Introduction to Poultry Farming

Layers mash feed formula

Poultry farming refers to a wide range of birds of various species and it applies to them generally alive or dressed that is killed and prepared for sales. It involves chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, pigeons, peacock, peafowl, ostriches, quails and even other game birds.

Most of them may be classified based on the basis of utility, economic value or purpose and this may include meat type, Egg type, dual purpose, game, ornamental etc.

Therefore poultry farming is the process of nurturing domesticated birds such as chicken, ducks, geese and turkeys for the purpose of cultivating meat or eggs for food and other purposes.

Generally, there are three (3) types of birds usually raised commercially. They are Broilers, Cockerels and Pullets (Layers).

Poultry Birds: Difference Between them

Commercial Broilers and Commercial Cockerels are raised for meat production while Pullets (Layers) are raised for both eggs and Meat Production. Broilers could either be male or female; Cockerels are meals while Pullets are females.

The term Poultry refers to a wide range of birds of various species and it applies to them generally-alive, or dressed (killed and prepared for sales). It involves chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, guinea fowl, pigeons, peacock, peafowl, ostriches, quails and even other game birds.

The domestic fowl known as Gallus domesticus originated from south east Asia and has been subjected to extensive breeding for size, colour, conformation and egg laying ability. It has a coating of feathers, no teeth, soc-like appearance and legs with spurs. The presence of comb distinguishes if from other birds.

Their breathing and pulse rates are high  and body temperature range from 150oF  to 109oF, which is higher than that of other domestic animals.

Poultry Birds may be classified on the basis of

a)      Utility

b)      Economic value or

c)       Purpose and these include; Meat type, Egg type, Dual purpose, Game, Ornamental, etc.

Birds of distinct type and colour patterns admitted to the standard are termed “standard breed”.

They are further classified as

  1. Class
  2. Breed
  3. Variety
  4. Strain.

Class is used to designate a group of breed, which have been developed in certain regions or geographical areas  e.g. Asia, England, America etc.

Breed is used to establish group of birds having the same bony shape, weight and some common characteristics.

Variety represents a sub-division of a breed, distinguished either by colour patterns, shape, comb type or feather pattern. For instance, the breed leghorns have varieties like single comb white leghorns, Rose comb white leghorns, etc.

Poultry Farming

Read Also: Different Breeds of Poultry Birds and Their Uses

Benefits of Poultry Farming

  1. It requires less investment compared to rearing other livestock
  2. It gives rapid return on investment that is production can be increased within a short period of time
  3. It is a continuous source of income, it is not seasonal and can produce income for the entire year
  4. Poultry droppings that is wastes are nitrogenous and considered good for fertilizers
  5. Feathers in poultry are used for making pillows, fancy articles and curios.
  6. It offers good full time or part time employment opportunity to farmers.

Requirements for starting poultry farming

In order to begin poultry farming, there are some certain factors to be considered and these are;

Selection of poultry specialization

The poultry industry is a broad specialization, there are many sub-sectors in the poultry industry in which one could go fully into. When poultry farming is mentioned, most people do misconstrue the meaning, some might just think its chicken rearing or turkey rearing or even geese rearing alone, but poultry farming is a very wide agro business with different sectors.

Below are some of the sectors in the poultry business;

Chicken breeding
Meat production
Poultry feed production
Poultry market and consultancy
Egg production

From the sectors of the poultry farming we have above, we can now see that poultry farming is very wide and so an area of specialization has to be chosen.

Selection of Bird

This is also an important factor. Several types of bird can be reared and these are
Domestic fowl
Turkey
Geese
Duck
Peacock
Guinea fowl

There should be an apt decision as to the rearing of chickens which are mainly divided into two the broilers and the layers.

The broilers are the ones being nurtured for meat production while the layers are the one being nurtured for both egg and meat production.

Related: Anatomy of Fishes: Female Fish and their Reproductive Strategies

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