Category Archives: How to do it

Poultry farming is profitable alright, but a lot of people still fail and incur lots of losses in this business all the same. A lot of investors have blamed themselves for going into the business.

Every business has its ‘trade secrets’ and a lot of people fail in business because they do not know the trade secrets of their business. Poultry, just like any other business out there has its trade secrets which you have to know to increase your chances at success.
1. Start small.: Don’t start large scale poultry farming if you are inexperienced in the business. Don’t read about how people are making millions from poultry farming and then go ahead to invest your life savings into the business or  go and obtain loans to start a business you are inexperienced at. For a business like poultry farming, you have to start small and then expand gradually as your business grows and demands for your products increase. You should also do a proper feasibility study before you go into the business. If there are too many competitors or if the supply for poultry products exceeds the demand in your area, then look for somewhere else to start your business or look for another business to start. There are several other lucrative businesses in the livestock farming industry that you can consider.

2. Consider Meat Packaging and Production-: A lot of people get their poultry products from grocery stores and supermarkets. Very few people still buy live animals because they feel it is less stressful when you buy already packaged meat which you can use to make your meal in few minutes. Therefore, you should really consider having your own meat production and packaging business to sell the products from your farm.

Once you have your poultry farm, starting a meat packaging company is fairly easy. Just create a space for butchering and cleaning the animals, hire butchers and buy equipment that would make the job mechanized and faster, some refrigerators and then approach food regulatory agencies in your area for a license and boom! You are ready to start packaging your own meat.

3. Have your own sales outlet-: Another way to expand your poultry business is to have your own sales outlet and not rely only on supplying to retailers. You don’t have to have too many sales outlets; you can start with just one. You can sell your own branded chickens and chicken parts and fresh eggs to consumers.

4. Offer Mobile Sales and Delivery Services-: Twenty-four hours in a day is just not enough for most of us because of the kind of busy lives we lead. Now, imagine having to cook, shop for groceries, tend to the kids and do all sort of other house chores and still maintain a 9-5 job. It’s really not easy for a lot of working parents and this is why mobile sales and delivery services always works. A lot of people see such services as a live saving one; a service that brings you necessities without dealing with stress and traffic. With a van or two, you are ready to start offering such services within your area and that is also an expansion of your income.

5. Employ sales representatives-: Don’t think that your business is too small to employ sales reps or that poultry business is not serious enough to have sales representatives. Right here in my office, I have someone who brings me fresh eggs weekly and frozen chicken when I feel like having chicken.

She’s a sales rep and earns commission for each item she sells. I have also been able to introduce her to my colleague and friends who also buy from her regularly. Now, her employer is a very smart poultry farmer because even when I buy from the grocery store, I only buy their products. Having a sales representative is a good way to increase awareness for your products and increase sales too.

6. Have your own Hatchery-: Instead of purchasing day old chicks, it’s more cost effective to have your own hatchery for hatching new chicks. You would be able to reduce the costs of hatching and also increase output compared to outsourcing the service to other people.

7. Produce your own feed-: Another tip for growing your poultry business is to have your own feed mill for producing chicken feed. Chicken feed production is not so hard; if you can learn how to raise chickens, then you can learn how to produce chicken feed and if you are able to reduce the costs of producing feed, you would be able to increase on the overall profitability of your business.

8. Employ Experienced Staff-: Another way to grow your poultry business is to employ people who are experienced to handle the operational aspects of the business. If you have a really large poultry farm, you can employ business consultants to suggest ways through which you can expand your poultry business.

9. Take Stock regularly-: You should also keep an eye on the output from your farm. You should have a store where eggs are stored and have some people who would be in charge of stock keeping and counting the chickens regularly. This would help to prevent thefts.

10. Apply for Government Grants-: Agriculture is something that the government is always interested in. And that is why there are a lot of support programs for investors in the agricultural sector. Such support programs come in the form of government backed loans and grants. You should look out for such grants and apply for them.

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What is Cattle Feed Pellet

  • Cattle feed pellets are a kind of compound feed and mainly made from various raw materials such as, cereals, seed from oleaginous crops and legumes, forage and dried beet pulp and additives, such as, vitamins, minerals, chemical preservatives and other essential micro-ingredients
  • They are formulated according to the type of cattle
  • The cattle feed pellets are high in energy and balanced for protein, vitamins and minerals.

Cattle Feed Pellets VS Traditional Feed

In the eighties  researchers found that cows consumed the pelleted feed more rapidly than other forms of feed like coarse mix, crumbles and meal. Compared with traditional cattle feed, cattle feed pellets show more advantages. Cattle feed pellets can satisfy the nutritional need of cattle and help cattle gain weight fast, and produce more milk than traditional feed like chopped straw. As we all know, powder of chopped straw can stack in the cattle’s stomach and caused cattle tumor and indigestion diseases. However, with pelleted shape, the cattle feed pellets are with no such problems, and they contain more nutrition. Cattle feed pellets can not only improve the cattle performance but also improve the ratio of feed pellets conversion.

Advantages of dairy cow feed pellets
Besides easy storage and cost less, the advantages of pelletizing also include the following aspects:
1. Quality assured: ingredients to be targeted directly at your requirements and ensure the accuracy of each ingredient time after time.
2. Nutritionally balanced ration: meets the protein, energy and mineral requirements for optimum growth and feed conversion
3. High energy: rapid weight gain and efficient feed conversionCattle-feeds
4. Low dust: reduced inhalation of dust by people and cows which makes a safer, healthier and more pleasant work place.
5. No ingredient separation: even nutrient blend received by cows
6. No further processing required: pellets are ready for consumption; no extra labor to roll or mix rations.
7. Better starch utilization: up to 15% more and increased milk production per kilo of feed

Formulation for Home-made Cattle Feed Pellets Making Machine

According different kind of cattle, like dairy cattle and beef cattle, the feed pellets formulation is different.
♦ Dairy cattle. As dairy cattle are mainly fed for their milk and the materials of feed pellets may effect the quality of milk, the feed pellets should be produced carefully and the materials of making diary cattle feed pellets should be selected strictly.

Raw materials for making dairy cow feed pellets
1. Cereals: maize, barley, oat, wheat, triticale, rye and sorghum
2. Seed from oleaginous crops: soy, flax, and sunflower
3. Seed from legumes: broad beans, field bean and protein pea
4. Forage: flours of permitted forage essences
5. Dried beet pulp.
Furthermore, the following substances can be used as appetizers in feed pellets:
1. Carob-bean, up to a maximum of 3%;
2. Molasses, up to a maximum of 3%.
Note: for animals in lactation, dry animals, and heifers from the sixth month of pregnancy, maximum daily amount of feed pellets is 2 kg/head/day.

♦ Beef cattle. People feed beef for their meat. So the feed pellets should contain enough protein to meet the demand and help beef gain weight fast.
Feed ingredients
Alfalfa, hay, barley, bermuda grass, corn, cotton, cottonseed hulls, oats, sorghum, soybeans, soybean hulls, wheat, wheat bran, meal, Vitamin A acetate, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E supplement and so on.

How to Make Quality Cattle Feed Pellets ?

1. Crushing: crush raw materials by feed hammer mill to get fine grinded ingredients.
2. Mixing:all of the ingredients are mixed in a feed pellet blender for a period of time to get a uniform mix. Then a moist, cohesive mash was obtained at end of the final mixing.
3. Pelletizing: after mixing, the mash was delivered to the pellet mill feeder. It is fed into the feed pellet machine and then to the roller and die extruder. (Note: feed pellet  better for home use) When the mash is compacted through the die, soft, moist pellets were formed. The extruded pellets have a moisture content of 16-17%.
4. Drying: the wet pellets are dried  to obtain moisture content below 12%.

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  1. Can I rear Kienyeji for commercial purpose

Farmers have been calling Ecochicks Poultry with similar inquires and this is my take.  Yes but having considered the following. There are only 2 main ventures in poultry rearing, eggs or meat.

We mainly have 3 types of chicken for that. Layers, Broilers and Kienyeji.

  • Kienyeji feeds more than layers
  • Kienyeji best for scavenging
  • Layers have best laying rate and longest laying period
  • broilers achieve market value faster than Kienyeji
  • The market for eggs is bigger than meat
  • The market for Kienyeji meat is growing very fast
  • Kienyeji eggs fetches higher prices

My opinion Improved Kienyeji is more suitable for meat at commercial production scale.

    2. Do i need cages in poultry rearing.

  • Well, that depends on the no of birds you have. Cages are best for layers farming but also used in broiler production
  • Return on Investment(ROI) is the major considerations in cage system.
  • Cages  have alot of benefits but also expensive when calculated cost per bird
  • My opinion is to use deep litter system for less than 300 birds and consider cages for large  number of birds

3. Which venture is more profitable eggs or meat 

  • This also depends with the resources available. In the long run egg production is more profitable and in the short run meat production is more profitable
  • Consider meat producing chicken acheiving the market value in less tha 3 months and layers starting to lay after 5-6 months.

4. Which venture is easier to do eggs or meat 

  • Also depends with resources available. Meat production at commercial levels is easier to do as it does not involve tedious vaccination and disease control. Also the duration to its maturity is shorter.
  • However the cage system simplifies the layers production

5 .Which venture involves less risk

  • Kienyeji production has  less  risks compared to layers or broilers. The improved breeds are resistant to diseases and can be done for meat and eggs.

6 .Which is vaccination program  for layers 

  • 1st       day Marek(should be done at the hatchery)
  • 7th       day New Castle
  • 14th      day Bursal disease(Gumboro) in drinking water
  • 21st     day Bursal disease(Gumboro) in drinking water
  • 35th     New castle in drinking water
  • 56th     fowl typhoid intramascular
  • 70th     fowl pox wing stab
  • 112th   New castle in drinking water

7 .How can I hatch my own layers or broilers

  • Start by rearing your  breeding stock. This can be done by buying ex-layers and respective cocks and produce fertile eggs.
  • Obtain an egg incubator and hatch your own chicks
  • Get the eggs incubators here

8. Which is cheaper, buying feeds or making own feeds

  • Feeds constitute 80% of the total costs. Making your feeds would definitely lower these costs especially when raw materials are available and or  purchased in bulk
  • Also get the formula for making feeds

8. What do i need to make own feeds

  • Feed making machine
  • Raw materials
  • Feed formula
  • Get the feed making machine here

9.How much do i need to start layers, broilers or kienyeji production

The above is only an opinion and the decision of the best venture lies with the farmer.

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What to do when Kienyeji Hens have drastically reduced their laying.

You can boost kienyeji hens to lay by doing one of the following

  1. Feed one gram of honey mixed with water with the forage to the hen every morning and evening.
  2. 2. 8% boiled vegetable seeds are added as additive with the forage. 4. Reduce 10% grain component from forage and add 20% earthworm gradually to the forage 4. Boil and cut earthworm in pieces and replace 10% of the grain component in the forage with this.
  3. Add 3% peanut shell powder to the forage instead of the grain component and feed the hen.
  4. Add 2% sunflower powder to forage.
  5. Add 2% zinc in the forage for 7 days. The quantity of egg deposition will be reduced after the first 3 days, and will totally stop after 7 days. The quantity of eggs laid will, however, increase to 50% after 2 weeks and will continue to increase by more than 10% every week.
  6. Dig a pit and put a layer of pig manure on the surface of the pit. Then put straw to cover the manure and add water to keep it damps every day. Maggots will be born after several days. Maggot is good food for the laying hen.
  7. Mix pig blood to wheat bran in the proportion 1: 1. Then put the mixture on the ground for drying. This mixture can be added to forage with some water. With this feed hen can lay 30% more eggs than normal.

Ecochicks poultry is a supplier of poultry equipment’s and services including eggs incubators, drinkers,cages, feeders, day old chicks. Call us on 0727087285

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Diseases may be defined as illness of one or more of the body organs or tissues, caused by pathogens or germs. Germs (virus, bacteria) and protozoa are classified according to size. Parasites, though not germs, can cause ill health. The significance of a disease depends on the rate of infection or infestation and the number of birds that die. Death rates depend on age and nutritional status.

Protozoa
Protozoa such as Emiria tenella (coccidia) are larger than bacteria hence more easily visible by microscope. Outbreaks of protozoan diseases are an indication of poor sanitation and hygiene.
Prevention and control
Vaccination and isolation of healthy birds from sick ones and proper disposal of dead birds can prevent diseases.
Vaccination
Vaccination is the use of mild, live or inactivated infective agent (virus or bacteria) to stimulate production of antibodies to a specific infective agent. Antibodies are chemical substances produced within the host body.

They recognise and destroy the virus or bacteria used during vaccination before onset of disease. Vaccines are prepared from the same virus or bacteria that cause the disease to be vaccinated against. They are sensitive to heat, pH (acidity) and therefore should be handled following manufacturers’ instructions

 

Vaccination programmes
Vaccination for indigenous chicken in a free-range system depends on age, disease incidence, severity and status of endemic diseases.

Disease

Species

affected

Age

affected

Symptoms

Treatment

NCD

Chicken,

turkeys &

domestic

birds

All

Depression, poor appetite, coughing

and difficult breathing, diarrhoea,

nervous signs, twisted neck

and death in large numbers in a

short time

Vaccination

Antibiotics to

control secondary

infections

Fowl

pox

Chickenand turkeys

All but

serious

at point

of lay

Spreading eruption on comb, wattle

nose & other featherless parts,

poor appetite/egg production, depression.

Deaths may result in

chicks

Infectious

Bronchitis

Chicken

All

Chicks/growers: Depression, huddling,

poor appetite, coughing,

gasping/difficult breathing, death.

Adult: Coughing/noisy breathing,

few eggs laid/with soft shells

Avian

Influenza

Chicken

and turkeys

All

Depression, coughing, discharge

from eyes/nostrils, swollen face,

poor sight and feeding, nervous

signs and diarrhoea

Destroy sick

birds

IBD

Chicken

2-6 wk

Depression, poor appetite, unsteady

walk, pecking at vent and

diarrhoea

Control by

vaccination

Bacterial diseases

diseases that can be prevented through good hygiene and treated using antibiotics
such as Tetracycline.
Salmonella. There are 3 types of infection caused by the Salmonella microorganism.
These are pullorum disease, fowl typhoid disease and salmonellosis.

Pullorum disease caused by sub-species S. pullorum is fatal in chicks. It is transmitted from hen to chicks during egg formation, contamination of eggs at laying or the chicks are infected from faeces. Symptoms include dead embryo in eggs that do not hatch, chicks develop wet vents (tail) within the 1st week, whitish diarrhoea, huddling and difficulty in breathing. Mortality can reach 100% in the 1st 2 weeks.
Fowl typhoid is caused by the species S. gallinarum and is severe in growers and adult birds. It is spread by contamination of feed and water by faecal matter from infected birds. Symptoms include drop in egg production, egg fertility and hatchability, anorexia and dullness followed by sudden death.

Salmonellosis is caused by any other Salmonella species. It is severe in both chicks and adult birds. It is spread by contamination of eggs at laying or to both chicks and adults through contaminated feed, water and faeces. Symptoms include drop in egg production, egg fertility and hatchability, anorexia and dullness followed by sudden death.

Sanitation, and eggs and nest fumigation using formaldehyde pellets in the nest can prevent it. Broad-spectrum antibiotics such as sulphur drugs can control infections. Control is by vaccination

Collibacillosis is acute in chicks and chronic in adult chicken. It is transmitted through eggs to chicks and through contaminated faeces, feed and water to both adult birds and chicks. Symptoms include respiratory distress, diarrhoea and high mortality in chicks while those in embryonic infection include dead embryos in spoiled eggs. It can be avoided by maintaining standard egg sanitation and using broad-spectrum antibiotics such as sulphur and tetracycline to treat and to reduce transmission. It can be controlled by vaccinating with bacterin.

Infectious Coryza can be acute, mild or chronic. It is spread by faecal matter, aerosols or through contaminated feed and water. Symptoms include swollen watery eyes, nasal discharge, laboured breathing and drop in egg production. It can be prevented by vaccinating with bacterin in water at 10-12 weeks and 16-18 weeks. All clinically ill birds should be destroyed.

Disease

Species

affected

Age

affected

Symptoms

Treatment

Salmonellosis

Chicken,

turkeys,

ducks

Chicken,

turkeys,

ducks

Severe in

chicks up

to 3

months,

moderate

in adults

Dejection, ruffle

feathers, dosing,

huddle together in

chicks, poor appetite,

thirst, soiled vents, and

high deaths

Vaccination

Furazolidone

sulphur

drugs (SDime)

Collibacillosis

Chicken,

turkeys,

ducks

4-8 wk

Coughing, sneezing,

dejection, poor

appetite, poor growth

Antibiotics

Furazolidone

and Sulphur

Infectious

Coryza

Chicken

All

Swollen face, sneezing

and difficult breathing,

loss of condition, low

egg production and

variable death

Antibiotics

 Parasitic diseases
Parasites are organisms that live on others without benefit to the host and include worms living in the opening of organs, and lice and fleas on the external. The parasites may cause diseases, weakening the system so that other disease-causing agents thrive or transmit diseases. Worms are internal parasites that inhabit the alimentary canal and other internal organs such as provendriculus, gizzards, trachea, lungs. There are 2 groups of worms, round worms and flat worms

Round worms Ascridia galli infects both chicks and adult chicken. Eggs are laid by female worms in birds’ intestines and are passed out in droppings. They mature in one week or more after which they may be swallowed up by chicken, hatch and cause fresh infection. Clinical signs include slow growth (stunted), culled feathers and drooping head, thirst, low egg production and death due to intestinal obstruction
in young birds. Due to their feeding habits, it is difficult to prevent this condition in scavenging chicken.

Gape worms Syngamus treachea roundworms infect the trachea (windpipe) of chicken. Adult worms live and lay eggs in the birds’ trachea; the eggs may be coughed out or into the oesophagus and swallowed in which case the hen passes the eggs in stool. The eggs hatch to larvae which infect chicken or enter simple
carriers (intermediate hosts) such as beetles and earthworms. Symptoms include difficulty in breathing and gasping for air, hence the term gapeworm, culling and huddling and death due to suffocation. The condition can be controlled by giving Thiabendazole or Gapex in drinking water.
Tape worm Raillietina tetragona infests scavenging chicken. The worms pass eggs either as free eggs or retained in a segment. Intermediate hosts such as beetles and snails ingest the eggs or segments. The eggs develop in the host and in turn infect chicken that feed on the intermediate hosts. Symptoms include stunting, thirst, poor health, low egg production and death in young birds on poor diets. it is  prevented in scavenging chicken by using clean containers and drenching at 3- month intervals with Albendazole and Fenbendazole.

Isolation disposal of dead birds
Do not introduce new birds purchased from markets or given as gifts directly in to the flock. Keep them separate and observe them for at least one week. Sick birds should be confined away from the rest. Carcasses should be disposed of by burying at more than 3 feet underground

Viral diseases
Viruses are the smallest germs and cause incurable viral diseases. They should be
prevented by early vaccination.
Newcastle disease is the most economically important and the only notifiable disease in chicken. It is spread by sick birds, dogs, wild birds and man. Symptoms include respiratory stress, lack of appetite, diarrhoea, nervous symptoms and high mortality.

Sometimes death can be sudden without the symptoms  Chicken that reach the tertiary stage showing nervous symptoms may survive but will always show lack of nervous co-ordination. The only way to protect chicken is by early vaccination.

Fowl Pox is a chronic disease in adult birds but acute and fatal among chicks and growers. It is caused by Pox virus and transmitted by mosquito bites and mechanically through broken skin. Clinical symptoms include pimples or scabs on the birds’ combs wattle and eyelids, a watery discharge from eyes, difficulty
in breathing indicated by whizzing sound and loss of appetite. Mortality is low in adult chicken but high in chicks and growers. There is usually a drop in egg production in laying birds. The disease can be avoided by clearing bushes or controlled by vaccinating the chicken when they are 4 weeks old by wing web stab
using a needle. Follow this by examining the vaccination site after 7 days for reaction. Pox virus can survive for 10 years in the soil. Since infected chicken are predisposed to secondary infections, infected chicken should be covered with an antibiotic treatment.

Infectious bronchitis is a contagious disease, acute in chicks and chronic in adult birds. The disease is transmitted from sick birds through faeces, contamination of litter and by air. Symptoms in adults include sneezing and watery eyes, nasal discharge, wet droppings, poor egg shell with no death unless from secondary infection. Chicks gasp and cough, breath noisily, have watery eyes and nostrils, become depressed and huddle. Mortality can be as high as 25%. It is controlled by vaccinating with multiple serotype or covering with antibiotics during outbreaks.

Avian Influenza (Fowl plague) is an acute disease in chicken, ducks, turkeys and wild birds. It is transmitted through contaminated faeces, water and air. Symptoms include respiratory distress, sneezing, sinusitis (swollen head and face), emaciation and nervous disorder. Infected birds should be destroyed and the location of infection quarantined.

Infectious Bursa Disease (Gumboro) (Fig. 9) is common in hatcheries and birds are likely to be infected by the time they are acquired. It is spread through feed, water and faeces. It affects young chicken aged 2-6 weeks. It is rare in indigenous birds. Symptoms include diarrhoea, sleepiness and depression, ruffled feathers, and trembling of the head. Mortality is between 50 and 80%. The disease causes
immuno-supression, predisposing the bird to other infections. It can be controlled by vaccinating the chicken when they are 2-6 weeks old through drinking water.

Get eggs incubators from Ecochicks Poultry. Call us on 0727087285 or visit us at Terry House 2nd Flooor, Mfangano St, Next to KNUT House Nairobi.

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