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Updated on March 27, 2012

The poultry; making a living

Poultry refers to the birds which are domesticated. It includes such birds as chickens (fowls), ducks, geese, turkeys and pigeon among others. The species of poultry are adaptable or can survive in different environments. They are therefore, widely distributed in the world. Some factors favour its extensive distribution in the world;

· It can fit into small farm areas

· It can thrive in poor farmland

· It has a high food conversion rate

· It has a fast rate of multiplication

· It forms highly excellent food and is easily processed

Poultry has extensive economic importance and this ever been clear to people from time immemorial and they have kept poultry of different sizes. It can contribute greatly to you;

· It is a source of income. A lot of people make their living from it and thus get their livelihood from there.

· It is a source of food. It produces eggs and meat. Egg is recognized all over the world as the balanced and nutritive of all animal products.

· Eggs are used in soap industries, bakeries, eateries, paints and production of vaccine. Poultry meat is very palatable and is acceptable to many people all over the world.

· Their dropping (waste product) is excellent fertilizer for enriching poor soils.

· Because of its fast growing nature, its cheapness and its rapid production. It is a nice animal for scientific investigations.

Chickens or fowls, ducks, geese, and turkeys are the four common species of poultry. Chickens or fowls are the most important and economical. If you are going to start this venture, then the most important and fundamental factors you have to consider are

· Are you to produce eggs or meat?

· What market do you have for your product? What is the market price and demand for the product?

· Consider the cost and availability of the breed of the stock

· How easy is it to obtain the feeds for the stock?

· Check on your personal likes

· Put into consideration the environmental conditions under which the stock is to be produced

· Size of the business.

Having decided to establish a flock, choose the breed that can survive the environment, a breed that can produce well based on records of the breed, and a breed that appeals to you. Interest is very important. It would be cheaper and better to choose a breed that is available and has adapted itself to the environment under which it is to be produced.

In addition, healthy animals should be selected. A sick bird will only bring losses to the farmers. Such one may bring about other diseases outbreak which is very dangerous. A sound bird should be chosen. A bird with deformed back or beak should not been chosen. Bow-legs, knock-knees are points to disqualify birds for selection. The good one should have the appropriate body conformation appropriate to type. Split wings are objectionable. The animals should posses the breed characteristics. As much as possible the animals should be uniform. The animals should be of the same age. They should be of the breed to enable them live together comfortably. Similarly in age have advantages of making it possible to group the animals together and this saves a lot of labour.

Now, let’s talk about the management systems;

The fold system

The system is very good in breeding forms. Here a few birds say 30-50 birds are kept in a unit. A house and an enclosure are made. The unit is moved from place to place daily.

This system has the same advantage as the free range system and moreover it has additional advantage of protecting the birds from harmful animals. This system ensures even distribution in droppings (waste products). The system however requires labour in that the unit has to be moved and folds have to be placed well. The fold can be got by having 1.3cm gauze wire netting on a frame work, a light and tough wood covering a ground surface of about 883.8dm square. A small portable house is built up within. The floor of the house is slatted.

Restricted range system

In this system, enough space is given for the existence of the birds in the house but only a few square yards are provided for the exercises. In cold countries about 334.8dm square could do per bird. Runs are provided by using 1.25ccm heavy gauze. The gauze should be 1.8m high. In the tropics more space is provided.

Built-up litter system (Deep-litter system)

In this system the birds are completely confined to the house and there are no runs provided for them. As the litter lessens, more litter materials are added. The floor is covered up to a depth of about 15cm. The litter materials include straw, chaff, sawings, and groundnut husks. The litter is maintained dry and fresh new material is needed as the old one becomes dusty. This system has the advantage of raising so many birds under one roof. Labour is also saved. However, it has some disadvantages in that it brings birds about cannibalism, feather pecking and egg eating. It also needs an efficient management and a good feeding system.

The battery system

This is the system in which the birds are confined to individual cages. These cages are built in a house and adequate light and ventilation are provided. The birds are either caged singly or in pairs. The space allowance is 38.1cm by 45.7cm to singles and 45.7cm by 45.7cm for the doubles. The height of the cage is about 43.2cm. The floor is of stout galvanized wire and loops to an egg cradle extending 15cm in front of the cage. Water and food receptacles are fitted outside the cage and are easily accessible to the birds in the cage.

Thos system is very good especially where there is scarcity of land. It saves space since the batteries are built in tiers. It helps to know the individual performances of the birds. It minimizes disease infection and gives birds the comfort needed for greater productivity. The birds are protected from predators. It however needs a very efficient management. The nutritional requirements have to be met to ensure production.

It is lucrative, you know.


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