Layer Farming: How to Do It the Right Way

 

Layer Farming Introduction

 

laying hens

 

 

The business of poultry production specifically layer farming is a highly profitable business when done in the right way.

 

Layer farming should be taken seriously from conception, actualization. And during the production process.

 

Before you start the layer farming project. You need to be fully prepared and take the following issues into consideration:

  • Farm location, access to a good road.

 

  • Good source of water and electricity.

 

  • The financial implication of the entire layer farming project.

 

  • Be ready to sacrifice some of your leisure time especially at the onset of the project.

 

  • You must possess genuine passion as a poultry owner and as a farmer.

 

  • Be ready to be physically and actively involved in the entire farming project to see to its success.

 

A lot of people are enticed to start layer egg production. When they see a large number of eggs produce and the financial reward involved. Especially in some successful commercial layer farms.

 

But are easily taken aback, when confronted with the true statistics of the financial implication and the reality on the ground.

 

The truth of the matter is, in order to be successful in any layer farming you must be passionate about it.

 

Recommended for you:

Why Your Laying Hens Are Eating and Breaking Their Eggs and How to Stop Them

Drop In Egg Production: 10 Ways to Make a Significant Improvement

Drop in Egg Production, 13 Solid Ways You Can Reduce It.

 

 Site Preparation and Analysis for layer farming

In starting out your layer farming project you have to consider government regulations. Regarding the establishment of poultry farms within the locality, you want to establish the poultry farm.

 

Security of the layer farm and its workers. Access to good roads and a reliable source of electricity and a good water supply are paramount issues that are not be taken lightly.

 

 Adequate provisions should be made to avoid future problems.

 

The farm should be placed as far as possible from other poultry farmhouses. Each phase of production should be treated as a separate batch. According to the principle of “ALL IN – ALL OUT”.

 

READ: Proven Ways to Keep Farm Thieves Away From Your Farm and Property

 

layers

 

Layer Farming Requires Good Bio-security

Avoid keeping different types of birds on the same farm to avoid transmission of diseases. The birds should be of the same age, and breed from the same source.

 

The building should be constructed in such a way, that it can easily and thoroughly be cleaned and disinfected between flocks.

 

Equipment used in the layer farm should be designed for easy access. And removal for clean-out, maintenance, and biosecurity consideration.

 

In open-sided housing, it is important to have extended verandah for sun protection. It is also important to put predators such as rodents, snakes, and wild birds at bay. By placing wire netting and fencing over openings and ventilation inlets.

 

Control the entries into the layer farm facility. And restrict the movement of people into the layer farm with strict measures.

 

There should always be a designated time of the day, which visitors are allowed into the farm facilities.

 

Clean hands with soap. Wear protective clothing within the farm area. Provide specific protective clothing for veterinarians, consultants, etc.

 

Disinfect boots before entry into the layer farm, do not allow truck/Lorry drivers to enter the houses without proper screening.

 

Recommended for  you:

Understanding the Cause of Poultry Diseases and What to Do If Your Chickens Are Sick

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4 Solid Tips on How to Effectively Manage Farmworkers

 

When the Chicks Arrive/Brooding Period

The brooding period is a very crucial and determining factor in your layer farming project. It is Important to warm the pullet house 24 hours prior to the chick’s arrival. A draft shield or guide is used to shield the chicks from draft air. And is usually fixed in a circular manner to avoid stampede at the corner.

 

The guide keeps the birds close to feeding, water, and heat. In some cases, young chicks become “lost” and succumb to the elements of weather if brooded in too large an area.

 

Draft shields can be removed after about 1 to 2 weeks unless conditions are extremely cold or drafty.

 

Wood shavings are used as litter to insulate the chicks from the ground. To improve the floor temperature.

 

Most importantly the litter must not be slippery. A slippery floor, such as cardboard, is disastrous for baby chicks. Many chicks will develop “spraddle legs,” a condition in which their hip joints become dislocated.

 

Which is nearly always fatal, it prevents the chicks to drink and feed properly. Leading to gradual emaciation and eventual death.

 

The Litter must be changed or top-dressed (clean litter added over the dirty one). If it becomes wet, the wet portion should be replaced with a fresh and dry litter immediately. It must be done periodically as the bird ages.

 

For small numbers of birds, heat usually is provided by heat lamps or light bulbs. Where there is no electricity in the layer farm charcoal stove is used to provide heat to the chicks.

 

Extreme care and caution must be taken in situations where charcoal stoves are used. The farm owner must periodically check the brooder to avoid fire outbreak.

 

layer farming

 

Recommended for you:

Brooding Day Old Chicks and General Management.

6 Solid Ways You Can Take Care of Your Baby Chicks and Reduce Mortality to the Barest Minimum.

 

Managing Brooding Temperature Properly for Your Layer Farming Project

When large numbers (200 or more) are brooded together, it may be more economical to use propane hovers. Many types of hovers are available if desired.

 

The proper temperature must be maintained in the layer farm if the chicks are to thrive. The first few weeks of the chick’s life are to be taken seriously. With tender loving care (TLC) with constant care and observation.

 

Chicks are cold-blooded; that is, unable to maintain their body temperature, as they age. They become warm-blooded; that is, able to maintain constant body temperature. Under normal environmental conditions.

 

Two methods of monitoring chicks’ environmental temperature are used successfully with the help of a thermometer. First, start chicks at about 95°F (measured near the heat source at chick height). Dropping the temperature about 5°F each week until the birds are feathered or ambient temperature is reached.

 

On floor rearing, the distribution of chicks throughout the building should be uniform. If the chicks crowd together under the brooder: the temperature is too low.

 

If the chicks are close to the surround: the temperature is too high. Partitioning Facilities within the layer farm must be designed for maximum comfort. And must allow birds to express their natural behavior.

 

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8 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting Poultry Farming

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The 5 Lessons I Learned In Poultry Production the Hard Way from My Twelve 12 Years of Farming

 

Perches

When the birds reached 6 weeks of age it is recommended to introduce perches into their house. 

 

  • Perches are useful in layer farming, they utilize the available space thereby decreasing floor density.

 

  • It helps the birds to jump around and serves as an escape route from aggressive birds.

 

  • They provide safe haven for birds at the lower pecking order.

 

  • Perches improve welfare by allowing the bird to express their natural behavior.

 

poultry birds on perches

Birds on perches

 

Litter

  • The litter is used to provide a near-natural environment for the layers.

 

  • It allows the birds to dust bath.

 

  • It helps in fighting ticks and lies.

 

  • And the litter is used to cover the floor in the rearing /brooder house.

 

It usually consists of wood shavings or chopped straw. Litter is an important component of the rearing input. It must be well managed to prevent an unhealthy environment and potential disease conditions in the layer farm.

 

READ: How to Achieve Optimal Poultry Production with Good Deep Litter Management practice

 

Good quality wood shavings must be used as litter. To avoid the risk of introducing various diseases to the site. The following advice may assist in good litter management:
  • Fresh shavings must be dried and friable, free from any odor or smell.

 

  • Must be a suitable material and of good particle size.

 

  • Be stored in dry, hygienic, rodent-proof premises.

 

  • Avoid introducing wet or damp shavings into the rearing house.

 

  • Do not use sawdust in your layer farm, as this could cause respiratory issues with chicks.

 

  • Avoid wet or caked litter in your layer farm.

 

  • Good litter when pressed in the hand should stick together slightly and break up as the hand released.

 

in order to be successful in layer farming, you have to provide good quality litter for your birds. Litter is important in the regulation of floor temperature and subsequently the chick’s body temperature.

 

The litter temperature should be approximately 30˚C at the time the chicks are placed on the floor.

 

This is very important for the development of the chick in the first few days as they cannot self-regulate their body temperature until approximately 7 days.

 

During the rearing period, the litter should be turned in every quarterly preferably in the early hours of the day especially in hot humid regions of the world to avoid heat stress.

 

You might also like to READ: Coccidiosis Disease of the lazy farmer

 

laying farming

 

Beak Treatment in Layer Farming

In order to reduce the incidence of pecking, feed wastage’s and cannibalism it is recommended that the birds should be debeaked.

 

Beak treatment should be carried by trained personnel to avoid mistakes leading to the death of birds as a result of bleeding, or poor feeding abilities resulting from poor peak treatment.

 

Vitamin K is to be added to the drinking water to prevent ‘hemorrhages’.  Beak treatment at about 10 days choose carefully the correct diameter hole on the beak-trimming machine, so as to cut the beak at least 2 mm from the nostrils.

How to Avoid Broodiness in Layer Farming

Broodiness is a common sight in layer farming. It can appear in certain flocks in cases of stress or when they are generally underweight.

 

Nutrient deficiency, heat stress, and any factors related to poor growth can lead to broodiness. Floor laying leads to broodiness, preventing floor laying, and frequent egg collection limits the amount of broodiness.

 

We advise isolation of broodies from the moment they appear (in the evening). Place them in a spacious pen, on concrete, hard surface, or slatted floor without a nest.

 

Treatment is made more effective by dipping the broodies in cold water for 20 to 30 seconds. And administering aspirin (a 125 mg tablet) before transfer to the broody pen.

 

The broody hen is then observed in a separate pen for a period of time. Until it losses its broodiness before returning it back to the rest of the flock.

 

READ ALSO: How a Broody Hen Can Reduce Your Profit Margin

 

egg

Vaccination schedule

Age Vaccine Route
1 day Marek’s disease Subcutaneous back of the neck
14 –21 days Newcastle/infectious bronchitis Drinking water
14–21 days Infectious bursal disease Drinking water
5 week Newcastle/infectious bronchitis Drinking water
8–10 week Newcastle/infectious bronchitis Drinking water
10–12 week Encephalomyelitis Wing web
10–12 week Fowlpox Wing web
10–12 week Laryngotracheitis Intraocular or spray
10–14 week Mycoplasma gallisepticumb

 

or 18 week
12–14 week Newcastle/infectious bronchitis
16–18 week Newcastle Disease (NDV Komarov) Intramuscular injection
Every 60–90 days or 18 week Newcastle/infectious bronchitis Drinking water

 

Feeding Regime and Water Consumption for your Layers

Water is an integral part of layer farming. Because it is an important constituent of the egg itself and the yolk.

 

In view of this, it is very important to the farmer. To provide clean and adequate water to the birds at all times.

 

Water consumption depends on the ambient temperature. Above 20°C. Consumption increases to enable the bird to maintain body temperature (respiratory evaporation). The actual consumption depends on the temperature and humidity of the ambient air.

 

When it comes to layer farming water should not be taken with levity. In a hot climate, it is essential to provide cool water for the birds.  In a hot climate, cool water will improve productivity. It is extremely important to protect the water tanks from the direct sun’s rays. Preferably the tankers are placed under the shade or roof away from the direct sun-rays. 

 

Various vitamins e.g vitamin C are also provided. Insoluble form to the birds to serve as anti-stress in extreme weather conditions.

 

Feed

Must layer to well with mash feed from six weeks old. For Rapid feed intake, it is recommended to allow for 2 to 3 hours of empty feeder to improve the appetite of the birds. To allow them to eat the feed lavishly and to get their crop filled up.

 

Birds usually eat more in the morning and evening. The crop is a storage organ that allows the bird to eat enough feed in the evening to satisfy its energy needs throughout the night. 

 

A high-quality feed with clean adequate water supply coupled with a stringent bio-security regime. A proper regular veterinary consultation will yield a highly profitable layer farming, egg production business venture.

 

 

Also READ Broiler Farming: How to engage in profitable production.

 

Sale and Marketing of Your Eggs Is an Integral Part of Layer Farming

For you to enjoy the sweet reward of layer farming. After what seems to be an endless period of waiting. For your laying hens to start laying. Comes the selling and marketing period, For you to enjoy the fruits of your labor. You have to do it the proper way.

 

Ensure that your eggs are clean and fresh, packaging, and labeling it with a good brand name makes it look presentable and attractive. And at an advantage compared with the once without proper packaging.

 

READ: How to Market Your Farm Produce, Best Strategy to Adopt.

 

For small holder’s farm or backyard farming. Friends and family, grocery stores, supermarkets, and the community market will be the first point of call.

 

For larger layer farming operations contacting bakeries, factories that produce condiments, biscuits pastries that require eggs in large quantities.

 

Packaging and transporting your eggs to large urban areas, cities where demands for eggs are extremely high will provide a ready market for your product.

 

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