Poultry Farming


Poultry farming is the raising o fdomesticated bird such as chickens, turkeys,ducks and geese for the purpose of farming meat or eggs for food. Poultry are farmed in great numbers with chickens being the most numerous. More than 50 billion chickens are raised annually as a source of food, for both their meat and their eggs. Chickens raised for eggs are usually called layer while chickens raised for meat are often called broilers


Breeds Hybrid birds are usually considered when talking of commercial poultry. However, some work is being done on local birds. They are very important for eggs and meat production in the rural areas. The breeds available from hatcheries are mainly hybrids such as brown eggers, Isa Brown shavers. These breeds are classified into two main categories namely: Layers and broilers
Brooding Brooding Types: Charcoal burner, Kerosene lamps, ElectricityBrooding Capacity: One paraffin lamp is enough for about 50 chicks, One charcoal jiko is enough for up to 500 chicks.Brooding Density: Floor space should be 25 chicks per square meter

Brooding Temperatures: Temperature above the floor should be kept at 95° F for the first 2 weeks, then lowered by 5° F for each week up to the 8th week.
Where thermometers are not available, especially in the rural areas, it is good to observe the reaction of chicks to the heat as follows: If the chicks are running away from heat source, then temperature in the brooder is very high; If there is crowding at the heat source, then the brooder is too cold; When chicks are evenly distributed in a brooder, the temperature is proper.

Egg  production Egg production on the quality of birds and the level of management.  However, production of 240 to 280 eggs per bird per year is good performance.  Farmers should Collect eggs 2 to 3 times a day, store in cool dry places, place the eggs with the broad end up in the egg tray and should also separate broken eggs from whole eggs. Birds are disposed after they have proved to be un economical to keep in most cases laying birds are kept for one year.
Feeds and feeding While feeding Layers one should use recommended feed trough. Fill the trough 1/3 to ½ full for dry feed. Feed once or twice a day.Layers’ Feed Requirements: For chicks 0 to 8 weeks of age, give 40gm per chick, per day, of chick/duck mash. This amounts to about 2kg chick/duck mash per chick for 8 weeks. For pullets or growers 8 to 20 weeks of age, give 80gm per bird per day, of growers mash. This amounts to 8 to 9kg of feed per bird for 12 weeks. For birds 20 to 76 weeks of age allow 120 to 130gm per bird, per day of layers mash. This amounts to about 45 kg of layers mash per bird from 20 to 76 weeks of age.While feeding broilers: Use broilers start mash up to 4 weeks of age.  Use broilers follow up mash from 4 to 7 weeks of age. Normally birds will consume 4 to 5kg per bird to reach slaughter weight in 7 weeks.  Slaughter weight is normally 2kg Life Weight. Farmers should check feed loss into the litter by using proper feeders and filling feeders properly.
Husbandry Good animal husbandry and welfare is an essential part of keeping chickens. This not only means providing suitable food and housing which must be cleaned out regularly but also observing their behaviour and looking out for signs of disease and seeking veterinary advice if necessary. Taking the time to watch your chickens is part of the fun of keeping them and is a good way of spotting signs of disease early. It is important to worm your hens with Flubenvet, 2-3 times a year depending on how much space they have. This will keep them stronger to resist bacterial or viral infections.
Pest & Diseases Pest Name Symptoms Control
Coccidiosis Infected birds or chicks become droopy, look unthrifty, and usually have ruffled feathers, pale beaks and shanks. Caecal coccidiosis has bloody droppings.  Mortality may be high and sudden. Sulphur drugs.Use coccidiostat in feedKeep the litter dry.
Fowl Cholera Yellowish colouration on birds’ droppings, which is followed by yellowish or greenish diarrhoea.  Infected birds become droopy, feverish and sleepy. House cleaned and disinfected.Treatment with sulphur drugsEnsure dry litter.

Burn dead birds.

New Castle Disease Egg production declines up to zero in 4 days. When laying resumes, rough shells and sometimes bleached shells. Vaccinate chicks at 3 to 4 weeks, 16 weeks and at the 24th week of age.
Fowl Typhoid Dullness, ruffled feathers, paleness of the head drooping comb, loss of appetite and pale orange coloured diarrhoea. Vaccinate the birds at 7 weeks of age.Burn dead birds.Disinfect visitors.
Poultry equipments Roost or Perches: Perches in laying house can be provided or left out. When present, place them at the rear of the building so that birds use them for resting. Roost or Perches can be made using timber of 20mm by 25mm spaced 30cm apart.  Where timber is used, all corners must be rounded.  A space of 8 to 10 inches should be allowed per bird.Laying nests: Layers should be provided with laying nests when they reach the age of 18 weeks. Tunnel or commercial nests are now common.  In case of tunnels birds share the nests.  The front is about 30cm high and the back 45cm high. If individual nests are needed the tunnel is partitioned at 60cm apart.  Birds’ entrance should be made 20 by 20cm Square and 9cm above the nest floor for both types.  To prevent egg eating, laying nests should be made as dark as possible so that birds do not see eggs.Feeder Management: Feeders should be about 14cm deep and should always be filled about ½ to 2/3 full. Drinkers should be 20% of the provided feeders. Farmers can make their own drinkers at home using plastic jerry cans. Jerry cans are cut on the sides to allow birds to get water. Round cans are recommended. Drinkers should be washed daily and filled with fresh water. Allow 20 litres of water for every 25 birds.
Poultry housing Poultry housing are classified after the management system used.
The most common types of poultry housing are:
•    Deep litter
•    Half litter and half slats
•    Battery
•    Semi-foldHouse Stocking Density for layers; For deep litter, 4 to 6 birds per square metre should be allowed. For half deep litter and half slatted floor, 6 to 7 birds per square metre should be allowed.For Chick and Growers: Allow 25 chicks per square metre. Allow 4 to 5 birds per square metre for growers

For Broilers: Allow 25 chicks/m² between 4 to 7 weeks of age.

Source of chicks Farmers buy day-old chicks from hatcheries, Day old chicks should be ordered from reputable hatcheries for good quality and disease free flock. For farmers residing far away from hatcheries, orders for day-old chick should be done through reputable dealers. It is important to buy sexed chicks so that no males are bought for layers. It is also important to have Chicks vaccinated for  disease at the hatchery.
 Regions West, rift valley central and Eastern kenya
Expected yields Layers: 240 eggs per bird per year.Broilers: 4 birds per metre square.


  Processing Poultry products are usually taken without processing.


Place Poultry products are mostly sold locally.
Price 1 kg of Chicken costs Kshs. 400-7001 egg costs Kshs 10


Products / Uses Most poultry are kept for their meat and eggs, nevertheless their disposal can be used as fertilizer, cattle feed and fuel. Feathers are used as decorative parts and in the production of fishing files
Nutritional value – per 100 g / % Daily Values Total fat 13g 20%, saturated fat 3.5g 17%, polysaturated fat  2.7g, monosaturrated fat 4.9g, cholesterol 78mg 26%, sodium 67mg, potassium 166mg 4%, protein 25g 50%, vitaminA 2%, Calcium 1%, vitamin-12 10% and Magnesium 4%


Egg-laying hens in the United States number more than 459 million. Of these millions of birds, 97% are confined to “battery” cages, tiny cages roughly 16 by 18 inches wide.Molting is the natural process of shedding old feathers and the growth of new feathers to initiate a new egg-laying cycle.On factory farms, poultry producers induce starvation to control egg production in laying hens.




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