ERROR OF HOUSING AND FLOOR SPACING SPECIFICATIONS
Housing and floor spacing both have great influence on weight gain of broilers. Broilers are restricted in movement to consolidate benefits of balanced feeds by preventing burning of body fats meant for weight gain. Appropriate housing and floor spacing is one of the keys to raising weighty broilers.
Having good knowledge about the required floor space for your broilers is fundamental to the appropriate body weight gain. Floor space management is very important in broilers to promote and maintain good weight.
Broilers at commercial rearing are generally raised through the following:
Deep litter system
Battery cage system
DEEP LITTER SYSTEM
This system involves raising the birds on the bare floor. The floor is cover with litter material (e.g. wood shaven) hence, the name: deep litter system.
The advantage is the fact that the initial cost of housing the bird is low. It has several disadvantages which include:
1. Diseases are easily transmitted from bird to bird whenever there is an outbreak.
2. Difficult to maintain. Managerial activities can be tasking.
3. It encourages cannibalism, feed wastage, eggs sucking in layers etc.
4. Culling activities is usually difficult. (Culling is the act of indentifying and removing unproductive birds among the flock)
BATTERY CAGE SYSTEM
Battery cage system involves raising the broiler in a conferment using galvanized cage. This is the best system. Diseases are not easily transmitted as sick ones are easily identified and culled. Cannibalism is minimized, birds are easily managed etc. The initial cost is usually high.
Many farmers adopt deep litter with automatic water system in broiler management because more birds can be raised through this system; coupled with the fact that broiler lifespan is short and it’s a cheaper means of raising broilers. A farmer can raise six (6) cycles of broilers (six week old per batch) within a year. Broilers lifespan at commercial level is usually 0-6 weeks.
FLOOR SPACE SPECIFICATION
Excess space is not meant for broilers, if you want to achieve good weight at target week. Adequate floor space for broilers right from day old will compliment the effects of balanced feeds thereby promoting rapid weight gain!
Weekly floor space per bird is as follows:
WEEK 1: (0.25 FEET SQUARE)
This is the first week of arrival (first week in the brooding days) Appropriate floor spacing is very critical to broilers’ weight gain. When you allow excess space, broilers tend to burn body fat meant to weight gain.
This implies that for 1000 broilers at week one (1) you need:
1000 x 0.25 = 250 (feet square area) this could be interpreted as:
10ft x 25ft, 50ft x 5ft … this depends on the nature of your land, the direction of sun rise and sun set and the prevailing wind and rain.
WEEK 2: (0.50 FEET SQUARE)
You will increase the floor space in the second week to 0.50 square feet per bird. For 1000 broilers you have:
1000 x 0.50 = 500 (feet square area) this could be interpreted as:
50ft x 10ft, 25ft x 20ft,
WEEK 3: (0.75 FEET SQUARE)
0.75 feet square per bird, for 1000 broilers, we have:
1000 x 0.75ft2 = 750 (feet square area) this could be interpreted thus:
75ft x 10ft, 30ft x 25ft,
WEEK 4: (1.00 FEET SQUARE)
One (1) feet square per bird. For 1000 broilers
1000 x 1ft2 = 1000 (feet square area), this could be:
100ft x 10ft, 50ft x 20ft, 25ft x 40ft
WEEK 5: (1.20 FEET SQUARE)
1.20 feet square per bird, for 1000 broilers
1000 x 1.20 = 1200 (feet square area), this could be:
100ft x 12ft, 60ft x 20ft, 40ft x 30ft
WEEK 6: (1.25 FEET SQUARE) WEEK OF DISPOSAL IN COMMERCIAL FARMING
1.25 feet square per bird, for 1000 broilers
1000 x 1.25 = 1250 (feet square area) this could be:
25ft x 50ft,
SITE SELECTION IN BROILER FARM
Carefully select a site for your broiler business. Such site should be:
Preferable flat land – plain flat land makes you spent less money especially at foundation level. The foundation is easily set. Always allow one couch block above the ground level. This will be a great help against runoff water from flowing into your pen
Avoid water log land – water log land encourages mosquitoes breeding which is a major carrier agent of fowl pox disease. Coccida, the causative agent of coccidiosis thrives well in a wet environment.
Good accessibility – safe movement of materials, farm products and humans to and fro will be much easier when road to your farm is in good condition.
Fenced land – security of your investment is very vital to the progress and profitability of your farm. Security of your farm must never be compromised. Movement of visitors should be restricted, don’t allow visitors to go close to your pen.
Access to source of electricity & water – electricity & water are very critical to the success of any poultry farm. Geo-physical survey of your farm-site must shows easy access to underground water for functional well or bore-hole.
Not erosion prone land – erosion prone site will jeopardize or ruins the bright future of your farm. Avoid such site.
HOUSING DESCRIPTION AND SPECIFICATION
Broiler is a table bird that grows very fast under good management. They build up body weight and therefore need a well ventilated housing pattern.
Broiler building must not face wind and rain direction. Build against the path of sunlight. The building should not be such that rays of sun are found in the pen especially in the afternoon. You will always be a victim of heatstroke if your housing pattern is directly open to the movement of the sun.
It’s an all side’s open ventilated structure. The surrounding walls should not be higher than three level couches. Wire gouge should be used for the remaining structure. These provide perfect cross ventilation for the broilers and relative humidity will be low.
The building should be high of about twelve (10) feet high. High building prevents radiation of heat on the broilers. You can provide heat emission point on the roof of your pen.
Begin to recondition the environmental condition of your farm by planting trees around the pens. If such is your permanent land, one of the best things to do is to begin to plant trees after thorough farm planning.
BENEFITS OF GOOD HOUSING
Heatstroke is prevented: heatstroke is a great challenge to contend with in broilers. This is a situation where effect of heat causes mortality in broilers. This can be sudden and result in great economy losses.
High relative humidity: the floor is well dried and not moldy. This reduces the activities of flies. Offensive odor is eliminated. Possibility of coccidiosis outbreak is reduced.
High cross ventilation: free flow of air is high in a well structured broilers pen
Bad vices are reduced: pecking and cannibalism are highly reduced in a well built broiler pen.
Promote good growth and bird uniformity.
It eliminates diseases outbreak.
1. Pen foundation should be at least one couches block above the ground level to prevent possible flow in of runoff water and attack by soldier ants.
2. The wall should not be higher than 3 couches block (however your location may determine this) this will encourage high ventilation, low relative humidity. Broilers will do well under high ventilation.
2. Build pen against prevailing wind and storm direction to prevent rain drought to the pen. Study the movement of sun in your location, before you erect your pen. Study the sun set and sun rise location. If ray of sun is directly found in your pen at noon, that is not good. This can cause heatstroke, leading to mortality.
3. Use wire gouge for netting for perfect ventilation not mosquitoes net. This allows good inflow of air into your pen.
4. Make your pen high enough for free movement. Low pen structure will increase heat radiation on your bird.
GUIDING PRINCIPLES OF TRANSFERRING BROILERS FROM BROODING HOUSE TO THE REARING PEN
1. The transfer should be done in the morning hours. Morning hours activities in broilers reduce stress on your bird. Activities like birds transfer, vaccination, deworming should be carried out in the morning hours.
2. Fumigation and disinfection activities must have been carried out at least 5 days prior the transfer of the birds to the bigger pen.
3. Use transferring cage and transfer them gently.
4. The pen must have been littered with dry wood shaven an hour or more to the arrival of the birds.
5. Feeders and drinkers must have been evenly distributed in the bigger pen with sufficient feeds and clean water. Use adequate number of feeders.
6. All feeders and drinkers must be raised to the level convenient for the birds to access.
7. The water must contain anti stress drug, glucose can be of help.
8. Avoid carrying too many birds at the same time
LITTER MANAGEMENT IN BROILER PEN
Litter management is very important to the survival of your broilers. A good litter material promotes healthy birds. Litter materials such as wood shaven, rice bran, and groundnut husk are okay.
Avoid the use of wood saw dust as this can constitute health hazard for your birds. Wood saw dust is the finest particle obtained from sawing the wood. It’s very offensive to broilers. This particle when mix with water can constitute a poisonous solution in the drinkers which can lead to unexplainable mortality.
A PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
I was keeping a batch of broilers in my pen. We obtain wood shaven as litter material. Suddenly we could not get wood shaven due to the high demand by many farmers around us and poor services of men working at wood mill. Then we just have to use what we can lay hand on and that was wood dust. I discovered thereafter, we began to have mortality day after day. I could not find out the reason for this mortality but then I suspected the effect of wood dust. I order that it should be removed guess what happened, the mortality stopped from that day onward. Use of wood dust as litter material can be hazardous to your birds.
HOW TO CONTROL SOLDIER ANTS IN POULTRY FARM
Soldier ants could cause great havoc to your birds if they invade your pen unnoticed. Soldier ants attack is always sudden. You must be on guard against possible attack anytime, any day. To be on the safer side, make sure you take proactive measures against inversion of soldier ants. Take the following measures against soldier ants attack:
Build a good foundation
Make sure the foundation of your pen is higher than the ground level and make use of cement to build it up. The floor of the pen should be well concreted and floored to prevent all sorts of cracks. Ants will find it difficult to burrow through concrete than through mud. Cracks provide quick entry for ants.
Avoid eating in the pen
No staff should eat in the pen. This act can invite ants to your pen. Eating of light refreshments like beans cake, sugarcane, should be disallowed. Let there be high level of discipline in your staff.
Remove objects of invitation
Everything capable of inviting ants should be removed immediately. Dead birds must not stay overnight. Staff must be careful they don’t drop foods or sweeteners carelessly in the pen. Don’t keep feed bags in the pen. Minimize pouring of feeds on the litters and don’t keep feeds in the pen. Make sure feeds are kept in the store away from pen. Maintain dry and neat litters always. Make sure all raw materials e.g. groundnut cake, soya bean cake; palm kernel cake and amino ingredients are kept away from the rearing pen.
Use of insecticide
Carefully spray insecticide round your pen once in two weeks interval in area prone to infestation. This should be carefully carried out with the nozzle of your knapsack sprayer facing the ground. You can also try to identified their base (colony) and attack them with powerful insecticide.
Good litter’s management
Keep neat litter. Avoid keeping old litter close to or inside part of the pen