Photo Credit: Awodiya -Batter Cage System
Chicken egg production is a long-existing agribusiness. It is undoubtedly a lucrative enterprise which is capable of generating continuous daily income unlike other enterprises. Chicken eggs are easily produced and managed in Battery Cage system. Egg is the only source of quality protein with complete essential amino acids needed for human nutrition. It also provides important sources of iron, vitamins, (vitamin D ranked second only to fish liver oils) phosphorus and Calcium (in egg shell) for persons of all ages, as a result there is a ready market for chicken eggs, in fact demand outstrips supply. Chicken eggs also find many applications in industries such as Food industries, Confectioneries, Cosmetics, Bakery, etc. The hen that lay eggs is called Layer.
In egg production, there are different levels and system of production with its associated technology. The level and system of egg production you adopt will depend on your financial resource.
Integrated egg production is the most advanced enterprise and involves full mechanization and automation of the egg production cycle including battery egg laying, temperature controls, scientific feeding and mechanized egg collection methods FAO.
Photo Credit: Adeniyi - Automated Egg Production in Israel
To start with 1000 layers, you will require start up funding of N5,000,000. This amount will help you procure Long term assets like Laying pen, Cage, Land, Pick-up van, Borehole & Storage tank, Others; Current asset like Egg crates, bucket, basin, Office materials, Others and Startup expenses which may include Business registration, Insurance, Consultancy fee, Land clearing, Others. You will incur direct cost of sales of N4,098,667 and operating expenses of N1,375,000 per annum, then, annual three years of eggs sale will be N7,730,800, N7,245,040 & N7,245,700, with this you get percentage net profit margin of 41.50%, 57.28% & 60.13% respectively.
The stock could be day old (DOC) or point of lay (POL at 18 weeks), the POL will start to lay 21 weeks. With good management, a POL can lay for 18 months from the day it started to lay eggs.
Advice given by experienced poultry farmer during Agropreneur zone Forum;
Layers are for egg production, the pullet gestation period is 18-24weeks from day old with good management practice and it’s always good for any intending investors to go for what his capital can cover because the business is somehow capital intensive and you don't use faith to feed birds. Passion, commitment, location, enough capital, dedicated staffs and good management are very essential for the business growth said Balogun Micheal, CEO, Mikebal Farms.
Another international farmer shares his experience;
I started Poultry 8 months ago, with 300 broilers and 600 layers, in December I sold about 230 broilers, I lost about 70 Broilers. Today I have about 480 layers, giving me 70 percent egg production. I find poultry to compliment piggery so well. Poultry (layers) is daily income, while piggery is long term, so my birds pay salaries and take care of daily needs. Farmers in Nigeria won't usually share some information, but from my little experience, my cost is 43 percent of my Income which means, it cost me about N280 to produce 1 crate of egg and I sell it for N600.
The challenge: Theft. uhmmnn. It is believed that in Nigeria that even if you employ an angel to work in your poultry, there is no way you can prevent them from stealing eggs. Well, I have installed Cameras on my farm. I think I have been able to reduce it. I’m increasing my layers to about 1,200 this time around and am buying point of cage (14weeks)said Deji, CEO, Denice Farm.
For a successful egg production it is very important to prevent outbreak of diseases, disease prevention can be achieved by four measures and they are; Biosecurity, Management, Feeding and Proper Vaccination program.
Agric International Technology and Trade (Nigeria) Ltd. AGRITED, a leading poultry products producers and poultry technology providers describe Prolapse as a major laying hen disorders which need to be prevented to ensure successful egg production.
During oviposition (the process of laying an egg) the shell gland (the lower part of the hen’s reproductive tract where the egg shell is formed) is temporarily inverted (turned inside out) along with the egg. This allows the hen to lay a very clean egg. Sometimes the oviduct will not immediately retract once the egg has been laid. This condition is known as PROLAPSE. Major causes of prolapse are; Over or underweight birds, Early photostimulation (increasing day length to stimulate sexual maturity), Unbalanced feed rations, Reproductive age of the flock, Laying double yolked eggs and High light intensity. One of the first signs of a prolapsed problem is the presence of blood-streaked eggs. Careful and vigilant management will lower the rate of prolapse. However, prolapse can be prevented with the following measures;
·    - Photostimulation should not occur when the birds reach the weight and age recommended by the breeder.
·   - Balanced feed rations are required to sustain egg production and maintain body weight at  recommended levels.
·       -  Reduce the light intensity by covering windows, or replacing bulbs with lower (or red-coloured bulb) wattage bulbs.
·     - If the flocks is laying a lot (more than 4%) double-yolked eggs, gently restrict feed intake (about 5-10% less than they eat ad libitum)
·         - Spend time with your birds to observe vent-pecking behaviour, and isolate them from the flock.

Let’s receive your comments!!!