What is Poultry?

The word Poultry refers to all birds that man has been able to rear over the years. He has decided to rear or domesticate them because of their economic value to him. Such birds include:

(a) fowls or chickens
(b) turkey
(c) ducks
(d) guinea fowl
(e) pigeons
(f) geese
(g) ostriches
(h) game birds, e.g. parrot. Importance of Poultry: Poultry provides the following:
1. Money - through the sale of eggs and its meat
2. Eggs - source of protein
3. Meat (chicken) - source of protein
4. Feathers - for making high quality pillows and mattresses dropping and it is very rich in plant nutrients.
5. Poultry manure (Guano) – this is obtained from the birds dropping and it is very rich in plant nutrients
6. Game - some birds such as the parrot and male chicken are used for games.

Some terms associated with poultry

– Adult male fowl
Drake – Adult male duck
Guinea male – Adult male guinea fowl
Gander - Adult male geese
Tom - Adult female turkey
Hen - Adult male fowl
Duck - Adult male duck
Guinea hen - Adult female guinea fowl
Goose - Adult female geese
Turkey hen - Adult female turkey
Chick – A young fowl
Duckling – A young duck
Guinea Chick – A young guinea fowl
Gosling – A young geese
Proult – A young turkey
Laver - A laying hen
Broiler - A meat producing bird
Cockerel - Young male fowl
Pullet - Young female fowl
Capon - A castrated
Management of Domestic Fowl
The different breeds of domestic fowls include:

(a) Rhode Island Red (R.I.R)
(b) Phymouth Rock
(c) Harco
(d) White leghorn
(e) Brown leghorn
(f) Babcocks
(g) Ancina
(h) Cornish Dark
(i) Light Sussex
(j) White Wyandotte
(k) Native fowl, etc

Fowls can be managed for any of the purposed stated below:
(i) Egg production (Layers)
(ii) Meat production (broilers)
(iii) Dual purpose: In this case, the fowls are breed for both meat and eggs.
However, the management practices for all birds whether reared for meat or eggs have some similarities.
(a) Housing: The size of the house depends on the population of the birds. The foundation should be made of solid blocks with concrete floor. The wall should be made of solid blocks with concrete floor. The wall should be short for good ventilation and adequate supply of light. Wire mesh should be used to complete the short walls upwards to the roofing level.
Care should be taken in ensuring that all holes are covered upwards to the roof. This is to prevent lizards, snakes, rats and wild birds from entering into the house as their presence will disturb the fowls.
The commonest types of roofs used in poultry buildings are:
(i) Lean-to-Roof or Shed: This is illustrated below:

On completion of the building, a mini gutter (dip) should be constructed around the entire poultry building close to the outside walls. Izal or other disinfectants should be used with water and poured into this gilder regularly. This is to prevent and vermin from entering into the poultry house.

Furthermore, a wider clip should be constructed at the entrance of the house. The attendant as well as visitors are required to dip their legs in the disinfected water in the dip before entering into the poultry house. This is to prevent disease or germs from being taken into the house.
(b) Systems of poultry management
Fowls can be managed under any of the following systems:
1. Intensive Systems: Under this system, birds are reared continuously inside a building. There are three basic types of intensive management:
(i) Deep litter system
(ii) Battery Cage System
(iii) Slate or wire poor system.

(i) Deep litter system: In this system a concrete floor is made in the poultry house and saw dust or wood shavings are used to cover the flood. Feeding and drinking troughs are arranged at appropriate pistes on the floor. In case of laying birds, laying nests should be provided on one side of the floor.

Advantages of deep litter System
1. It is economical since minimum equipment are needed.
2. Production 01 ammonia from the decomposition of the litter assist in tin- control of coccidiosis.
3. The birds have enough space for exercise.
4. There is easy control of flies since it is fairly dry.
5. The litter helps to absorb the droppings from the birds thereby reducing the offensive odor.

1. Cannibalism may occur
2. Diseases and parasites are easily spread
3. High cost of constructing the house
4. Eggs are usually dirty where layers are reared under this system READ THE PROCESS OF EGG LAYING HERE

(ii) Battery System: In this intensive management system, wire, cages are used to enclose the birds in a house. each cage can accommodate two to four birds depending on the size of the cage.

1. Provides better accommodation
2. Elimination of internal parasites because the droppings are collected below the cages
3. Sick birds are easily identified I or treatment
4. Egg production is higher
5. Records can easily he kept
6. Eggs are usually very clean or neat.

1. It is expensive to build the house and buy the cages.
2. The eggs may break if slope of mesh is too step.
3. There is high labour cost.

(iii) Slate or wire floor system: This is made raised walls. The birds are kept in the slated or wired floor. The droppings which collect beneath are collected for disposal occasionally.
1. There is no litter required
2. There is control of infection because birds d droppings.
3. Ease cleaning is needed.

1. Lower egg production
2. Layers are prone to nervousness
3. There may be cannibalism.

2. Extensive or Free Range System
This is the traditional system of poultry keeping in the tropics. In the system, the fowls are allowed to move neatly in a wide area. If high land is available, this system poses no problems. Birds reared under this system find food for themselves. They are normally provided accommodation at night.

Advantages of free range system

1. The cost of feeding the birds is quite low.
2. There is no cost for housing the birds.
3. The birds can move about freely. They are therefore healthier because of their constant exercises.
4. The birds have access to natural food such as insects and vegetables

1. There is danger of pests, hawks, snakes, wild animals and thieves.
2. There is risk of accident since vehicles can kill the birds.
3. There is low egg production.
4. The birds are normally small in size as they use their energy to move about in search of food and water.
5. They can easily contract disease from other birds.
6. Records are difficult to keep.

3. Semi-Intensive System
The birds under this system are kept in poultry runs made of wire netting. The birds move about within the runs during the day fend for themselves. They come to sleep in the building
at night or during adverse weather conditions such as excessive heat or rain. See the diagram below:

Wire fence Run

2.10.4: Semi-Intensive System of Rearing Birds.

Advantages of the system
1. There is enough space for the birds to move about.
2. The birds have access to green vegetables
3. The pasture growing in the area will do well because of the dropping from the birds
4. The birds are protected against predators such as snakes
1. The cost of making wire fences is high.
2. Birds may not be totally protected from predators such as hawks
3. There is risk of parasite build up and disease out break.

(c) Management Practices: The management practices for poultry production can be treated under the follow ing headings:
(i) Egg Handling: Fertile eggs are collected from the breeding liens and sorted out. The defective ones are removed while the viable ones are taken to the incubator for hatching.
(ii) Incubation: This is a process involving the development and hatching of eggs, to give chicks. The mother hen usualh incubates her egg naturally by silting on the eggs. But the number of eggs hatched at once by a hen under this method is limited. As a result large hatching machines called incubators have been devised to hatch very large numbers of eggs.
All conditions inside the incubators are thermostatically controlled. The temperature is kept at 38V. Relative humidity • 64%. Oxygen - 21%. Carbon (IV) Oxide - 0.5%. The eggs arc then turned . regularly in the incubator so that all sides arc exposed to the incubator conditions and to prevent chicks from sticking to the shells.
Candling is carried out to identity the infertile eggs. This IN done on the 6th and 18th day of the egg's stay in the incubator. Candling ensures that all hatch able egg are hatched.
The eggs are normally ready for hatching after 21 days stav in the incubator.
When the chicks have been hatched, they are sexed (Separation into males and females) before being taken to the brooder house,
(iii) Chick Brooding: This involves taking care of the day-old chicks until they are about four weeks after which the _management practices would change.
The brooder house is normally use used to rear day old chicks

Brooding is the process of providing the natural conditions of the mother hen in artificial way.
Chick drinking and feeding troughs should be properly arrange in the brooder house. Sources of heat should be provided to up the room. Excess heat should be avoided. The chicks in the brooder house will tell the farmer whether the heat is too much or too low.
If the birds cluster together around the source of heat then the heat it too low. When most of the birds move far away from the it indicates that the temperature is too high. In either cases, the
Farmer should adjust the temperature as adequate.
Water and feed should be provided to the chicks in the brooder house adlibitum (that is, as much as they need).

At the end of four weeks, the birds should be removed from the the brooder house and reared under the necessary system earlier on in this unit. Whatever system is used to rear the birds, hygiene, adequate feed and water supply, disease and pest control should be given priority.

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