Poultry keeping is becoming a lucrative farming initiative among farmers across the country, but there is a challenge of following the right practices to get better eggs and chicken to compete favourably on the market.
As such Scientists from Chonbuk National University under Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) in collaboration with Makerere University College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences (CAES) have started a model poultry farm which will be used to train farmers across the country in best practices of keeping layer chicken using advanced technology for better marketing strategy of eggs.
The farm with a modern poultry facility is located at Makerere University Agricultural Research institute, Kabanyolo (MUARIK).
The principal of CAES, Prof Bernard Bashasha, explaining importance of the project at its launch in Kabanyolo noted that the Korean government has injected $1.3 million which will be utilised in management of the poultry farm as well as modern piggery and horticulture.
He explained that farmers across the country will come to attend short term trainings on modern poultry farming in a bid to go and set up their own farms as an income earning initiative.
The farm will be managed by students who are already pursuing courses in poultry and animal husbandry farming at Chonbuk University in Korea.
The project director, Dr Sungho Youn, explained that the modern poultry farm is aimed at increasing quality egg production to 120 tonnes in a period of three years and the poultry feed processing volume will be 1,000 tonnes.
At the end of the project 100 farmers would have been trained to operate modern poultry farms.
Poultry feed will be processed using local ingredients with the required ingredients for all stages of layer hens at Kabanyolo
How to build a modern poultry house
It is important to construct a modern structure containing apartments where chicken are kept. The apartment can be of any size depending on how many birds a farmer wants to keep in each.
It is important not to keep too many birds in each apartment, ensure there is space for free movement.
Major factors that should be considered are temperature, humidity and light. This means the interior environment may be modified by use of ventilating and heating equipment.
Structure may either be fully enclosed or may have curtains over part of a sidewall. A common method is to use mechanical ventilating system during cold weather and curtain ventilation during warm weather conditions.
The aim is to provide conditions that ensure optimum performance of the birds
Care for chicks
During the first weeks after birth, many chicks do not want to drink water so you have to make adequate water drinking systems in their brooder house.
You also have to train them to drink the water. Mix five per cent glucose with water, so that they can easily get energy.
Vaccination programme is a must for chicks to keep them free from all types of diseases. It is important to administer vaccines such as marek, ranikheth, gamboro, bruchaities, bosonto and salmonela in time.
Day one day chicks can be vaccinated with marek vaccine, seven day chicks use Newcastle vaccine and the layers from 12 to 14 weeks can be vaccinated against diseases such as cough and typhoid using gomboro vaccine.
Layers of one to eight weeks are fed on chick mash, after eight weeks introduce growers mash gradually, then and mix both after drop of first egg. From the day a layer chick hatches, the chicken takes about five months before it starts laying eggs. As a poultry farmer you must be prepared to meet the expense of rearing these young birds through this period.
Feeding chicks is a major challenge. In an effort to cut down costs, many farmers commit the mistake to underfeed the birds during this pre-lay period but it is important to give appropriate feed. Do not forget that the performance of your commercial layers is greatly influenced by how you manage them in brooding and pullet growing phases.
How to mix chick mash
For every 100 kilogrammes of maize bran mix with 12 kilogrammes of silver fish, 10 kilogrammes of sun flower, 10 kilogrammes of cotton cake and four kilogrammes of shells.
How to mix grower’s mash
Grower’s mash also called layer replacement can be given to the birds up to 10 weeks. Mix the following ingredients in 100 kilogrammes of maize bran. 15 kilogrammes fish meal, 12 kilogrammes of cotton seed cake, eight kilogrammes of sea shells, four kilogrammes of bones and half a kilogramme of calcium. Others are half a kilogramme of premix, 50 grammes of Furazolodine, one kilogramme of red salt and one kilogramme of fossil.
How to mix layer’s mash
Given your chicken layers’ mash from start of egg laying to selling has typically a 20 weeks egg laying cycle.
This means for every 100 kilogrammes of maize bran, mix 25 kilogrammes of fish meal, 10 kilogrammes of sunflower, 10 kilogrammes of cotton seed cake, eight kilogrammes of shells, half a kilogramme of calcium, and two kilogrammes of red salt.