Poultry farming is one of the fast-growing agribusinesses across the globe. Like any other business, poultry farming in the rainy or cold season could be very tormenting; it is characterized by a reduction in daylight which will greatly affect the feeding pattern of the chickens, high humidity, to mention few effects. I know farmers that gave up on poultry farming all because they could not cope with the effect of the rainy season on their production. It was obviously not encouraging.
Several factors can threaten the productivity of a poultry farm; chicken feeds and feeding are very crucial, the housing system of the birds is also very important but the environmental factors play the most prominent role in ensuring a successful poultry farm. Cold season is part of the variations in the environment; as a poultry farmer, it is imperative you learn how to operate your poultry farm in the rainy season.
Poultry farmers find it difficult to cope with is the change in weather conditions. Weather conditions play a prominent role in the success and productivity of a poultry farm. Rain is not an adverse weather condition as most farmers presume; it is a natural phenomenon. The inability of the farmer to manage the farm during the rainy season makes it an adverse weather condition. A well-structured poultry house is one of the tools to mitigate the detrimental effects of rain.
How To Manage The Effects Of Rain And Cold Season In Poultry Farming
There are certain period poultry farmers must be cautious about and how to maintain the productivity level of their farm during this period is the key to the success of your poultry business; one of these periods is the rainy and cold season.
During the rainy or cold season, poultry farmers experience a lot of challenges in their production. There are certain conditions or occurrences that are endemic to this season that the chicken must adapt to so that their production prowess is not compromised.
Several changes are experienced with the chickens during the cold season, ranging from a drastic drop in egg production, the emergence of some poultry diseases, the high cost of production, low utilization of feed, etc.; I have garnered several occurrences common to poultry farming in the rainy or cold season and likely solutions to mitigate or curb such threats.
#1. Reduction in the length of the daylight (photoperiod)
During the cold season, you would observe the day length, I mean the duration of sunlight, is reduced. Chickens are stimulated to lay eggs by day length; long days and increasing daylight encourage egg production in laying birds and feed consumption generally.
Laying chicken requires about 16 hours of daylight to aid sound production. when it is cold, the daylight is reduced as everywhere becomes cloudy; the laying chickens are left with little or no daylight to allow their activities.
Solution: This effect could be alleviated by providing fluorescent light to mimic the daylight, fluorescent light is the best to use. With this, the production level would be sustained.
#2. Chickens change their feeding habit
Chickens feeding habit and nutritional requirements change because the weather is cooler. During the cold days, chickens perform fewer activities, they cuddle together trying to generate heat within to keep them warm and maintain a certain energy level. One of the easiest ways to make this happen is to serve the chicken high energy poultry feed.
Chicken eats to meet their energy requirement, once the requirement is met, they stop eating. Chicken tends to consume more feed during the cold season in order to satisfy its energy requirement. They need more energy to relieve them from the effect of the cold weather.
The implication is, if you serve chicken feed with low energy content, they tend to eat more in order to fill up the energy need to perform their metabolic activities.
Solution: During the rainy season, chicken feed must be adjusted to meet their energy requirement. Chicken feeds with high energy content is preferred during the cold season in order to maintain the production of poultry chickens.
#3. Molting occurs during the rainy season
Molting is when the chickens shed their old feathers for new ones to grow. This phenomenon takes place at shorter days and cooler temperatures. This process occurs every year when the days get shorter.
During molting, laying chicken typically stops laying and use this period to build their nutrient reserve. This phenomenon is to prepare the chickens for a better laying period before the laying potential drops finally.
Solution: Even though they are not laying, the chicken should be fed a high-quality diet.
#4. Chicks get cold easily
You should expect this if you are brooding; hence, an adequate brooding facility has to be provided to salvage the chicks. The brooder house temperature has to complement the environmental temperature to enable the chicks to eat well.
#5. Prevalence of Diseases
Rainy season and the cold environment favour poultry disease conditions a lot. It is a medium for transportation of pathogens; there are several outbreaks of poultry diseases during the rainy season.
Common poultry disease symptoms during the cold season include respiratory distress, stained or colored waste, diarrhea, nervousness, loss of appetite, ruffled feathers, swollen face, and prostration. These symptoms may be associated with several diseases making it quite difficult to identify the particular disease. The majority of poultry farmers identify these symptoms as signs of Newcastle disease. The following are diseases prevalent during rainy season:
- Infectious Bursal Disease (Gumboro)
- Fowl Pox
- Fowl Cholera
- E-Coli and Salmonella
Solution: Ensure you keep the pen dry always, do not serve caked feed; give antibiotics routinely during the rainy season to boost the chickens’ immune system.
#6. Mud-Balls on the Chicken feet
This is very common in a deep litter system where chickens are allowed to walk on wet floors. Because of the scratching behavior of chicken, soil and manure tend to augment on the chicken’s claws and ends of their toes. If allowed to grow bigger, they can deform the walking posture of the chicken and can result in broken toes.
Solution: The poultry floor must be kept clean and dry always with the aid of bedding materials. Regular cleaning of droppings and changing of bedding materials can greatly help reduce the spread of diseases and mull-ball infections
Read also: 7 MISTAKES THAT MAKE POULTRY BUSINESS FAIL
Conclusively, poultry farmers have to be well prepared during the rainy season. Adequate hygienic measures have to be put in place to curb the outbreak of any deleterious poultry disease.
The extent of disease occurrence, morbidity, and mortality rate during the rainy season in poultry farms is majorly a determinant of the type of management practice and vaccination status of the farm. Hence, poultry farmers are implored to adopt hygienic management practices during the rainy season.
Poultry business is very lucrative and dynamic; hence, a good poultry farmer must be willing to manage the dynamics of poultry farming in the rainy season to maintain a reasonable yield.
You can pass this write up forward to others by using the Share Button. Remember to join our Facebook community for instant notifications from us. Stay Home, Stay Safe.