Local Chicken Farming: The Ultimate Guide For Beginners.

Posted by: Samuel Ezenwankwo 1 year, 7 months ago/ (2 comments)

Local chickens have been in existence from time immemorial. And the demand for local chickens has increased exponentially since the exorbitant increase in poultry feed. Besides, local chickens are hardy and are naturally raised as free-range chickens, and have a delicious taste compare to hybrid chickens or factory-raised chickens raised under synthetic drugs. However, no chicken breeds without its ''Achilles heel ''.

local chicken farming

Local  (indigenous) chickens

Many farmers today often overlooked the great potentials that are available in local chickens and as a result, they have been losing a hand full of opportunities that come with it. The right way of implementing the local farming method is to gather as may knowledge as possible in order to get the desired outcome.

Do you want to invest in the poultry farming business, but you don't know the best way to start? Starting with local chicken farming is one of the best ways to go and an ideal one for you. This is one of the best decisions you would ever make.

One of the mains reasons why local chicken farming is easy to start is that local chickens are not stressful and demanding to rear, unlike the hybrid chicken bred that needs a lot of intensive care and adequate expertise.

Let us look at the definition of local chicken farming

What is Local Chicken Farming?

Local chicken farming is a type of farm practice that involves rearing local chickens, or indigenous chickens either for the purpose of egg production, meat production, or even feathers in some situations.

This produce be it egg, and or meats are mainly for the sole purpose of consumption while the feathers are processed for materials use. For example, pillow, clothes, etc.

However, there are some other vital benefits that can be derived from local poultry dung, which can be used as manure and as an excellent additive for growing any variety of crops.

Across the world, local chicken farming is a very well-known practice most, especially in Africa. This type of practice has a higher potential of generating income and foreign exchange revenue through local poultry products exportation across the world.

Type of Local Chicken Breed

There are various types of local chicken breeds and this refers to the several native breeds of chicken of a particular country. Here, we'll be focusing more on the type of local chicken breeds reared in Nigeria.

In Nigeria, there are only 2 types of local chicken breeds, and they are being classified based on the location where the local chicken can be found.

They are;

1 The Forest Savannah Ecotypes (Yoruba)

  1. The Fulani Ecotype

types of local chicken

Naked neck and Fulani ecotype

1. The Forest Savannah Ecotypes

This is also known as the Yoruba's local chicken, and they are referred to as the light ecotypes. They can be found in the swamp, Rainforest, and Derived Savannah zones in Nigeria. At maturity, they weigh between 0.68 kg to 1.5 kg.

2. The Fulani Ecotypes

They are referred to as the heavy ecotypes and can be found in the Guinea and Sahel Savannah part of Nigeria, the cattle Kraals, and also the Montane regions in the North. At maturity, they weigh between 0.9 kg to 2.5 kg

Note: The difference between the Fulani ecotypes and the Yoruba ecotypes is because of their body weight.

What is the Classification of Local Chickens Breeds?

Apart from the local classification of local chicken, they can also be classified based on their body structure and feathers.

1. Body Structure Classification

Talking about the body structure, we have the Dwarf chickens and the Naked Neck chickens.

2. Feathers Classification

We can also classify local chickens base on their feathers, which are the Frizzled feathered breed and the Normal feathered breed.

Characteristic of a Local Chicken

How can local chicken be identified? Here is the list of a few features of a local chicken:

  • Local chickens have very smooth claws and beaks.
  • They are smaller in size.
  • Local chicken meat and eggs have a very attractive pigmentation and taste delicious.
  • They can be found in brown, black, and dark red colors.
  • They reach sexual maturity between the period of 133-169 days.
  • Local chicken has an eye color of light brown, dark brown, or red colors.
  • They have the tendency of hatching their eggs and brooding their chicks.

The benefit of Local Chicken Farming

  1. They can survive in harsh weather condition

Local chickens are rugged and have the tendency of withstanding and thriving under very harsh weather conditions.

  1. They are independent

Local chickens are independent animals, and they can fend for themselves by grazing in the field and feeding on different kinds of insects.

  1. The little fund is required

70% of the cost of rearing hybrid chickens is mostly spent on buying chicken feed, but this is not so in local poultry farming because only a little supplement of feed is mostly required.

  1. Management process is less stressful

In local chicken farming, the management system is not too technical and less tiring, unlike hybrid chicken farming that requires a lot of technical expertise to start up.

  1. They are immune to diseases

As a result of local chickens having a very strong immune system, they are mostly immune to diseases and don't fall sick easily.

How do I Start a Local Chicken Farming?

Are you with the intention of starting your own local chicken farming business, but don't know how to start or what preparation is needed to make? There is no doubt that local chicken farming is very profitable and a lot of farmers are venturing into it, and it requires less stress.

To get started on setting up your local poultry farm business, follow these simple steps:

  1. Get a nice and good location

The first step in starting up your own local poultry farm is to get a suitable local that is perfect for your farming business. This is the fundamental and most essential part of a successful local poultry farming business.

This location should be easily accessible, have a good road network system, and you need to determine how far it is to the market.

  1. Poultry House Construction

local chicken house

Elevated local chicken house

After you've got the right and suitable location for your local poultry farm, the other essential step that is needed to be taken is construction.

Constructing a local poultry farm house should meet the following qualities:

  • The housing should be rainproof.
  • The poultry house must be wide enough for the free movement of chickens.
  • It must be easily accessible.
  • The poultry house walls should be smooth and hard enough to prevent mites and pest invasion.
  • Ensure that the poultry allows easy ventilation for the chicken.
  • It should be easy to clean and maintain.
  • There should be a nest available for chickens to lay eggs.
  • Implementation of good lighting and heating system for the chickens is a must.

  1. Poultry Farming Equipment

Necessary poultry farming equipment should be put into place as this will help speed up efficiency and ease stress. It will also result in an increase in general productivity.

Equipment needed is:

  • Drinkers
  • Feeding trough
  • Light bulbs 
  • Stove (for heat)
  • Cleaning materials

  1. Get a Good Local Chicken Breed

After setting up the poultry house, and you have put the most essential things and equipment into place, the next step is to get a good local chicken breed for your local poultry farming business.

To get an excellent outcome, it is very important you get a good breed and a healthy chicken. You can either purchase a local chicken from a local chicken farm or from the hatchery, depending on whichever will be convenient for you.

Care must be taken to get a healthy chick to avoid losses at the start of your local poultry farming business.


Avoid inbreeding and encourage outbreeding among your flock to promote healthy chickens. You exchange chickens with your neighbors to get better offspring with unique characters.

  1. Provide Adequate Food and Water

After buying your local chicks for farming, the order thing that is required of you is adequate feeding. You must ensure to feed the chicken well at all times to get the desired results.

How well you feed your chickens will depend on the outcome you'll get in the long run. There are so many varieties of feed you can give to your local chickens. You can even decide to feed them a well-formulated chicken feed to get a nice result.

For your chickens to grow faster and healthier, you will need to give them a diet that is high in protein like soya beans, bone meals, and fish meals.

  1. Proper Hygiene

Though local chickens are not easily affected by most poultry diseases still, it is mandatory that you ensure proper hygiene management in your poultry farm.

Having a clean poultry farm will prevent pest invasions and reduces the spread of disease within the farm environment. Maintaining proper hygiene is one of the top things that must be taken note of in local poultry farming. 

How to Improve Productivity in Local Chicken Farming Business

Local chickens on free range

Local chickens on free range

So, you want to increase your local chicken farming productivity, but you don't know how to. If you don't aim to have a very high increase and improvement in your poultry farming productivity, then there is no essence of having the business.

To ensure you have the right, adequate increase in productivity in your poultry farm, consider the following:

1. Keep  PoultryFarm Records

To better improve and keep track of productivity on your farm, you have to keep the proper poultry farm records of every farm activity. This record will also serve as a reference purpose should in case anything happens. It also enables you to understand and calculate the managing process for proper maintenance.

Here are a few lists of records you need to keep:

  • Total number of chicken bought
  • Records of chicken due for production 
  • Number of isolated chickens
  • The total number of eggs hatched
  • Number of eggs that are broken
  • Amount of feed given to chicken per day


2. Join farmers' Support Group

Farmer group helps to promote good production and marketing practices such as hatchery equipment like egg hatchers, better housing, better feeding, better health management, and collective marketing in order to improve yield thus increase incomes from poultry. You can look for one in your locality to join as it will help to facilitate marketing and enhance production.

3. Daily Sanitation

You must ensure you carry out daily sanitation within your poultry farm, which will have a positive impact on your farm productivity. This will help in reducing the transmission of parasites and diseases in your poultry farm. 

In particular, disinfect the chicken coop against mites, ticks, lice, etc, they are major life-threatening parasites in local (indigenous) chicken farming.

It is advisable to disinfect the nest after two consecutive hatchings by a hen to avoid mite infestation. You can use insecticide or heat by burning some dried grasses in the coop or nest boxes. 

.Again, the chicken coop and run should be dried always to enable dust bathing which is a natural way chicken disinfect themselves. You can add wood ash to the coop as it is a natural disinfectant, and local chickens love dust bathing in it.

Feeders and drinkers should be thoroughly washed daily, and keep away from other animals to avoid contamination of deadly diseases.

4. Temperature Management

Though we know local chicken have the tendency of surviving in very harsh weather conditions, that doesn't mean you should now expose them to such harsh weather conditions longer than they can endure as this can affect general productivity.

 For baby chicks, always ensure the temperature is within the range of 32 C - 35 C ( for the first week of life) and lowered by 0.2 C per day.

5. Invest in marketing

Besides the high mortality rate, another big problem in local chicken farming and in poultry, in general, is marketing. Some farmers struggle to sell their birds after production, they hardly break even due to poor marketing strategies.

As I will always say, do not put production before marketing rather put marketing before production. In this way, you will not be stranded after production.

They are several ways you can sell and market your local or indigenous chickens profitably like joining collectin marketing in a farmers support group, selling to retailers, have your own sales outlet, selling to schools and hotels, etc.

It is advisable to sell your chicken per kilo using a weighing balance so that you can be well rewarded for your work. This is most suitable in collective marketing.

Local Hen Hatching and Brooding

brooding by a local chicken

A local hen brooding in a nest box

Naturally, a local hen has the tendency of hatching its chicks, which can occur 3 to 4 weeks of egg incubation (21 days). After that, the whole brooding will be done by the mother hen till the chicks pass the brooding stage. This type of brooding is the easiest.

Artificial brooding is done when the number of chicks that are needed to be raised is many. In this method, the chicks are supplied with artificial heat to keep them warm and intensive care is being given to them. 

Equipment used for brooding under the artificial way is called brooders. 

A brooder comprises mainly of three elements, namely:

  1. Heating Source: which can be either electric, gas-powered, solid fuel like charcoal, and liquid fuel like kerosene. This is usually used to supply heat to the chicks.

  1. Reflectors: these can also be called Hovers which are usually provided with heating elements, pilot lamp, heating mechanism, and thermometer in some cases in order to record the temperature.

  1. Brooder Guide: this is used to prevent chicks from scattering too far away from the heat supplied to them until they learn the source of the heat.

During the winter period, brooding is done for 5 - 6 days. While in the summer period, brooding is done in 2 - 3 weeks.

Diseases In Local Chicken

  • Fowl Pox
  • Botulism
  • Fowl Cholera 
  • Infectious Bronchitis
  • New Castle Disease

Treatment and Control Measure

There are different types of vaccines that can be gotten from the local vet stores in order to get rid of these diseases.

The most vital disease in local chicken is the Newcastle disease, follow by fowl typhoid, Gumboro, and fowl pox. Some traditional medicines ( herbs) for local chickens include aloe viral, garlic, cayenne pepper, tagiri (Chrismas melon), etc,

Some local chicken farmers use a mixture of aloe vera, salt, chilling pepper, and milk to treat fowl pox, while some use tagiri extract to prevent Newcastle disease.

However, in other to control the invasion of poultry diseases on your farm, it is essential you carry out proper hygiene within your farm to be on the safer side.

Bury dead chickens far away to avoid infesting the healthy ones.


How long does local chicken take to mature?

Generally, chickens are assumed to be mature when they attain sexual maturity, and this period is between 16 to 28 weeks depending on the breed However, other factors like feed, genetic, management, weather, etc, can influence the rate at which local chickens attain maturity. Some may quickly attain maturity, while some may delay as well.

Can I make my local chicken grow faster?

To make local chicken grow faster, you have to limit their movement and supplement their feed with high-quality feeds like starter, grower, and finisher. and you have to increase the protein and carbohydrate content of the feed with animal and plants by-products.

Although it is not advisable to force a chicken to grow faster if it is not in its genetic makeup to do so, it is better to allow them to express its natural behavior. Besides, other complications like egg binding or prolapse may result when you try to make them grow faster.

Is local chicken farming profitable?

Considering the benefits of local chicken I mentioned above, you agree with me that rearing local chicken is profitable comparing the start-up and production cost to that of the commercial chickens.

A mature local chicken can be sold between 2000 to 3000 naira ( $5 -$7) depending on the size and gender. And most of the time you barely spend half of this amount on raising them. 

How do you feed local chickens feed?

how to feed local chicken

A farmer feeding her local chicken scratched grains

Usually, local chickens are left to feed for themselves but since you are keeping them for a commercial purpose, obviously you will want them to grow bigger, and this means you have to feed them well and limit their movement too. As earlier mentioned, to make your local chickens grow faster you have to supplement their feeds with high-quality feed. 

So how do you integrate these feeds into their forage life?

You have to divide the quantity of feed into two, let say 60% in the morning before they go out in the field and 40% in the evening  (at sunset). The feed can be in the form of scratch grains, mash, crumbles, but they enjoy picking grains. 


From the article so far, we have been able to establish that local chicken farming is profitable and cost-effective with strategic planning. However, you have to remember that it has its pros and cons and it is left for you to know when and how to start production and eventually where to market and sell them profitably. 

Note, you have to be patient with them, enjoy the process and protect them against chicken predators like raccoons, hawks, snakes, foxes, etc.

Finally, with cheap and simple practices you can raise healthy local chickens, feed your family and increase income.


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