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Tips to successful poultry farming


Date Posted: 3/1/2019 2:22:37 AM

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

Importance of Poultry Farming
- Source of manure for the farm
- Source of food
- Meat- most tender and palatable of all meat and healthy white meat.
- Eggs- palatable, easily digestible and have high nutritional value

The following sections will help one in planning for a successful poultry farming for an income;
This is the embryonic development of a fertile egg into a chick. It takes different periods in different poultry species i.e.
Bird Period (days)
Chicken 21
Turkeys 28
Geese 28
Guinea fowls

Pigeons 17
Quails 16
Ducks 29-35
Ostrich 42
Incubation can be achieved by natural or artificial methods:

1. Natural incubation
In this method a broody hens given 15-18 eggs depending on its size and mothering ability. The hen provides all the necessary conditions for hatching i.e. warmth, humidity and turns the eggs using its beak.
2. Artificial Incubation
This is achieved by a machine known as incubator. It is a highly specialized job. The hatcheries aim to hatch a maximum number of viable chicks from the eggs set. Under good management hatchability is about 80%.
Brooding is rearing of chicks from day old to 4 weeks for broilers and 6-8 weeks for layers. It can either be natural or artificial;

a. Natural brooding
This follow natural incubation and a hen can brood its own chicks or these can be mixed. Natural brooding does not require any skills nor much capital. However losses can be very high ( loss of chicks through predators, diseases and parasites). Eggs production is low due to long brooding period (6-8 weeks).
b. Artificial brooding
This is the most critical period in the entire management of chicken and determines the success of the enterprise. Under good management, mortality during brooding should not exceed10%.The following points are important before and during brooding of chicks:
• When ordering day-old chicks-always consider the reputation of the supplier.
• Specify the number and type of chicks, plus preferred date of collection
• Trim grass around the brooder house, spray wall with an acaricide to get rid of external parasites make the room rat-proof.
• Prepare the brooder-Clean and disinfect the room. Allow to dry and place in fresh litter material. E.g. wood shavings.
• Enclose brooder space. Make it corner-free using hard –boards and wooden pegs.
• Place source of heat at the center of enclosed space cover it with a hover or reflector.
• Put in the brooder enough feeders and drinkers.
• Pre-heat brooder early on the day of arrival.
• Collect chicks early in the day and take them straight to the farm
• Do preliminary selection and culling at the agents office and when placing them in the brooder
• Use a little liquid paraffin, glucose and chick formula in drinking water for 3-5 days. This gives chicks a good start in life.
• Feed chicks on well formulated starter rations (broiler starter or chick mash accordingly)
• Provide fresh feed and water every day

Other management aspects;
Chicks should be given high quality ration to assure fast growth and high survival rate
Provide Chick Mash.
Provide enough floor, feeder and water space i.e. 25 chicks/m2, one chick feeder/20 chicks and one water fountain/50 chicks.
Disease control
Practice high standards of hygiene. Have a foot bath at the door and minimize flow of people in and out of the brooder. Ensure to follow the correct vaccination procedure as follows:

Vaccination Guidelines
Day old (Mainly for commercial)
Hatcheries Mareks Subcutaneous
Day 10 Gumboro (1st
Dose) Drinking water
Day 18 Gumboro (2nd dose) Drinking water
3 Weeks Newcastle disease (1st dose) Eye drop or Drinking water
3 Weeks (in hot spot areas)
Fowl pox Wing web stab
6 Weeks (other are areas)
8 Weeks Newcastle disease (2nd dose) Eye drop or Drinking
Fowl typhoid Intramuscular injection

18 Weeks Newcastle disease
(3rd dose at point of lay) Eye drop or Drinking water

Temperature control
Regulate temperatures as chicks grow. Gauge the right temperature by observing chicks’ behavior. If too hot they stray far away from the heat source, if too cold they huddle around the heat source and if the temperatures are optimum they are evenly distributed around the brooder. Control the temperatures as follows;

Age in weeks Temperature
1 33-degrees Celsius
2 30-degrees Celsius
3 27-degrees Celsius
4 24-degrees Celsius

Provide dim light 24 hours to maximize on feed intake. Bright light causes toes to shine and it may lead to toe pecking.
This is the easiest stage and not much attention is needed. Ensure that birds have adequate food and water. Change the ration gradually from chick to growers mash towards the end of week. Provide clean drinking water ad-lib. Introduce clean grit/Sand in a separate trough at week 9.This helps in mechanical grinding of food in the gizzard. Provide greens suspended on a string to supplement pigments and to keep the birds busy. Practice high standards of hygiene, control vermin in and around the growers’ house.
This is the economic stage and managements is geared towards maximum egg production. From 20 weeks onwards birds are called layers and must give enough returns to cover brooding and growing costs, maintain themselves during the laying period and give the farmer some profit. The point of laying ranges between 18-22 weeks and depends on the type of hybrid, nutrition, lighting regime and management during brooding and growing stages.

Record keeping in a poultry enterprise is important as it enables the farmer to assess the efficiency of management and the profitability of the enterprise. Some of the records are;
• Feeding records.
– Ensure you have proper feeding records to assist in budget planning for the feeds required throughout the season to avoid shortage.
• Production records.
– Record all the production of individual chicken in the farm to aid in culling unproductive birds in the farm
• Treatment records.
– Make sure to keep the treatment records of all birds to ease the work of a veterinarian or animal health assistant.
• Sales records.
– Recording of sales helps one to know if your business is making profit or losses and it also helps one in expanding of their business.

Next: Causes of poverty in Kenya and the possible solutions
Previous: Important Tips on Calf Rearing

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