Like other agribusinesses, the goal of a poultry farm cannot be met if proper equipment is not in place. Poultry farming equipment are materials you need to set up your poultry farm to ease your operations and in turn, increase the productivity of your farm.
Poultry farming is a humongous business; it is multifaceted and each unit of the enterprise works to complement the other. There are several enterprises under poultry farming and each has different equipment used to achieve their desired output.
In this article, a comprehensive list of poultry farming equipment needed to run a poultry farm successfully, from day-old chick to adult age, shall be discussed in detail.
Major Poultry Farming Equipment for Day-old-chicks
The production of poultry products strarts from rearing of the day-old chicks. This is the first step in any poultry entriprise. This process is known as brooding and often lasts for anout 4 weeks. The brooding of day-old chicks can be likened to the management of a newly born baby.
Prior to the delivery of the day-old chicks, several arrangements and preparations are made to welcome the baby such as feeders, clothing, shoes, napkins, and others; the same also in brooding, the management of day-old chicks, and several pieces of equipment are put in place. They are:
The type of housing needed for day-old chicks is different from that of adult birds. A brooder pen is where day-old chicks are reared until about 4 weeks of age. This pen is a modified environment where all the environmental parameters are controlled to meet the requirement of the chicks; especially temperature. The brooder pen can be made from bricks or wooden housing; it is just a small structure to accommodate the little birds.
At about two weeks of age, before the arrival of the chicks, the brooding pen preparation starts. It must be thoroughly washed and disinfected with various disinfectants used in poultry to ensure any surviving pathogens are eliminated. The pen can be made of wooden material or bricks; it must provide adequate protection for the chicks against pests.
As the birds grow, they are moved into a bigger pen called the grower pen. This pen is larger than the brooding pen and can accommodate more birds. The grower pen can also be constructed with brick or modified wooden structures. Birds stay in the grower pen for a relatively longer period, usually towards harvest.
The choice of the grower pen is dependent on the type and purpose of the birds you are rearing. Layimgbirds are transferred into the battery cage to get familiar with and trained with the battery cage system. Other types of birds like broilers can be kept in the grower pen till the point of harvest.
#2. Litter material
Litter material is very crucial in brooding day-old chicks. The brooding pen must be kept dry always because a wet environment attracts pathogens and it is also a good medium for their growth. As you cannot always be available to clean up any liquid waste made by the chicks, the litter material will do this job for you free of charge. The function of the litter material is to mop up any liquid waste to achieve a dry environment always.
One of the major characteristics of litter materials is that; they must be absorbent, that is, they must be able to absorb liquid as fast as possible. Recommended litter materials you can use in poultry farming are wood shavings, rice bran, groundnut husk, and kenaf stem.
For day-old chicks, use wood shavings because of their large particle size compared to sawdust. Sawdust can irritate the eyes of the chicks or cause respiratory infections. Alternative to wood shavings and sawdust is used newspaper. If you can get this cheaply, it can serve as a good litter material for chickens.
The feeder is poultry equipment used to serve the birds’ food. It is made from plastic or stainless steel material. The type of feeder day-old-chicks use is different from that of growers. Flat surface feeders are usually used in the brooder pen; this feeder makes the chicks access the feed served in it easily without dissipating much energy during the process of feeding. The feeder is flat with elevated tips to avoid or reduce feed wastage. As the birds graduate to the grower pen, a hanging feeder is used. Plastic feeder is commonly used as it is easy to handle and clean. It is available in different sizes for different numbers of birds.
This is one of the important poultry farming equipment. At any stage of growth, a poultry bird needs water Ad-libitum. Even in the absence of feed, water must be available. Drinkers are meant to serve the birds’ water; they are commonly made with plastic and are available in different sizes and shapes. For day-old-chicks, plastic drinkers are used. Regular cleaning is required as it is prone to pathogen attacks; it must be cleaned daily but without soap.
#5. Heat source or Brooder
The most important environmental factor in brooding is temperature. During the first 10 days of the chick’s life, they need adequate temperature, usually higher than the ambient temperature. You need a brooder to provide adequate temperature to keep the birds active till they have developed feathers. Examples of the brooder is coal pot.
The chicks need heat to enhance and improve their appetite to make them eat well. Once they develop enough feathers, the heat source can be removed and they can be raised under ambient temperature. Common sources of light are coal pots and bulbs. The heat source is removed after 2 weeks.
#6. Laying nest
In a deep litter system, you need a laying nest for the laying birds to lay their eggs therein. The laying nest is a wooden material of about 45cm-50cm3; it is commonly lined with any litter material to ensure the eggs do not get cracked. It is commonly placed close to the wall of the pen.
#7. Egg tray
An egg tray is used for egg collection. Most people, unknowingly, call a tray a crate. They are different equipment. The egg tray can be made of plastic or fiber; it helps in the proper handling of the eggs.
#8. Chicken Crate
Contrary to what people call a crate, a crate is that plastic cage used in transporting chickens from one location to another. A crate is used for the transportation of birds while egg trays only keep eggs.
#9. Weighing Scale
For proper record keeping, you need sca ale to determine egg weight and chicken weight at different ages. Knowing the weight of the birds helps to determine the feed conversion ratio and feed efficiency.
Procuring proper poultry farming equipment makes your production easier and more profitable. You can get this equipment from reputable online stores.