This is article 2 of a 3 part article, you can find article 1 here.
Broilers production:- this is the production of chicken meat for the table. The rearing and harvesting period are usually determined by festivals and ceremonies. Edil fitri the Muslim Ramadan period, Easter period in April and Dec & early Jan Christmas and New year periods. And the seasons of every consumption of poultry in Nigeria. Traditionally Nigerians eats poultry products, turkey, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, chicken e.t.c to celebrate these festivals.
Broiler are offer reared on deep litter system. The pen should be constructed to size according to the number of birds. A competent veterinary officer should also be on roll to look after the health of the chicks. The minimum profitable quantity in 200 birds for the drugs and vaccines are often in 200 or multiple doses.
The pens should be constructed and surrounded with wire net to keep out predators. A space of 10m x 10m in enough for 200 chicks.
The pen should be properly disinfected and covered with mat or poly sack round to insulate the pen against cold, for the day old chick to be introduced should not suffer cold especially in the night to early morning period. Feed troughs, water troughs, electric bulbs or hurricane lamps should be provided to warm up the pen, where these are not available coal pot may be used to warm the rearing pens. For the birds should be made comfortable at all times.
With sophistication there are large pens automate to house up to 50,000 birds comfortably at a time.
Stocking the pen:- purchase day old chicks from reputable hatchery. For the first 6 weeks broilers should be feed on broiler starter mash. Broiler starter mash in very rich containing up to 16 – 17% protein and essential amino acids. Minerals and vitamins and antibiotics and growth promoters. Drab vitamins and antibiotics supplement may be provided to boost the feed in take. Collect the chicks from the hatchery either very early in the morning between 6 and 7am or later in the evening after 3:30 pm to reduce heat and transport stress.
The pen littered with wood shaving up to 1 inch illuminated to encourage the chief to feed 24 hours even during the night. Note that the litter should be of wood shavings not Saw Dust looks alike with mash and may be convincing to the chicks.
Feed troughs set in place with broiler starter mash, water troughs who should contain some antibiotics and mineral supplement to boost growth the light and the heating device all in place. Introduce the chicks to the fens and watch their activity if you see them moving about, playing and eating then they are comfortable. If they open their mouth and carry their wing loose from their body breathing heavily then the heat is too much in this case reduce the heat open windows and doors to allow fresh air into the fen. The broilers chicks feeds on broilers starter mash for six weeks by this time they should be above 1.5kg. Change the feed to broilers finisher mash. Broilers finisher mash contain lower level of protein 14 – 15% and higher level of mineral than broiler starter. Feed them on this ration for another 4wks and they are ready for the market by this time they should up to 3kg market size.
When catching the chickens for market make sure you don’t stress them. Use correct equipment (catcher) for catching them. The period of buoyant sales are the festival period Easter, Christmas, New Year and Ramadan period. Of utmost importance is the vaccination programme. Seek the assistance of a competent veterinary officer. The following are the usual and common vaccines:
1. Day 1- new castle & Mereck vaccines administered intra ocular (eye drop)
2. When they are two weeks old apply Gumboro vaccines orally in drinking water. Remove water from the fen the previous night before serving the Gumboro vaccines in the following morning so the chicks will stimulated to drink the vaccines 1 hour after serving, when they have finish the vaccines serve normal water and do not use any Antibiotics 2 days before and 2 days after applying the Gumboro vaccines
3. 4wks vaccinates against fowl pox (sub cutaneous that is on the wing web)
4. 5wks serve Lasota to boost the new castle disease virus intra ocular applied on day 1
5. 6wks inject new castle disease virus kumorov intra muscular on the thigh of each bird
Coccidiostat and concidiocidal drugs should be administered regularly
With good management the broilers should be ready for market in 10wks. Note that feeding after 12wks is counter productive as the chicks eat more feed than the meat they develop on their body. That is their growth rate is reduced they used more feed for body maintenance than for growth the price of broilers during the last Ramadan festival is N1,500.00 in Agege market.