This is the production of domesticated birds, for commercial reasons. The common poultry birds include Pigeon, Guinea fowls, Turkey, Ducks geese and Chicken. Poultry birds are kept either for the meat or for eggs. For the purpose of this article we shall look into:
2. Geese & Ducks
3. Guinea fowls
Basically there are three systems of keeping poultry depend of the availability of capital.
a. Free range system
b. Semi intensive system
c. Intensive system
a. Free Range System:- this is the traditional method of keeping poultry and does not require much capital. The numbers of birds kept under this management system is not much and the poultry is just supplementary to other work. Turkey and chicken are well adapted to this management system. Gees and Ducks have tendency to either fly away or swim along current of water and never to return during rainy season.
The farmer in this case can start the stock with 3-5 parent stock depending on the availability of capital. A friend of mine started his Turkey business by buying five fertile turkey eggs from another farmer and introduced the eggs to a broody hen (Chicken) to hatching. That was how he got 5 turkey pullets as parent stock. Each turkey egg cost N 200. We can then say he got the five parent stock for less than N 3000 adding the cost of the broody hen and cost of feeding it to hatching period. This method can also be employed to raise parent stock of Guinea fowl.
Observation confirms that chicken are better mothers to their chicks than guinea fowls and turkeys. The hen fends for their chicks and protect them against predators like hawk, rats and snakes where possible. Ducks and geese are not good mother so under the free range system, it is better to allow chicken to hatch the eggs of turkeys and guinea fowls.
The free range system is basically for the production of meat. It is economical to produce eggs of free range management because some of the egg are laid in bush or wherever the birds prepare their nest and locating the nest may be difficult for the farmers.
Feeding – feeding of birds on free range is usually in the morning and afternoon if possible.
The birds are fed with corn or sorghum in the morning before they go out for the day. Water should be provided at a spot accessible to the birds especially during the dry season.
Matured birds should be taken to the local market the prices of birds varies and price N 750 to N 2,000 for cock that is male chicken depending on the size/weight. The local birds are well adapted to management under free range system.
Semi Intensive System – this is the management system where the birds are kept in an open paddock. The care is none is more intensive compared to free range. The birds are confine into a small paddock where they are fed but allowed to go out of the paddock into the open yard.
More food is required in this management system. The birds are not allowed to roam about or go outside to range freely. There is more care and protection for the birds compared to free range. It is possible to keep birds for egg production under the system of management. The number of birds kept can also be plenty up to One hundred or Two hundred depending on the capital available and the stock can be increased gradually to the required bird population.
Intensive System:- this is the real business of poultry enterprise it is of various categories depending on the required product. There are two basic method under this system of management are
1 Deep litter system
2 Cage System
As the name implies, the birds are kept indoor and catered for throughout the rearing period. All the feed and medicine are provide regularly for optimum yield. When the birds are reared for meat production they are called broilers. The ones reared for eggs are called layers
Second part of this article is coming soon.