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Layer Chicken Farming Management and Techniques

Robert is an Agribusiness Consultant who studied Agribusiness Management

Layer Chicken Farming

Layer Chicken Farming

Layer Chicken Farming Management

A layer poultry farming is a profitable agribusiness. As the world is changing some people find it hard to buy meat which provides proteins due to its high cost and instead they are constantly shifting on eggs which are cheaper and are able to provide same proteins. Eggs provide high quality vitamins and provides which are needed for the body to grow especially in the children. People are also shifting to this meat alternative because of the fact that the eggs does not take much of the time to prepare and is very easy to prepare an egg than meat yet these two are able to provide the same protein.

Breed

For commercial layer production, the following breeds are commonly used for best results; White Leghorn, Kalinga Brown, Cari Gold and Coloured Layer

Dual purpose breed

For dual purposes the following breeds are recommended for best results; Kuroiler Dual, Rhode Island, Red and Vanaraja

Layer Production System

Four systems area available and these are; free range extensive, backyard extensive, semi-intensive and intensive. These systems, each has advantages and disadvantages.

Free range extensive systems

Under the free - range system, the chickens are left free and can scavenge for any food over a wide area. Temporary shelters may be provided. The system is common with a flock chickens of different species and different ages. When you use this system make sure you keep on checking or watching the birds from predators as they can easily be attacked.

Backyard extensive system of production

Poultry birds are left free in search for their feeds and they are taken to the house only at night. Grains may be provided to them in the morning as the temporary feeds on top of what they will scavenge.

Semi Intensive system

This system is a combination of extensive and intensive and allows the birds to be confined in a certain place which provides shelter. The system is common in urban and peri-urban areas. The system may also be used rural areas. Feed and water are provided in a house to avoid wastage by rain, wind and wild animals.

Intensive System

This system is common by medium to large-scale commercial poultry farmers. Under this system the chickens are fully confined either in a chicken house or cages. The system requires more capital. There are 3 types of intensive systems and these are; deep litter system, slatted floor system and Battery cage system.

1. Deep litter system

Under this system the chickens are fully confined with floor space allowance of 3 to 4 chickens per square meter within a house, but should be left to move around freely. The floor is covered with a deep litter which contains grain husks of maize or rice among others. The system is good as it protects the chickens from predators.

2. Slatted floor system

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Under this system a wire or wooden slatted floors are used instead of deep litter, which allow stocking rates to be increased to 5 chickens per square meters of floor space. Under this system the chickens are less likely to be in contact with faeces and are allowed some freedom of movement.

3. Battery cage system

This system is commonly used for laying chickens, which are kept throughout their productive life in cages. The system is commonly used by large scale poultry farmers as it needs more capital investment.

Management in Layer Chicken Production

Housing

Make sure the house which will be used to keep layers is easy to clean and has enough space for better layer production. When constructing a layer chicken house make sure it is built away from residential or crowded areas and also it has to be in a place where clean water and electricity are available. Make sure also that the house is located closer to the good road and market for easy transportation. The chicken house needs to be well ventilated as well. Make sure the temperature inside the poultry layer production house range from 20 to 25 °C for better results.

Brooding

This is the caring of the layer chicks from the first day till they reach 88 weeks of age and this helps to reduce chicks mortality for good profits to be obtained.

Natural Brooding

Under natural brooding, the chicken hen is able to provide the chicks with the warmth of the body and looks after the thier feeding.

Artificial Brooding

Under this, a temperature controlled artificial brooder is used in place of a chicken hen.

Preparations for Chick Arrival

Day of chicks arrival

  1. Make sure all equipments are set and working and the house to keep the chickens has a temperature of 32 to 33 °C at chick level.
  2. Pre-heat the brooding area.
  3. Fumigate the chicken house.
  4. Make sure the chicks are not stressed when transporting them to a chicken house.
  5. Provide stress pack in water.

Management of grower chickens from 9 to 20 weeks

The layer chickens should be transferred to grower house at 9 weeks of age and waterer and feeders should be adjusted as per the need of the chickens. Make sure you provide a grower mash for feeding. Where necessary do de-beaking.

Management of layers from 21 to 72 weeks

Put the chickens on a layer mash and make sure you provide laying nesting boxes. Make sure you collect eggs about 3-4 times a day in the deep litter system. Always observe the chicken healthy conditions.

Climate

The optimal laying temperature is known to be between 11° to 26° C and when the temperature rises above 28° C the production and quality of eggs decrease.

Egg production cycle

Layer chickens mostly start laying at 20 to 21 weeks and continue to be laid for 52 weeks on average and a typical production cycle lasts around 72 weeks.

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