Egg Farms in Africa
By Glenn Hickman
Their production assumptions are approximately ok. Guessing this area would aspire to someday being considered 3rd world? Currently barely subsistence?
The cost of construction and the labor component is way high. No car or sales manager would be needed. A working manager and one full time helper would be plenty. Two people could perform all the necessary tasks per day in perpetuity. Including wholesale delivery if necessary. Remember, these hens will only be producing about 70 dz, or 25-30 trays per day. I know that employment is a big deal, but sustainability is also very important. The current budget indicates a labor charge of almost 30 cents per dz, even though everyone is only getting basic wages. That’s about 10x our labor cost in the barns, paying 30x as much per month, per person.
Based upon the climate nothing fancy is needed. Also, very little electricity would be needed, only enough to provide 16 hours of light per day, when the natural daylight might not be enough. The location is close enough to the equator so that just a couple of hours in the morning and afternoon would be sufficient.
For 1,000 hens, baby chick growing included, 2 people staggered on a 7 day basis is sufficient even if relatively unmotivated and unproductive. I would suggest a small grow area, about 125 square feet to raise 250 birds at a time. 5 groups of layers could be maintained from the pullet system. This would insure constant/continuous flow of eggs to be marketed daily. The square footage of the layer barn would need to be sectioned, (not walled, just identified) so each 250 bird laying flock would be kept together. The layers would only ¾ +/- square foot each in a simple cage system. So a back to back cage system, with cages being 2’ deep on each side would only require a cage row length of 20-25’ feet long. Putting a service aisle of 3 feet between the cages and 5 feet on each outside aisle would result in an overall building length of 40’ feet and length of 40’ would work. Future additions would require only lengthening the building. That way the building would stay relatively narrow, allowing natural ventilation no matter how long the building was. The building could be really simple. Just an uninsulated roof with a truss structure capable of handling the suspended weight of the cages and chickens. Water could be as simple as a 1” piece of upturned angle iron between the back to back cages, fill with a hose or just a continuous drip to assure water at all times. Feed trough could be as simple as affixing a piece of rain gutter to the front of the cages. As long as the building floor was raised slightly over the surrounding area to make sure no moisture entered the barn, then it could be dirt, as long as it was level. Manure removal would just be a pitchfork and wheelbarrow. At these low densities, manure would self-dry and cone up under the cages.
So the initial barn would produce about 25,000 dz eggs per year, need only 2 people. At 300 eggs per person consumption, 1000 people would be fed annually. That’s a pretty good ratio of work to results.