Chickens in the Philippines. Where did that idea come from?
Well, as usual, it came from one of my most valuable assets in the world, my readers here at PhilFAQS (where yu can get the answers to Frequently Asked Question (FAQS) about living in the Philippines. Even about chickens in the Philippines.
Now this isn’t a post about fighting chickens in the Philippines. Cockfighting here is a huge sport/gambling center, but I’m not into that.
And it isn’t a “cutsey” story about selling fan belts and chickens in the Philippines in the same auto supply shop … that would be this one … Just Fall In Line Behind The Chicken — Life in the Philippines
Instead it’s a story from a reader, Jacob, who moved here to the Philippines with his Philippine-born wife and set up a real business to earn his living, honestly, and provide for his family’s needs and future.
And, as I often advise readers (but few listen to), the place where you are almost sure of success in the Philippines … providing you work at it, … is in agriculture. Produce food to feed the hungry and you won’t go hungry either.
Chickens in the Philippines — Jacob’s Story
Jacob wrote a while back and outlined to me what he was doing up in northern Luzon. I wrote back and asked him some details about his business which he was kind enough to share.
The business Jacob is engaged in is commonly called “Contract Growing”. In short a person provides a piece of land (doesn’t have to be owned, can be leased) and buildings or other facilities as specified by the contracting company.
In return, the contracting company supplies live animals to be fed and cared for, as well as food and other production supplies, then agrees to buy the live animals back at a certain ge or size, for a price agreed upon in the contract.
Jacob is raising chickens for a large wholesale chicken supplier (think Jolibee, KFC, etc. These chains typically don’t have their own farms, they buy from a few large companies who guarantee a certain level of supply, rain or shine.
There are also opportunities which I know of in raising pigs for market, raising baby pigs to breeding size for pedigreed livestock suppliers, etc. I’m sure there are many others.
(I love questions, but please don’t badger me for details on these opportunities, I am not in business in the Philippines, don’t really want to be and sites like my blogging acquaintance, Leo do a much better job on this at his site EntrePinoys Atbp.)
So without further ado, here’s my interview with Jacob:
Chickens in the Philippines — How It’s Done
1. As I understand it, you are doing contract growing. You accept delivery of baby chickens from your supplier, raise them to a certain size, and then get paid a set fee upon delivery back to the supplier, correct?
Foster Foods, Inc. (FF)
(Address:1505 East Tower PSE Ctr., Exchange Rd., Ortigas Ctr., Pasig City Tel:(from outside the Philippines prefix with (632 and leave of the (02) .. (02) 912-5565)
delivers day old chicks (min. of 10,000) at a time for each harvest.
- Vet visits,
- Tech support,
I, the Grower provide:
- Housing for the birds,
From day 1 (when delivered to Jacob) they weigh approx 35/45 grams.
In 32 days the ideal weight is 1.6 to 1.7 kilos.
We harvest the chickens, FF picks them up and they are taken to Bulacan, where FF dressing plant is located.
Payment is sent in 10 working days, direct deposit (to Jacob’s) MetroBank account.
Depending on the weight and performance of the harvest you can expect of an average pay per bird of P19 to 30 each.
At our farm we have 12,215 birds now that are only days old and are weighting above 250+grams.
2. What is required to get started in something like this? Did you answer an ad? Were you recruited by someone? Is there a large investment?
All local permits are required! It’s a business, NOT a backyard growing.
My wife has a UP college friend who is a government inspector who told us about the Contract Poultry Business…I dont know if FF recruits growers.
Now to the investment part:
YES there is a large investment, example our buildings each are: 9 meters wide X 39 meters long. Each cost to construct around P790k to 800k, I have 3 buildings.
3. Are you worried about competition? One of the big problems I see in the Philippines is that every time a business gets successful, dozens of “copy cats” seem to pop up almost overnight.
As far as competition among us growers none! FF market is All fast foods: our clients include, Jollibee, KFC, McD, Shakeys and the list goes on. FF has 80% of the fast food chicken market in Metro Manila.
4. Seems to me that to be successful, you have to invest a lot of time in supervising the operation. Is it a full-time job?
Its your business you’ll need to spend time in it, that’s a given.
You’ll need a crew and train them how you want the business to be run!
It’s not going to be perfect from the start, but you’ll get there….as far as a full time job….I’d rather WORK HARD FOR MYSELF RATHER THAN WORK HARD FOR SOMEONE ELSE!
It’s not a job if you love what you do.
5. Not sure how to properly phrase this one. What I am thinking about is, how much freedom do you have. In other words, suppose something went wrong between you and your current supplier/employer/buyer. Who owns what? Could you change horses and grow for yourself or someone else, or would you forfeit a lot of your investment?
You’re in a contract, I know other growers that been with same company for years. If you want to, though, you can do everything yourself.
6. Anything else you would care to add in terms of encouragement, explanation, cautions, etc.
Be a good boss, pay the farm keepers well, share the wealth with them…Be FIRM but fair…if you need to let someone go!!! do it! Thats shows them you mean business!!! You’re in business to win, not to lose.
As far as share the wealth, I mean everybody from the Brgy officials to the people who live near your business!!! Its OK, share your Blessings.
Contract growing will take some time to set it up, it took my wife and I, 2 years to set it up, from permits to harvest time…
If one has a clear determined MINDSET you can do it! You will find other contract growers in your area, that’s ok, most will be in the same company as you are and most will help you out.
Chickens in the Philippines — Conclusions:
Well there you have a few questions and a lot of good answers.
For those of you unclear on the cash-flow here, it’s pretty typical for a contract grower to get in 6 crops a year. At 12,000+ birds per crop that works out to approximately P290,00 per (grow) or a gross of well over P1,700,000 a year. Of course, grower’s expenses such as labor,utilities,taxes and such have to come out of that, but it still should be a pretty safe route to become a millionaire in the Philippines after your buildings are paid off.
At any rate it’s a lot better to think along lines like these than to “copy-cat” the usual “Internet cafe” or sari-sari store thinking rut that so many seem stuck in.
Along the lines of thinking outside the box, I realized after I had asked Jacob these first questions that I forgot a very important one … chicken manure. 12,000 or more chickens are going to poop a “whoop and a group” (technical term there, sorry) of chicken poo every day. Where on earth are you going to get rid of all that stinky residue?
Well in the US chicken manure might be considered waste. Here in the Philippines it can be like gold. This is a country that is fertilizer poor and has a lot of sandy, volcanic soil that needs building up.
I know that I have read of some pretty successful (and profitable chicken manure composting and marketing efforts, so I shot back another question to Jacob to find out what he does with his “chicken leavings”. The answer?
Let me tell you, farmers go crazy over the manure…I have many farmers who already know when i harvest, how they know? beats me!
Current price for chicken manure runs about 40 to 70 pesos per sac, I sell it for 25 pesos per sack they ( farmers ) come sack it themselves and I get paid, but it’s not my money I give it to the my farm helpers, another incentive for them
Instead of the manure being an expense, for Jacob it’s actually another profit center … one which he chooses to share with his workers, but one that could easily be built up into a more sophisticated composting/fertilizing effort to help local farmers.
Basically, you just need to stop thinking about what everyone else is doing and start thinking for yourself … or so Dave opines. So what are your thoughts on chickens in the Philippines?