Intensive care for layers
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CTA. 2004. Intensive care for layers. Rural Radio Resource Pack 04/2. Wageningen, The Netherlands: CTA.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/57211
Mr. Wainaina, who keeps over 5000 layers, explains the management systems he uses on his farm in Moisbridge, Kenya.
Intensive care for layers Cue: Intensive poultry production, whether for production of meat or eggs, requires very high standards of care. In particular, farmers must guard their birds against disease and provide suitable feed. In our next report, Eric Kadenge visits a poultry farm in his home country of Kenya, and learns some surprising things, both about the advantages and the methods for keeping laying hens. IN: ?Mr Wainaina is a poultry farmer ? OUT: ?65% we shall sell them.? DUR?N 6?46? BACK ANNOUNCEMENT: Mr Wainaina was speaking to Eric Kadenge. Transcript Kadenge Mr Wainaina is a poultry farmer from a small town known as Moisbridge - that is located 400km north west of Nairobi. From a humble beginning of 100 birds, he now has 5000 layers! During a recent visit, he explained to me what it takes to take care of these birds right from the day he gets his one day old chicks from the hatchery, up to the time he disposes them off when their productivity has reduced. Wainaina Yaah, this is now the house number 14 with a capacity of 2000 birds. Kadenge Two thousand birds? Wainaina Yes. Kadenge Now tell me how you start off. Wainaina I usually buy chicks from hatcheries then I rear them till they come to the laying. During rearing, one has to use the right food and the right vaccination because if you don't vaccinate chicks when they are young, you will have a lot of problems when they grow old. They'll keep on dying - you might not even know what exactly is killing them. So first you vaccinate them against Newcastle, fowl typhoid, fowl pox, Gumboro, and this other disease they call infectious bronchitis. Kadenge Other than vaccination, what other methods do you use to control the spread of diseases? Wainaina The workers work in individual houses. They don't move from one house to the other house. That's how we also control the diseases. Kadenge And now moving away from the vaccination part of it, how do you feed these birds? Where do you get the food from? Wainaina Well, we make our own food. We get raw material like maize bran, wheat bran, fish, cotton seed cake and sunflower seed cake and then we mix them here locally for our use and for our neighbours. I also sell it to my neighbours to make it a bit economical because if you make so little food, it will not be economical. I have to have purchasing power. Kadenge So the main reason why you decided to make your own food is to reduce the cost? Wainaina Yaah, one point was to reduce the cost. The other one was to get quality feeds. Because sometime we might find that some food manufacturers, if they lack one material they can even do without that material but with us, we make sure that all the material must be there before we make the food. Kadenge And how do you tell that your birds are getting proper feed? Does it show in productivity for example? Wainaina Yaah, for the layers it is easy, you just note by the reduction of eggs if the food is not good. For chicks, you have to wait for sometime because you can only note that through growth. If they are retarded you will know that they are not growing well and so the food is not good. Kadenge And it terms of productivity, how many eggs do you get from these 5000 birds? Wainaina We get about 4500 eggs per day. Kadenge After how long do the birds stop laying and you have to get new birds? Wainaina Well from the day the chicks come to the farm, we finish two years and then we sell the birds. After selling the birds, we clean the house, disinfect it and then bring in the new flock, but we usually change the birds on only half the farm. Kadenge Now why is this? Wainaina First our customers will have problems with their supply and you know you have to keep your customers with a supply throughout the year for him to keep his customers hence you will be in business. The other issue is we have to time the birds to sell them when there is a good market for meat. So like December is when we sell the birds. So immediately after we sell, we bring new flock. Kadenge Is rearing the chicks the same as rearing the grown ups in terms of taking care of them? Wainaina Rearing the chicks is a bit difficult. One has to be extremely careful otherwise they will die, so many. You have to keep them warm, you have to keep them with clean water, give them light for the first three to four weeks and make sure they are all comfortable. Kadenge What is the importance of the light? Wainaina The importance of the light is that they have to eat throughout the night and throughout the day for the first three weeks so that they can get strong quickly. Kadenge Wow! That is very interesting! What else do you do in terms of ensuring that the house is clean enough for the chicks? Wainaina The house has to be raked regularly and it has to be dry - completely dry. Kadenge Now I can see that some birds have half beaks. What happened to the beaks? Is that the way they were when they were hatched? Wainaina Oh no, they were hatched with full beaks. The process of reducing the beak is called de-beaking. During the hot season like the last season we had to de-beak them because they started pecking one another and they do that until they eat the whole bird. Kadenge Now given a farm like this with all these birds, is there any other farming activity that benefits from these birds? Wainaina Yaah, there are two more activities that benefit from these birds. First I have got dairy cattle. We get our milk from those cows. They eat the chicken droppings. The other is, we grow our crops from the manure - chicken droppings - so we don't use chemical fertilizer, we use these droppings. Kadenge Now did you say that the cows eat chickens droppings, I have never heard of this! Wainaina Yaah, they do. You know when a hen eats more than enough, it doesn't digest completely so it just removes it. So the cow digests it further so it gets a lot of minerals and food from the droppings. Kadenge So they eat the droppings plain or do you mix them with other feeds? Wainaina First you have to mix to make it like it. Then after it's used to it, it will just eat it plainly. Kadenge Now let's visit one more house that I can see right here ahead us. How many birds are there in this one? Wainaina Now here we have just a few - about 700 birds. Kadenge And how old are these? Wainaina These ones are almost two years. We are going to cull them soon. Culling is the word for selling them after they have laid enough. Kadenge So right now their egg production is reducing or has reduced? Wainaina The egg production has reduced to about 68% so by the time they get to 65% we shall sell them. End of track.