3 MAJOR WAYS TO MAINTAIN A HEALTHY CHICKEN THROUGHOUT THE REARING PERIOD
The onus of successful poultry farming is the ability of the poultry farmer to maintain a healthy chicken throughout the rearing period.
Poultry farming is a highly lucrative business that has succeeded in helping, and providing a lot of individuals and families around the world with a genuine source of income and livelihood.
That is why a lot of people go into poultry farming to help themselves and also provide additional income to their families.
Surprisingly, it would interest you to know that particularly here in Africa, the way people rush into poultry farming is the same way you would see them jumping out of it, or complaining bitterly.
That they shouldn’t have started it in the first place, or they should have opted for a more lucrative business altogether.
As a result of either their chickens are dying or are not growing as expected.
Poultry farming requires a holistic and meticulous approach to farming if you intend to maintain a healthy chicken throughout the rearing period.
Read also: Major factors involved in poultry management
In other words, poultry farming is highly scientific, as such requires a scientific approach especially if you are having a large number of chicken that are running into their thousands.
If you are not armed with the right kind of knowledge that would guide you to succeed in poultry farming definitely you would run into problems.
But I bet you if you do the right thing and have the right approach, definitely, you are going to always smile to the bank, and would always appreciate poultry farming.
The following tips would enlighten you on how to maintain a healthy chicken throughout the rearing period.
1. MAKE INQUIRIES FROM ESTABLISHED FARMS
Before you dabble into poultry farming the first thing to do is to seek elaborate and comprehensive knowledge of what you are about to go into.
There is no point rushing into poultry farming just for you, after a while to starts jumping out. People are always in a hurry.
The facts that you saw somebody expanding and succeeding does not mean you should jump into what he is doing.
Understand how he got to that stage, the steps he took to maintain the health of his chickens, great things take time.
He must have put in years of failing and rising several times. He must have encountered different obstacles before he got to where he is now.
Poultry farming comes with a lot of challenges that would start manifesting themselves as you begin.
So it is very important you seek and commune with experience farmers that would help and guide you, read books if possible visit already flourishing farms and understands how things are done carefully.
To maintain a healthy chicken requires knowledge about poultry disease, feeds, litter management etc.
A little mistake that you would make, on your chickens or birds would just start dying massively.
Always understand and align yourself with what is working and result oriented. Never base your knowledge on assumptions.
Read also: Broiler farm management system
2. FOLLOW THE RUDIMENT OF REARING BIRDS RELIGIOUSLY
Three days ago when I was about writing this article a neighbour approached me that he bought about thirty (30) day old chicks, twenty-five died (25).
Probably from avoidable mistakes and two were killed by a wild cat that mostly roams around at the night.
There are always special ways of taking care of baby chicks especially if they are day old:
- They require a special temperature of not less than 350C and
- After every week you are expected to reduce the temperature by 3 to 50
- They need glucose or multivitamins at least the first one to five days to relieve them of stress.
- They also need to be vaccinated upon for the prevention of major poultry diseases that are endemic within your area. Particularly viral infections consult with your veterinary doctor.
- Giving them the right kind of feed at each stage of their life i.e chick mash or starter feed the first few weeks of their life. Then you will switch to grower march after sometimes say from the eighth week. Afterwards, you can go ahead with either finisher or layer mash depending if your bird is either broiler or layer.
All these simple steps were not observed by my neighbour what he did was just allowed his day-old chicks to roam about within his compound without the special care mentioned above.
Of course, they would die especially if the temperature is too low and are exposed to predators like the stray cats mentioned above.
3. AVOID ANY STRESSORS
Stress may sound very awkward to a newbie in poultry farming. He may be wondering do chickens really experience stress, yes they do.
Stress is a singular factor that can cause a lot of havoc to your chickens and in most cases can lead to other diseases or death.
Quite a number of factors that can cause stress includes:
- Inadequate feeding (hunger stress)
- Inadequate provision of water (dehydration)
- Lack of adequate ventilation
- Environmental stressors (extreme humid, hot weather conditions)
All these stressors if not properly managed can lead to disease, injuries and eventual death of your chicken.
- FEATHER PECKING AND CANNIBALISM ARE STRESS-INDUCED.
Feather pecking and cannibalism is abnormal or strange behaviour, whereby a chicken pecks at the skin or completely removes the feathers of other birds.
They may also peck at other parts of the chicken such as the cloaca particularly after they have started laying eggs.
Cannibalism can occur at any parts of the chicken body at the head, body etc which can lead to the death of the particular chicken due to excessive injury caused by other birds.
To avert this very awkward and terrible behaviour it is advisable to always avoid situations that may lead to stress.
Always make your chickens are comfortable at all times
Therefore, maintaining a healthy chicken throughout the rearing period involves the proper management and eliminating of the above-mentioned points.
Read also: 6 ways to maintain healthy bird weight
If you want to maintain a healthy chicken throughout the rearing period. You have to put into consideration other factors such as feeding, protecting your birds from adverse weather condition, and also from predators.
Feeding is a very very important factor to consider if you really want to maintain a healthy chicken throughout the rearing period.
It constitutes more than 65% of the overhead cost of running a poultry farm.
If you get it wrong by feeding your birds feeds that have poor nutritional quality.
Its means the immune system of your birds will be comprise leading to disease infiltration and subsequent deaths of your birds.
Several years ago when we first started poultry farming, and without much experience, we started formulating feed by ourselves.
This resulted in low-quality feed. Within the shortest possible time, our birds started dying one after the other.
We tried administering many antibiotics, but to no avail, until we decided to change their feed, and surprisingly they stop dying.
It was a horrible experience you don’t have to go through that experience we went through.
If you don’t have the proper knowledge on how to formulate high-quality chicken feed it is better you buy a well-formulated manufactured feed with high quality to save yourself a lot of pain and frustration.
One of the best ways to maintain a healthy chicken throughout the rearing period is your ability to protect your chicken from extreme weather condition.
Most especially when you live in a hot humid climate, and also from cold weather when your chicks are young.
To maintain a healthy chicken involves constructing a standard poultry house with a good roofing system, in order to avoid rainwater gaining access into your chicken coop or house (avoid roof leakage).
This is a serious recipe for breeding harmful bacteria and protozoa’s that can cause diseases to your chickens. Disease such as coccidiosis, fowl cholera etc.
It is very important you always keep their house clean, dry and habitable for your chickens.
Chickens have predators that are ready to bounce and feast on them, it is your duty as a farmer to protect them against these predators so as not to incur unnecessary losses.
You can protect them against predators such as foxes, mink, and owl’s hawks in case of baby chicks. You can protect them in the following ways:
- Having a well-trained guide dog.
- having a hunting gun or any other gun meant just for the protection of your animals
- Setting up traps for the predators.
- Or even putting poisons, where these animals feed in the case of rodents like rats that are capable of transmitting other harmful diseases to your chickens such as e.coli
If you are able to control and protect your chicken from all the predators mentioned above not alone will you keep your chicken healthy, they would also be free from stress and this would make them flourish.
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