Some mistakes can never fade, even after the amendment. It is like a broken bone that never heals completely. The pain always resurfaces when the weather gets cold.
Having gone through some hard times in poultry farming, it pains me when I see poultry farmers, especially beginners, making the same poultry farm mistakes I did in the past. I won’t want them to have the same experience of ‘I wish I had known…’ So in this post, I letting out my thought and sincere advice
My dear poultry farmers, if you haven’t gone to any basic training on poultry farming, please endeavor to register yourself with a reputable farm institute. Lack of knowledge and training can be so disastrous. For example, if you cannot detect a sick bird early, the disease may get to a critical stage and wipe the whole flock.
If you have poultry workers, ensure they go for on-the-job training from time to time. You cannot do everything yourself.
My dear poultry farmers, before you start any production, ensure you find your target market and buyer to avoid being stranded when your chickens get to market size, most especially with broilers.
For example, broilers are chickens bred for meat production, and they grow and attain marketable size by 6 weeks. Failure to look for a buyer before production may leave you stranded, and eventually, you might sell the bird below the cost price.
Moreover, Keeping the bird will incur more expenses on feed because the growth rate of the broiler decreases with age. You will end up running into a loss
This is the more reason you should look for buyers before production. Make use of your social medial handles like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc to market your products, the market is going digital. Always invest more in marketing than production.
My dear poultry farmers, medicine has limited value; they can only help to a small extent and should never take the place of sanitary measures.
Some poultry farmers believe that, while they continue using medicines, sanitary measures can be neglected without bad results. Drug effectiveness in removing one parasite may not be of any value in removing others. Prevention is better than cure.
One of the most effective ways of prevention is through vaccination e.g. against Newcastle disease, fowl typhoid, fowl pox, and Gumboro disease. Your veterinarian will advise you on when to give the vaccines.
My dear poultry farmers, please don’t wash out that fine, smooth, powdery covering on the shell of eggs,
it protects the egg from the entrance of bacterial. If the shell is washed bacteria can enter more easily and the egg spoils more rapidly. Therefore, have a clean nest; if necessary; clean the eggs with a dry brush or a small rag.
And again, eggs easily absorb flavors, so it is disastrous to leave eggs near anything with a strong smell like petrol, detergents, fertilizer, paint, etc. a cold moist room can also spoil your egg, rather store in a cool dry room.
Most of the time, I see how some small-scale farmers neglect these simple measures. Some come from the market and straight into their farm without changing their shoes, and this could be a health threat to the chickens, especially the day-old chicks.
My dear farmers, stop wasting money on synthetic drugs where you have natural medicinal plants around you. Moreover, organically raised chicken is healthier and tastier than synthetic raised ones; you can attest to this whenever you eat your local chicken.
Do you know that the frequent use of synthetic antibiotics increases the risk of drug resistance both in livestock and human? You may have noticed at times most of the antibiotics are not as effective as they were, even when the diagnoses are right.
Organic treatment is the next big thing, and we have to key into this new approach. Example of these organic plants in Nigeria is scent leaves, better leaf, garlic, ginger, Tagiri (Christmas melon), black pepper, neem leaf, etc.
For instance, ginger has the following properties antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and growth-promoting, while a better leaf with scent leaf can cure various forms of diarrhea in chickens.
Note: Organic poultry farming is still a work in progress, therefore, you should use it at the right time and in the right proportion.
My dear poultry farmers, never underestimate the effect of ammonia in your poultry house. It is produced from the chemical decomposition of uric acid in droppings by certain bacterial in the litter.
In high concentrations ammonia can introduce disease to the respiratory tract, cause conjunctivitis (Inflammation of the conjunctivae), and damage the cornea of the eye.
So, whenever you notice that pungent irritating smell with an itching effect in your eyes, know that the concentration of ammonia in your poultry house is high, and you need to do a thorough cleaning.
Also, ensure that there is cross ventilation in your poultry house to reduce atmospheric dust particles that harbor bacteria.
Good litter management and ventilation will minimize the level of ammonia, improve productivity, reduce the likelihood of respiratory diseases, improve the birds’ welfare, and provide a pleasant, safe environment for workers.
My dear poultry farmer, stop blaming the rats or cats for what they did not do, those wounds were inflicted by the chickens themselves through a process known as cannibalism. Cannibalism means a poultry bird consuming another bird for food.
It is common among domestic hens reared for egg production. What leads to cannibalism most of the time is pecking order-a social vice that is associated with dominance among the flock and this can lead to aggression and escalate to cannibalism.
They are two forms of cannibalism feather pecking and vent pecking or cloaca cannibalism. The feather pecking occurs when there is the exposure of bare skill, which may have resulted from fighting or injury, while vent pecking is common with chickens that are fully feathered. The only unfeathered place is the vent, and that is where they peck on and inflict injury.
There are several causes of cannibalism such as light and overheating, crowd size, nutrition, injury/death, genetics, and learned behavior.-reason for these actions has not been understood by researchers.
However, there are methods you can use to control it, like crowd size control, beak trimming, light manipulation, perches, and selective genetics.
So, farmers stop suspecting rats, they are too busy with your feeds to attack your birds, rather focus more on preventing cannibalism.
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