How to Start and Manage Cattle Rearing Business in Nigeria


Alt: = "a man raising his hands in cattle farm"

Prospect of Cattle Rearing

Beef is the major meat consumed in Nigeria - every household in Nigeria consumes beef. It is a primary sources of protein 

Dairy farm is a lucrative business in Nigeria. Dairy  milk is one of the major sources of food nutrients for Nigerians. As the most populous nation in Africa with about 200 million people, Nigeria presents a larger market for dairy products. 

Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as well as Central Bank of Nigeria says Nigeria’s annual import bill on milk and dairy products is about $1.5b. Nigeria consumes about 1,308,9797 tones of milk annually, only 523,599 tones were produced locally which represents 40%, leaving 785,398 tones which is 60% to importation with import bill of $1.5 billion. This presents a huge market to intending investors in local production of milk and dairy products in Nigeria.

There other byproducts of cattle that are economically important such as hide and skin for leather production, hair for wool production, dung for organic fertilizer production etc

Setting Up Cattle Farm

The following steps are involved in setting up a profitable cattle farm in Nigeria:

  • Business plan (area of concentration)
  • Raise capital
  • Site selection
  • Farm building
  • Purchase of equipment
  • Breed selection
  • Breeding
  • Feeds & feeding
  • Cattle husbandry management
  • Biosecurity
  • Marketing

Carry Out Feasibility Studies 

Feasibility studies will tell you if the business opportunity is feasible at the given time and place or not. A business that was feasible yesterday in a given place may not be feasible today due to economic and environmental changes. Feasibility study is a precursor to business plan. 

Acquire Needed Skills

You have to acquire necessary skills to run a successful business. You need both managerial and technical skills. Many businesses fail because the owners lack the basic skills to run the businesses. As a startup, you’re going to be master of all trades at the initial stage — you will get your hands on almost everything because you may not have the financial capacity to hire all the hands you require.

Incorporate Your Business and Other Certifications

Formalize your business by registering it with Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Commission. Business registration process and requirements have been streamlined. You can register your business online within 48 hours. Can also register your business as private limited liability company with single shareholder.

 Write Business Plan

Having carried out feasibility studies, acquired needed expertise, registered your business, it’s the time to write your business plan. Business plan is a document that outlines how you intend to run your business, requirements and projections. It allows you to create business operations on paper and manipulate and evaluate scenarios without the risk of investing resources. If you want to source your financial from deposit money banks and other financial institutions, you will need to present a business plan to convince them that your business idea is worthwhile. 

Source For Capital 

Cattle rearing is a very capital intensive enterprise. We know that the backbone of every business enterprise is finance. Once you’re able to lay your hands on capital, you’re good to go. 

Site Selection

Acquire Land

Land is an important factor of production. You need to get a land. The size and price depend on your proposed cattle farm or ranch and location. 

Purchase Farm Equipment

You need to purchase some equipment depending on whether you are raising beef cattle or diary cattle and if you are constructing cattle ranch or farm stead. If you’re going to use ranching, see equipment for mechanized cattle ranching. See all the equipment you need for diary production. You can purchase quality cattle rearing and milking equipment at Afrimash, trusted farm equipment marketing company in Nigeria. They deliver to anywhere in Nigeria.

Build Farm Structures

The next important thing in setting up a cattle farm after site selection is farm buildings and structures — proposed farm structures and buildings play important role in site selection. Correct housing is vital to the success of cattle rearing enterprise. There are factors to consider for proper farms buildings and structures.

The structures that you need to build include:

Cattle housing. There are three types of cattle housing: tie stalls, free stalls, pack barns. Dairy farms that have less than 50 cows use tie stalls, while those that have more than 100 cows make use of free stalls. Generally, the kind of housing largely depend on the choice of the owner, cost and amount of labour available. 

Milk storage house or tank (if you intend to run diary farm)  

Store house: for storing feeds. You can also have building for storage of cow dungs and other wastes that can be used as fertilizer. 

office block, 

staff quarters (if there will be staff members that will live or sleep over in the farm)

Ensure you adhere to principles of farm building designs and factors to consider for proper farm buildings and structures.

Get Your Breed

You have to select cattle breeds with quality genetics that would produce quality beef or diary cows. There are about seven breeds of cattle indigenous to Nigeria. They are:

  • Bunaji
  • White Fulani
  • Sokoto Gudali
  • Red Bororo
  • Wadara
  • Muturu
  • Kuri
  • N'dama
  • West African Dwarf

Read the characteristics of each these breeds

There also some hybrid that are introduced to Nigeria by importation and by cross-breeding with indigenous breeds in order to raise the level of production. Most of these exotic cattle are for diary production. They include Friesian, Brown Swiss, Jersey, Ayrshire and Guernsey.

At this point, having stocked your cattle farm, you have successfully set up your cattle farm but you have to do the under listed to operate a successful  cattle production enterprise.


Breeding beef cattle involves producing offspring that are primarily used for the beef market. Fundamentally, it is all about getting cows bred to produce calves to sell either for beef or replacements.

The following steps to breed your cattle:

Buy the quality of cows that meet your standards; your herd bull should be selected to improve your herd, as he will be providing half of the genetics potential of your calf crop.

There are two types of breed: Artificial Insemination and natural breeding See conditions where Artificial Insemination is recommended. As a startup with limited capital and experience, you can breed your cattle naturally. Natural breeding is the process of introducing bulls to the cattle for mating.

1 high fertility bull with high libido can service 50 cows with no drop in conception rates. But the related ratio is 1 bull to 25 cows.

Know when your cows go into estrus and when they are ready to breed and go ahead with the breeding. Monitor your bulls and cows during the breeding season. Pull the bulls out 64 to 85 days after they have been put in, unless you choose to do year round brewing and calving, then leave the bull with the cows all the time.

Feed and Feeding

Feeds for beef cattle include roughages, concentrates, minerals and vitamin premix,  salt lick, and water. While good feeding diary cattle includes providing good grazing pastures and minerals with calcium, phosphorus, salt lick and clean water.

Sources of roughages include grass, legume hays, cereal crop residue and maize cobs. While sources of concentrates are maize offal, rice offal, groundnut cake and cotton seed cake.

During feeding, divide your cows in the following groups: 0-3 months, 4-6 months, young heifer/ breeder,  pregnant and lactating herds. 

Feed handling

Feeds should be properly handled to avoid wastage

Hays should be stored in bans, as soon as it is purchased or produced to avoid exposure to heat and rain

Concentrates should also be  properly handled and stored to prevent termites and rodents attack.

Poor feed handling reduces the nutritive value of the feed.


A ration is the total amount of feed that is given to an animal for a day.

Feedlot animal should receive between 2.5-3.0% of its body weight in terms of its daily feed requirement.

For example: if a bull weighs 200kg then the ration to be given is calculated as follows:

3/100 x 200 = 6.0kg

The ratio of roughage to concentrate is 60:40.

Then to calculate the quantity of roughage to concentrate in the 6kg feed  will be:

Roughage 60/100 x 6 = 3.6kg

Concentrate 40/100 x  6 = 2.4kg

Health Management and Biosecurity

 It is strongly recommended that you engage the services of veterinarians for disease prevention and control. Vaccinate your cattle against specific diseases. Quarantine sick and new cattle from the rest of the cattle to avoid introduction and spread of infectious diseases to other herds.


The last and very important step is to market your product. The success of cattle farm enterprise largely depends on marketing. Marketing is the process of getting the cattle into the hands of the consumers at the affordable and profitable prices. You can market your cattle by selling to off takers,  directly to consumers or processors.

Read also: Problems of Beef and Diary Cattle Production in Nigeria

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