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In this article, you are going to learn the fundamental of poultry production on a basic stages.

The word poultry refers to birds of economic value to humans. Domestic fowl, chicken, Turkey, dock, goose, pigeon are typical examples of domesticated poultry while the non domesticated ones include ostrich, quail and pheasant.

The rearing of domesticated birds for the purposes of meat or egg production is the fundamental business of the science of poultry.

The organization involved may be a complex one encompassing hatchery, rearing, processing, storage and sometimes feed formulation.

Each of the poultry species, one way or the other, is of economic value to man. However the chicken is more famous and it is widely reared both on small and large scales.

The poultry species can be divided into light and heavy strains for the purposes of egg and meat production. All poultry breeds can be used for this purposes. The broilers and cockerels are usually kept for meat production while pullets (layers) are reared for egg production.

Management System on poultry production

Rearing environment of the birds is determined by the climatic condition, size of the flock, available facilities and the purpose of rearing. There are two broad management systems and they include the free range (extensive) and the confined (intensive)

Free range management

Birds kept under this system are given access to move freely around in search of feed during the day and may or not be provided with simple shelter during the night for the protection against predators and weather.

Birds not provided with shelter normally seek the nearby tree, available fences and uncompleted buildings to roost. This system may lead to ownership conflict, pilfering, predation and other forms of losses.

In some cases, the cock may stray away with a hen and the hen may lay her eggs and hatch them at unknown or odd places. Attempt to relocate the laying nest of the hen with her eggs sometimes leads to total rejection of the eggs.

The extensive system though quite losses, allows the birds free access to insects and grasses at liberty thus producing biological egg and meat. This system does not require additional cost and it is essentially the system that is common among the Nigerian populace.

In commercial extensive system however, coops are strategically located to house the birds at night.

Advantages of free ranges systems
  • It is cheap to maintain
  • Birds are more resistant to disease outbreak by the reason of large space.
  • Birds have advantage of greens and exposure to sunlight for Vitamin A and D respectively.
Disadvantages of free range system
  • Birds are exposed to predators
  • Birds are subjected to variation in environmental condition.
  • Growth, performance and mating of birds cannot be monitored.
  • No proper records of birds.

Confined management

The practice of confinement allows for additional housing and labour expenditures and it affords proper feeding, ease of management, disease control and record keeping. The housing and feeding schedule under this system are of two considerations: intensive and semi intensive system.

Intensive management

This system can be considered under two divisions: deep litter and cage systems. These two housing systems have a common building structure, but are different by the reason of what is within the house.

The general house building pattern for both systems include roof, ridge, wire mesh, dwarf wall foundation and foot dip.

Deep litter system of poultry house

Litters are absorbent materials that are put on the floor in the poultry house on which bird are kept. They include wood shavings, straws, grasses etc. In Nigeria, wood shavings are commonly used by reason of availability and absence of cost.

Birds kept on deep litters can move freely around the house. On top of the litters are feeders and drinkers to supply feed and water respectively to the birds. The birds feed and drink as they wonder around the house.

The deep litter system can be used for broilers, cockerels, pullets and layers.

What are your thoughts on this fundamentals of poultry production?

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