Importance of Poultry Management Practices

When handling poultry birds as a poultry farmer, you have to be very careful as your management practices goes a long way with regards to the success or failure of your investment, do not make the mistake of relying on your staff (s) for everything or say as a farmer because you have a lot of people working for you beginning from the Manager to the least person required as workers in the farm that you the owner of the farm is free,

“ I am boldly telling you that “No” you are not” because your investment can only be monitored carefully and efficiently by only “YOU” and “YOU ALONE” also bear it in mind that those you employed can only work for you as people who receives salary from you and please don’t get me wrong am not saying that there are no good and trustworthy workers out there am only trying to make you as a poultry farmer understand the importance of your presence in your business because only then will you be able to realize what is actually going on in your farm and be able to identify your problems early enough and also seek for possible solutions as fast as possible.

Sometimes most farmers bring up issues like “I got to my poultry and saw my birds jumping from one corner of the pen to the other” what do you think is affecting them?

Well there are many things that could be responsible for this but four (4) things that will really come to mind include the following: first of all check if there are no stranger like rat, lizard etc in the pen house. It may also be due to heat stress.

Another good suspect is ectoparasite infestation. You may also try to see if there is any noise coming close to their pen. If none of these is the case then invite your consultant for a proper investigation and solution.

Also some will say “of recent, I discovered that my birds will be very active during the day, but between the night and the following morning, I would have lost some of them” What do you think is responsible?

Well your birds are not likely to be suffering from any disease; it is likely to be rat or snake attack or any other predator that devours at night. However, if this is proved wrong, call on your consultant.

Read Also: Coccidiosis in Poultry: Signs, Drugs and Treatment

15 management tips for better poultry performance potential

Achieving good bird, barn and gut health requires operational excellence and attention to detail. A combination of quality nutrition, veterinary guidance, and increased consideration of barn and bird management will help to ensure birds have the best possible chance to perform at their maximum potential.

The acronym “FLAWS” has commonly served as a reminder to check feed, light, litter, air, water, (bio)security, sanitation, space and staff. FLAWS actually serves as a detailed approach to best management practices, not only during brooding but throughout the life of the flock.

Some critical focus areas are as follows:

  1. Biosecurity

Well-defined biosecurity practices throughout broiler production (pre-, during and post-placement) are crucial to successful poultry production.

Effective biosecurity can aid hygiene, vermin and insect control on-farm and help to limit disease transmission within and between barns.

2. Downtime between flocks

Adequate downtime of at least 14 days with appropriate cleaning and disinfection measures between flock placements helps to reduce transmission of disease between flocks and allows time to prepare for the next flock.

3. Pre-placement preparation

Pre-placement preparation is needed before the new flock arrives to help prevent losses during brooding and the rest of grow out.

Checkpoints to keep in mind: heaters, floor temperature, temperature and relative humidity probes, ventilation, drinkers, feeders, etc.

4. Coccidiosis prevention

Coccidiosis is a disease caused by a microscopic intestinal parasite. This parasite can have an impact on intestinal integrity and may predispose birds to other intestinal problems.

Maintaining intestinal integrity during this time through innovative technologies provided in the Alltech® Gut Health Management program is critical in allowing birds to perform to their maximum levels despite gut health challenges.

5. Brooding management

With today’s improved genetic capabilities and the fast growth of birds, more time is being spent during the critical brooding phase.

As a result, ensuring a good start in poultry production can have a significant impact on the future health and performance of the birds.

The brooding period is an important time for intestinal growth and the development of a balanced microflora.

Read Also: Worm infestation in Poultry: Signs and Treatment

6. Litter management

The litter in a poultry house acts as bedding for the birds. In addition to standing and resting on the bedding, birds will naturally peck at the litter.

Litter condition and quality have an impact on broiler intestinal health and profitability, starting from when the chicks are placed all the way through production.

Wet litter presents a vicious cycle for intestinal health. Without proper management, even in patches, wet litter can serve as a breeding ground for potential pathogens and may be a starting point for intestinal stress that develops and leads to disease.

As wet litter problems increase, ammonia levels in the barn rise, which can be potentially detrimental to bird health. It is much easier to prevent and manage litter moisture conditions before they start.

Some factors to consider which may help prevent the development of wet litter: type of material, quality of litter, litter depth, water quality, drinker line management, lighting management, ventilation and temperature.

Litter that is too dry and dusty can be one of many indications that the birds may not be drinking enough. Too much dusty material may lead to respiratory problems.

7. Water management

Drinking water accounts for 70–80 percent of the bird’s daily drinking needs. Poultry will generally consume more water than feed.

As a result, water is the most critical nutrient for poultry. An abundance of clean water will reduce challenges and maximize performance.

Factors to consider when thinking about water management include:

Quality, height, pressure, mineral content and accessibility

Cleanliness of drinker lines/regulators prior to flock placement and during production

Flushing water lines between flocks and during production

Elimination of biofilms and mineral buildup

Drinker equipment maintenance

8. Feed management

Birds must have easy access to feed. Proper feeder line height corresponding to the height of the birds helps to reduce feed wastage and mixing feed with litter, and it ensures that all birds have access to feed.

Adequate feed access is also achieved by following the feed line manufacturer’s recommendations for the number of birds per feed pan or line of trough feeder.

Birds will naturally peck at litter but avoiding “out-of-feed” events helps to reduce the potential for birds to peck excessively at the litter.

Simple measures like activating trigger feed pans and monitoring feed bin levels during barn checks can help to prevent such events.

Good feed quality that avoids contaminants like mycotoxins is important to ensure performance.

9. Stocking density

A higher stocking density of poultry in addition to crowded housing conditions has been shown to have a negative impact on performance, causing stress to both the birds and intestinal microbiota.

Lowering stocking density throughout the overall production of the birds may help to reduce challenges.

Read Also: Difference between Poultry Vaccines and Poultry Drugs

10. Environmental management

General environmental management of the barn includes many components, such as temperature, relative humidity, ventilation and lighting.

Understanding that these components work both separately and together can help to guide your management practices.

11. Monitoring during times of transition

Increasing the frequency at which barns are walked and examining the activity of the flock can help with early disease detection.

Daily monitoring of temperature, humidity and ventilation inside the barn as well as outside temperature is recommended.

Monitoring transition times can help with understanding what is happening in the barn (e.g., from day to night, when birds are placed, during half-house brooding, feed changes, etc.).

Monitoring feed and water consumption helps to monitor the flocks’ progress.

12. Keeping an eye on equipment

Walking the barns routinely will also help to ensure equipment remains in working order.

13. Mortality checks

Cull diseased birds as early as possible.

14. Flock health management

Work with your veterinarian to design a program customized for your flock’s health.

15. Communication and teamwork

Ensuring strong communication and coordination between all those involved in helping your farm run smoothly will ensure a stronger and more successful gut health management program for your birds.

Do you have any questions, suggestions, or other contributions? Kindly use the comment box provided below for all your contributions. You are also encouraged to please kindly share this article with others you feel can benefit from this information if found useful enough as we may not be able to reach everyone at the same time. Thank you so much for sharing!

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Benadine Nonye is an agricultural consultant and a writer with over 12 years of professional experience in the agriculture industry. - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education...  Visit My Websites On: 1. - Your Comprehensive Practical Agricultural Knowledge and Farmer’s Guide Website! 2. - For Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices. 3. - Your Reliable Agriculture and Waste Management Online Community Forum! 4. - The Agriculture and Waste Management Practices On Your Screen! 5. - Your Reliable Agriculture Job Board! Join Me On:  Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: TheAgriPedia TV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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