Livestock farming is the rearing of farm animals for human consumption. Livestock farming a major sector in agriculture. It is one the sectors that need to be revived as it contribute greatly to the national welfare.
In Nigeria, the demand for livestock and by products is greatly higher than its supply. It was recorded in the just launched “Roadmap to the Agriculture promotion policy, 2016-2020″, that 200 million tons of chickens are demanded but 140 million tons are supplied. This makes poultry business are successful one. Also, 20 million tons of dairy and milk are demand but 0.6millon can only be supplied. This is another gold mine for potential investors.
However, doing proper feasibility study to ensure the success of this business does not guarantee the success though part of it. To turn these opportunities into a money spinning venture, the farmer needs to get
acquainted with these factors:
• Knowledge about the business:
Knowing the nature of the business is pretty important. Be it poultry production, cattle and sheep rearing and others, one needs to have a peripheral knowledge about it. This will assist a long way and chiefly to optimize cost.
One needs to have the knowledge of the animal’s health, the type of animal, feeding and handling skills.
Knowing the type of animal is very crucial because animals have varying adaptation ability, some animals are hardy and can withstand any environment while some are fragile and if transported or raised in an unfavorable environment, they tends to perform woefully and may even leads to death. This should be a key point in the preparation of the feasibility study considering the environmental conditions of the area and its sootiness to the animal physiology. A good example are breeds of cattle called Muturu and Ndama, these cattle are well adapted to humid tropical savanna. They are mostly found in the coastal and rainforest areas throughout West Africa because of their tolerance to trypanosomiasis, while some breeds like the exotic breeds are well adapted to temperate region only.
Understanding the animal health is very crucial. Before any breakdown, animals tend to show clinical signs or symptoms. This indicates the type of disease affecting the animal, thus, assisting in making good precautions or control measures. Only a farmer with the knowledge would know this. Knowing the animal’s feeding habit is also important, it will prevent wastage and enhance efficient feed utilization. Animals like fresh feed, adequate amount of feeds should be served. For example, rabbits should be fed with roughages (green plants) and concentrate (formulated feed) but at different period. Concentrates should be fed in the morning to avoid interference by rats because rats are less active during the day light and green plants are fed at night when the rats are active but do not eat green plants. That is the wisdom behind this feeding habit. Handling of animal is very cogent especially in poultry production where the birds need much attention. Brooding deals with handling, the success of brooding chicks is directly proportional to the manner of handling. All these are prerequisites to having a successful business experience.
• Providing a stress free environment:
Stress is an obstacle to the success of livestock business, stress reduces the production level greatly. Heat stress can ruin a poultry business greatly, poultry needs air to cool internal heat. This boils down to the construction of the livestock building. It should be built in such a way that there is adequate ventilation within the house.
Stress can erupt from feeding and drinking. Feeding should be made easy such that each animal eats comfortably without congestion. In cases where the birds are stressed, anti stress e.g vitamins should be given to them.
• Understanding the behavioral patterns of the animal.
This is another important aspect that requires great attention. Animals have certain behavioral patterns which they use to respond to the environment. Since they can’t talk, they use this pattern to communicate to the farmer. This behaviour might be indicating an imminent danger or anything depending on the type of animal. For example, the adequacy of light for brooding chicks is known by the behaviour of the chicks. Also, heat period signs in cattle or goat are detected by the behaviour of the cattle or goat. When a predator is in the vicinity, it can easily be detected through the behaviours of the animal.
Knowing the behaviour patterns of farm animal is crucial to ensure success in the venture.
• Availability of resources
Availability of resources like feed in the right quality and quantity is key. The nearness of animal feed to the farm reduces the cost of transportation, thus, reducing cost of production. Also, one of the resources to be considered is water in the right quantity and quality. Animals are easily poisoned through drinking water, the parameters of the water to be served to the animals must be known and certified.