Raising and maintaining broilers for Christmas Day
Christmas is on the way and everyone is getting ready for that special day. People purchase both food and non-food stuffs. On that day, change in diet is a must almost for everyone. Among all the different types of meat, chicken is the cheapest that almost every family prepares.
Different breeds and types of chicken are put on the market by farmers. These include broilers, off-layers, kuroilers and local birds. Of all types of chicken, broilers grow fast and within four weeks provide chicken meat for a bigger population on that day. If you target Christmas, this is the exact week for you to stock.
How can you rear viable broilers for Christmas?
The first important thing to do by the farmer is to book broiler chicks from a reliable source; this to make sure that your chicks are healthy and energetic.
A broiler chick now ranges from sh2,600 to sh2,800. For this chick to make 1kg, it will have eaten 2.5kg of feed after 3½-4 weeks. A farmer will have put in sh6,000 to sh7,000 in one bird together with all vaccinations. The sh7,000 will be the cost of production.
The stocking rate of broiler chicks will be 75 birds/1m² and a grown-up will be 10 birds/m² in the room.
On the arrival of the chicks at the farm, give them glucose and vitamins to relieve them from transport stress. Wait for 1½-3 hours to give them feeds as this prevents them from getting digestive complications.
Use pre-starter feeds (e.g. chick-care) for chicks for 1-2 weeks, then followed by the growers’ marsh or pellets till 3 weeks. After this period, birds are fed on finisher’s marsh up to 4 to 6 weeks when these broilers are ready for sell.
Mind about the size of feed (maize) particles. Normally, chicks after 1 week are given feeds of size of 1mm (finer), at 3 weeks 2mm (smaller) and 4 weeks 3mm (medium). This assures that your birds eat feeds that can be digested easily without complications. Your birds will have quicker growth targeting the Christmas market. Give them feeds constantly. Always these birds must have feeds in their feed troughs day and night.
The vaccination programme for these birds is briefer than for the layers, because they stay on the farm for a short period. The first week they are given Newcastle and infectious bronchitis combined followed by Gumboro 1 vaccine in second week and Gumboro 2 in the third week. Lastly, in a fourth week, these birds are vaccinated against Newcastle and infectious bronchitis combined if they are staying at the farm for 6 weeks.
Right now, on the market a broiler with 1kg is costing sh14,000. Remember the cost of production of sh7,000 per bird plus the sh2,600 purchase, a farmer will make a difference sh4,400 per bird, which will be the net profit.
Note: Good profits in the poultry business can only be gotten if the farmer sticks onto the right poultry management practicals.
Ssemwogerere works with Champrisa International