POULTRY FARMING TIPS
Agriculture and food are failure proof business. Even during wars , people must eat. Or how do you fight wars without food? You make provision for food first ahead of the guns! Many run small backyard poultry farms and maintain their families from it by selling eggs and spent layer birds. Nigerians consume millions of crates of eggs daily.
An old layers chicken cost N900-1000.00 last Christmas 2013. If you had 1000 old layers then,you made N1 million residual income from a flock that laid eggs on daily basis for 15 months upward. During Christmas 2013, a broiler chicken sold for N3k in Lagos/Abuja State I don`t know of other states. What have you to lose in this business?
Ans : Nothing !
The food industries will never go down anywhere in the world…
The two main forms of keeping small-scale chicken are small-scale subsistence farming and commercial farming. If poultry is mainly kept for home consumption of eggs and meat, costs and effort can be kept to a minimum. But for a poultry enterprise to be successful it must have a reliable market for its products and a steady supply of reasonably priced quality feed. It is important that feed resources are locally available.
This manual refers mainly to semi-intensive farming. It can help beginners and experienced poultry raisers to solve problems that come up. Its focus is on keeping layers. Keeping broiler poultry presents different problems and requires particular expertise. Nevertheless, some attention will be paid to keeping cocks as these have to be fattened too.
All over the world, more than 300 breeds of the domestic species (Gallus domesticus) exist. We distinguish three main categories of chicken breeds: pure commercial breeds, hybrid breeds resulting from cross-breeding and local breeds or land races.
We can roughly divide commercial breeds according to their main production aim:
v egg laying, mainly with lightweight laying breeds or layers
v meat production, mainly by heavyweight breeds or broilers
v both egg-laying and meet production by so-called dual-purpose breeds.
Layers, broiler and dual purpose breeds can be distinguished according to their shape.
(a) layer (b) broiler (c) dual purpose
Commercial and hybrid breeds
A well known lightweight layer breed is the White Leghorn. White Leghorns are known for laying lots of white eggs. They need less feed, due to their small size. White Leghorns are therefore very efficient layers. At the end of the laying period, they give relatively little meat.
Some heavier layer breeds are meatier and still lay many eggs. These are hence fit for dual-purpose production. These chickens lay brown eggs and usually have brown feathers, but this can vary per breed. We mention the brown-colored Rhode Island Red and the light-brown New Hamphshire. These are kept for both meat and egg production and can hence be categorized as dual-purpose breeds. Heavier dual-purpose breeds are very suited to small scale chicken raising in the tropics. They are usually sturdier than the light breeds.
Medium-weight and heavy chicken breeds are raised for meat production. Cocks of medium-weight chicken breeds can also be kept for slaughtering. Breeds like White Cornish and White Plymouth rock are important meat producer breeds and hence better suited as pure broiler chickens.
These heavier birds have more muscle. They grow fast and can quickly reach a high slaughter weight. This requires plenty of high quality feed. It requires special skills to keep this in good supply and balance.
Hybrids or cross-breeds result from combining special lines or strains of chickens developed for this purpose with e.g. a local breed. The hybrids are more productive. In countries in the South, cross-breeding between pure breeds is also common, e.g. White Leghorn crossed with Rhode Island Red. Nowadays hybrid breeds have become very common.
If you want to breed your own stock of chickens, you cannot go on using the hybrid breeds, as their high productivity will go down. You can only get high production with hybrid layers if you buy chickens regularly. It is therefore advisable to use local breeds, which are often much cheaper to keep. Another advantage of local chicken breeds is that they are better adapted to local conditions and are less susceptible to diseases than the more fragile hybrids. Local breeds are usually lighter in weight and have smaller eggs than those of hybrid breeds. Local breeds can be distinguished according to their appearance
Local breed types: (a) frizzle feather (b) naked neck (c) dwarf
However, local chickens are far less productive in terms of egg numbers. In rural areas, local chickens lay about 50 eggs per year, while hybrids can lay 250-270 eggs a year under favourable conditions. On the other hand, local breeds make better use of waste material than hybrid chickens do, so they are more suitable for keeping around the house.
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