How to Start a Poultry Farm in Nigeria
How to Start a Poultry Farm in Nigeria – What is poultry?It is a general name that refers to several kinds of birds that are used mainly for food and for commercial/profit purposes.
Who is a Poultry Farmer?
- He/she is a person who is entirely concerned with the keeping rearing/care and management of domestic fowls at the Homestead (Backyard space) within the confines or outside his premises/compound in a locality.
Types of Breed of Poultry
- Birds are classified according to their breed or type.
- Breed means a class of birds whose parents or members come produced from the same selected species, they are very much alike in every way. E.g. the black and white cockerels, the broilers, the brown coloured and the black coloured pullets (layers),the multi-coloured cockerels.
Strain means/refers to a type or class of poultry reared/breed for special purposes e.g. broilers, cockerels, layers.
The layers/pullets are bred to provide/eggs, the broilers meat.
For meat the cockerels quails – eggs.
Pure breeds are domestic fowls, their ancestors pass certain features and characteristics to their generations beyond them.
Retention of parent’s feather colour, body build and capacity to lay many good and large quality of eggs and produce meat.
- The cross breeds.
- Offsprings from crossbreeds.
- Offsprings from crossbreeds are stronger and more vigorous you can try your hands on the cross-breeding/pure breed process as you gather more experience in poultry keeping/farming.
- Some breeds can lay large quantities of good sized eggs, others are strong and well even in un-conducive environment and weather etc.
- There is no special or best breed in poultry because each breed has been produced to satisfy certain specific requirements.
- Choose the breed that will serve your purpose better.
- A crossing of the game type the local hen and the heavy boiler cook – good quality fleshy/meaty table birds.A heavy broiler hen and a local game type hen will give you heavy table birds.
- To produce your own day old chicks by yourself. Choose the dual purpose type of birds, they are best they can easily be confined, they are good mother that sit on their eggs and hatch their eggs.
- You may not need to produce your own day old chicks, for today, commercial hybrids are available at poultry farm outlets nationwide. Local hatcheries now produce the hybrid birds that lay the golden brown and large eggs from where they hatch the eggs.
The New Arrivals
Day – Old Chicks
- The Poultry House/Pen
The poultry house should be kept warm by providing the source of heat before the arrival of the new birds; but ensure that the heat is not too much or too little for them.
The chicks will move away from the source of heat if the heat is too much.
If the heat is not enough to keep them warm, they will cluster together around the source of heat.
They will be well spread out if the heat is good enough for them to be warm.
Protect the birds from wind and cold for the first two weeks but you must ensure that they have good ventilation to prevent them from suffocating.
Feeding the New Arrival Birds
Introduce each birth to the feed in the trough and the drinker hold each bird in your hand, dip the beak/mouth gently into the feed and water, and drop it. The birds will feed and drink water on their own later on.
Feeding for the Cockerels and Laying/Pullets
- Start feeding the cockerels and layer birds with chicks mash for 7 weeks and from the 8th week, change their feed to growers’ mash. Until the layers are ready to start laying eggs.
- Separate the layers from the cockerels, when the layers are ready to start laying i.e. at the 6th
When the layers are 6 months old and are ready to start laying, separate them from the cockerels to prevent them from mating, except if you want to hatch the fertilized eggs they will produce.
For optimum laying, the layers should be separated and housed differently on their own.
- Layers have 6 months growing period and 12 months egg laying period, after which they are due for sale, replacement/restocking the poultry with new birds.
The capacity for layers to lay better and more eggs get diminished after the 12th month. Although most farmers allow the layers to continue to lay till the 18 months and the eggs do have commercial value.
The birds (layers) capacity or commercial egg production depends on how adequately well they are fed.
- Broilers are fed with broiler starters until they are 6 weeks old.
- Feed them with Broiler finisher from the 7th week until they are sold/slaughtered.
- Broilers consume a lot of feed, ensure that the birds are well fed all the time.
- Chick generally feed better when they are grouped, e.g.
100 baby chicks to 3 feeders and 3 drinkers;
- Pour wood shavings to the litre/floor and keep the poultry floor dry always.
Oral Vaccination of Birds through Drinking Water
- This method is the most practical way of vaccinating the birds within a short time. Whether they are in small or large numbers through their drinking water. Oral Vaccination of birds should be done in the morning hours. The birds must drink the water at the same time.
- It is and ministered by using vaccines such as The New Castle Disease Vaccine; for the Newcastle Disease Gumbroro Vaccine and the Infectious Bronchitis Disease (IBD).
- This method reduces the stress of handling the birds moreover, birds prefer voluntary drinking.
- The incident of drug reaction is less because the correct doses are usually given.
- Water is a very critical factor in this form of Oral Vaccination because it is what decides the immune ‘response of the birds to the drug. The vaccine is mixed in clean, chlorine free water and bacteria.
- Before you administer the vaccine, to the birds.
- Give the birds anti-stress drugs before and after vaccination.
- The vaccine should be mixed in clean, chlorine and bacteria free water, it must contain algae or fungi.
- Withdraw drinking water from the birds for at least 2 – 3 hours so that they will be thirsty at the time you give them vaccinated water.
This approach makes the birds to consume all the vaccinated water within 30 minute/hour.
- Mix the vaccine in a little quantity of water so that the birds can consume the whole within the specified period of 30 mi9nutes – 1 hour, else the efficacy of the vaccines will dimish.
- Give the birds plenty of clean drinking water immediately after they had consumed the vaccinated water so they do not get dehydrated after they had taken the vaccine.
- Mix 60 grams of stimmed milk (defatted milk) in 10 litres of water and give to the birds.
The milk drink serves as a stabilizer on the birds.
These vaccines are always available at veterinary/reputable/poultry/livestock drugs outlets and shops nationwide.
- For best results, consult the veterinary’s expert advice on drugs, administration and best storage methods should be followed.
- Oral Vaccination for Broilers.
- The quantity of water to be used for the Oral Vaccination should be about twice/double or slightly more than the used for layers and cockerels of the same age.
- When in doubt, consult the expert for guidance on dosage and administration.
- The vaccines and their made of administration under reference are produced locally in Nigeria, at the Veterinary Institute, Vom, Plateau State; but there are imported vaccines that are available/sold/dispensed at Veterinary centres and livestock feed during stores nationwide.
- Newcastle Disease Vaccine is given to the birds
The first does is given when the birds are 2 weeks old. It could be administered orally or intra-occularly i.e by dropping the vaccine in the bird’s eye; or through intra-muscular injection. I suggest the oral vaccination through their drinking water, because it reduces the stress of handling the birds, also the birds drink the water at the same time.
- Ensure that the correct does is given at the 1st instance for it gives the assurance of solid immunity for the birds against the Gumboro disease. If the 1st dose is correctly given a 2nd dose may not be needed.
Lasota Vaccination is given to laying birds every 3 months.
On (Anti-stress Drugs)
- Vitamins also serve as anti-stress drugs, they are usually given 3 days before and 3 days after oral vaccination and 3 – 5 days after de-worming the birds and shortly before the layer birds come to lay eggs i.e. from the 16th – 20th
Coeidiostatas help in development of immunity against coccichosis they prevent mortality and reduce weight gains.
- These are interim measure preventive drugs administered drugs administered to the birds when bloody droppings are noticed on the litter.
Please consult the Veterinary/Poultry Expert for advice.
- Do not combine/mix improlium and furazolidone drugs together to give to the birds, it is disastrous.
Deworming the Birds
- Birds on deep litre should be dewormed every 2 months.
- Egg laying birds should not be given drugs that contain sulphate, it reduces their egg laying/product capacity.
- Deworm the birds 2 weeks after the first (1st) dose in order to expel the larval stages which might be resistant to the 1st
- Do not deworm the birds for more than 4 hours.
Debeaking the Birds
- Debeak the birds at about the 4th and 6th week of their lives.
- Debeaking the birds prevent the layers from breaking their eggs and drinking it.
It is also done when the birds start perking/feather puling and bullying other birds.
Feeding the Birds Rightly
- You are in the Poultry Farming Business so that you can make profit at the end (have return on investment). Nothing is wasted in the poultry farming business. You produce the eggs, the meat/table birds.
The poultry waste is in very high demand presently, so also the feathers of the birds. Everything brings in its own quota of revenue Birds.
- You could rear any breed of the chicks for 2 – 3 weeks and sell them off as Brood and Sell. They are also in high demand, and if the buyers know that your chicks are vaccinated against the fowls diseases, they would place high demands for your chicks have high survival rate.
- The advantage is that as you breed and sell off, you restock continually because of the high demands from your customers. Your customers assured solid immunity of your chick against the fowl’s diseases.
- You can make your money your money from breeding and selling cockerels and broilers of 2 weeks old 2 times a month layers are not normally sold off before they come to lay, it is not economically wise.
Feeding the Birds Rightly
- Feed the birds firstly with the feed produced by feed manufacturing experts and with time, you can compound/formulate your own feed with each kind of foodstuff in the correct dietary proportions that will give them exact balanced diet.
- In formulating/compounding your chicken feed, the type/quality, quantity and percentages of each item to be used is very important.
Poultry feed is prepared mainly from grains like sorghum, maize, millet, etc
The ages of the birds and the purpose for which they are reared are taken into consideration when their feed are being formulated. e.g. in the Homestead restricted confinement.
- All the chicks are fed with chicks mash, their feed is made from the same ingredients. It is the proportions in which they are produced/mixed that vary.
The quantities of digestible protein and carbohydrates in their feed differ.
- Chicks need about 22% of digestible protein, growers require 17% digestible protein while layers require about 12%.
- There must be a balance of the ingredients needed so that your chicks will have a balanced diet as they feed, they can digest their food without difficulty.
The major part of the chicks feed should contain about 50 – 60% starch carbohydrate of the total mixture.
- Protein should be about 10 – 20 %
- Chicks require more protein in their feed than adult/grown birds.
- Table birds will need more of starch/carbohydrate foods
Chicks need about 20 – 30% protein, minerals 1% and brain 100%.
Growing birds need 50 – 70% carbohydrate in their diets, 20 – 30% protein, 1% minerals and 100% brain
Layers need 60 – 70% of carbohydrates, 16 – 20% protein, minerals 3.7% and 100% brain.
To Formulate/Produce 100kg bag of feed (i.e. 4 bags of 25kg each)
- You will need:
Carbohydrates – maize, sorghum, millet, corn, cowpeas, groundnut, fish meal, minerals (salt and wood ash) bran, and feed addictive
- Measure out 60kg of maize, corn, millet or sorghum.
- 10kg of cowpeas.
- Groundnut cake (paste) 10kg.
- Fish meal 10kg.
- Minerals (Salt or Wood Ash oyster/signal shells) 1kg.
8 ½ kg
- Feed additives
Feed additives are sold at poultry/livestock shops/outlets nationwide.
- To produce healthy birds, follow this guide.
For Cockerels, Broilers and Layers/Pullets of 1day old – table bird/adult birds, give them as follows:-
A / Cockerels
- Chicks Mash – from day old – 8 weeks.
- Growers Mash – from 8 weeks to 16 weeks old.
- Growers Finisher – from 16 weeks – harvest.
- Broilers mash or broilers starter from day old – 6 – 8 weeks.
Broilers finisher from 6 – 8 weeks – harvest.
- Layers mash – from day old – point of lay at 6 months.
- Layers finisher from point of lay to end of laying period – 12 months
- In addition to these balanced diet formula, give the birds green vegetables to supply vitamins and minerals intake.
Harvesting and Restocking
- Do a detailed market survey/study on market outlets and strategies beforehand.
- Cockerels mature at 4 – 5 months, for table or sale. Clean the Poultry and Restock i.e. bring in new chicks for breeding.
- Broilers are table/market ready some from 6 – 8 weeks but most private consumers prefer them from 3 – 4 months when their meat is firmer and tastier.
- Clean out the poultry house, replace the deep litter and restock.
- Layers, produce eggs at the end of their laying period, they should all be sold out.
- The poultry should be cleaned out and brought in.
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