Get premium membership and access questions with answers, video lessons as well as revision papers.

Poultry Farming: Poultry Production Systems


Date Posted: 2/22/2019 1:05:32 AM

Posted By: Vanessa2010  Membership Level: Silver  Total Points: 152

Poultry can be reared either under extensive, intensive or semi-intensive system of management. The most commonly used systems are free range, fold system, deep litter and battery cages.
1. Free Range System
Chicken in laying and growing stages are left to roam over a wide open area which may have a perimeter fence. A Simple shelter is provided. This system is only adopted where there is enough land. Some 200-300 birds are kept per hectare. The birds will get green grass, insects and worms.
a) Vices like cannibalism, feather pecking, egg eating and broodiness are reduced to the minimum.
b) Low labor requirement
c) It is cheap since less fed is required
a) The area becomes contaminated with disease and parasites
b) Birds can be stolen/eaten by predators
c) Eggs get lost in vegetation
d) Difficult to determine layers from non-layers

2. The Fold system
This is a simple method for a limited number of birds. The birds are confined in small movable houses called arks or folds. One third of fold is roofed to provide shelter and laying place. The other two thirds are open and covered with a suitable wire netting. The folds are moved to afresh area.
a) Birds are protected from predators
b) Manure is evenly spread in the field
c) Less feed is used since birds feed on grass
a) Few birds per fold
b) Individual egg production recording is difficult
3. Deep litter system.
In this system birds are confined throughout their life in a house. The house is well ventilated and insulated to keep the birds healthy. The house should be in a well-drained and easy to clean place. The floor of the house is filled with an appropriate litter up to 10-15cm high. This litter may be sawdust, wood shavings, crushed maize cobs, chopped straw etc. Old litter should be mixed with fresh one to inject bacteria which break down the droppings and thus keep

the litter dry and warm. The litter may become damp due to; Water spillage, droppings, high humidity and leaking roof .Dampness is controlled through raking.
The old and used litter is removed with the disposal of the stock before a new batch of birds is put in the house.
The following equipment are provided;
1. Laying nest.
2. Roosting perches
3. Feed trough
4. Water trough
Allow floor space of 4-6 hens per meters square (M2)
a) Low initial capital investment in housing.
b) Low labour requirement.
c) High stocking rate, hence high invest returns on the capital investment.
d) It is suitable to all classes of chickens’ i.e. Chicks, Growers, Broilers and brooders
e) There is no loss of eggs and easy collection is enhanced
f) Protection from predators

a) High incidence of vices (cannibalism and egg eating)
b) Rapid spread of parasites and diseases
c) Individual attention to birds is impossible.
d) Birds develop broodiness frequently hence fewer eggs are produced.
e) High initial capital due to construction costs

4. The battery system
This is the most intensive of all poultry keeping systems. Birds are confined in cages, the number per cage ranging from 2-4 depending on the size of the cage, size of the birds and the farmers preference. The cages are made of wire and placed in tiers, completely offsets such that no cage rests directly on top of another. The tiers are arranged the whole length of the building with an allowance of 1M apart and away from the walls for working. The lowest tiers should be raised 0.75-1m above the ground for ease of cleaning. The front side of each cage has a slopping floor to form a ‘roll-away laying nest.’ Most operations can be automated.
a) High stocking rate hence high returns on capital invested.
b) Individual records of the birds can be kept.
c) Vices are minimized.
d) There is no contamination of feeds, water, eggs with fecal materials.
e) Due to restricted movement more eggs are produced.
a) Initial capital requirement is high.
b) The system require high standard of management.
c) Birds suffer from cage fatigue owing to constant standing.
d) The system is only suitable for layers.

Next: Characteristics of a Profession
Previous: Causes of poverty in Kenya and the possible solutions