Hi Pamela, what’s your background, and what are you currently working on?
My name is Ayodele Pamela. I’m the CEO of O.O Ayodele Nigeria Enterprises. I’m into Poultry and Fish Farming.
I started my farm 7 years ago (2013), but I registered my company 5 years ago (2015), so you can officially say I started 2015.
What motivated you to get started with farming?
I never had the tiniest intention of going into farming at all. In fact, I would have strongly disputed it if I had been told that I would ever be involved in farming.
Then, I used to buy catfish, and eggs, that’s how I saw vacant land and they quoted the price as N600,000. I bought it, and that’s how I got started with Fish Farming.
When I first bought the land, I constructed a pond then I started breeding fish. So, later someone now bought about 500 Layer Chicks, then told me that he still has like 100 left, and I felt the price was cheap, so I just bought the remaining ones.
Having nowhere to house the chicks, I begged someone to allow me to keep the chicks with him, then I go to feed them. When the chicks started laying, I just used to dash it out.
So, my husband just told me one day that I spend money to buy their feeds, and drugs too, that instead of dashing out the eggs, I should start selling them instead, and that’s how I slowly started my Poultry business.
Whenever the eggs reach 10 crates, I’ll sell them; I then noticed that this was a profitable venture, that’s when I now built suitable housing for them, then I moved the 100 birds there. After, my husband supported me to get 500 birds to add to the existing ones.
So, that’s how I started with Fishery and Poultry without having any knowledge of it. I practiced with my own chicks and fishes, with no prior learning at all.
Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?
Immediately you start building your pen, customers are already coming, and when you start selling, and your eggs are good, they begin referring you to others.
There is what we call GLUT; this means when there is an excess number of eggs but no customer, so we need to drop the price.
We drop the price, and also take the eggs to our customers, and give them room for credit, so as to be able to sell it off.
What’s the minimum capital to start with?
If you just plan to breed cockerel or broiler on a small scale, you could start with N100,000; but for main poultry, you’ll need much more than that.
At the moment, any farmer that has less than a thousand birds isn’t making any gain, he’s just working.
This is because 500 birds will give about 17 crates in a day, and those 500 birds will consume about 2 bags every day, which costs about N8,000 daily. They can still make a little profit, but in the long run, it doesn’t worth it.
A thousand birds should be the minimum to start with.
Those that have 10,000 chickens should be having about 100 crates in a day, and someone 500 chickens will have to sell at a higher price so as to get a reasonable profit.
Fishery too is okay, in 4 – 6 months, you should be able to start making sales.
If you want to start with about 2,500 fishes, you should have around N500,000, which would cover everything from the renting of the pond, to the feeding, etc.
What were the biggest challenges you faced and the obstacles you overcame?
Rain has always been a major challenge.
For the fishes, it can carry them away; for the birds, the cold will be too much for them.
So, during the rainy season, we switch on the bulbs for the birds so as to generate heat for them; but for the fishes, we drain their water every time.
Getting a loan is also a major challenge because if most farmers can get access to loans, they’ll easily be able to upscale their businesses.
Have you had any failed business?
YES! I’ve been involved in frozen foods.
There was no time to handle it with this present one, and since this is more profitable to me, I decided to drop it.
This business is more profitable because there is little chance of allowing credit sales; even if you are selling on credit, you’ll still have requested for about 75% – 80% of your money, then you collect the balance when next the customer is coming to make another order.
Also, there’s no way you will be broke, you get money every day; even if it’s just one crate of egg a day, someone will surely come to buy.
Do you advise anyone especially the youths to go into poultry?
YES, if they have the money, and the time.
I always advise people to start rearing day-old chicks in 1st week of September; but since day-old chicks are difficult to breed because of how fragile they are, they could get someone to help nurture them till they are 4-weeks old by end of September.
Then you get your birds back and continue feeding and breeding them yourself till December. So, by the time they see how profitable it is, they themselves will be self-motivated to continue with it.
What have been your learning resources?
I learn a lot on Social Media, especially Facebook.
There are Facebook groups related to Poultry and Fishery, so I joined those groups so I can learn from like minds, people who are probably having similar issues like mine, and to be sincere, it has been very helpful because I was able to get hands-on solutions to things that would have been detrimental.
How is your typical day?
I wake up, pray, then leave home by 6 am.
I don’t plan for the farm, because you may end up doing things that were never planned for, so I just leave all to God to direct my day, then I close by 4 pm. Poultry is not like the other businesses where you already have a to-do list, with Poultry, you really don’t know what will happen next, all you have to do is to make sure you are always readily available for any unforeseen issues that may arise.
Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started?
If you don’t have the time, don’t even bother.
What kills most farmers is management, not from the farmer, but from the workers; it’s either they steal your feeds or your eggs, or they sell some of the birds then replace them with dead ones.
Also, they can also short feed them, then sell the remaining feeds, then you start wasting money on treatment, because they will tell you that they are sick, not knowing that it’s inadequate feeding.
So, if you know you can’t find time to manage your farm yourself, don’t bother starting out.
What advice do you have for those who are into Poultry and Fishery but haven’t really expanded?
For those that are into it already, and are facing different challenges, if they settle down and observe well, they will know where the fault comes from, and if they can fix that, everything will be okay.
It’s also good to keep records, and also make sure their Veterinary Doctor is available always.
For those that just want to get into it, just like I’ve said earlier, don’t venture into it if you don’t have the time.
Would you be willing to teach people on Starting and Growing a Poultry Business in a masterclass?
I’m always ready to rain people
How can we get in contact with you?
If you would like to connect with her, kindly click HERE to send us a message and we’ll take it up from there.