A Beginner’s Guide to Establishing a Chicken Processing Plant

Starting a poultry processing business or plant is a good business decision because a lot of people consume meats from poultry especially chicken. While the business of raising chickens is profitable (although classified to be highly risky), it is advisable to run poultry farming alongside poultry processing plants mainly for the sake of maximizing profits.

Adding chicken processing to your farm operations is also profitable in the short and long run. It protects you from chicken offtakes rip-offs, prevents you from stress associated with selling live birds when they are mature, gives room for value addition and can serve as additional means of generating revenue to expand your business.

A lot of people have the wrong notion about chicken processing. It seems like most people think that it’s a difficult and laborious process. However, if you know what you are doing and have the right equipment, it’s quite easy.

Are you interested in starting a chicken processing plant? Want to know how to process chickens, and start your own chicken processing business? Read this article for all the information you need!

What is Chicken Processing?

Chicken processing is the process of converting live chickens into poultry products such as whole chicken, chicken parts, chicken cuts or fully prepared chicken meat. This is usually done by stunning, slaughtering, scalding, de-feathering, eviscerating, chilling and cutting, and then further processing to make these parts ready for sale.

A chicken processing plant is a building where chickens are slaughtered, dressed and packaged for consumers. It is filled with processing equipment and machine to carry out specific processing task(s).

What are the Different Types of Chicken Processing Plants?

There are 3 types of chicken processing plants. They are:

  1. Fully Automatic processing plant
  2. Semi-automatic processing plant
  3. Manual processing plant

Fully Automatic Processing Plant

A fully automatic chicken processing plant is designed to process large numbers of chickens in a short period. Each operation is automated and mechanized with little or no human labor required. Fully automatic chicken processing plants are designed to process as high as 50,000 chickens per day depending on the capacity of machines used and the plant itself.

Semi-Automatic Processing Plant

A semi-automatic chicken processing plant is designed for small to medium-scale operations and is usually located on the farm where the chickens are raised. Some operations are done with the use of machines with the assistance of human labor. They include slaughtering, defeathering, evisceration, washing and weighing. Semi-automatic chicken processing plants are designed to process as high as 2,000 chickens per day depending on the capacity of machines used and the size of human labor,

Manual Processing Plant

A manual processing plant is also designed to process a small number of birds per day. All operations are done manually. Hence, only a few hundred chickens can be processed in such a plant. Manual chicken processing plants are designed to process as high as 500 chickens per day depending on the number or size of labor.

What is the Cost of Starting a Chicken Processing Plant?

Establishing a chicken processing plant requires a lot of money, especially for the procurement of the equipment and machinery as well as the cold storage facility. The cost of starting a chicken processing plant can be as low as $60,000 (₦25,000,000).

What are the benefits of a Chicken Processing Plant?

  1. It creates employment or job opportunities
  2. It helps in generating more revenue
  3. It provides poultry farmers with a good market for their chickens and other poultry products.
  4. It also allows for further value addition

How to Start Chicken Processing Plant?

The chicken processing business is one of the most profitable businesses in the world. The chicken you buy from your supermarket is processed in a factory. There are different types of chicken processing facilities, which include slaughterhouses, cutting and packaging plants and further companies that sell cooked or processed chicken products to supermarkets and other stores.

If you are interested in starting a chicken processing business, there are various factors to consider before beginning the process. Here are some of them:

1. Know the local laws and regulations

The first thing you need to do is to check if there are any laws or regulations that apply to your business. This is important because it will help you avoid fines and penalties for not following the rules. It is also important to know the requirements of the laws and regulations, such as how many chickens you can process in a day or how much you need to pay for licenses.

2. Know your target market

It is important to know who your target market is. This will help you decide on the products that you will be selling. It will also help you in making sure that you are marketing your products effectively.

If you are planning to sell your chicken products to the general public, you will need to know their preferences. This is because different people have different tastes and preferences.

If you are targeting a specific group of people, such as restaurants or hotels, then you will need to do some research on their preferences.

3. Hire a consultant or professional for advice

It is a good idea to hire a consultant or professional when starting up a chicken processing plant business. They will be able to advise you on how to set up your business, what equipment you need, and more. You can also hire them to do the work for you.

4. Get the required permit and licenses to operate a meat processing plant

You need to get the required permit and licenses to operate a meat processing plant. The type of license you will need depends on the kind of business you are running. For example, if you are operating a slaughterhouse, then you will need a license from the local government. If you are operating a meat processing plant, then you will need a license from the state or federal government.

5. Choose the right location

The location of your chicken processing plant is also important. If you are planning to start a chicken processing plant, then you must find a place where there is a good market for your products. It is also important that you find a place where there are enough people to buy your products. It should not be close to a chicken farm and far from contaminants. You need to find a place where you can process chickens easily and conveniently. You need to make sure that the place is well-ventilated and clean.

The size of your chicken processing plant is also important. If you are planning to start a chicken processing plant, find a place where there is enough space for the production of the products. It should be big enough to accommodate the equipment and storage facilities. You should also make sure that you have enough space for storage and transportation of the products.

You should also find a place where there is enough water supply. This is important because chicken processing requires a lot of water.

In addition to that, you should also find a place where there are good transportation facilities. This is important because the products will be transported from the processing plant to the market. You should also find a place where there are enough workers.

6. Sewage and waste disposal

The next thing that you need to do is to make sure that you have proper sewage and waste disposal system. You need to make sure that the chicken processing area is well-sealed so that no odor can escape. This is why you should choose the right location where waste disposal is easy and won’t cause environmental hazards.

7. Get the architectural plan and start constructing the plant

You will need to get the architectural plan and start building the required structures. This is a very important step because it will determine how your chicken processing plant business will look like. You can also hire an architect to do this for you.

8. Source of Electricity Power and Energy to power the chicken processing plant

There are two main sources of electrical power and energy to power the chicken processing plant: the national grid and a generator.

If you are planning to set up your business in an urban area, then you can get access to the national grid. This is the most convenient and cost-effective way to get electric power and energy for your chicken processing plant. The national grid can be accessed by paying a monthly fee to the local electricity distribution company. The cost of this fee depends on the size of your business, the amount of power you use and the location of your business. In addition to the monthly fee, you will also have to pay for the electricity that you use.

Power supply from a generator is also available. However, this is more expensive than the national grid.

9. Get the right equipment and machinery

The next thing that you need to do is to get the right equipment. You need to get the right equipment for processing chickens. The equipment should be hygienic and easy to use. It should also be safe for your workers and not take up too much space.

10. Get the right staff

The next thing that you need to do is to get the right staff. You need to hire people who are good at processing chickens. They should be trained and skilled in the job. They should also be honest and hardworking. You may have to train your staff if they haven’t processed chickens before. Training the staff may indeed take a lot of time and resources, but it will be worth it in the end.

11. Install the equipment and machinery

After purchasing the right chicken processing equipment, you need to install it. The first thing you need to do is make sure that the chicken processing equipment is installed in a clean and sanitary environment. Make sure that the area where you are installing the equipment is free from dirt, dust, and other contaminants. You also need to make sure that the area is well-ventilated. The next thing you need to do is set up the equipment and make sure that it is working properly. If there are any problems, they should be fixed immediately.

Next, you need to clean the equipment before using it for the first time. You can clean the equipment by using soap and water or a sanitizing solution. Safety should be your top priority when using or cleaning the equipment. You should wear protective clothing and use a sanitizing solution that is safe for food preparation.

12. Train the workers are properly

The employees should be trained to use the equipment and follow the safety procedures. They should also be trained on how to handle the products so that they do not contaminate them. The staff should be trained on what to do in case of an emergency.

They must also be provided with protective clothing like overalls, gloves, nose masks, headcovers and boots. These will prevent the workers from contaminating the meat and safely handling the products.

13. Start business operations

After the building and machinery are ready, you can start production immediately. You can also buy chicken from local farmers and process them for sale. Neatly package and label your processed chicken products. You can sell your products to supermarkets, hotels, restaurants and other food outlets.

Chicken Processing Equipment

Some equipment and machinery are required or used when processing chickens. The most common are as follows:

  1. Shackles or Killing Cones: This equipment is used to restrain or hold chickens in place before they are stunned or slaughtered. For a killing cone, it is around
  2. Chicken Stunner: A chicken stunner is used to stun chickens before they are slaughtered. The device is attached to a pneumatic piston that delivers a blow to the head of the chicken, stunning it and rendering it unconscious.
  3. Slaughtering Knife: It is used to slaughter the chickens by slitting the throat and the jugular vein around the neck
  4. Scalding Tank: It is used to loosen the feathers on the chicken, making feather removal easy. It is a bathtub-like tank that has water in it and a heating element at the bottom of the tank. The water is heated to around 60 degrees Celsius before dipping the dead chicken inside for 10 seconds before moving to the defeathering machine.
  5. De-feathering Machine: It is used for removing feathers from the chickens.
  6. Dressing Table: This is a stainless steel table on which the chickens are dressed.
  7. Chilling Tank or Cooler: It is used to reduce or remove the body heat of the slaughtered and dressed chicken immediately. There are water coolers or chillers and air coolers. The water cooler uses water and ice blocks while the air cooler makes use of cold air.
  8. Meat Cutter: This is used to cut the chickens into different parts as desired. It is usually an electric-powered rotation machine with a very sharp, circular blade.
  9. Hanger: This is the equipment used to hang dressed chickens to air-dry. It is used after washing the chicken.
  10. Weighing Scale: This is used for weighing the chicken in different weight categories.
  11. Bagging Machine: It is used for packing the chicken in polythene bags.
  12. Sealing Machine: it is used to seal the opening of the packaging polythene bags.
  13. Blast Freezer: It is an industrial freezer that can be used to freeze the packaged chicken quickly.
  14. Cold Room: This is the place where packaged chickens are stored to avoid spoilage or rottenness.


You’ve learned a lot of valuable information in this article, and you should now have a better idea of how to start up your own chicken processing business. While it may seem like a difficult task at first, with the right planning and resources, it is possible to succeed. If you’re interested in getting started today, sign up for our consulting services here.

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Akinbobola A.

I'm a livestock farmer, certified animal scientist and agro consultant. You can follow Livestocking on Facebook and Twitter. Click here to send me an email
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