Any farmer rearing chicken knows that it is for business so they will be willing to do anything they can to get the most out of the enterprise. Poultry farmer Nice Barungi knows this too well.
The feeding regime she adopted was to let the chicken have the mixed feeds she buys from the dealers and also lets the chicken have a free-range session in her banana plantation garden.
Like that, they get a bit of both worlds; get to feed on the poultry feed and also go out, eat on some worms, insects, banana peelings and more. When they lay an egg, it is as yellow as the morning sunset.
Charles Ssekatawa, a veterinary doctor, says the quality of an egg is judged according to egg size, egg colour, shell strength, the size and colour of the egg yolk, shape.
“The colour of the egg depends on the breed of the birds. Birds lay brown eggs, any variation from that colour will mean a disease that needs treatment,” he explains.
Chick, grower and layers’ mash
According to Ugachick Poultry Breeders, chick mash is a recommended feed for young birds that are meant to produce eggs.
“Ugachick chick and duck mash has a high level of nutrient balance that will ensure chick feather development in the first eight weeks for the hisex breed that Ugachick is selling.”
This would give the chicks a good start. You can continue them to grower mash when they fully feather.
For layers, they can be started on layers’ mash, as part of diet is to optimize egg production, in terms of egg numbers, egg size or mass.
Beware of diseases
Ssekatawa cautions that a farmer should be keen on keeping diseases at bay. “Some of the diseases that can cause change in egg colour include infectious bronchitis and Newcastle disease.
Presence of enough calcium in the feeds and ability of the bird to digest and convert will help the birds lay stronger eggs,” he explains. He adds, “Calcium sources include oyster shells, lime stock feed, Di calcium phosphate and bones.
These help to improve digestion, absorption, appetite and utilisation of nutrients. A highly nutritious egg must have a yellow-coloured yolk. This can be achieved by feeding birds on greens.”
Reduce antibiotic usage
He encourages farmers to reduce antibiotic usage so that they can produce better quality of eggs for human consumption.
“This can be achieved when birds are fed on the recommended feeds and in water. The available proteins in the feed determine the size of an egg. The feed utilisation efficiency of the bird,” he further advises.
The availability of proteins depends on the quantity and quality of protein sources in the feed.
Protein sources include silver fish, soya, sunflower, cotton seed cake, methionine, lysine, some of which can be available on the open market. It is the quantities the farmer should be sure about.
The quality and quantities of the above should be good for a bird to have good size of an egg. The veterinary doctor also explains that feed utilisation efficiency is the ability of the bird to properly digest, absorb and change almost all feed nutrients into product such as eggs and meat.
“For a bird to properly digest food, it must have enough water, appetite, enough enzymes, a healthy digestive system, and the bird should as well be healthy.
Note: When a bird has any infection in the digestive tract, 70 per cent of the proteins it has goes to intestinal proliferation and 30 per cent for production,” says Barungi.
Ssekatawa advises that a poultry farmer should always put rightful amounts of protein sources in the feed, give birds 120-130 grammes of feed per day and water to improve appetite, production of more enzymes, improving feed conversion, improving the intestinal integrity, fight stressing factors and keeping them healthy and profitable.