- 1 5 Lessons I Learned In Poultry Production the Hard Way from My Twelve 12 Years of Farming
- 1.1 1. One Important Lesson I learned In Poultry Production is, it is Wrong to Brood Different Breed of Birds Together
- 1.2 2. Another Lessen I learned in Poultry Production is, It is Wrong to Overheat Your Baby Chicks
- 1.3 5. Getting Good Quality Day Old Chicks
5 Lessons I Learned In Poultry Production the Hard Way from My Twelve 12 Years of Farming
The Lessons I Learned In Poultry Production over these years has proven to me beyond any reasonable doubt that poultry farming is not a get quick rich venture. But you can be rich I mean genuinely rich.
And is highly profitable and rewarding when you do it the right way with patience, determination, and consistency.
When I first started farming about 12 years ago I thought I will be raking in millions of dollars.
But as I continue to farm over the years I began to realize and understand some intricacies I never knew existed before.
As the years go by I began to have and gain some useful information, from practical experience.
I visited other farmers that have gone far ahead of me in farming, this helped me tremendously.
These were the experiences I gained over the years as a poultry farmer:
1. One Important Lesson I learned In Poultry Production is, it is Wrong to Brood Different Breed of Birds Together
Not fully understanding the full implication of what I was doing to myself until later on, I began to see from experience that;
Broilers have quite different characteristics from the remaining birds in the sense that broilers grow faster, mature faster than cockerels and turkey.
Cockerel and turkey will mature between 5 to 6 months, while a good broiler that is well fed and from a good source or farm will be ready for consumption as from 6 to 8 weeks old.
But broilers as from 2 weeks old they don’t need much heat again depending on your region or area.
This is as a result of their fast growth rate, thereby making broilers and other birds incompatible at the brooding stage.
In fact not just at the brooding stage but generally throughout their lifetime. It is recommended you brood them separately in order to get good results.
If you want to succeed don’t even put them in the same pen, because they are of different categories and species of poultry birds.
As such should be raised separately to avoid any pitfall in the future because they have different requirements and characteristics.
Other farmers can argue this, especially where there is a shortage of land and space.
Brooding local turkeys and cockerel together up to 6 weeks is possible but not advisable.
2. Another Lessen I learned in Poultry Production is, It is Wrong to Overheat Your Baby Chicks
When I first started chicken farming 12 years ago I read about it. And was told that at least baby chicks require about 350C of temperature the first day of arrival.
Then continue to drop the temperature by 5 degrees at least every week as the weeks go by. Without considering the prevailing temperature or season at that particular period of the year.
For instance, in the Middle East or Northern Nigerian, cities such as Maiduguri, Sokoto, etc during the heat season temperature can reach over 400C. Which is already beyond the brooding temperature or too hot for the chicken.
But unknowingly for me, I was still heating the baby chicks, which brings a lot of stress and discomfort for the baby chicks.
The best thing I should have done then was to make them comfortable and forget about additional heat sources.
Making sure they have enough ventilation and have a constant water supply at all times. To reduce stress caused by excessive heat.
The best thing to do was to have a good thermometer so that you can take an accurate temperature reading.
This will enable you to make adequate adjustments that will favor your birds by making them more comfortable.
Study the behavior of your baby chicks so that you will fully understand the right temperature for the chicks to reduce mortality due to heat stress.
3. Availability of Clean, Clear Drinking Water At All Times, is One Great Lesson I learned in Poultry Production
Initially when I first started poultry farming a friend once told me ignorantly that I should not be providing water to my laying hens at all times.
The reason is they will mess up the litter and make it wet. But this is very untrue, in fact, birds need clean, clear drinking water at all times.
If possible with added multivitamins to caution the effects of stress especially in laying hens.
This is because more than 70% of eggs comprises of water and your birds need a lot of water to lay eggs consistently.
If you withdraw their water for just about 3 hours or so, it can affect their egg production for a while. And of course, their production level will drop considerably.
If their production level drops it will affect your profits margin and even their feeding. Because most farmers use the money from the sales of eggs to buy feed for their laying hens.
This makes it difficult to continue feeding your hen especially if you are having a low egg production rate.
It is not something you should play around with. Always provide them with plenty, clean, clear drinking water at all times, if you want to succeed.
4. Effect of Poor Quality Feed-in Poultry farming and Lessons Learned are Enormous.
Chicken feed takes over 60% of the investment in poultry farming. The larger junk of your money goes into feeding your birds.
If you compromise the feeding of your poultry birds by giving them low-quality feed, the results could be very devastating.
Feeding my birds right is one crucial lessens I learned in poultry production that has made a significant difference in the entire production curve.
I tried it once and it took my birds’ longer time than normal before they start laying eggs.
I was feeding them with maize brand and wheat offal just to cut the cost of feeding.
The results were not only poor growth, but it also took my birds almost more than 9 months before they could start laying eggs.
Ordinarily, they are supposed to starts laying eggs from 24 weeks old maximum.
It is very important to calculate the amount of feed your birds will consume from day one to point of lay.
This will enable make enough provision for their feeding and also avoid compromising their feed along the line.
Most farmers will stock in plenty of birds when they are not sure if they can feed and nourish the birds to point of lay and table size respectively.
Along the line, they will begin to have a problem of feeding the birds as a result of the shortage of funds.
The next thing is to compromise their feeding, and they will begin to feed them with low-quality feed and often times with no feeding at all. and of course, this action will result in the following consequences for the birds:
- Poor growth rate
- Poor feather development which can lead to a stressful condition such as feather pecking and cannibalism.
- Poor immune system which can lead to the frequent presence of disease in the flock.
5. Getting Good Quality Day Old Chicks
A friend of mine supplied my first batch of day-old chicks when I first started back then.
Unfortunately for me they were not properly vaccinated especially against merek’s disease.
This eventually cause me serious economic loss, because they later started dying from the disease.
Some became blind and paralyzed as a result of the merek’s disease when I later inquired about the source of the day-old chicks. It was discovered they were from an amateur hatchery.
By implication, the birds were not properly vaccinated at all.
Your birds will not just die from viral diseases such as merek’s, but can also die from bacterial infections such as E. coli, salmonella.
Which can be transferred from parents to their offspring know as vertical transmission.
That is why you must get your day-old chicks from a very good farm that has a good structure in place.
Farms that practice good bio-security and are very mindful about bacterial and viral infection around their facilities.
When you purchased birds from a good and standard hatchery. Their development will be rapid and they will have an even or equal growth rate.
Therefore getting a good quality day-old chick is a very important lesson I learned in poultry production.
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The incidence of disease will be minimal and the mortality rate will also below. But as a farmer you have to play your part as well by practicing the following:
- Provide them with standard feed with the complete nutrient needed for proper growth and development.
- Providing them with good shade and protection from adverse weather conditions.
- Constant clean water at all times.
- Placing them in a conducive environment, the right and appropriate temperature so that they can grow and thrive well.
- Avoiding stressful conditions, by shielding them from dangerous predators such as dogs, coyote’s wolves, jackals, wild cats, and snakes, etc.
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Before you venture into poultry farming make sure you make your research very well and also harness lessons learned in poultry production from other farmers.
Read books about raising chicken, ask a lot of questions, visit farms that have started long ago and are doing very well.
Learn from them, what makes them successful, the challenges they face.
Ask them to be honest with you, because some are in the habit of just telling you the pros without telling you the cons. I mean the real challenges they are facing.
So that when you eventually start your farm. And you start facing some challenges you never envisage. You will be better equipped to face the challenges headlong.
Do ask them about their honest opinion concerning what you are about to start (poultry farming).
And most importantly purchase the number of birds or chicken you are sure you can nourish and feed to maturity or point of lay. Without compromising their feed along the chain of production.