Things To Remember Before Starting Your Own Farm

**Malsawmkima, **Imtiwati,  **K. Mahesh Singh, *Aron Sinruwng Anal, *Newton Biswas, *Lalzarzova Fanai, *Menaibam Chawang and *Meghashree Hajong

**Assistant Professors, College of Veterinary Sciences & A.H., Jalukie, Nagaland, CAU(I).
*Internees, College of Veterinary Sciences & A.H., Jalukie, Nagaland, CAU(I).

Livestock industry (farming) has become one of the important sources of food; we are getting vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, proteins etc. through consumption of both processed or fresh meat and eggs. Besides, many people have been engaging and earning their livelihood through this industry. So it seems that more and more people would be engaging and the demand of meat and meat products as a source of nutrient requirement would be increasing in the future. As there is a saying “well begun is half done”, now let us discuss some of the important points to be remembered to set up a successful livestock industry (farming), especially piggery and poultry farming.

1. Know your Purpose

Knowing the reason why you to operate on livestock farming is very important because it helps to know what you want and how you can achieve your purpose. If you are planning to venture on only animals for meat and the Meat production business entails raising livestock particularly dairy products, then goat or cattle can be the best option to choose from. Knowing your purpose helps you describe what you want. This is very essential in starting up livestock farming because what you choose will determine the farm equipment that is required. For running a dairy business, it entails raising livestock particularly for a dairy product such as milk and for meat consumption.

2. How to select the location of the farm?

The success of the farm is vastly contributed by the convenient location of the farm itself. Ideally, to start the piggery and poultry farms, it is advised that the land should be of fresh and no farm was ever established before. Had the farm was established there before, there is always a chance of harmful microorganisms remaining in that premises. Otherwise, if we have to continue where there was a farm before, we have to follow the standard protocol of disinfection to kill the remaining harmful microorganisms.

The farm should be far away from human habitation. If it is close to human population, the foul smell and noise pollution will be big concern to the nearby inhabitants. Besides, there is a chance of transmission of diseases which can be transmitted to animal to human and vice versa (zoonotic diseases) such as bird flu, swine flu, Tuberculosis etc.

The farm should have electricity connection and sufficient supply of clean water. In case of pig, unlike other animals, they do not sweat properly to regulate body temperature, and due to excessive accumulation of fat in their body, they are prone to heat stress as well. So it is often necessary that, during the peak summer, their body should be wetted with water to cool down their body temperature.

The farm should be well connected by road transport. If there is no proper transport communication, the movement of goods as well as animals from the farm to market or from the market to farm will be difficult. The cost of hiring charges of vehicles for the goods and animals will be automatically high, so this will reduce the profit of the farm to a great extent. It is also preferably that the surrounding of the farm should have cultivable area so that many local feeds or greenery such as tapioca, yam etc can be cultivated. This may reduce the expenditure of the feed cost as well. Meanwhile, we should keep in mind that integrated farming of pig, poultry and fish can go hand in hand and support each another. Regarding this, it is advised that depending on the type of fish and the type of farm we have in mind, we have to consult the expert accordingly.

3. Construction of the animal house

Direction: The pattern of housing is depending upon the weather condition of the area. Pigs and poultry are not thriving well in extreme weather (extreme hot or extreme cold). Therefore the house or shed should be constructed in such a way that the animals are protected from rain, extreme sunlight and heavy wind. Tropical country like India, it is suggested by expert or scientists that the house should be constructed in the East to West direction. Following this direction, during the daytime the sunlight will reach the roof of the house, so that extreme sunlight from the sides will be prevented, at the same time sufficient sunlight will be reaching the animals. If the topography of our land is not very suitable for this direction, we can adjust the direction of the house keeping in mind the above point.

Ventilation: Just like human beings, adequate amount of oxygen is always needed by our livestock. Therefore, there should be good ventilation to circulate the air continuously in and out of the house. The wall of the house should be constructed in such a way that the upper part of the wall i.e. above 4/5 feet of the floor, should not be completely covered to allow free movement of air. That upper part of the wall can be covered with aluminium net or plastic net or bamboo to prevent entry of thief, other animals like cats etc. In case of poultry, the humidity of the room should be maintained properly. If it is too humid or too wet, microorganism like fungus will grow and multiply immediately. If it is too dry or too dusty, it may cause respiratory problem again.

Floor space requirement: Now, let us discuss about the floor space requirement. It is considered that for a proper body growth one broiler requires an area of one square feet. This means that in an area of 100 square feet, considering 20 feet length and 5 feet breath, 100 numbers of broilers can be kept comfortably. If the house is too congested, their body growth will be hampered. If saw dust is used as litter material, it should be tilted regularly and also be replaced with new material often. This will prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms in the litter material and also help in continuous removal of harmful gases produced by the urine and faeces.

In case of pig, a fattening pig requires 2 square meters, a boar requires 7 square meters and a pregnant sow along with the litter requires around 8 square meters. While constructing the house, sufficient number of water and feeding troughs should be considered. This will prevent wastage of feeds and injury caused by fighting among the pigs which might have had happened due to insufficiency of feeding troughs. If a few numbers of pigs are kept together, partition should be made in the feeding troughs for each individual pig to avoid fighting while feeding.

It is an ideal that the floor of the animal house should be higher than the level of the ground. This will help in effective removal of urine and stagnant dirty water, and also preventing entry of pest like rodents and snakes into the house.

Light/Electricity: In case of broiler, light is essential for healthy body growth. So if possible, light/electricity should be provided throughout the night. In general, it is considered that 60 Watt bulb is sufficient to light the house of 200 square feet area. Chickens should be kept warm throughout the day, if necessary additional bulb should be provided to warm the premises. If all the chickens are gathering near the source of heat i.e. bulb, that means that the house is cold and more bulb should be provided to warm the house. Otherwise if they are scattering away from the bulb, it may be due to high temperature of the house, so the bulb may be put off for sometime or the bulb should be lifted higher away from the floor. The broiler chickens require temperature of 950 F in the first week, and then the temperature should be reduced by 50 F each every week till the sixth week. That means that the requirement of heat is reducing with the increasing age of the broiler.

In case of pigs, the requirement of heat/light is not so high compared to broilers. However, since the pregnant sow can give birth anytime of the day, so it is advised that the house should have good electricity or light connection. Since the newly born piglets require sufficient amount of heat or warm, the piglet box should be prepared in such a way that electric bulb can be fitted to warm the box as and when required.

Hygiene / Cleanliness: Hygiene or cleanliness is one of the important factors affecting the success of the farms. Cleanliness should be maintained strictly in and around of the farm premises. Anyone entering or leaving the house or farm should dip their shoes in the dipping pit filled with appropriate chemicals solution (Potassium permanganate). The dipping pit can be made in front of the doors or gate with around 1 to 2 inches depth. This will prevent the probable spread of harmful microorganism through the carrier. Therefore, anyone entering the farm should wear proper shoes or gum boot so that disinfection of the shoes can be carried out effectively. We have to keep in mind that harmful microorganisms are spreading not only through the animals but also through human beings, therefore, only the farm workers should be permitted to move in and around the farm premises, and outsiders or uninvited visitors should not be entertained.

Besides the animal houses, the quarters / buildings and feed shed should be maintained properly. The diseases can be spread through urine and faeces of rodents, cats etc. therefore, the feeds and water should be free of such items. Moreover, the animals can get sick anytime, we have to prepare separate building or room away from the others. Also when the new batch of animal arrived at the farm, they should not be mixed immediately with farm animals. They should be kept separated (quarantine) for at least 1 to 2 weeks to observe that they are free of diseases.

4. Proper Feeding

Feeding is very important in livestock farming, so if you are into sheep, cattle, goat and grass cutting farming, it is advisable to plant grass around your area because it will help to reduce the cost that might occur on provision food and other supplements.  Feeding is known to be one of the most essential factors for successful livestock farming because when they are been fed well, it will perform as supposed. Feeding your livestock well doesn’t mean overfeeding, but it means giving them the right food for livestock. Feeding in livestock requires a great deal of knowledge, skill, and practice to be able to feed as required. It is very important to understand the different types that can be fed to livestock, and then learn how the different foods can be combined together to form balanced rations for animals.

5. Record keeping

Whetherthe farm is pig or poultry or cattle, any record of the farm should be kept properly and day to day activities of the farm should be maintained. Record keeping in simply means the diary of the farm. The vaccination day, deworming day, date of purchase and sale of any animals etc. should be recorded separately in their respective record books. Besides, any other expenditure for the feeds, materials etc should be recorded clearly. Then only we can know whether the farm is in profit or in loss, in which section we can invest more money or adjustment should be made.

6. Market your products 

Having a good marketing strategy is very important in developing your livestock farming business. Focusing on producing only high-quality products is not enough, but it is necessary to know how to properly market your products. When operating in a business, you will need to advertise your products and make people know what you are into. You can as well attend business expos, create a website for your business and engage in other marketing activities. It is important to know how, when and where you can sell products.  If you are into meat production business, make sure you focus on meat selling companies. You can also advertise your livestock online to attract customers from afar. It is also good to start your own dairy products or meat selling company. 

7. Make a Business Plan

In starting livestock farming, you need to take out time to draft how your business will run. You have to know much about your weaknesses, strengths, and opportunities in the livestock industry and also possible damages your business will face, as well as relevant information on the kind of farming you will operate. By practicing regular strategic planning and regular analysis, it will help to identify the practices that are working. Livestock farming requires a lot of initial investment before you can start making money. Always focus on how you can open a sustainable business before you can start growing it gradually. 

8.   Invest your Time

Livestock farming involves much commitment. Most animals require daily feeding and watering. Regular checking of the water levels is very necessary and is a must if you are planning of starting livestock farming. Daily inspection of your livestock is one of the best ways to prevent illness or injury.  If you are planning to leave your home for a long time, you need to find someone that will help in checking on your animals. They can help out with the watering by using automatic stock tank value, which helps in keeping your water tanks full even without you doing it. This is particularly helpful during hot summer months when cattle can clear the tube even while you are at work.  So, in order to have profitable and successful farming you need to invest your time in taking proper care of it.

Therefore, we discussed many points regarding selection and management of the farms, still if there are any doubts or problems, we should not hesitate to consult experts or veterinarians who are always ready to lend their hands for the success of the farms to achieve doubling the income of the farmers in the near future.