Simple management mistakes make poultry farms fail. Most occur because of negligence and overconfidence of the farmer or manager; this is why I assume they are mistakes and not ignorance. It is not as if poultry farmers do not know certain practices are detrimental to their poultry birds’ welfare; they just need the experience (failure) to imprint or make obvious the danger in that practice.
Any business is prone to failure when the right practices are carried out at the wrong time or when the wrong practices are carried out at the right time. A successful poultry farm is that that diligently carries out the right managerial practices at the right time.
There are some management mistakes poultry farmers make that ruin the poultry business; I personally do not believe ignorance is what kills a poultry business, because I presume that for anyone to start a poultry business, such person would have undergone and garnered series of on-field practical experience.
Parts of the roles of a farm manager in a poultry farm is to ensure all managerial practices are carried out to time; a lapse in time of operation leads to a lapse in the rate of productivity.
Having worked in poultry farms and my direct relationship with successful poultry farmers of various scales and systems of operation, I discovered these 7 mistakes are capable of making a poultry farm fail.
7 Mistakes Poultry Farmers Make
I will not be sharing with you what you know and do on a regular basis but what you do on a regular basis without knowledge of their effects
#1. Lack of proper hygiene
This is obviously not new to you but you may not understand the principles behind proper hygiene in a poultry farm. Proper hygiene in poultry farm is not limited to the health or welfare of the chickens, it encompasses all that relates to the birds; it starts with you.
As a poultry farm manager, you need to understand that the health and survival of your chickens lie in your hands, you are the most virulent potential pathogen or vector of diseases because the frequency of your relationship with the birds is higher than any other person. Of course, no one would restrict your movement on your farm.
Most poultry farmers underestimate or let me say do not believe in the existence and effect of microorganisms. This is why you see poultry farmers wear the same farm outfit within and outside the farm. This is very wrong!
Do you know that a strand of an infected feather can ruin a flock of over 1000 birds? Just one strand!
To better inculcate proper hygiene in your farm, practice the following:
- Avoid having direct contact with your birds during operations. Use gloves. Dedicate a pair of gloves to a particular pen and not the whole farm.
- Have a different set of apron or a farm coat for each pen. This is not too common in most poultry farms. Especially when dealing with chickens of different ages say brooding and layer pen.
- Use different slippers in different pens or production units. This is a great mistake most poultry farmers make; most of the pathogen of the disease find their way into the pen through the sand and other particles that trap in the base of the slippers.
To inculcate proper hygiene on your farm, it is best you have different farm kits for each production unit.
#2. Activities within the poultry farm location
One of the actions you are expected to take before establishing a poultry farm is a site survey.
Did you bother putting the activities in that area into consideration?
Most of us want to site our poultry farm in a rural area simply because we do not have means to control the poultry farm odor or the land in the rural area is cheap to secure.
This is fine but the activities of the area need to be greatly considered because of the water quality. Water is a very important poultry diet; feeds may be limited in supply but not water, water must be served in the right quality and quantity. In order to preserve the quality of the water, the activities of the area must be greatly reviewed.
Do not site your poultry farm near or around a petrochemical company or a heavy metal processing company.
#3. Inadequate feeding and drinking equipment
I remember when I was working in a poultry farm as an intern; we used to have uneven growth habit among the chickens that were stocked the same day, I used to be very curious. I used to think it was probably as a result of their genetic makeup until the day we caged the bigger ones and left behind the smaller ones in the rearing unit.
Under a few weeks, a huge difference was observed in their growth rate. It was obviously not because of overstocking, we were cautious of that but I later detected that not all the chicken have access to the best or nutritious component of the feed we served.
Only the agile and smart ones are fast at picking up grains and other beneficial components of the feed, leaving remnants from the chickens that could not find their way to the feeding trough or feeder on time.
Feeding chicken should not be a model of the survival of the fittest. Provide enough feeding and drinking material such that the chickens would conveniently eat without anyone mounting the other or eating with menace.
Probably you do not know that stress-induced during feeding also reduces the efficiency of the feed.
#4. Disposing mortality wrongly
Some farmers do not know how to dispose dead chickens. In most cases, 90 percent of mortality is caused by poultry diseases, which could be transferred to healthy birds when the dead ones are not properly disposed.
Do not dump dead birds on the dumping site; most bacterial and fungal diseases form spore when the bird decay; these organisms can be dispersed back to your farm by air or water erosion.
it is best you bury them deep enough to ensure their remnants do not find their way up in the air.
#5. Feeding and stocking day-old-chicks on the day of arrival
Many would not agree with this but it is just the best but uncommon practice. Do not feed and stock day -old-chicks on the day of arrival.
The first feaces of the chicks are always green in color; when you stock and feed on the day of arrival, the chicks would pass out the greenish feaces into the feeding tray and in the process of eating, they ingest it back into their system. This may weaken their immune system and cause infection. Stock the day-old-chicks after 12-24 hours of delivery and start the feeding with clean equipment.
#6. Improper storage of feed
Poor storage leads to poor quality and reduced efficiency of chicken feed. You should be wary of two factors; rodents and water. Ensure your feed storage unit is free from rodent attacks; they are disease vectors. Their waste can contaminate the feed and in return cause serious health damage to both humans and the chickens.
Similarly, water makes the feed cake up and facilitates the growth of fungi and other microorganisms. Keep your feed out of reach of rodents and water.
#7. Poor litter maintenance
Bedding is essential in a poultry pen. It mimics the natural environment of the birds. Examples of bedding are wood shavings groundnut husk, rice hull, etc.; the bedding material must be at least 6 inches deep for effectiveness. Change your litters every two weeks and not monthly to avoid ammonia buildup.
These are the seven mistakes that make poultry farm fail. feel free to add yours and remember to Share!
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