In the wake of much talk about non-availability of jobs or much less, no capital to start jobs of our own, I just found a way around it for you. In this article, I’ll be teaching you how to start your own small scale poultry farming (< 100 birds); with everything you need to know from A to Z.
The first stage is building your brooding pen. Somewhere you keep the day olds you bought until they are strong enough to be moved to the general section. This is the foundation of your farming practice and if you get it wrong, you can lose all your investment in no time.
The birds will live in the brooding pen for about 2-3 weeks until they are mature. NOTE: Broilers are the ones that are raised for their meat (chicken), layers are kept to lay eggs. The brooding process is the same for both.
Materials you’ll need:
A drinking trough, feeding trough, cage/building, wood shave (close to saw dust), indomie carton or block, tapoline, equipment’s to provide extra heating (stove, coal pot, electric bulbs).
How to structure your brooding pen:
Choose an edge of the room not close to the window or directly facing the sun that comes in through the window. You’ll use your blocks, “indomie carton” or “tapoline” to demarcate the area. Make sure you increase the size of the demarcation as the chicks grow. This is where you put them at a day old.
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For extra heat, since they don’t have feathers covering their bodies yet, they are susceptible to cold. So put a stove or coal pot in the middle of the pen, electricity bulbs are the most advisable but we’re learning on a small scale where every cedi matters.
At this stage you have to spend a lot of time with them to notice their behaviour. If they all run close to each-other at edge of the room it means they are cold, increase heat, if they all run away from the heat source, reduce it, it means it’s too hot for them.
Their movement should be normal. Like I said, monitor them a lot at this point. It requires a lot your time even at midnight.
Before you bring the birds in sanitise the pen with JIK. Dry, spread your wood shave, put old newspapers on top so it’s easy to change due to too much water spilling on it or too much stool. Then you can put them in there. With food and water. I’ll address measurements later.
The duration that broilers are raised for (this affects their weight and their market value) is 0-7, 10 or 12 weeks. Feeds category: starter or super starter, feed them this for (5-6 weeks) depending on how long you’re raising them can be 4 weeks if you want to sell at 7 weeks.
These are usually given in case your birds get too big and their leg cannot support their weight. Give them Growers instead of the Finisher which is given to them for 4-6 weeks, again depending on how long you’re keeping them.
Support with Calcium for strong bones if they are getting too big for their leg. All these can be bought at your local poultry feed store. There are different manufacturers. I use Top Feed, you might prefer another.
Drugs for brooding stage: Glucose add to water from 0-3 days.
Antibiotics 0-5 days, Vitamins 0-5 days and Amprolium on the 6th day. Remember they are in the brooding pen between 2-3 weeks after which they are strong enough to roam around with the general population.
Most big farms put them in a battery cage after this but we won’t be talking about that because battery cages are capital intensive and this thread is only for those who want to start on a small scale. Next,
There are different types of these. Vaccines are used to prevent infections or sickness while drugs are to cure. For vaccines we have Lasotta given on the 14th and 28th day.
Gomborro given 7th and 21st day.
Note: Vaccines are very reactive to heat and they’ll be rendered ineffective of exposed to heat, so always go to the seller with a flask and ice block. Also always give vaccines in the morning when the birds are thirsty, I’ll advice reducing thier water supply in the night before you administer the vaccine.
So that when you put it in the water you give them the next day, they can all rush it and ingest it that way. Measurement of vaccine: 100 doses to 100 birds. Dissolve in water.
Common bird sicknesses:
Coccidiosis (bloody or watery stool), whitish diarrhoea, weakness and weight loss. Newcastle disease: gasps for air, cough, dropping wings, in severe cases twisting necks, complete paralysis, greenish or watery stool. Typhoid: dehydration, watery stool, weakness, high mortality, anorexia, cough.
Avian influenza: for this, call the department of health once your vet discovers this because it is contractible by humans. Marek disease: total paralysis, changes in color of the eyes, high temperature.
Cholera: greenish and watery stool, anorexia, mucus from the nose. The normal colour of stool is ash with a little white on top. If there’s something i have failed to mention, ask your feed dealer or a local poultry farmer.
Basically all they do is eat and get big, nothing serious. Just avoid sicknesses and viruses. Treat when necessary. Feed them morning and evening and watch them grow. In 12 weeks max, you should be cashing out. It’s a very lucrative business.
Go to a local market and check the price a 12 weeks old broiler. Some go for GHC70.00 depending the weight. With a just 100 birds, that’s GHC7,000.00 in 3 months. After you take out expenses, you might end up with at least GHC3,000 net. They won’t all be as big as that but something in that range if you rear well.
This is the beginning of our #EntreEmployed series. Where I give advice on both working for an employer and working for yourself. Multiple income streams is very important in Ghana.
We still have fish rearing, layer birds farming, honey keeping, piggery to learn in the subsequent series. For now, read, digest, and have a fruitful week. Remember, multiple income streams is a must.
Everything in this has been tested and trusted. If you have any further questions you’ll have to pay for the full training package and I can take you to the farm to show you practically.
Also if you have any ideas or you have been in the business for more than 3 years and you have an addition (something that has worked on your farm, not textbook theory), please add up in the comments section or get interactive with us in the chat box on this page.
Credit: Oluniyi Gates