As a new poultry farmer or aspiring poultry farmer, I must congratulate you as you are about to join the league of successful people by taking the bold step of getting your feet wet in one of the lucrative businesses, poultry farming.
Poultry farming in Nigeria is very lucrative. Poultry farming for beginners is always a trial and error approach; this is why new farmers are advised to start from small scale poultry farming and watch their business grow. This minimizes risk and losses greatly.
Commercial poultry farming is capital intensive, thus, poultry farmers must be wary of their poultry farming processes. Proper managerial practices need to be adopted on a regular basis to ensure safety and enhance optimum productivity. Poultry farming is an explicit aspect of livestock production; it is the rearing of poultry birds for either meat or egg production.
So you may ask: what animals are poultry?
Poultry birds are domesticated birds such as chickens, ducks, turkeys, and geese. These are poultry birds; they are reared under different poultry farming techniques for either egg or meat production. To achieve success, some poultry farming tips have to be disclosed to new poultry farmers.
I will be highlighting some poultry farming details and buttress each tip to show its relevance in the success of any commercial poultry farming. Read up!
The housing system of a poultry farm is very important to the success of any poultry farm. Normally, poultry birds are reared under three (3) systems: intensive, extensive and semi-intensive systems.
Commercially, the intensive system is adopted. What the housing does is to protect the birds from predators and adverse weather conditions. In the quest to achieve this, you must consider heat and its effect on poultry.
Heat stress is a great threat in poultry farming; I call it an “environmental disease” that does not require any medication aside from modification of the environmental conditions to favor your poultry birds.
Proper ventilation must be provided in your poultry farm; the longest side of the pen should face the direction of the prevailing wind such that the poultry birds receive fresh air evenly.
Also, the roofing must be considered greatly; ensure the roofing is not too close to the birds, in case of battery cages, to prevent the birds from direct radiation of rays.
Lastly, ensure the surrounding is kept clean always to prevent harboring of predators like snake in your poultry house. Apply spent engine oil around the pen to avoid termites attack.
Feeding is very important, I know you already know but I just want to point out a few things you need to know in order to feed your birds well and get a good result.
You must greatly consider the quantity and quality of the feed you are serving your birds. Do not feed your poultry birds with caked or wet feed. When a feed is wet, it facilitates the growth of fungi.
Fungi cause a lot of diseases in poultry birds, aflatoxins are common. This will greatly affect egg production in laying birds and death in young birds; poisoned feed kills faster than any disease.
Another important thing I want to draw your attention to is water. Water is very important for poultry birds, especially if you are practicing commercial poultry farming, do not joke with it.
Water plays an active role in poultry bird system; water helps to dissolve feed in the crop; during heat stress, water helps to regulate body temperature. There is no limit to water intake in poultry farming, ensure your birds have access to clean and fresh water always.
Litter material management
If you want to achieve the lowest mortality rate in your poultry farming operation, ensure you have a healthy litter material. The largest percentage of poultry diseases is caused by “dirty litter material”.
Litter material serves as bedding for your poultry birds; it houses all their wastes. The higher the dirt concentration of your litter material, the higher the vulnerability of your birds to different poultry diseases.
This is because disease-causing organisms (Pathogens) are ubiquitous, they are everywhere, all they need is a favorable environment to incubated and multiply.
Dirty litter material provides a favorable environment for these disease-causing organisms (Pathogens). Do not say because it is litter material and leave it littered.
Also, there is a concept called Auto infection; this is when a bird eats up the disease-causing organisms (Pathogens) it has passed out when the litter material is not replaced. If you deworm or vaccinate your birds, ensure you change the litter material after 24 hours of administration.
Examples of litter materials you can use for poultry farming are; wood shavings, groundnut husk, rice hulls, etc. Change your litter material at least every 2 weeks. Remember, prevention is better than cure.
Most farmers do not take this practice seriously. It is dicey. Biosecurity is the least preventive measure you can adopt in your poultry farm.
Quarantine is one of the biosecurity measures you can adopt; do not keep birds from different sources together in the same pen, irrespective of their age.
There is a term called Horizontal transmission of disease; this is the transfer of disease from one bird to another. This type of infection makes diseases spread rapidly.
Quarantine new birds from different sources to observe them before introducing to the main stock.
Vaccination and other health programs
Do not run a poultry farm without having a tractable health program for your birds. Have a regular schedule of deworming and administer vaccines at the right time. If your birds are sick, do not give vaccine but use the appropriate drug to treat the disease.
Vaccines are meant to prevent poultry diseases and not for treatment. Also, ensure you follow the instruction attached to the vaccine or dewormer you are administering; withdrawal period is very important, do not consume or sell the poultry produce during this period.
Most of these poultry farming tips are not always taught or considered as they seem insignificant or irrelevant. Farmers often neglect them but in the real sense, they have huge effects on the productivity of the poultry birds, irrespective of the poultry farming system adopted. These tips are always constant.
Adhere to the strictly and enjoy your sojourn as a poultry farmer.
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