Robert is Agribusiness Consultant who studied Agribusiness Management
Broiler Farming Production
Broiler production is one of the profitable poultry farming, which is practiced both on large and small scale basis. For the broiler farmer who wish to get more profit in farming, he/she needs to pay more attention on the broiler chicks in the first 14 days. This first 2 weeks are very critical stage when it comes to broiler production. The farmer must make sure that all the chickens are healthy and well vaccinated to reduce the high mortality rate. Broilers are able to attain an average weight of 2 Kilograms in the 6 to 8 weeks of age and for this to be achieved the farmer must observe good management all the time. A deep litter, wire floor or cage system can be used to keep broiler chickens and these are given in detail. Broiler chickens can be kept either using all-in all-out system (single batch system) or multiple batches and these are given in detail.
All - in - all - out
Under this system one batch of broilers is kept on the farm, and the batch has same size of chickens belonging to the same hatch at any time. All chickens grow on the same size and are all sold at the same time. This system has the following advantages; more hygienic, less mortality, high efficiency, better growth rate among others.
Multiple batch system
This system allows a farmer to keep more than one batch of chickens. The chickens can be of different age sizes and are marketed at a different rate. A batch interval of 1 to 4 weeks may be used depending on farm size and capital.
Cage rearing of broilers
Batches of broilers can be kept in cages. Make sure that you coat the bottom of cages with plastics materials to prevent the chickens from developing breast blisters. This system has the following advantages; More broilers may be kept, reduced bruising as the chickens are caught up easily, chances for birds developing coccidiosis are very minimal, easy to clean and disinfect, high efficiency and growth. The system has also the following disadvantages; higher chances for the chickens to develop breast of blisters, higher investment on cages among others.
Preparation for Chick Arrival
A week before delivery of chicks
- Make sure the chicken house is clean and disinfected.
- Pre-brood the brooder and make sure the house has right temperature and all equipments are set.
- Make sure the floor has fresh beddings.
A day before chicks arrival
- Make sure the house to keep the chicks is set at a temperature of 32 to 33 °C at chick level.
- Make sure drinkers and feeders are well set. They may be set 1 to 2 meters.
- Disinfect the house for the second time and make sure all the equipments are set and working normally.
Day of chick arrival
- Pre-heat the brooding area at a temperature range of 32 to 33 °C and keep on observing the temperature changes.
- Make sure all the equipments are working normally and this includes feeders and drinkers.
- Chicks should be placed quickly and check if they are healthy or for abnormalities.
- Make sure you give stress pack of minerals to chicks for the first 4 to 5 days and this act as a booster.
- Encourage the chicks to drink before eating.
Brooding refers to the early growing period when young chicks are unable to maintain body temperature without the aid of supplemental heat. The following brooding systems may be used; Spot brooding, Whole house brooding and Brooding in surrounds.
Make sure high temperature is avoided as it can cause pasty vents. The lower temperature can cause pneumonia.
Every chick consumes 0.8 Kilogram of starter mash, 1 Kilogram of grower mash and 1 kg of finisher mash. Where applicable a 0.4 Kilogram of post finisher mash may be given per chick as well. When feeding the chickens observe the following; make sure the starter feeder is in crumble form and the rest of feeds should be in pellets.
The chickens are affected by the following common diseases; Red or bloody diarrhoea Coccidiosis, Grenish diarrhoea Newcastle disease, Whitish or pasty diarrhoea Gumboro/IBD, Swollen abdomen Ascites, Wheezing, coughing, Chronic Respiratory disease among others.
Broiler chickens drug and vaccination program
From first day to third day give the chicks Vitamins at the rate of 1 teaspoon per liter, from seven days give the chickens Newcastle (ND) through water and eye drop, from 14 days give the chickens Gumboro (IBD) through water and skimmed milk, from 21 days give the chickens Gumboro (IBD) through water and skimmed milk and from 28 days give the chickens Newcastle hitchner (ND) through Water or eye drop. Take note that 5 grams is equal to 1 teaspoon.
Consider the following before vaccination
Make sure the chick is healthy before giving the vaccine
- The chickens need to be on vitamins in last 2 days
- Make sure the water you use is not chrolinated
- Add skimmed milk in water 2g/L
Challenges in broiler farming
- Mortality rate
- Enough capital
- Nutrition and feedings
- Animal husbandry practice
- Poor management mostly for untrained entrepreneurs