Poultry farming is a branch of animal husbandry that deals with the rearing and raising of domesticated birds such as chickens, ducks, guinea fowls, turkeys, geese and even pigeons for their meat, eggs and feathers.
Poultry is a group of two-legged, small, domesticated farm animals characterized by its possession of wings, feathers and a beak. The word ‘poultry’ is derived from Latin word ‘pullus’ which mean small animals.
Types of poultry farming.
There are different types of poultry farming based on the type of bird being reared. The most common types of poultry farming are;
Chicken farming: This is the most common and popular type of poultry farming. Different breeds of chicken are farmed based different demands for its output i.e. meat or eggs. Chicken raised for eggs are known as layers while chicken raised for meat are broilers.
Turkey farming: Turkeys are very much bigger than chicken which is why some people prefer them to chickens. They are mainly reared for their meat but however, female turkeys can still produce eggs. Their meat and eggs are healthier and more delicious.
Geese farming: Geese are raised for their eggs, meat and feathers production. Their feathers are used for making clothes and pillow stuffings.
Guinea fowl farming: It involves the practice of raising guinea fowls in cages and bird houses. Guinea fowl are reared for their eggs and meat.
Duck farming: This is similar to geese farming because ducks are reared for the same purpose as that of geese, for their meat, eggs and feathers.
Qualifications farming: Quails are mainly reared for their meat and eggs.
Pigeon farming: This farming practice along with quail farming is rather unpopular and uncommon. Some farmers rear pigeons for their high quality meats and eggs.
Also read: HOW TO START A POULTRY BUSINESS.
Why poultry farming?
Listed below are reasons why people should consider investing in the poultry farming business.
Poultry products can be consumed. Poultry products i.e. meat and eggs can be eaten by people. They contribute to human nutrition by high quality nutrients.
Eggs and poultry meat are rich in protein and supply low levels of fat. They serve as an ideal diet for most households as it is one of the most eaten meat types in the world.
There is high demand for poultry products. There has been a large, growing demand for poultry products particularly chicken meat as it is affordable and is consumed both locally and internationally with little to no cultural or religious barriers.
The demand for poultry products is expected to increase due to high rising consumption of the products.
It serves a wide market. Poultry products serve a wide range of market. This market comprises of both local and foreign, international buyers due to high demand for the products. Exporting the products could generate more profits for the poultry farmer.
It serves a useful purpose in the industry. Poultry feathers are embedded with a protein known as keratin. The protein can be used to synthesize and produce diapers, paper, pillow and mattresses, plastic, feather meal etc.
Birds excreta can be used as manure to fertilize the soil.
Feathers can also serve as decorative materials as used in feather fans, costume accessories, masks, earrings etc.
Check this out: How To Start Poultry Farming – Part 2
Systems of poultry farming.
There are two main methods which can be employed when one intends to rear poultry. These are;
Extensive poultry farming: This system of poultry farming deals with rearing the poultry in an enclosed open space. This system is better suited for poultry birds that can’t fly away like chickens, turkeys.
The area should be fenced high. The farmer feeds the birds grains and other bird feeds 2-3 times daily. For this system the birds have access to their natural environment and can exhibit their natural behaviours.
The poultry birds can also be kept in a barn where they are restricted from moving in the open but they can roam freely in the barn. The birds should be prevented from exposure to diseases and predator attacks.
Intensive poultry farming: This system deals with rearing poultry in coops or battery cages. In the cages, the birds’ ability to move about is restricted.
In the case of layers, the cages are constructed with a special trough in a sloping manner so that the eggs can roll down the troughs for easy collection as they are laid.
For intensive system, the beaks of the birds are trimmed in order to prevent cannibalism, egg pecking and feather pecking. Adequate care should be provided to the birds as diseases can be more rapidly spread under intensive systems.
Requirements for poultry farming.
The poultry farm should be sited in a good location. It is not advisable to start the farm in urban cities due to bad smells from the farm.
Construction of a suitable poultry house for the birds. When one intends to build a chicken coop, one has to bear in mind the size of the birds one intends to rear.
Adequate ventilation and spacing should be provided so as to prevent contamination and spread of diseases.
Healthy chicks should be purchased. The productivity of the poultry farm depends on healthy chicks. The chicks should be a day old when they are bought.
Alternatively, poultry farmers could buy chicks from the hatchery. This is because chicks of high productivity are grown in incubators.
Feeding the birds. Providing poultry birds with good feeds is essential if they are to be healthy and productive. There are different feeds depending on the type of poultry being reared. E.g. for chickens, we have broiler starter, layer feeds, chicken starters etc.
Feeds with low nutritional content should be avoided. Young chicks should be given feeds with high protein content. They shouldn’t be allowed to take grains until they are 6-9 weeks old. Poultry should also be provided with good, drinking water.
Getting feeding equipment like feeding troughs, water troughs, feeders etc.
Poultry birds should be given proper vaccination. Vaccination is essential for livestock wellbeing and overall productivity.
The veterinarian doctor needs to visit the birds and give them proper vaccination in order to preserve their health. If not, they risk being exposed to bird flu and other various diseases.
Regulation of light and temperature. Light is important for the wellbeing of birds. Temperature should also be regulated in rainy seasons and times of high humidity so as to keep the birds warm and comfortable.