What is poultry farm capacity and flock size?
Poultry farm capacity is the maximum number of birds (e.g. chicken) which you can hold on your farm – a.k.a flock size.
Capacity is the overall scale of your poultry business. This figure should include your chicks (juvenile birds) – as well as mature birds.
(Therefore, it is not the same as laying capacity).
Whilst you define the size of your flock capacity, there are some factors that will influence your decision.
The size of the land your farm sits on.
(It comes down to trading-off adequate space for rearing vs. using the minimum land necessary)
Why is poultry farm capacity important?
Your poultry farm capacity is the container which dictates what fits within your farm model.
There’s no real average capacity. Actually, you decide.
But once you do, it’s fairly fixed (so it’s best to have it match your vision from the beginning)
Think of farm capacity or flock size as a natural container for your:
- production levels
It is a physical, financial and strategic cap or ceiling on the output of your poultry farm.
You can’t physically sell more birds or eggs than are physically present on your farm.
Once you set the flock size of your poultry farm, to change it will mean changing ‘scope’.
In project environments, if you change your mind on scope, this changes EVERYTHING either a lot or a little.
Scope change poses a real business risk.
People plan business operations much like performing a management balancing act – making the best use of available resources.
Where you change the scope or scale of what you are doing…
…this naturally changes factors like:
- how much your costs are
- how much staff you need
- how much land you should use
Changing farm capacity doesn’t always have a significant impact on poultry farm project management.
But it can. And when it does, if you are not prepared your business might become unstable.
Example broiler farm capacity
(taken from an example All-In-All-Out Broiler farm project report)
Example: total poultry farm capacity (flock size) = 42,000 birds
Link it to your ROI
Being the primary boundary of your poultry farm – it ONLY makes sense you should link it to future earnings.
Put it this way, if you undershoot farm capacity, then you put a choke on future sales and profit.
Want to see it the other way?
Here it is:
Overcapacity poultry farms will typically experience:
- exceeding costs
- operational bottlenecks
- poor environmental conditions
…just to name a few common issues.
More birds mean:
- increased costs (higher input demand)
- less space to go around (cramped rearing conditions)
In a word,
…this spells D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R for any investment because it takes things beyond the budget.
Include room for growth
When planning capacity, one word commands my attention:
In other words,
Leaving a little extra room, just in case you need it.
Much like other issues of planning in life:
You always want to leave a little extra:
- …time before an exam
- …money in your savings
- …petrol in the tank
…farm capacity is much the same.
Remembering the slow rot of inflation is continually stripping away commercial value from your investment.
(…by the minute…)
It’s essential to have reserved some room for growth to help you outrun the head on economic wind resistance.
Get minimum requirements right
Your birds need ample space to hit their growth and laying targets.
Too little space and they’ll become physically stressed.
(And as a bodily response, stress literally burns calories.)
In such conditions, birds will naturally try to compensate by reprioritising biological resource.
In other words, stress costs energy (which otherwise would be used for production):
- which costs feed & water (to replace this demand)
- which costs money (to supply)
A slippery slope to losing traction on profit.
Sure, land cost comes at a premium and therefore economising saves upfront expense.
However, bird discomfort is like sinking sand for poultry businesses.
It can soon creep up if not remedied and leave an operation immobilised in the mire of poor performance.
Doesn’t equal production capacity
Production capacity equals product that is ready to go.
In the sense of estimating broiler production, you only count those birds that have reached maturity by market day.
With layer production, similarly, you count those birds that are at the time of asking lay mature eggs.
In both cases, all other birds (immature) count towards farm capacity or flock size alone.
(Because they are not yet providing ‘ready product’.)
So when you quote farm capacity or flock size (especially when writing a poultry farm project report) make sure you double-check you’re not confusing definitions.
To make things clear, this equation should help:
Total farm capacity – immature birds (chicks, growers) = Production capacity (i.e. layers and broilers)
Holding this definition will keep your production estimations firmly grounded on what’s ripe.