Robert is an Agribusiness Consultant who studied Agribusiness Management
Black Australorp Chicken Farming Management
The Black Australorp is dual purpose chicken, which is becoming more common to most smaller scale farmers due to it's ability to produce better results compared to local chickens. The Black Australorp hen weights an average weight of 2.5 kg and lays brown shell eggs. The hen has daily feed consumption requirements of 120g and is known to be docile. An adult cock weights an average weight of 3.5 kg, which is much better. As the dual breed, the Black Australorp performs better both for meat and egg production. The hen lays eggs ranging from 240 to 265 annually. Black Australorp are preferred due to its ability to withstand adverse conditions which other chickens could not survive and these adverse conditions we are talking are the high temperature, diseases, pests, parasites among others.
The importance of keeping Black Australorp Chickens Breeds
- The chicken does not always need purchased feeds, and this makes it very easy to keep or handle
- The chickens are able to resist from more diseases
- When it comes to egg production, Black Australorp performs better than the local chickens
- As the dual breed, they can be used to provide high quality meat and eggs
- Black Australorp still produce better results on free range
Management System for Black Australorp Chickens
Three systems could be used, namely, free range system, semi intensive system and intensive system.
1. Free range system
This is a labour intensive systems and complex, as some environmental conditions cannot be easily controlled under this production system. The chickens are known to be allowed to access pasture land during the day and for this reason green feeds need to be available as well. About 250 Black Australorp chickens could be reared per hectare and you as a farmer must make sure that enough area is available to avoid stocking density. The system is used mostly in local areas. Much as this system is cheaper, the Black Australorp chickens are prone to predators and it is not easy to collect the eggs.
2. Semi Intensive system of keeping the Black Australorp chickens
Under this system of production the chickens are partly reared in houses and also partly on ground or range. The system is known to be common to medium scale chicken producers. Under this system the chickens could be easily be treated when they are sick and egg collection becomes easier. The system also offers protection to birds against extreme conditions. Under this management system a rural farmer could start Black Australorp chicken farming with 10 to 30 chickens and could keep 3 cock only against 30 hens as male to female ratio is 1:10. The farmer should ensure a space of 1m² is equivalent for 6.1 chickens and this means that 33 Black Australorp chickens require about 6.5m² chicken house spaces.
3. Intensive system
Under this system Black Australorp chickens are totally confined to houses and is used as the most efficient way of production. The system is very common in urban areas and in rural areas where commercial Black Australorp production is practiced.
This is provision of heat to newly born chickens. The farmer should separate hen and chicks when the hen has hatched and brood the chicks in a brooder
A cock could be used against 10 hens. The farmer should cross breed local chickens and Black Australorp to improve the performance of local chickens, both on meat and egg production purposes.
The farmer should continuously remove manures to avoid build up of diseases or pests
Housing Black Australorp chickens
The house should be constructed which will protect the chickens from extreme conditions and predators for better results to be obtained.
The farmer should always ensure enough water is available to prevent chickens from dehydration. Water and feed intake are also known to be directly related.
The Black Australorp chickens perform better with the simple feeding system. A combination of purchase or homemade feed and home wastages could be used and still achieves a better result. The farmer should ensure that the laying hens and meat chickens always have enough feed for better results.
A 60 or 100 watt bulb can be used to provide enough heat to young chickens and it needs to be suspended above the chicks. A small kerosene lamp or a charcoal burner could also be used to provide brooding. The farmer should ensure the ambient house temperatures is gradually reduced by 2ºc each day per week until 18-21ºC is attained and maintained by around 35 days old. Special care to chicks needs to be given as mortality tend to be high.
The Black Australorp could be put in the growers mash (pullet grower) from 6 to 8 weeks old to point of lay which start from 18 to 20 weeks old. The farmer needs to trim the upper beak of the chickens when they are 8 to 10 weeks old and repeat it at 17 to 18 weeks old. The hens need to be separated from the cocks in 8 to 10 weeks old to promote good growth rate and reduce perking and cannibalism which is common. Every chick is able to eat about 6.5 kgs to 7kgs of feeds from 6 to 8weeks old to 18 to 20 weeks old.
During the laying period the chickens should be given layers mash starting from 18 to 20 weeks old to depletion which ranges from 98 to 112 weeks old.