, households, startups, small and medium scale businesses
  • List your business in the local directories
  • List your business in the yellow pages.
  • Attend seminars and meetings in this industry and market your brand through networking.
  • Get to meetings with government officials and people in the food service industry to let them know what you do.
  • Attend international micro finance and financial services expos, seminars and business fairs.
  • Engage the services of marketing executives and business developers to carry out direct marketing
  • Utilize the internet to promote your business

17. Develop Iron-clad Competitive Strategies to Help You Win

Look to the particular niche you specialize in and begin to analyze what you competitors are doing. Study their marketing and presentation strategies in order to employ such or improve upon what they are already doing. Paying attention to your packaging and service delivery is also a way to win over your competitors when you fine tune it to appeal to certain types of clients.

Excellence is always appreciated, so that too will be a very good place to ensure that you stand out from the others. Letting your clients know how well you take care of your birds will improve confidence in the ones who intend to do business with you.

18. Brainstorm Possible Ways to Retain Clients & Customers

One of the ways to ensure that customers keep coming back is to keep in touch with them with information about your entire operation. There are many things out there fighting for the attention of your customers, some of which are actually looking for ways to take them from you. Being in their face by e-mails, text messages and such will ensure that you are always on their minds.

Another excellent way to retain customers is through excellent service delivery. Every person loves to be treated with respect when they patronize any business. If this is your approach to dealing with your customers, they would come back again and again.

19. Develop Strategies to Boost Brand Awareness and Create a Corporate Identity

In business, you must always have strategies and plans to boost your business even when it is already up and running. This kind of boost will ensure more revenue coming in for the business, ensuring that workers are paid and investors receive their return on investment. The constant presence in the eyes of prospects is key to opening new grounds for your business.

You might be a very small business, but when you engage the use of awareness, you may come across as big to both your prospects and competitors. It’s always a good thing to be perceived as bigger than you actually are; if not for anything most prospects would agree to do business with you even when your prices are higher than usual.

The establishment of the brand image will create the perception of value for their money and sometimes associating with your brand is leverage enough for their own business. Below are the platforms you can leverage on to boost your brand and advertise your business.

  • Ensure that you position your banners and billboards in strategic positions in your city
  • Brand all your official cars
  • Ensure that all your staff wear your branded items at regular intervals
  • Advertise your business on your website; develop strategies that will pull traffic your way.
  • Use the direct approach by calling households, start-ups, small and medium scale businesses and the likes, informing them of what you do.
  • Share fliers and handbills around the target areas where you have deduced that your business will do well.
  • Encourage the use of word of mouth among your loyal consumers
  • Maximize the advertising potentials of the internet.