Types of Poultry Feed

Just like humans, birds require different types of feed at different stages of growth. Below are the types of feed given to broilers and layers.

Feed for Broilers

Broiler Starter: This is high in protein and energy and is given from day old until 4-6 weeks old.

Broiler Finisher: This has a lower protein and energy content than starter. It is given from about 4-6 weeks until target weight is attained.

Feed for Laying Birds

Starter: Layers can be given broiler starter in their chick stage. This is given for the first 8 weeks. They can also be given chick mash.

Grower Feed: Given from 8 to 20 weeks or when 5-10% of the birds start laying.

Layers Feed: It is introduced when 5-10% of the birds start laying and it is given until the birds are sold.

Feed for Cockerels

Broiler/Chick Starter: Given for the first 6 weeks.

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Raising Broilers, Layers and Cockerels in Nigeria

Broiler Production:

Broilers are meat birds that have been genetically conditioned to grow very fast. They attain market weight (over 2kg) in 6-10 weeks depending on management. They can get sick easily if you don’t manage them well. Broiler chicks goes for N200-N280/chick.

Space Requirement: Stock at 20-25 chicks/m2. 8 weeks old broilers requires 900cm2 or 0.09m2 per bird.

Feed Requirement: A broiler requires about 5-6kg of feed within the first 8 weeks. It consumes about 1.5kg in the first 4 weeks and 3.5-4.5kg from 5 to 8 weeks. They’re given starter feed for the first 4-5 weeks and broiler finisher feed until they attain the desired market weight (at 6-9 weeks of age).

Keeping broilers beyond 9 weeks is not economical because as they get older, they eat more but grow less. But if you intend to rear beyond 9 weeks due to some reasons, make sure you revaccinate
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Raising Chicks: Things You Must Do During the First Week

Chicks need warmth and to satisfy this they are raised in brooders. The chick stage is one of the most critical stages in the life of chickens. If there is loss of performance during the first week, it can hardly be compensated for later in life. Under good management, chicks can increase their body weight by fourfold or more in the first week. To achieve this in the first week, below are some management tips that will help.

#1. Avoid Caked or Wet Litter:

One of the most important functions of litter is to absorb moisture. Chicks retain only about 20% of the water that they consume and the remainder is excreted onto the floor. If litter becomes excessively wet, it will cake up. Caked or wet litter result in high ammonia production but when coupled with the high temperature required for brooding, much more ammonia will be produced.
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Avoiding Feed Wastage

Do you know that birds can waste a lot of feed? Your carelessness can also contribute to that. Below are some helpful tips that will help you avoid this costly wastage:

Debeaking: Debeaking or beak trimming has to do with cutting off the sharp points of the lower and upper beak. It helps to prevent cannibalism, feather pulling and feed wastage. Un-debeaked birds can waste 5 times the feed debeaked birds will waste.

Debeaking is a delicate operation that must be done by trained operators. Error can result in birds having difficulties with eating and drinking. This will eventually lead to unevenness in the flock (lack of uniformity).

Use the right feeder: In both round and straight feeders, feed wastage can be prevented by: Using feeders that have a lip (see Fig below) ensuring that the feeder is not more than 1/3-1/2 full Feeder depth should be at least
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What to Feed Laying Hens

Fig 1: Suspending the feeder so that the base is at the same level as the bird’s back will help reduce feed wastage & prevent dirt from entering the feed.

Laying birds need feed that are nutritionally balanced because of their high level of production. Imagine a laying hen laying 230-300 eggs per year. To maintain this high performance, they need well balanced feed. Let’s look at quality and quantity of feed.

Quality of Feed

For maximum/optimal productivity, your layers will need feed that are specially formulated to meet their nutritional requirement. The feed should be fresh and free from mould.

Throughout their life, your birds might need starter, grower, developer, pre-lay and layers feed. But the most common among these feeds are starter, grower and layers feeds. A change is made from one type of feed to the other only when the birds have attained a target
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Debeaking: What is It and Should you Debeak Your Birds?

Debeaking (also called beak trimming) is the act of cutting the lower and upper points of the beaks. The trimmed upper beak is usually shorter than the lower beak. Debeaking birds will help prevent feed wastage, cannibalism, feather pecking, and egg eating. Mortalities due to cannibalism can reach up to 15% in un-debeaked laying hens that are housed in aviaries, straw yards and free range systems. However when they are kept in smaller groups in cages, cannibalism is reduced. Birds that are normally debeaked are laying hens, turkeys, quail and ducks. Broilers meant for meat are not debeaked because they reach slaughter weight before injurious pecking start. However broiler breeders are debeaked because they are kept for a long time.

Debeaking machine

Debeaking a bird

Types of Debeaking Methods

There are two debeaking methods, namely the hot and cold methods. With hot method, the beak is cut and
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Water Quality for Poultry

Your birds should never lack water (except prior to vaccination). This may sound very obvious but do not overlook it. A simple lack of water for a short time can reduce egg production/growth. Water quality is also important. Ensure that at all times, water should be clean, fresh and cool. Beyond that, the water mineral and bacterial content can affect birds in different ways. We’ll be considering that in a short while.

Birds are fun of muddling their water with dirt and faeces. So use waterers that are designed to keep dirt out or minimize it. Nipple drinkers are the best when it comes to keeping water clean. Wastage & dirt can be minimized in bell drinkers when they are suspended so that the base is at the same height as the birds’ back. Keeping dirt out of the water will minimize the incident of disease infections.

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Benefits of Serological Monitoring of Poultry Flocks

When a chicken is vaccinated or exposed to a disease, it responds by producing antibodies against that specific disease organism. Antibodies are proteins responsible for fighting bacteria, virus and other foreign substances that enters the body. What serological monitoring does is to extract serum from chicken blood and estimate the quantity of antibodies present in it. Serological monitoring has 4 benefits:

It helps you to know the right age to vaccinate. You’ll be able to develop a solid vaccination plan rather than guessing. It helps you to evaluate and improve vaccination programs. It helps you to determine the effectiveness of past vaccinations It helps you to monitor the flock for various diseases and you’ll be able to detect impending diseases. It helps you to rapidly detect diseases Personal Experience:

I once took 10 out of my 607 chicks to a lab (AnimalCare Asaba) for serological test. The result showed that
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How I Give Coccidiosis Vaccine to My Chicks Via Water

Coccidiosis is one of the diseases that can cause long-term damage to chicks (reduced weight gain and mortality). Prevention was mainly done by giving routine preventive dosage of coccidiosis drugs on day 9-13 and it is repeated every 2-3 weeks. But with the emergence of coccidiosis vaccines, many farmers are turning to it because there is no problem of drug resistance.

Advantages of Vaccination with Immucox® It is better than using drugs because there will be no risk of antibiotic resistance Vaccination can offer similar performance (in terms of live weight and feed efficiency) as anticoccidial drugs Flock uniformity is better at the processing plant with no drug residues Types of Coccidiosis Vaccines

Coccidiosis vaccines can be classified into attenuated and non-attenuated vaccines. Attenuated vaccines cannot cause diseases in chickens because they contain coccidiosis oocysts that have been weakened. Examples include Paracox, Livacox and Viracox. Non-attenuated vaccines include Immucox,
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Controlling Flies in Animal Houses

Flies are usually a problem when the litter is wet or the environment dirty. The life span of houseflies is about 2-4 weeks but within this short period they can multiply very rapidly and infest your animal pen. Female flies can lay 6 batches of 75-200 eggs every 3-4 days. Having a fly control plan in place is important because flies can carry and transmit more than 100 human and animal disease-causing organisms.

Mite Source: http://www2.ca.uky.edu/entomology/entfacts/ef516.asp

Parasitic Wasp Source: https://www.pinterest.com/pasturebuilders/pest-control/

The general methods used to control fly problem include:

1. Preventing Breeding and Killing the Larva

You will have fewer problems of flies if you make your farm unconducive for breeding. You can accomplish this by keeping everywhere clean. A clean environment is the first step to take to control flies. This is because flies like to lay their eggs on dirty places like wet litter, dead animals,
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