Poultry is an important source of protein patronized by most people irrespective of their religious backgrounds.
Poultry species commonly raised for commercial purposes in Ghana are fowls/chicken, categorized as broilers and layers for meat and egg production respectively.
Broilers are birds kept purposely for meat. They are fast growing and mature between 6-8 weeks.
Management of Broilers
Commercial broiler production is commonly managed under intensive system. The preferred housing for broiler production is the deep litter.
Floor Space Requirement for Birds.
|broiler||Age in weeks||Ft.sq/bird||m.sq/bird||Birds/m.sq|
Waterer space (water trough)
Chicks require 1.3-1.5cm/chick (0.5-0.6inches) of trough space. As chicks grow, that is from 4 weeks, space must be increased to 2cm/bird (0.8inches) of trough space.
Feeder space (feed trough)
Chicks require 5cm (2inches)/chick of trough space. As chicks grow, space must be increased to 7.6cm. (3 inches) of trough space per bird.
How to prepare for chicks
Chicks are brooded for a period of 2-3 weeks in a hygienic environment to avoid infections.
Steps to follow
- Clean and disinfect the brooder house 1-2 weeks before birds arrive.
- Wash and disinfect water/feed troughs and brooder guard.
- Clean and remove weeds and debris outside the house.
How to receive chicks
- The floor of the house must be covered with wood shavings 3 days before chicks arrive
- Place brooder guard around the source of heat few hours before chicks arrive
- The house must be preheated at a temperature of 31o-33oc (90o-95oF) about 3-4hours before chicks arrive (gas or electric brooders are recommended) this should be reduced gradually to 21oc by 3 weeks of age. Two of 150 watts incandescent bulbs are recommended for a floor space of 4.95sqm. (53.28sqft.) suspended at 0.3 m. (1ft) from the floor level.
- Fill waterers with clean water and place in the house 3-4 hours before chicks arrive.
- Provide feed on flat pans about 1 or 2 hours after the chicks have taken some water.
Raising of birds
Birds are transferred from the brooder house to the growing house/pen at 2-3 weeks of age.
There are two types of feed for broilers; broilers starter from day old to 4 weeks and broilers finisher.
Sample feed for starters & finishers
|Ingredient||Kg S.F||Kg S.F||Kg S.F||Kg S.F||Kg S.F||Kg F||Kg F|
|Brewer’s spent grain||12||12||–||–||12.4||11||–|
S- Starter diet.
F- Finisher diet.
Feeding should be ad lib (feed without limit).
Wash troughs with clean water and detergent daily. Provide foot bath with disinfectant at the door step.
The poultry house and feed storage area should area should be kept free of rodents and wild birds. There should be good aeration and light in all poultry houses.
Avoid wet litter conditions as this promotes the growth of the infectious disease.
Read also: Importance of Farm Records Keeping
|1st Newcastle disease||2nd week|
|Gumboro disease||3rd week|
|Fowl pox||4th week|
|2nd Newcastle disease||6th week|
If you encounter any serious challenges, please contact your district livestock/veterinary officer. You may also want to discuss the issue at the Animal Production Forum.