BASICS FOR POULTRY FARMERS

INTRODUCTION
Poultry industry remains untapped as there is constant demand for the products. Some of the greatest challenges most poultry farmers in Nigeria face are the inability to maintain a proficient production cycle, either which could be due to poor management ,inability to get access to information and consultancy services(professional service)and improper record keeping .Other issues which have great influence on poultry business includes:
• Lack of government support
• High cost of inputs
• Poor quality inputs
• Lack of standards
• Exploitation of middle men and
• Poor marketing channels
The major objectives of this program are:
• To help farmers get access to information they need to enable a smooth business environment.
• Discover the critical issues of poultry farming which are taken for granted by most farmers which often become very fatal, leading to preventable losses.
• To teach farmers actions that guarantee sustainable stability, reduced risk , cost minimization and profit maximization.
• Help farmers understand the fundamental parameters of measuring success, especially given the peculiar biological nature of the poultry industry.

FACTORS OF POULTRY PRODUCTION
• Land
• Housing
• Breed quality
• Management
• Nutrition
• Disease

These indices influence the overall outcome of any poultry production cycle, and must necessarily be strongly focused on by the farmer to ensure that all fundamentals relating to the above factors are well within control. Building a very strong foundation is the basis for future successes and investment stability.

KEY INDICES
LAND, HOUSING AND LOCATION
Markets should be easily accessible to enhance sales and movement of poultry products, also the location of the farm should be far from residential areas, to avoid disturbance from the neighbourhood. Note that the farm location should have good road access, good water source amongst others.

HOUSING
The housing should be well aerated and protect the birds from rain and all adverse weather conditions, the building orientation should be that the long axis of the poultry must be in the East-West direction to ensure the sun cast its shadow on the long axis of the building which ensure cooling conditions during sunrise and sun sets. Also there must be adequate spacing between two buildings to allow free air movement.

BREED/ QUALITY
For you to achieve good quality breed you must ensure the following;
• Buy quality breed /chicks from only reputable hatcheries with good history and pedigree or insist your distributor buy from your choice hatchery.
• Do not accept any stock that is not your choice as this could be the beginning of fatal failure.
• Best for you to plan and be patient than compromise standards.
• Good quality chicks are a critical foundational item for your poultry factory.
• Do not mix chicks from different hatcheries as this may help to spread disease within your stock.
• Before placing your stock order, please do contact our staff, who will advise you on the breed performance and standards from different hatcheries.
MANAGEMENT
In other to have full knowledge of management of DOC please do read our article on; “HOW TO MAINTAIN AN HEALTHY CHICKS START”.
However little emphasis will be highlighted here on what to know from brooding to when they will be ready as point of lay birds, where birds are required to continue on battery cage system. Here are the requirements from you on how to maintain a healthy chick start.

BROODER HOUSE PREPARATION
• Move all equipment outside for cleaning, washing and scrubbing with a powerful disinfectant and apply insecticide on the surrounding environment.
• Wash floor and walls.
• After cleaning allow at least two weeks break after cleaning before birds are brought in
• Clean and adjust brooders, charcoal pot and heaters.
• When floor is dry, spread old newspapers evenly and later replace with wood shavings after a period of 2 weeks.
• Partition the floor area to ensure acceptable stocking density in pens.
• Set up the brooder or charcoal pot and probably put the charcoal in place.

TYPES OF BROODERS
Brooders varies, while usage is often dictated by economics and availability, no matter which, the critical issues is that the brooders supply enough heat, without leaving fumes which could be hazardous to the birds.
Many chicks deaths during brooding are often due to asphyxiation from carbon monoxide inhalation, though brooders could be of gas hoover, electric lamps, heaters where charcoal are used, ventilation should be such that un-burnt gases do not suffocate the birds.

A DAY PRIOR THE ARRIVAL OF THE DOC
• Ventilate house at time of starting brooding. Do not close the house tightly and moist wind should be avoided.
• Spread old newspaper evenly on the floor.
• Operate the brooder heater and lower it so that the thermometer reading above litter reads about 34.6(95F)
• Put in feeders and drinkers around the brooder. Put chick drinkers and tray feeders for the first 7days of life
• Chicks should be introduced to trough feeding from 7 to 10 days

ARRIVAL OF THE DOC
• When chicks arrived, count and remove dead or crippled birds. Sometimes birds from a long flight or journey are in coma, and these may be thought dead.
• A few drops of water down their throat and exposure to air might revive them, a syringe or dropper could be used to administer water into the mouth of weakened chicks.
• Brooder temperature should start at about 34.6c (95F) and be lowered to 32C(90F) by end of the week
• Ensure brooders temperature is maintained, and in the absence of thermometer, the best guide to determine temperature condition and requirement of birds is through the behaviour of birds themselves.
a) Crowding of chicks near the source of heat is a sign of insufficient brooding temperature.
b) If brooder temperature is high, the chicks usually spread their wings and stay at a far distance from the source of heat.
c) The best situation is when the birds are evenly distributed around the brooder.

FEEDING
• BROILERS
a) Start with broilers starter or super starter from Vital Feed Plc for four weeks.
b) Continue with broilers finisher from vital feed till the birds are sold off
• PULLETS
a) Use broilers starter from vital feed from day old to 3 weeks
b) Change to chick mash from 4th week to 8 weeks
c) Change to grower mash from 9 weeks to 20 weeks
d) Introduced layers mash when you start seeing eggs until you finally give the layers mash
MANAGEMENT
Floor space for rearing
a) 0- 6 WEEKS; 1/2 square feet per bird or 15.1 square cm per bird.
b) 6- 12 weeks; 1 square feet per bird or 30.5square cm per bird.
c) 12 weeks; 2 square feet per bird or 61 square cm per bird
d) 14-weeks old the birds are ready to be cage, which premium cages should be bought from our company.
GENERAL PRECAUTION
• TEMPERATURE: After brooding, the temperature of the pen house should be less than room temperature which is always within 21C.
• WATER: The water should be clean at all times, the drinkers should be checked at an hour interval, any debris should be removed, and where there is no water it should be replaced clean water. Also the farmer should always check the water nipples at all times to ensure efficient egg production
• FEEDER: As earlier indicated, place feed in the feeding tray for the first 7 days and replace it with feed troughs. Each 100 birds should have 2.44m(8ft) linear feeding space or 2.5cm (1inch) per bird
• VENTILATION: Frequently adjust window coverings and when the need arises to maintain standard temperature and humidity.
• LITTERS MANAGEMENT: The litters should be changed as soon as they are wet in other to prevent diseases and also avoid ammonia build up which can have effect on the birds
• DEBEAKING: Losses due to pecking are always a major cause of mortality in laying stocks, proper trimming of the beak requires careful supervision of a veterinarian, if not done properly, can lead to feed wastage.
• BIOSECURITY: Always provide foot dips with disinfectant at all points of entry to the pen house. Where possible provide vehicular dip or spray points, ensure all feeding and drinking equipment are washed daily.
• VACCINATION: In conjunction with your veterinarian, do arrange a tested and proved vaccination program for your farm, but ensure that all vaccines are obtained from a reputable source.
• FARM RECORD: A daily record showing all activities carried out in the farm should be kept, as well as keeping vital information like mortality, morbidity, stock population, age, vaccination and medicaments, feed consumption, daily egg production etc should be given full consideration for future purposes.

About Farmergiant Nigeria Limited

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