A poultry farm is where domesticated birds are raised. Poultry includes chickens, turkey, ducks, and geese. These animals are raised for their meat and eggs. Chickens are the most common bird raised for both meat and eggs. Chickens that are raised for their meat are called broilers. Chickens that are raised for their eggs are called laying hens or layers. Some special breeds of poultry are raised for shows and competitions.
Poultry farm activities
- preparing the chicken house for the arrival of the chicks
- feeding the chickens
- monitoring the conditions inside the chicken houses, including temperature, humidity, and air quality
- monitoring the feed and water lines to make sure they are providing the chicks with plenty of fresh water and chicken feed
- monitoring the health of the chickens
- cleaning the chicken houses or coops
- collecting eggs (for laying hens)
- loading chickens onto trucks for moving to chicken plants (for meat chickens)
The domestication of poultry took place several thousand years ago. This may have originally been as a result of people hatching and rearing young birds from eggs collected from the wild, but later involved keeping the birds permanently in captivity. Domesticated chickens may have been used for cockfighting at first and quail kept for their songs, but soon it was realized how useful it was having a captive-bred source of food.
Selective breeding for fast growth, egg-laying ability, conformation, plumage, and docility took place over the centuries, and modern breeds often look very different from their wild ancestors. Although some birds are still kept in small flocks in extensive systems, most birds available in the market today are reared in intensive commercial enterprises.
Together with pig meat, poultry is one of the two most widely eaten types of meat globally, with over 70% of the meat supply in 2012 between them; poultry provides nutritionally beneficial food containing high-quality protein accompanied by a low proportion of fat. All poultry meat should be properly handled and sufficiently cooked in order to reduce the risk of food poisoning.
Types of Poultry
Many different breeds of chickens have been developed for different purposes. For simplicity, you can place them into three general categories: Laying, meat-producing, and dual-purpose breeds.
These breeds are known for their egg-laying capacity. Popular laying breeds include the White Leghorn, Red Sex Link, and Black Sex Link breeds. A healthy hen will lay eggs for several years. Hens begin to lay at approximately 16–20 weeks of age and will lay between 20–23 dozen eggs the first year. At 14 months, laying hens usually begin to molt, the process by which they drop their old feathers and grow new ones. No eggs are laid during this period. After molting, hens will lay larger but fewer eggs per year (about 16–18 dozen).
Meat-producing breeds are very efficient at converting feed to meat, producing approximately one pound of body weight for every two pounds of feed they eat. A popular meat-producing breed is a Cornish breed. The Cornish game hen is a cross between the Cornish and the New Hampshire or Plymouth Rock breeds. Meat-producing chickens are broad-breasted and larger than the laying breeds. They grow and feather rapidly and will weigh five pounds or more at eight weeks. Broilers and fryers are butchered at 31/2 to 5 pounds, while a roaster is butchered at 6 to 8 pounds.
The dual-purpose breed is the classic backyard chicken. These breeds are hardy, self-reliant, and fairly large-bodied. Most lay large brown-shelled eggs. Examples include Rhode Island Red and New Hampshire breeds. Some laying and dual-purpose hens tend to get broody, which means they will want to sit on and hatch eggs. Because broody hens don’t lay eggs, egg production will be affected. Consult with your local extension agent or other poultry experts to help you choose the right breeds.
Turkeys, Game Birds, and Other Poultry
Turkeys, geese, ducks, and pheasants are often raised as pets or for their egg and meat-producing qualities. They also can do terrific projects for children to learn responsibility and animal husbandry skills.
There are more than a hundred breeds and more varieties of fowls. The fowls are classified based on their utility to man. They are meat type, egg type, dual type and games, and ornamental type. Based on their origin, there are four major exotic breeds of fowls. They are American breeds, Asiatic breeds, English breeds, and Mediterranean breeds. In addition to the above many of the indigenous breeds are also reared.
Poultry farming has now become very popular. It is recognized as an organized and scientifically based industry with tremendous employment potential. It plays an essential part in the rural economy of India. It provides a ready source of income to the cultivator. Besides meat and eggs, poultry supplies feathers and rich manure. The following factors are being taken into consideration for the growth of poultry farming.
1) small initial investment
2) availability of quality chicks
3) short generation interval
4) quick, assured and better returns compared to other livestock species
5) availability of trained manpower 6) better understanding and knowledge of the improved and scientific methods of feeding
7) management and health control
Rearing involves the following stages
Selection of eggs
Eggs meant for hatching and rearing must be selectedvery carefully. The following points should be considered during the selection of eggs.
- The egg should be fertile.
- Over-sized and small-sized eggs should not be selected instead of medium-sized should be preferred.
- Dark-brown shelled eggs hatch earlier than light-brown shelled eggs.
- Freshly laid eggs are preferred for rearing.
Incubation and hatching
The fertilized hen’s egg undergoes development during incubation and hatching processes. The fully formed bird emerges out of the egg after a hatching period of 21-22 days. During this period, the egg must obtain optimum temperature, humidity, and ventilation, etc. The maintenance of newly laid eggs in optimum condition till hatching is called incubation.
The incubation is of two types, namely natural incubation and artificial incubation. In the natural incubation method, the eggs are subjected to the care of the mother. A mother hen can incubate only a limited number of eggs. In artificial incubation, the eggs are maintained in a chamber (incubator), which stimulates the optimum environmental condition. In artificial incubation, more number of eggs can be incubated than natural incubation.
Brooding is the care and management of young chickens for four to six weeks immediately after hatching. Like incubation, brooding also has natural and artificial methods. In the former, day-old chickens are left to the care of the mother, and in the latter, a temperature-controlled artificial brooder is used.
Factors involved in brooding
- Temperature – The hatched chicks are kept inside the incubator for about36 hours and then transferred to an artificial brooder. The optimum temperature is 330c during the first three days. During the subsequent weeks of brooding, the temperature is reduced by 30c each week till it reaches 210c.
- Ventilation –Fresh air movement is essential for good health and propergrowth of the chicks. Poor ventilation causes the accumulation of carbon monoxide, ammonia, and water vapor, which may lead to microbial infection in the chicken coops.
- Floor space-Adequate floor space is to be provided for the properdevelopment of chicken. Minimum 500sq.cm of floor space per chickens is to be provided. Crowding of chickens leads to weak growth and induces cannibalistic tendencies amongst the birds.
Litter- The floor of the brood house is layered by beds of hay, rice husk, or sawdust, and this is called litter. The litter bed should be 5 to 7.5cm thick, and it must be kept dry.
Light- To keep the brood house free from infectious germs, the brood house must be well ventilated. Evenly distributed sunlight promotes the proper growth of the birds and the formation of vitamin D.
- 4.The housing of poultry-Open-sided poultry is popular in our country. The primary objective of providing housing to poultry is to protect them from the sun, rain, and predators and to provide comfort. Poultry houses should be well ventilated. It should be kept cool in summer and warm in winter. The floor of the poultry house should be moisture-proof, rat-proof, free from cracks, easily cleanable, and durable.
- Poultry feeding-Feeding of poultry birds is an essential part of rearing. The diet of chickens must contain an adequate amount of water, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. The foodstuffs such as maize, barley, sorghums, wheat, oil cake, rice, etc. are to be given in standard requirements.
Poultry and poultry products are highly perishable. Hence, due attention has to be paid to the problems of processing, preservation, and marketing of poultry and poultry products for the benefit of producers, processors, and consumers. In a poultry processing unit, raw materials go as waste in the form of blood, feathers, heads, and feet. Hatchery waste includes infertile eggs, dead embryos, and hatchery unstable chicken. A large number of wet droppings are also available. Processing and using these by-products will reduce the cost of poultry production, solve the disposal problem, and minimize pollution hazard. A great deal of work has been done for processing these by-products into feather-meal, poultry by-products meal, hatchery by-products meal, eggshell meal, albumin flake, dried and poultry manure.
These birds are commonly affected by diseases such as Ranikhet, coccidiosis, fowl pox, and tick fever.
Importance of poultry farming
- The main benefit of poultry farming is, it doesn’t require high capital for starting. You need just basic capital to start raising poultry. And most of the poultry birds are not costly enough to start raising.
- Poultry farming doesn’t require a big space unless you are going to start commercially. You can easily raise some birds on your own backyard with one or numerous coops or cages. So, if you are
interested in poultry farming, then you can easily do it on your own backyard with several birds.
- Commercial poultry farming businesses also ensure a high return of investment within a very short
period. Some poultry birds like broiler chickens take a shorter duration of time to mature and generating profit.
- Poultry farm structures do not require high maintenance. You can minimize diseases and illness in
poultry by following proper hygiene and care. Diseases are less in some poultry birds like quails,turkeys, etc.
- In most cases, you don’t need any license because almost all types of poultry birds are domestic.Although, if you need a license from the relevant authority, it is also easy for poultry.
- Poultry provides fresh and nutritious food and has a huge global demand. Global consumers of poultry products prefer them due to their nutrients and freshness. Poultry products are not much
expensive and most of the people can afford those.
- Marketing poultry products is straightforward. There is an established market for poultry products inalmost all places in the world. So, you don’t have to think about marketing your products. You can
easily sell the products in your nearest local market.
- Poultry farming creates income and employment opportunities for people. Unemployed educated youth can easily create a high income and employment opportunity for them by raising
poultry commercially. Women and students can also do this business along with their daily activities.
- There are many more benefits of poultry farming, along with the benefits mentioned above. Startraising, and you will gradually learn everything.
- Various poultry farming world watch institute methods described that “about 74% of total poultry meat and 68% of total poultry eggs produced from intensive poultry farming method. Free-range farming is the other alternative method of intensive poultry farming. The free-range farming method is used for a large number of poultry birds with high stocking density. There are some basic differences between intensive and free-range poultry farming. Intensive poultry farming method is a highly efficient system which saves, land, feed, labor, and other resources and increases production. In this system, the poultry farming environment is fully controlled by the farmer. So, it ensures continuous production throughout the year in any environment and seasons. Intensive poultry farming has some
disadvantages too. Some people say the intensive system creates health risks, abuses the animals, and harms the environment. On the other hand, the free-range poultry farming method requires a large place for raising the birds, and the production is about the same as the intensive method. However, in the case of both intensive and free-range poultry farming methods, the
producers must have to use nationally approved medications like antibiotics regularly to keep the poultry birds free from diseases.
Layer poultry farming
The poultry birds which are raised for egg production are called layer poultry. Commercial hen generally starts laying eggs at the age of 12-20 weeks. They start laying eggs regularly at their 25 weeks of age.
After 70-72 weeks of age, egg production of layer poultry gets reduced. For commercial layer poultry farming, producers generally keep the hens for 12 months from their first laying period. And then sell them for slaughter purposes.
Although chickens naturally survive for more than six years. For re-invigorating egg-laying, the hens are forcemolted in some countries. For commercial egg laying poultry farming systems, the environmental conditions are often automatically controlled by the producers.
For a simple example, the presence of light helps the bird to lay eggs earlier. So, the producers shouldprovide a more lightening period to increase the probability of beginning laying eggs. The egg-laying birds lay more eggs in warmer months than the cold months.
So, keepingthe temperature of the room moderate will be very helpful for better egg production. Somecommercial egg-laying chicken breeds can produce more than 300 eggs a year.
Much uncertainty exists about the most useful method to value a poultry farm. The purpose of the research is to determine the valuation method that is the most appropriate and reliable for the valuation of a broiler farm.
A sample of 15 out of the 196 contract broiler farm valuations was selected in the Mpumalanga and North West provinces in South Africa. The size of the broiler houses was at least 10 000 sq ft. Broiler units with a minimum of four houses were taken into account.
Data was gathered using assessments of previous valuations as well as physical valuations done in the field and analyzed statistically. Figures were tested for normality; differences between the overall means were determined by the analysis of variance using the ANOVA test; the correlation coefficients between the two different methods and the dependable variable were determined, and regression analysis was fitted.
The differences in the ratio of the variance between the two sets of data used indicate that the cost approach has a smaller variation around the mean. On the other hand, the income approach suggests a more realistic approach because the basis is the net margin and not the norm for replacement and depreciation. Although differences do exist, a strong correlation exists between the two methods.
What is the aim of poultry farming?
To give the opportunity for trainees to learn about raising chickens for their meat and eggs.
To increase its production to meet the increasing demand for poultry meat. To provide a learning environment for the indigenous poultry farmer.
By now, I hope you have all your answers about poultry farming.