Poultry Farm Start Up: Choosing The Right Site
An examination of land selection best practice for poultry farmers from leading .edu training institutions
Are you currently in the process of selecting the ideal site for starting your poultry farm?
Then this guide will have come at just the right time for you.
If you want to make sure that your choice of site be a profitable one, then the next few minutes will be well worth the read.
Que: In one word, “which physical asset is the foundation of your future poultry farm success?”
The principal container for your new business asset (your planned poultry farm) is the site.
“Can’t go beyond, but better fill it up.”
It literally defines the capacity of your entire poultry business.
Prudent poultry farming site selection = ROI
As your principal business asset, the land your poultry farm sits on (even if rented or leased - not owned), in theory, promises ROI (return on investment), both in:
capital value growth, &;
revenue generation through use
(n.b. remembering that your poultry farm on day 1 vs. year 6 might look and operate quite differently, bear this is mind when choosing your site.)
More space = more profit (*if used well)
Optimal farming profits are directly correlated to available land space.
Honing and mastering your production and profitability metrics as an agricultural producer should become you #1 entrepreneurial mental exercise.
Knowing exactly how much each m2 will yield to you in profit ought to rest on the tip of your tongue like the street you live in.
This is the key performance indicator which reveals whether your business is on track for reaching future ROI (=interim salary/benefits as owner + exit pay-off).
Fall short of optimal yield with poor site selection and you will undercut your future gains.
Get it right, however, and you’ll supply ample room for hitting your investment goals.
How poultry farm site selection benefits your business
Site selection directly impacts performance.
Performance fuels profit.
Your birds will do better
The ability of your birds doing well (i.e. laying quality eggs and growing healthy) largely depends on your provision of the most amenable land for their functioning.
Land that grants them all the comforts necessary for serving your business with optimal output.
No stress, nor discomfort - it just allows the birds to biologically do what they do best.
Grow and lay.
Your staff will save you time and money
Operational workflow also directly impacts performance.
Your own staff (as well as any other service or product providers on site) keep a good tempo when they can work freely, without obstacle or frustration caused by poor planning.
This in turn produces better results, making your business more profitable by way of efficiency:
less time performing task
fewer errors, mishaps or mistakes
Other practical benefits of selecting an advantageous poultry farming site
Admittedly, so far, I’ve left this topic at quite high level. Big picture, lacking fine detail.
So, now for some grass roots examples of how your site selection can improve the performance of your poultry farm (either directly or indirectly)…
Here’s a top 12 list:
Improve product quality: more conducive environment for chickens to perform at biological peak (e.g. maximise the distance between vehicular access to the site and your bird houses when planning layout. This minimises risk of contagion from visitors affecting bird health. Ideally have site entrance and housing at opposing ends of the site.)
Avoid hold-ups due to conflict with neighbours: earn support and not opposition from neighbours, whether residential or agricultural
Secure planning permission to build and operate: persuade local governmental planning officials that your poultry farm will actually assist their strategic goals, not hinder them (Be sure to study you local government’s economic development plan for tips.)
Liberty to operate: knock out all possible hiccups that might disrupt the operation of trade (e.g. ensure your vehicles won’t be breaking any minimum load laws on adjacent roads, the little things sometimes trip up.)
Water quality: access to good quality drinking water for chicken and staff
Air quality: natural ventilation for poultry houses
Exposure to direct sunlight: optimise natural heat for flock
Viable expansion: room for future growth of production (e.g. if your desired return on investment depends on your 10,000 broiler farm expanding to 30,000 broilers within 4 years - make sure you’ve got enough land space to erect more bird houses lawfully and safely.)
Easy vehicular access and manoeuvre: chick deliveries, manure removal, egg deliveries - trucks, motorcycles, cars - parking, turning etc. This all needs space and space needs planning.
Utility service connection: electricity hook-up, water etc.
Avoidance of natural disaster: not in a flood plain or in a place of extreme storms
Recycling of profits: for example, permission for re-using (spreading) poultry manure on your land and burying culled birds for composting
This is not an exhaustive list by any means, no doubt you’ll want to add to it.
But at the least, it should help to put you in the right frame for the job in hand.
Want further reading? Here are some useful resources…
Useful chicken snippets on ‘site selection’:
These web links will help you bring to life some of the concepts discussed above:
The role of trees in free range poultry farming - expert insights on how land features of free-range poultry lead to affect egg quality and bird health
Coexisting with Neighbours: A Poultry Farmer’s Guide - ‘consideration’ and ‘the chart offensive’. Arm yourself and win the hearts of your neighbours to support your cause and offer fair reasoning
Poultry Farming and Neighbours: The Little Things Are Important - practical operational cues for managing potential environmental pollutants for the best outcome for you and neighbouring homes and businesses
Shropshire chicken farm plans rejected by councillors - a judicial review of a previously permitted proposed poultry farm resulted in a rejection of plans (find out why)
New poultry facilities site selection factors - an effective checklist of considerations for selecting your poultry farm site
Selecting a site for livestock and poultry operations - very useful guide with proximity measurements for optimal poultry farm site selection and layout
Example approval of full planning application for poultry farm - an example of what a favourable local authority response to a poultry farm planning application looks like (a UK example)
Some visual, practical help…
Tables, charts, graphs and more to assist you in remembering key take home points in planning on site practicalities:
(Click on the bold, underlined headings to read more…)
Recommended minimum distances between your farm and surrounding features within your immediate area:
An illustration of a windshed area of a poultry farm. A consideration for odour nuisance affecting immediate neighbours:
A photo showing how buildings at this facility are laid out to encourage summertime natural ventilation.
“Future poultry farmers must place greater emphasis on farmstead planning than has been done in the past…Proper planning will help prevent environmental problems from occurring, and will save time, money and headaches in the long run.” - Charles Goan, Professor, Animal Science (University of Tennessee)
Over to you…
Are you currently thinking about site selection?
Do you have a plan of action for getting an ideal plot?
Do you have land that you’re operating from, which is less than ‘great’ for what you’re doing?
I’d be interested to hear your thoughts,