Poultry is one of the fastest growing sub sectors dominated by the private sector. Poultry contributes to improved human nutrition and food security by being a leading source of high-quality protein in the form of eggs and meat. It acts as a key supplement to revenue from crops and other livestock enterprises, thus avoiding over-dependency on traditional commodities with inconsistent prices. The demand for poultry meat is increasing due to the increasing population, the increasing incomes of people, increase in urbanization and creation of fast-food shops. Constraints in poultry production include: production related constraints (inadequate access to improved breed, access and affordability of feed, disease control); lack of knowledge and skills, inadequate capital at all levels and marketing. Successful poultry farming requires proper planning.
a. Location of the poultry farm and lay out
b. Type of poultry and production line
c. Flock size/capacity
d. Management system for example, free range, semi-intensive and intensive
e. Marketing strategy
f. Source of inputs
a. It doesn’t require a lot of land to implement the enterprise
b. It can run as a supplementary enterprise
c. They utilize by-products from other enterprises
d. They have a short gestation interval and higher turnover for example it takes about 6 weeks to get a turnover
Signs of ill health
Most signs of illness are associated with several poultry diseases, nutrient deficiency and parasites. Signs of ill health may be one or a combination of the following;
a. Dullness associated with lack of energy (sleepy eyes)
c. Blood-stained droppings
d. Strange sounds and action
f. Loss of weight
e. Ruffled feathers, instead of a smooth feather cover
g. Loss of appetite for food and water
h. Lesions or swelling on the head or feet
i. Pale combs and wattles
j. Abnormal shell quality and a drop in egg production for layers
k. Sudden deaths
l. Dropping or sagging wings
a. Ensure proper feeding
b. Maintain hygienic conditions
c. Vaccinate against common diseases
d. Restrict access to poultry units as a bio security measure to prevent entry of pathogens
e. Isolate and treat sick birds
f. Don’t mix old butches and new butches of birds
g. Ensure proper stocking density
h. Ensure hygiene of feeders, drinkers and the floor
i. Separate birds of different ages during housing
NB: Antibiotics should never be used to replace good management and should be used on prescription by a veterinarian.
Before chicks arrive at farm; make sure that;
a. A brooder is in place
b. Paraffin lamps/electric bulbs/charcoal stove is available
c. Litter for the floor is available
d. 1m2 will accommodate 20 chicks up to 4 weeks old.
e. Temperature control: 350C for day-old chicks, 24-270c for 1 week.
f. Reduce heat as they grow especially at night.
This helps to provide a working plan on which farm operations can be coordinated. Types of records include;
a. Production records for example; records for production of eggs for layers, and body weight for broilers
b. A record of receipts and expenses; these should show the sources of income (sales) and the purpose of expenses
c. A record of assets, such as buildings, birds, feeds and equipment
Housing is important as any other management aspect of poultry. However, it is with intensive systems where careful design is of paramount importance.
a. Set the houses on well drained ground and away from plantations, tall buildings and piggery or dairy bans to avoid noise.
b. Ensure proper ventilation
c. Put the space requirements into consideration for example feeding space per bird
a. Regular cleaning, washing and disinfection of poultry houses helps to control diseases
b. Keep the house, utensils and the surroundings clean
c. Turn the litter regularly using a shovel to keep it clean, soft and, friable
d. Maintain a leak proof house
e. Ensure proper usage of disinfectant/ footbath
The provision of adequate dietary minerals and vitamins is essential for good egg and meat quality.
Feeding exotic chicken
a. 1 to 3 weeks feed with chick mash.
b. 3 to 6 weeks feed with broiler starter, thereafter with broiler finisher.
a. 1 to 8 weeks feed on chick mash
b. After 8 weeks introduce growers mash gradually, then with layers mash after drop of first egg