How to Raise Chickens: Poultry Raising in Philippines
Let me first give you some basic information about chickens. Female chickens are called laying hens. Those that are being raised for their meat are called broilers or fryers. A male chicken is rooster and a female chicken is a hen. Babies are called chicks. Adult chickens can weigh from one pound to over eleven pounds.
Chicken farms raise chickens for food and eggs. Chicken broiler and egg production are the most progressive animal enterprises in the Philippines today. The poultry industry, in fact, began as a backyard enterprise but has shifted to the formation of very large integrated contract farming operations.
Best Chicken Breeds
The chicken breeds that are good egg layers are Rhode Island Reds (brown eggs) and Leghorns (white eggs). Ideal meat chickens are Arbor Acres, Ross, and Peterson. The New Hampshires and White Plymouth Rock are raised for their eggs and meat.
Guide in Selecting Stocks to Raise
Here are the guidelines in selecting the foundation stock to raise:
- Purchased stock must come from reliable hatchery or franchised dealer where parent stocks are well-housed and well-managed.
- The kind of stock to buy depends upon the purpose for which it is going to be raised.
- Chicks should be free from diseases and deformities.
- Broiler chicks should not be less than 33 grams at day-old and they should be of uniform in size and color.
- For a start, a popular strain raised in the community can be selected as it is an indication of the stock's good performance under existing farm conditions.
- For broilers, choose those that have high livability and are fast growers.
- For layers, choose those that have good egg size, high egg production, and long productive life.
Chickens used to be kept loose in a farmyard. Now, they are kept in poultry houses. Poultry houses are usually one story high and are brightly lit. Chickens lay bigger and stronger eggs if they have light during the day and night. The hen house floors are concrete so that rats can't get in. There are also corn husks, peanut shells and wood chips on the floor.
Chickens must be protected from poor ventilation and extremes in temperature. It is ideal if poultry houses are built parallel to the wind direction, if dimension allows it, wherein the southernmost and the northernmost part are the ones that are exposed to the wind.
Feed sacks that are to be discarded can be used as wind and sun breakers. Trees also will serve as wind breakers.
Things to remember when feeding chickens
Animal raisers should provide their livestock the necessary feeds and feed supplements. A healthy growing livestock means bigger for the animal raisers.
Chicken raisers should learn the amount of feeds, the kind of feeds, and the frequency of feeding their animals. Feeds is the biggest item of expense. Good profit results in livestock that are properly fed.
Here are things to remember when feeding chickens:
For Broiler/Meat Type
- During the first 5 weeks, broiler commercial rations are to be fed and replace with broiler-finisher ration from then on.
- From the start to the marketing age of 8 weeks, all-purpose of straight broiler ration is fed.
- Additives in commercial broiler feeds contain growth-promoting substances. These make the production of broiler profitable and also help broiler farmers control diseases.
For Layer/Egg Type
Chicks from day old to 8-10 weeks old, starter mash is given
Chickens aged 8-10 weeks until they are 5 months old or when egg production reaches 10%, growing mash is given. This mash promotes pullet growth at a rate that is just right to allow the chicken to develop its body and internal organs so that it will start to lay at the right time.
- The chicken should not be allowed to get fat during the growing period for this causes poor egg production and high mortality among layers. A good way of preventing fatness among the pullets is to restrict their feed to 85% of normal consumption when they are 16-18 weeks old, then full feed them at 17-20 weeks of age.
- Pullets which are about to lay, or when they reach 19th week of age, laying mash is given.
- Wet mash-feeding at noon during hot days increases appetite of the chickens.
- Adopt a regular system of feeding because chickens recent abrupt changes in feeding habits which gets reflected in their performance, especially on egg production.