POULTRY FARMING; Poultry farming means ‘raising various types of domestic birds commercially for the purpose of meat, eggs and feather production’. The most common and widely raised poultry birds are chicken.
About 5k million chickens are being raised every year as a source of food (both meat and eggs of chicken). The chickens which are raised for eggs are called layer chicken, and the chickens which are raised for their meat production are called broiler chickens. The UK and USA consume more meat and eggs of chicken than other Countries of the world. On an average the UK alone consumes more than 29 million chicken eggs every day. However, in a word commercial poultry farming is very necessary to meet up the demand of animal nutrition (eggs and meat). Commercial poultry farming is also very profitable. And commercial poultry farming business is one of the traditional business ventures. Here we are describing more about the advantages of poultry farming business and the steps for running this business.
Benefits of Poultry Farming
Poultry farming business has numerous benefits. As a result many farmers prefer to invest in this business. People generally establish poultry farm for the purpose of producing eggs, meat and generating high revenue from these products. Billions of chickens are being raised throughout the world as a good source of food from their eggs and meat. However, here I am shortly describing the main benefits of poultry farming.
o The main benefit of poultry farming is, it doesn’t require high capital for starting. You need just basic capital to start raising poultry. And most of the poultry birds are not costly enough to start rising.
o Poultry farming doesn’t require a big space unless you are going to start commercially. You can easily raise some birds on your own backyard with one or numerous coops or cages. So, if you are interested in poultry farming, then you can easily do it on your own backyard with several birds.
o Commercial poultry farming business also ensure high return of investment within a very short period. Some poultry birds like broiler chickens take shorter duration of time to mature and generating profit.
o Poultry farm structures do not require high maintenance. You can minimize diseases and illness in poultry by following proper hygiene and care. Diseases are less in some poultry birds like quails, turkeys etc.
o In most cases, you don’t need any licensed. Because almost all types of poultry birds are domestic. Although, if you need licensed from the relevant authority it is also easy for poultry.
o Poultry provides fresh and nutritious food and has a huge global demand. Global consumers of poultry products prefer them due to their nutrients and freshness. Poultry products are not much expensive and most of the people can afford those.
o Marketing poultry products is very easy. There is an established market for poultry products in almost all places of the world. So, you don’t have to think about marketing your products. You can easily sell the products in your nearest local market.
o Poultry farming creates income and employment opportunities for the people. Unemployed educated youth can easily create a great income and employment opportunity for them by raising poultry commercially. Women and students can also do this business along with their daily activities.
o Almost all banks approve loans for these types of business venture. So, if you want to start this business commercially, then you can apply for loans to your local banks.
o There are many more benefits of poultry farming along with the above mentioned benefits. Start raising and you will gradually learn everything.
Various Methods of Poultry Farming
World watch institute described that, ―about 74% of total poultry meat and 68% of total poultry eggs produced from intensive poultry farming method. Free range farming is the other alternative method of intensive poultry farming. Free range farming method is used for large number of poultry birds with high stocking density. There are some basic differences between intensive and free range poultry farming. Intensive poultry farming method is a highly efficient system which saves, land, feed, labor and other resources and increases production. In this system the poultry farming environment is fully controlled by the farmer. So, it ensures continuous production throughout the year in any environment and seasons. Intensive poultry farming has some disadvantages too. Some people says intensive system creates health risks, abuse the animals and harmful for environment. On the other hand free range poultry farming method requires a large place from raising the birds and the production is about the same as intensive method. However, in the case of both intensive and free range poultry farming method the producers must have to use nationally approved medications like antibiotics regularly to keep the poultry birds free from diseases
These are breeds which are brought from other country.
These are two main groups of exotic chicken breeds
i). Pure breeds.
These are pure for one bread and are further divided into
a). Heavy Breeds: These are chicken breeds which have heavy body weight they include:- Rhode /island red-Origin American
Characteristic: Brownish used feathers
Some have black wing and tail
Females are good/layer
Black Australop – Origin Australia
Characteristics male birds have bright red feathers around the neck, on the tail and wings. Females are fairly good layers
Orpington –Origin from England
€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Birds have black feather with white bars
€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ They are quite heavy in weight.
€€€€€€€ €€ ∙ Some of the distinguished varieties are black variety.
Barred Plymouth Rock:
€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ origin America
€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ birds have black feather with white bars
€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Birds have got long bodies and are hardy.
€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Females do not easily stop lying.
Light breeds: These are chicken breeds with an average light body weight.
Majority are suitable for egg foundation. They include:-
Leghorns: Origin Mediterranean countries. Some distinguished varieties of these breeds are
€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ White leghorn
€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Black leghornBrown leghorn.
Other light breeds include:-
€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Minorca
€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Andalusia
€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Ancona
These are types of bread which result from crossing two or more breeds of poultry
€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Some are suitable for egg production and other are suitable for meet i.e. Broilers
€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Broilers grow and increase in weight very fast while Hybrid layer produce more eggs than their crossed parents.
Examples of Hybrids are
o Shavers
o Hornber
o Haco
o Sterlin
This involves the following operation:-
€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Egg incubation
€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Rearing of chicks
€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Feeding of CHICKS
€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Administration of drugs
€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Prevention of vices
€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Disease and parasite control.
Meaning: This is the treatment of fertile eggs in order they develop into chick:-
This is achieved only when they are subjected to environment with suitable temperature, humidity
o Temperature – 300c – 350
o Humidity 60%-70% NB:
The time taken from fertilization and full maturity of an egg to produce a chick i.e. know as INCUBATION PERIOD.
o Incubation periods for different birds are:-
Chicken 21 days
Ducks 28 days
Turkeys 28 days
Goose 30 days
Incubation process can be achieved by two methods
o Natural process (Natural incubation)
o Artificial process(artificial incubation)
I. Brooding: Is a process of supplying heat either naturally or artificial to an egg (fertilized) to facilitate hatching.
II. Broody hen: A hen that site on fertilizer eggs so as to supply heat.
Natural incubation is done by allowing a broody hen to sit on the egg until they hatch.

€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Usually a hen site for 21 days until they hatch.
€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ This is very common to love breed whereby they make nests and lay eggs. After laying a number of eggs, the hen site on the eggs, whereby its body provides heat and humidity to the egg; until they hatch.
€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ The hen usually turns the eggs over to allow the developing embryo not to settle to one side.
€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ The hen should be supplied with water, feed and a good shelter.
€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ The capacity of the brooding hen is 10-15eggs.
Best way:
o Prepare the broody hen by dusting i.e. with insecticide powder e.g. Gamatox to full lice and other external parasite in its feathers.
o Prepare the nesting place; preferably a box measuring 40cm x 35cm x 35cm is sufficient; as well a basket of reasonable size.
o Part soft material or clean dry sand on the floor of the box on top of which maize husk, paddy husks or wood shavings can be put.
o Put 10-15 eggs in the box and allow the hen to site on the egg noting down the dates.
o Put drinking water and feed containers.
o After 21 days check for hatched eggs.
This is achieved by placing eggs in special equipment called an INCUBATOR.

Types of incubators
o small incubators
o flat type
o still air
o table incubators
o Large incubators
o cabinet incubators
o walk in incubators
Small incubator holds 50-300 eggs at a time.
Large incubator holds thousands of egg at a tome which large ones are heated by electricity.
o Collect fertilizer eggs of medium size 56gm 63gm with thick shells.
o Conduct egg testing to check for cracker or only in the yolk. This is done by candling method clean and disinfects the incubator 7 days before starting incubation.
o Switch on the source of heat 3 days before.
o Put water into the water pan as well as egg in the egg tray (each egg should be placed in such a way the large end facing upwards), and place the tray in the incubator.
o Keep the temperature in the incubator at 370c 390c and humidity at 60%.
o Turn egg 3-5 a day in the first 18 days to facilitate equal distribution of heat wound the egg so that the embryo may not stick to the shell.
o After 4-7 days repeat egg candling and also on the 14th days do the same.
o On the 15th day shift the eggs to the hatching compartment in the incubator; and raise humidity 70% and lower temperature 5th 360c – 370c.
o Let the eggs to stay until they hated.
o The incubator should be well ventilated and place in a well ventilated place.
o Avoid direct sunlight falling on to the incubator through windows
o Clean and disinfect incubator after ever hatch.
o Operate the incubator 3 days before setting in the eggs so as to be sure if it is working
o When the eggs hatch do not remove the chicks from the incubator on the first day
o The hatchery room and incubator must be cleaned regularly
o Wear protective clothing and wash them regularly
o Always place a ―foot bath‖ with disinfectant at the entrance to avoid risk of disease transmission.
Egg testing process by candling.
o Candling is done by using a small box or container with a hole on top; with an electric lamp or hurricane lamp on it.
o The egg is put in the hole and the light is switched on; and egg observation is done.
o A fertile egg has a round small disc inside the yolk; and the yolk is dark in colour.
o If it is fertile, a dark spot will be seen inside the egg near the middle of the egg.
o Is to identify defected eggs which have to be removed from the incubator. They include:-
I. Thin shelled eggs
II. Cracked shelled eggs
III. Defects in the yolk.
There are 3 forms of keeping poultry in Tanzania.
I. Multipurpose poultry production.
II. Commercial meat production.
III. Commercial egg production.
I. Multipurpose poultry production.
This taken account of keeping local poultry breeds usually in small scale production. The main products from this form are egg and meat.
II. Commercial meat production.
Brolers are chicken which are kept for meat production. Their feature include
o To obtain high mature weight
o Good ability convert feed into meat (High feed conversion efficiency) e.g. Heavy breed; Red island red.
III. Commercial egg production.
€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Pullets which are kept for egg production are celled layers.
€€€€€€€€€ ∙ The quality of a good layers include:-
    € € €€ Should have an ability to lay much egg up to 200 eggs during the whole laying period.
    €€€€€€€Have the ability to convert feeds into eggs efficiently e.g. all types of light breeds.
Poultry rearing: This refers to the rearing or locking after poultry birds.
These are 3 main system of rearing poultry mainly:-
i. Free range
ii. semi – intensive
iii. intensive
Capital: Intensive system required high investment than the other system hence if you have less capital use semi intensive or free rang
Purpose of keeping poultry:
o The suitable system also depends on whether you are keeping layers, broilers or dual purpose birds.
o Most of the layers and broilers are kept by intensive system, which dual purpose poultry are kept under free range system.
Numbers of birds to be kept.
o Few birds can be raises using free range system while many birds prefer intensive system. Space available.
o If space is not available and you have capital use intensive systems.
o If there is plenty of space you use semi intensive or free range stem.
Environmental factors.
o This needs consideration on weather factors
o Presence of predators
o Presence of thieves
o If the place has thieves, predators and too cold the birds need protection hence use intensive system.
This is a system whereby poultry birds are locked in the house during the night and allowed to go out to find their own feed and water during the daytime. Sometime it is called (EXENSIVE SYSTEM)
It is particularly suitable for local/ indigenous breeds which are hardy and can without adverse weather e.g. cold, rainfall e.t.c. and able to find their own food.
i. These are no feed cost as the births find their own food and no supplementary food is given to them.
ii. The birds get balanced diet as they eat a variety of foods e.g. grass, insect, grain ex.
iii. Initial cost is very low as a small cheap house is all that is needed.
iv. Very low cases of vice e.g. egg eating, cannibalism father packing etc.
v. Eggs and meat produce under this system are palatable and nutrition.
vi. Birds get a lot of exercise due to free movement.
i. The system required a lot of space.
ii. The birds may destroy people properties e.g. crop while looking for food.
iii. Low security to the birds as they may be eaten by predators or stolen by thieves or killed by vehicles.
iv. It is difficult to collect eggs as they may lay eggs in awkward places and hence difficult to keep records.
v. The system is not suitable for keeping hybrid broiler and layers.
vi. Birds are subjected to advance weather e.g. rain cold.
vii. Disease infection and spreading is high and difficult to control.
This is a system where by birds are provided with a form of a housing, surrounded by an area which is enclosed in a fence whereby in the night the birds sleep in the house; while during the day the birds walk within the area

House and run system
In this system birds are provided with small houses surrounded by an area called a Run; whereby drinking water (waters) and feeds (feeders) are provide.
Resting places (perches) and laying boxes are also kept
During the day the birds are allowed to well freely and enclosed them inside the house during the night.
a). Fold unit system.
The system is similar to the house and run system as it consist of a house and run but the housing unit is mobile called folds/arks with a sold roof covered by wire netting.
o A fold unit of 7mx3mx3m is enough for 20-30 birds.
Advantages of semi intensive system.
i. The movement of fold unit and the alternating use of run is easen the control of parasites and disease
ii. Simple and cheap poultry houses can be used.
iii. Spread of manure in the runs is made possible as the birds drop their feaces in the runs.
iv. Easy to called egg if layer are kept under their system.
v. Easy to observe an attend birds in case of infection.
Disadvantages of semi intensive system.
i. Fold units can easily get broken if material used is not durable.
ii. It is not easy to keep many birds under this system thus not suitable for commercial production of chicken.
iii. Somehow expensive and capital is needed in purchasing fences, food drugs etc.
This is a system where by many birds are confirmed in a small place/building where feeding and during water is supplied.

Deep litter system-This is a system whereby birds are kept in a house or pen in which litter is spread on the floor of the rouse or pen.
The litter could be either of:-
Timber shavings
Paddy husk
Maize grain husks filed to a uniform depth of 10-15cm
The litter shout be changed every time when a new flock is put.
NB: Avoid making the litter damp (by spilling water) as may cause disease and parasites of infection.
Repair roots to avoid leakage during rain seen.
o The bottom 60cm of each wall should be solid made of cement; the rest should be wire netting.
o In case of wind cover the wire netting. with sacks on the side which wind blows
o Do not keep many birds in one house. Allow 2-3 birds/m2 of floor space.
o Provide birds with –
– Water through
– Feed through
– Laying boxes for layers
– perches (Roosters)
Advantages of deep litter system
i. Suitable for commercial production as many birds can be kept in a small area
ii. Birds are protected from basic weather, predators and thieves.
iii. Egg collection in easier if layer are kept
iv. Keeping of record is made possible,
v. Litter from the house is a good source of manure.
Disadvantages of deep litter system
i. Encourages vices e.g. cannibalism and eating habit
ii. If litter becomes damp; spread of coccidiosis disease can be high.
iii. Sometimes birds become broody
iv. High initial cost of building poultry house
v. High feed cost
vi. High labour requirement
Battery Cages-This is a system where by bird are kept in cages of 1-2 birds where food and water through are within in the front point of the cage.
The floor of cages is made up of wire netting
When the eggs are laid they slide to the front of the cage and can be collection
Suitable for eggs production birds but not broilers.
Clean the metal sheet under the cage where feaces are collected. One row of a cage in known as a tier.
Advantage of Battery cage systemic
i. Large number of birds can be kept in small area
ii. Egg recording is made possible
iii. Food and water cannot be made dirty
iv. Egg eating and breaking is not possible
v. Clean eggs are collected
vi. Vices are minimize e.g. cannibalism
vii. Easy to identify disease birds.
viii. Hen cannot be broody if the floor is cold.
ix. Birds cannot be infected by intestinal worm and disease.
x. Easy provision of water and feeds.
Disadvantage of Battery cage systemic
i. Highly expensive so as to buy cages.
ii. High skill is required to operate the system.
iii. Is feed for layers only.
Definition: This is a period of growth during which supplementary heat is provided for the young chicks. Young chick must be provided with heat, light, fresh air good food and water.
a). Natural: By using a Brooding hen which looks after its own chicks.
It provides the chicks with warmth by sheltering them from cold and wetness. It also scares enemies to protect the chicks.

Types of Brooders
i. Hoover brooder

ii. Battery brooders
iii. Homemade brooder
iv. Heated Tin brooder
v. Kerosene lantern brooder
vi. Fire less brooder
Preparation of Brooder House and Brooding area
Before buying chicks the brooder house should be prepared
Clean the Brooder house wall floors and disinfect it thorough and leave it to dry
Prepared the enclosure and floor of the brooder house by using cardboard’s’ with a height of 45-60cm.
Spread litter on the floor uniformly in the enclosure.
Install the source of heat e.g. bulb or hurricane lamp 40cm above the floor.
Light the source of heat 12hrs before the arrival of the chicks and ensure a temperature of 32- 350c always.
Put fresh water for drinking in shallow containers.
Provide enough chick mash (contain 20-22% protein.
NB: The brooding house should be well ventilated.
The action of identifying the sex of each chick which facilitate the separation of male chicks from female chicks.
This is usually done by expects using special instrument.
Sometimes the experts rood may make mistake therefore it is advisable that this operation be done when chicks reach the age of 8 weeks. At this age the cockerels (male birds) must be separated from the pullets (female birds). Usually cockerels have larger combs and wattles than pullets.
1st WEEK:
1st DAY:
Once you bring the chicks remove them from the boxes and put them in the brooder.
Let them drink a lot of water and food and change to fresh feed several times a day. Feed them into CHICK MASH
Maintain temperature in the brooder between 320c – 350c 2nd Day -3rd Day.
Replace feed and water at least twice per day.
Check temperatures in the brooders
i. Overcrowding – low temperature
ii. Away from heat source high temperature
iii. Evenly distributed throughout the floor –right temperature.
Stir up the litter on the floor once per day.
Replace any damp litter with a fresh one 4th -7th day
Expand the brooder by making the area enclosed by the cardboard wall much large by joining another piece of cardboard into the wall.
Observe temperatures; supply feed and drinking water.
Remove any dead chick.
Stir up the litter regularly and put fresh if it is damp.
Reduce temperature in the brooder as the chicks will be bigger and bearing more and more feathers.
This is by lifting the heat source much higher from the surface of the floor or turn down the wick of the hurricane lamp
Re move heat source when chick are at 4-5wk stage.
provide light during the night so that the chick can eat and drinking to facilitate fast growth
Make sure the litter is dry all the time as well as fresh feed and clean fresh water.
Add more water and feed troughs as the chicks grow bigger.
provide adequate floor space and adequate space on feed troughs in the brooder and be well distributed (i.e. 1000cm2/bird as floor space)
NB: at weeks old they are called growers of which they are cared differently.
Broiler growers may be shifted or reared in the same house.
Layer growers are normally shifted from the brooder to another house.
Common Poultry Diseases
Respiratory Diseases
There are many common and important diseases which can affect the respiratory system (air passages, lungs, air sacs) of poultry (see Table 1). Poultry refers to birds that people keep for their use and generally includes the chicken, turkey, duck, goose, quail, pheasant, pigeon, guinea fowl, pea fowl, ostrich, emus, and rhea. Due to modern systems of management, usually with high poultry densities, these diseases are able to readily spread.
Fowl Pox
Synonyms: chicken pox (not to be confused with chicken pox in humans; the human disease does not affect poultry and vice versa), sore head, avian diphtheria, bird pox
Species affected: Most poultry—chickens; turkeys, pheasants, quail, ducks, psittacosis, and ratites—of all ages are susceptible.
Clinical signs: There are two forms of fowl pox. The dry form is characterized by raised, wart -like lesions on unfeathered areas (head, legs, vent, etc.). The lesions heal in about 2 weeks. If t
he scab is removed before healing is complete, the surface beneath is raw and bleeding. Unthriftiness and retarded growth are typical symptoms of fowl pox. In laying hens, infection results in a transient decline in egg production.
Transmission: Fowl pox is transmitted by direct contact between infected and susceptible birds or by mosquito. Virus-containing scabs also can be sloughed from affected birds and serve as a source of infection. The virus can enter the blood stream through the eye, skin wounds, or respiratory tract. Mosquito become infected from feeding on birds with fowl pox in their blood stream. There is some evidence that the mosquito remains infective for life. Mosquito are the primary reservoir and spreaders of fowl pox on poultry ranges. Several species of mosquito can transmit fowl pox. Often mosquito winter-over in poultry houses so, outbreaks can occur during winter and early spring.
Treatment: No treatment is available. However, fowl pox is relatively slow-spreading. Thus, it is possible to vaccinate to stop an outbreak. The wing-web vaccination method is used for chickens and the thigh-stick method for turkeys older than 8 weeks.
Prevention: Fowl pox outbreaks in poultry confined to houses can be controlled by spraying to kill mosquito. However, if fowl pox is endemic in the area, vaccination is recommended. Do not vaccinate unless the disease becomes a problem on a farm or in the area. Refer to the publication PS-36 (Vaccination of Small Poultry Flocks) for more information on fowl pox vaccinations.
Newcastle Disease
Synonyms: pneumoencephalitis
The highly contagious and lethal form of Newcastle disease is known as viscerotropic (attacks the internal organs) velogenic Newcastle disease, VVND, exotic Newcastle disease, or Asiatic Newcastle disease. VVND is not present in the United States poultry industry at this time.
Species affected: Newcastle disease affects all birds of all ages. Humans and other mammals are also susceptible to Newcastle. In such species, it causes a mild conjunctivitis.
Clinical signs: There are three forms of Newcastle disease—mildly pathogenic (lentogenic), moderately pathogenic (mesogenic) and highly pathogenic (velogenic). Newcastle disease is characterized by a sudden onset of clinical signs which include hoarse chirps (in chicks), watery discharge from nostrils, labored breathing (gasping), facial swelling, and paralysis, trembling, and twisting of the neck (sign of central nervous system involvement). Mortality ranges from 10 to 80 percent depending on t he pathogenicity. In adult laying birds, symptoms can include decreased feed and water consumption and a dramatic drop in egg production (see Table 1).
Transmission: The Newcastle virus can be transmitted short distances by the airborne route or introduced on contaminated shoes, caretakers, feed deliverers, visitors, tires, dirty equipment, feed sacks, crates, and wild birds. Newcastle virus can be passed in the egg, but Newcastle-infected embryos die before hatching. In live birds, the virus is shed in body fluids, secretions, excreta, and breath.
Treatment: There is no specific treatment for Newcastle disease. Antibiotics can be given for 3–5 days to prevent secondary bacterial infections (particularly E. COLI ). For chicks, increasing the brooding temperature 5°F may help reduce losses.
Prevention: Prevention programs should include vaccination (see publication PS-36, Vaccination of Small
Poultry Flocks), good sanitation, and implementation of a comprehensive biosecurity program.
Infectious Bronchitis
Synonyms: IB, bronchitis, cold
Species affected: Infectious bronchitis is a disease of chickens only. A similar disease occurs in bobwhite quail (quail bronchitis), but it is caused by a different virus.
Clinical signs: The severity of infectious bronchitis infection is influenced by the age and immune status of the flock, by environmental conditions, and by the presence of other diseases. Feed and water consumption declines. Affected chickens will be chirping, with a watery discharge from the eyes and nostrils, and labored breathing with some gasping in young chickens. Breathing noises are more noticeable at night while the birds rest. Egg production drops dramatically. Production will recover in 5 or 6 weeks, but at a lower rate. The infectious bronchitis virus infects many tissues of the body, including the reproductive tract. Eggshells become rough and the egg white becomes watery.
Transmission: Infectious bronchitis is a very contagious poultry disease. It is spread by air, feed bags, infected dead birds, infected houses, and rodents. The virus can be egg-transmitted, however, affected embryos usually will not hatch.
Treatment: There is no specific treatment for infectious bronchitis. Antibiotics for 3–5 days may aid in combating secondary bacterial infections. Raise the room temperature 5°F for brooding-age chickens until symptoms subside. Baby chicks can be encouraged to eat by using a warm, moist mash.
Prevention: Establish and enforce a biosecurity program. Vaccinations are available.
Avian Influenza
Synonyms: AI, flu, influenza, fowl plague
Species affected: Avian influenza can occur in most, if not all, species of birds.
Clinical signs: Avian influenza is categorized as mild or highly pathogenic. The mild form produces listlessness, loss of appetite, respiratory distress, diarrhea, transient drops in egg production, and low mortality. The highly pathogenic form produces facial swelling, blue comb and wattles, and dehydration with respiratory distress. Dark red/white spots develop in the legs and combs o f chickens. There can be blood-tinged discharge from the nostrils. Mortality can range from low to near 100 percent. Sudden exertion adds to the total mortality. Egg production and hatchability decreases. There can be an increase in production of soft-shelled and shell-less eggs.
Transmission: The avian influenza virus can remain viable for long periods of time at moderate temperatures and can live indefinitely in frozen material. As a result, the disease can be spread through improper disposal of infected carcasses and manure. Avian influenza can be spread by contaminated shoes, clothing, crates, and other equipment. Insects and rodents may mechanically carry the virus from infected to susceptible poultry.
Treatment: There is no effective treatment for avian influenza. With the mild form of the disease, good husbandry, proper nutrition, and broad spectrum antibiotics may reduce losses from secondary infections. Recovered flocks continue to shed the virus. Vaccines may only be used with special permit.
Prevention: A vaccination program used in conjunction with a strict quarantine has been used to control mild forms of the disease. With the more lethal forms, strict quarantine and rapid destruction of all infected flocks remains the only effective method of stopping an avian influenza outbreak. If you suspect you may have Avian Influenza in your flock, even the mild form, you must report it to the state veterinarian’s office. A proper diagnosis of avian influenza is essential. Aggressive action is recommended even for milder infections as this virus has the ability to readily mutate to a more pathogenic form.
For more information on avian influenza, refer to publication PS-38 (Avian Influenza in Poultry Species).
Infectious Coryza
Synonyms: roup, cold, coryza
Species affected: chickens, pheasants, and guinea fowl. Common in game chicken flocks.
Clinical signs: Swelling around the face, foul smelling, thick, sticky discharge from the nostrils and eyes, labored breathing, and rales (rattles—an abnormal breathing sound) are common clinical signs. The eyelids are irritated and may stick together. The birds may have diarrhea and growing birds may become stunted (see Table 1).
Mortality from coryza is usually low, but infections can decrease egg production and increase the incidence and/or severity of other diseases. Mortality can be as high as 50 percent, but is usually no more than 20 percent. The clinical disease can last from a few days to 2–3 months, depending on the virulence of the pathogen and the existence of other infections such as mycoplasmosis.
Transmission: Coryza is primarily transmitted by direct bird-to-bird contact. This can be from infected birds brought into the flock as well as from birds which recover from the disease which remain carriers of the organism and may shed intermittently throughout their lives. Birds risk exposure at poultry shows, bird swaps, and live-bird sales. Inapparent infected adult birds added into a flock are a common source for outbreaks. Within a flock, inhalation of airborne respiratory droplets, and contamination of feed and/or water are common modes of spread.
Treatment: Water soluble antibiotics or antibacterials can be used. Sulfadimethoxine (Albon), Di- Methox™) is the preferred treatment. If it is not available, or not effective, sulfamethazine (Sulfa-Max), SulfaSure), erythromycin (gallimycin, or tetracycline (Aureomycin) can be used as alternative treatments.
Sulfa drugs are not FDA approved for pullets older than 14 weeks of age or for commercial layer hens. While antibiotics can be effective in reducing clinical disease, they do not eliminate carrier birds.
Prevention: Good management and sanitation are the best ways to avoid infectious coryza. Most outbreaks occur as a result of mixing flocks. All replacement birds on “coryza-endemic” farms should be vaccinated. The vaccine (Coryza-Vac) is administered subcutaneously (under the skin) on the back of the neck. Each chicken should be vaccinated four times, starting at 5 weeks of age with at least 4 weeks between injections. Vaccinate again at 10 months of age and twice yearly thereafter.
Swollen Head Syndrome
Synonyms: Facial cellulitis, thick head, Dikkop, SHS
Species affected: Chickens and turkeys are the known natural hosts. Experimentally, guinea fowl and pheasants are susceptible but pigeons, ducks, and geese are resistant to the infection. SHS does not presently occur in the United States, but is present in most countries of the world.
Clinical signs: In chicks and poults, there is initial sneezing, followed by reddening and swelling of the tear ducts and eye tissue. Facial swelling will extend over the head and down the jaw and wattles. Adult chickens have mild respiratory disease followed by a few birds having swollen heads. Other signs include disorientation, twisting of the neck, and a significant drop in egg production .
Transmission: The infection spreads by direct contact with infected birds or indirectly by exposure to infectious material.
Treatment: There is no proven medication for swollen head syndrome. The disease is caused by a virus classified as a pneumovirus. A disease closely mimicking SHS is caused by a mixed infection of respiratory viruses and specific bacteria. Antibiotic therapy may be helpful against the bacterial component.
Prevention: A commercial vaccine is available. Swollen head syndrome is considered an exotic disease and a live vaccine is not approved for use in the United States.
Mycoplasma synoviae
Synonyms: MS, infectious synovitis, synovitis, silent air sac
Species affected: chickens and turkeys.
Clinical signs: Birds infected with the synovitis form show lameness, followed by lethargy, reluctance to move, swollen joints, stilted gait, loss of weight, and formation of breast blisters. Birds infected with the respiratory form exhibit respiratory distress. Greenish diarrhea is common in dying birds (see Table Clinically, the disease in indistinguishable from MG.
Transmission: MS is transmitted from infected breeder to progeny via the egg. Within a flock, MS is spread by direct contact with infected birds as well as through airborne particles over short distances.
Treatment: Recovery is slow for both respiratory and synovitis forms. Several antibiotics are variably effective. The most effective are tylosin, erthromycin, spectinomycin, lincomycin, and chlorotectracycline. These antibiotics can be given by injection while some can be administered in the feed or drinking water. These treatments are most effective when the antibiotics are injected.
Prevention: Eradication is the best and only sure control. Do not use breeder replacements from flocks that have had MS. The National Poultry Improvement Plan monitors for MS.
Mycoplasma meleagridis
Synonyms: MM, N strain, H strain
Species affected: MM affects turkeys of all ages, although poults are affected more severely than mature turkeys. Recently, MM has been shown to infect pigeon, quail and peafowl.
Clinical signs: A drop-off in production and hatchability can be expected in breeder flocks. There can be very high mortality in young poults. Unthriftiness, respiratory distress, stunting, crooked neck with deformity of cervical vertebrae, and leg deformation are common in young birds (see Table 1).
Transmission: Egg transmission is low in the early breeding period, but rises as the the age of the flock increases. Infections can be introduced into a flock by contaminated equipment, shoes, and clothing of workers and visitors.
Treatment: Several antibiotics have been effective including tylosin, erythromycin, spectinomycin, and linco-spectinomycin.
Prevention: The best preventive measure is to keep MM-free breeders. The MM-free status of breeders can be confirmed by periodic blood tests through the National Poultry Improvement Plan.
Synonyms: brooder pneumonia, mycotic pneumonia, fungal pneumonia, ASPERGILLUS. When the source of the disease is the hatchery, the disease is called brooder pneumonia. In older birds, the disease is called aspergillosis.
Species affected: All birds (domestic poultry, pigeons, and canary and zoo bird species), animals, humans, and plants are susceptible.
Clinical signs: Aspergillosis occu
rs as an acute disease of young birds and a chronic disease in mature birds. Young birds have trouble breathing and gasp for air. Characteristically, there are no rales or respiratory sounds associated with aspergillosis. Feed consumption decreases. Occasionally there is paralysis or convulsions caused by the fungal toxin. Mortality in young birds averages 5–20 percent, but may be as high as 50 percent. Mature birds also have respiratory distress, reduced feed consumption, and may have a bluish and dark color of the skin (cyanosis). Nervous disorders, such as twisted necks, may occur in a few birds. Mortality in mature birds is usually less than 5 percent.
Transmission: Aspergillosis is caused by a fungus. The fungus grows well at room temperature and higher. All litter and nest materials (peat moss, peanut hulls, sawdust, peat, and bark, straw) have been known to have been contaminated with aspergillus. Feed and water should be suspect when attempting to identify the source of contamination.
Treatment: There is no cure for infected birds. The spread can be controlled by improving ventilation, eliminating the source of the infection, and adding a fungistat (mycostatin, mold curb, sodium or calcium propionate, or gentian violet) to the feed and/or copper sulfate or acidified copper in the drinking water for 3 days. The litter can be sprayed lightly with an oil-base germicide to control dust and air movement of fungal spores.
Prevention: It is important to thoroughly clean and disinfect the brooding area between broods. Use only clean litter, preferably soft wood shavings. Do not use sawdust, litter high in bark content, or shavings that have been wet.
Viral Diseases (nonrespiratory) Marek’s Disease
Synonyms: acute leukosis, neural leukosis, range paralysis, gray eye (when eye affected)
Species affected: Chickens between 12 to 25 weeks of age are most commonly clinically affected. Occasionally pheasants, quail, game fowl and turkeys can be infected.
Clinical signs: Marek’s disease is a type of avian cancer. Tumors in nerves cause lameness and paralysis. Tumors can occur in the eyes and cause irregularly shaped pupils and blindness. Tumors of the liver, kidney, spleen, gonads, pancreas, proventriculus, lungs,
muscles, and skin can cause in coordination, unthriftiness, paleness, weak labored breathing, and enlarged feather follicles. In terminal stages, the birds are emaciated with pale, scaly combs and greenish diarrhea (see Table 2).
Marek’s disease is very similar to Lymphoid Leukosis, but Marek’s usually occurs in chickens 12 to 25 weeks of age and Lymphoid Leukosis usually starts at 16 weeks of age.
Transmission: The Marek’s virus is transmitted by air within the poultry house. It is in the feather dander, chicken house dust, feces and saliva. Infected birds carry the virus in their blood for life and are a source of infection for susceptible birds.
Treatment: none
Prevention: Chicks can be vaccinated at the hatchery. While the vaccination prevents tumor formation, it does not prevent infection by the virus.
Lymphoid Leukosis
Synonyms: visceral leukosis, leukosis, big liver, LL
Species affected: Although primarily a disease of chickens, lymphoid leukosis can infect turkeys, guinea fowl, pheasants, and doves, but not on a large scale.
Clinical signs: The virus involved has a long incubation period (4 months or longer). As a result, clinical signs are not noticeable until the birds are 16 weeks or older. Affected birds become progressively weaker and emaciated. There is regression of the comb. The abdomen becomes enlarged. Greenish diarrhea develops in terminal stages.
Transmission: The virus is transmitted through the egg to offspring. Within a flock, it is spread by bird-to- bird contact and by contact with contaminated environments. The virus is not spread by air. Infected chicken are carriers for life.
Treatment: none
Prevention: The virus is present in the yolk and egg white of eggs from infected hens. Most national and international layer breeders have eradicated lymphoid leukosis from their flocks. Most commercial chicks are lymphoid-leukosis negative because they are hatched from LL-free breeders. The disease is still common in broiler breeder flocks.
Infectious Bursal Disease
Synonyms: Gumboro, IBD, infectious bursitis, infectious avian nephrosis
Species affected: chickens
Clinical signs: In affected chickens greater than 3 weeks of age, there is usually a rapid onset of the disease with a sudden drop in feed and water consumption, watery droppings leading to soiling of feathers around the vent, and vent pecking. Feathers appear ruffled. Chicks are listless and sit in a hunched position. Chickens infected when less than 3 weeks of age do not develop clinical disease, but become severely and permanently immunosuppressed.
Transmission: The virus is spread by bird-to-bird contact, as well as by contact with contaminated people and equipment. The virus is shed in the bird droppings and can be spread by air on dust particles. Dead birds are a source of the virus and should be incinerated.
Treatment: There is no specific treatment. Antibiotics, sulfonamides, and nitrofurans have little or no effect. Vitamin-electrolyte therapy is helpful. High levels of tetracyclines are contraindicated because they tie up calcium, thereby producing rickets. Surviving chicks remain unthrifty and more susceptible to secondary infections because of immunosuppression.
Prevention: A vaccine is commercially available.
Equine Encephalitis
Synonyms: EE, EEE, WEE
Note: This disease should not be confused with St. Louis Encephalits (SLE). Chickens are used as sentinels (test animals) in SLE suspect areas, such as southern Florida. While SLE is also carried by mosquitos, that is where the similarities between the two encephalitis diseases end. Chickens do not get SLE. Refer to
Factsheet VM71 (St. Louis Encephalitis—The Role of Chickens) for more information on SLE.
Species affected: Equine encephalitis is a contagious disease of birds (especially pheasants), mammals (especially horses), and people. Birds are the major source of the virus.
Clinical signs: Two forms affect birds: eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) and western equine encephalitis (WEE). The clinical signs are identical and include reduced feed consumption, staggering, and paralysis. Surviving birds may be blind, have muscle paralysis, and have difficulty holding their head up. Damage to the bird’s nervous system varies with species. In pheasants, there is pronounced leg paralysis, twisting of the neck, and tremors. Mortality is high. Chukar partridges and turkeys show drowsiness, paralysis, weakness, and death.
Transmission: Infected mosquitoes are the primary source of the virus. The CULISETA MELANURIA mosquito is the primary transmitter of the virus to poultry. Other mosquito species transmit the disease too, but feed mostly on other animals. Cannibalism of sick or dead birds by penmates is a major source of transmission within pens.
Treatment: none
Prevention: Remove the source of infection by establishing mosquito control: keep weeds mowed in a 50- foot strip around bird pens. This removes cover and resting areas for mosquitos. Eliminate mosquito breeding areas. Fog areas with Malathion.
It is possible to immunize birds, especially pheasants, with the vaccine prepared for horses. The recommended dose is one-tenth of a horse dose per bird.
Egg Drop Syndrome
Synonyms: egg drop, egg drop syndrome 76, EDS-76
Species affected: The natural hosts for EDS virus are ducks and geese, but EDS has become a major cause of reduced egg production in chickens in many parts of the world. No illness has been observed in ducks or geese. Chickens of all ages and breeds are susceptible. The disease is most severe in broiler-breeders and brown-egg layer strains.
Clinical signs: There are no reliable signs other than the effects on egg production and egg quality. Healthy- appearing hens start laying thin-shelled and shell-less eggs. Once established, the condition results in a failure to achieve egg production targets. Transient diarrhea and dullness occur prior to egg shell changes. Fertility and hatchability are not affected (see Table 2).
Transmission: It is believed that the syndrome was first introduced into chickens from contaminated vaccine. Vertical transmission occurs from infected breeders to chicks. Newly hatched chicks excrete the virus in the feces.
Treatment: There is no successful treatment. Induced molting will restore egg production.
Prevention: Prevention involves a good biosecurity program.
Infectious Tenosynovitis
Synonyms: viral arthritis, tenosynovitis, teno, reovirus enteritis, reovirus septicemia, malabsorption syndrome, helicopter disease
Species affected: turkeys and chickens
Clinical signs: Several serotypes of the reovirus have been identified. Some localize in the joints
(tenosynovitis) while others target respiratory or intestinal tissues (septicemic form) .
The principal sign of tenosynovitis is lameness with swelling of the tendon sheaths of the shank and area extending above the hock (see Table 2). Affected birds are lame, sit on their hocks, and are reluctant to move. Rupture of the tendon can occur in older roaster birds, resulting in permanent lameness of the affected leg. If more than two joints are affected, the entire carcass will be condemned.
Infection can also play a part in broiler stunting, the result of malabsorption syndrome. In chicks, malabsorption due to viral enteritis is called “helicopter disease” because feathering is affected. Wing feathers protrude at various angles. A reovirus is believed to play only a secondary role in this syndrome.
In commercial layer flocks, increased mortality may be the first sign of t he septicemia form. Egg production will decrease by about two to three times the mortality rate. For example, a mortality rate of 5 percent will be accompanied by a 10–15 percent drop in egg production. In the septicemic form, joint involvement is present but less pronounced. Affected birds beco me cyanotic (blue) and dehydrated. The tips of the comb turn purplish. The entire comb darkens as the disease progresses.
Transmission: The infection spreads rapidly through broiler flocks, but less rapidly in caged layers. Spread is by respiratory and digestive tract routes. The virus is shed in the feces.
Treatment: There is no satisfactory treatment available. With hens, tetracycline, molasses, and oyster shell therapy is helpful.
Prevention: A vaccine is available for use in endemic areas or on endemic farms.
Nonrespiratory Bacterial Diseases
Fowl Cholera
Synonyms: avian pasteurellosis, cholera, avian hemorrhagic septicemia
Species affected: Domestic fowl of all species (primarily turkeys and chickens), game birds (especially pheasants and ducks), cage birds, wild birds, and birds in zoological collections and aviaries are susceptible.
Clinical signs: Fowl cholera usually strikes birds older than 6 weeks of age. In acute outbreaks, dead birds may be the first sign. Fever, reduced feed consumption, mucoid discharge from the mouth, ruffled feathers, diarrhea, and labored breathing may be seen. As the disease progresses birds lose weight, become lame from joint infections, and develop rattling noises from exudate in air passages. As fowl cholera becomes c hronic, chickens develop abscessed wattles and swollen joints and foot pads. Caseous exudate may form in the sinuses around the eyes. Turkeys may have twisted necks.
Transmission: Multiple means of transmission have been demonstrated. Flock additions, free-flying birds, infected premises, predators, and rodents are all possibilities.
Treatment: A flock can be medicated with a sulfa drug (sulfonamides, especially sulfadimethoxine, sulfaquinonxalene, sulfamethazine, and sulfaquinoxalene) or vaccinated, or both, to stop mortality associated with an outbreak. It must be noted, however, that sulfa drugs are not FDA approved for use in pullets older than 14 weeks or for commercial laying hens. Sulfa drugs leave residues in meat and eggs. Antibiotics can be used, but require higher levels and long term medication to stop the outbreak.
Prevention: On fowl cholera endemic farms, vaccination is advisable. Do not vaccinate for fowl cholera unless you have a problem on the farm. Rodent control is essential to prevent future outbreaks.
Synonyms: bacillary white diarrhea, BWD
Species affected: Chickens and turkeys are most susceptible, although other species of birds can become infected. Pullorum has never been a problem in commercially grown game birds such as pheasant, chukar partridge, and quail. Infection in mammals is rare.
Clinical signs: Death of infected chicks or poults begins at 5–7 days of age and peaks in another 4–5 days. Clinical signs including huddling, droopiness, diarrhea, weakness, pasted vent, gasping, and chalk-white feces, sometimes stained with green bile. Affected birds are unthrifty and stunted because they do not eat. Survivors become asymptomatic carriers with localized infection in the ovary.
Transmission: Pullorum is spread primarily through the egg, from hen to chick. It can spread further by contaminated incubators, hatchers, chick boxes, houses, equipment, poultry by-product feedstuffs, and carrier birds.
Treatment: Treatment is for flock salvage only. Several sulfonamides, antibiotics, and antibacterials are effective in reducing mortality, but none eradicates the disease from the flock. Pullorum eradication is required by law. Eradication requires destroying the entire flock.
Prevention: Pullorum outbreaks are handled, on an eradication basis, by state/federal regulatory agencies. As part of the National Poultry Improvement Program, breeder replacement flocks are tested before onset of production to assure pullorum-free status. This mandatory law includes chickens, turkeys, show birds, waterfowl, game birds, and guinea fowl. In Florida, a negative pullorum test or certification that the bird originated from a pullorum-free flock is required for admission for exhibit at shows and fairs. Such requirements have been beneficial in locating pullorum-infected flocks of hobby chickens.
Necrotic Enteritis
Synonyms: enterotoxemia, rot gut
Species affected: Rapidly growing young birds, especially chickens and turkeys 2-12 weeks of age, are most susceptible. Necrotic enteritis is a disease associated with domestication and is unlikely to threaten wild bird populations. Necrotic enteritis is primarily a disease of broilers, roasters and turkeys. Ulcerative enteritis, on the other hand, commonly affects pullets and quail.
Clinical signs: Initially there is a reduction in feed consumption as well as dark, often blood-stained, feces. Infected chickens will have diarrhea. Chronically affected birds become emaciated. The bird, intestines, and feces emit a fetid odor
Transmission: Necrotic enteritis does not spread direct
ly from bird to bird. Bacteria are ingested along with infected soil, feces, or other infected materials. The bacteria then grow in the intestinal tract. Infection commonly occurs in crowded flocks, immuno-suppressed flocks, and flocks maintained in poor sanitary conditions.
Treatment: The clostridia bacteria involved in necrotic enteritis is sensitive to the antibiotics bacitracin, neomycin, and tetracycline. However, antibiotics such as penicillin, streptomycin, and novobiocin are also effective. Bacitracin is the most commonly used drug for control of necrotic enteritis. As with all drugs, legality and withdrawal time requirements must be observed.
Prevention: Prevention should be directed toward sanitation, husbandry, and management.
Ulcerative Enteritis
Synonyms: quail disease
Species affected: Captive quail are extremely susceptible and must be maintained on wire-bottom pens or on preventive medications. Chickens, turkeys, partridges, grouse, and other species are occasionally clinically affected.
Clinical signs: In quail, the disease is acute with high mortality. In chickens, signs are less dramatic. Acute signs are extreme depression and reduction in feed consumption. Affected birds sit humped with eyes closed. Other signs included emaciation, watery droppings streaked with urates, and dull ruffled feathers. Accumulated mortality will reach 50 percent if the flock is not treated.
Transmission: Birds become infected by direct contact with carrier birds, infected droppings or contaminated pens, feed and water. Bacteria are passed in the droppings of sick and carrier birds. Infection can be spread mechanically on shoes, feed bags, equipment, and from contamination by rodents and pets.
Treatment: Bacitracin and neomycin can be used singly or in combination. Other antibiotics and drugs such as tetracyclines, penicillin, Lincomycin, and Virginomycin are also effective. Consult a veterinarian for dose, route, and duration of treatment.
Prevention: Ulcerative enteritis is difficult to prevent in quail. When quail have access to their own droppings, this disease commonly occurs. To eradicate, depopulate stock, thoroughly clean and disinfect, and start over with young, clean stock.
Synonyms: limberneck, bulbar paralysis, western duck sickness, alkali disease
Species affected: All fowl of any age, humans, and other animals are highly susceptible. The turkey vulture is the only animal host known to be resistant to the disease.
Clinical signs: Botulism is a poisoning causing by eating spoiled food containing a neurotoxin produced by the bacterium CLOSTRIDIUM BOTULINUM. Paralysis, the most common clinical sign, occurs within a few hours after poisoned food is eaten. Pheasants with botulism remain alert, but paralyzed. Legs and wings become paralyzed, and then the neck becomes limp. Neck feathers become loose in the follicle and can be pulled easily.
If the amount eaten is lethal, prostration and death follow in 12 to 24 hours. Death is a result of paralysis of respiratory muscles. Fowl affected by sublethal doses become dull and sleepy.
Transmission: Botulism is common in wild ducks and is a frequent killer of waterfowl because the organisms multiply in dead fish and decaying vegetation along shorelines.
Decaying bird carcasses on poultry ranges, wet litter or other organic matter, and fly maggots from decaying substances may harbor botulism. There is no spread from bird to bird.
Treatment: Remove spoiled feed or decaying matter. Flush the flock with Epsom salts (1 lb/1000 hens) in water or in wet mash. It has been reported that potassium permanganate (1:3000) in the drinking water is helpful. Affected birds can be treated with botulism antitoxin injections.
Prevention: Incinerate or bury dead birds promptly. Do not feed spoiled canned vegetables. Control flies. Replace suspected feed.
Synonyms: staph infection, staph septicemia, staph arthritis, bumblefoot
Species affected: All fowl, especially turkeys, chickens, game birds, and waterfowl, are susceptible.
Clinical signs: Staphylococcal infections appear in three forms—septicemia (acute), arthritic (chronic), and bumblefoot. The septicemia form appears similar to fowl cholera in that the birds are listless, without appetite, feverish, and show pain during movement. Black rot may show up in eggs (the organism is passed in the egg). Infected birds pass fetid watery diarrhea. Many will have swollen joints (arthritis) a nd production drops.
The arthritic form follows the acute form. Birds show symptoms of lameness and breast blisters, as well as painful movement. Birds are reluctant to walk, preferring to sit rather than stand.
Bumblefoot is a localized chronic staph infection of the foot, thought to be caused by puncture injuries. The bird becomes lame from swollen foot pads.
Transmission: STAPHYLOCOCCUS AUREUS is soil-borne and outbreaks in flocks often occur after storms when birds on range drink from stagnant rain pools.
Treatment: Novobiocin (350 g/ton) can be given in the feed for 5–7 days. Erythromycin and penicillin can be administered in the water for 3-5 days or in the feed (200 g/ton) for 5 days. Other antibiotics and drugs are only occasionally effective.
Prevention: Remove objects that cause injury. Isolate chronically affected birds. Provide nutritionally balanced feed
First 4 weeks
During the first 4 weeks: Chicks for layers are fed on Chick mash whereby for Broilers are fed on Broiler mash
Both of them are well compounded feeds and contain a mixture of Food substances and antibiotics
Feeding Growers
When chicks reach 5 weeks old they are called growers and are fed on Growers Mash for Layers and Broiler Mash for Broilers.
They are fed on Broiler Mash until they are ready for slaughtering
The food should be of the right quality and quantity to make them heavy enough for slaughter during 7 – 8 weeks.
Poor quality feeds of low quantity makes the birds to take longer time to become big enough for slaughter.
They are fed on Growers Mash until 5 months old where the feed is changed to Layers complete
Meal (Layers Meal) gradually.
Start with a mixture of Growers Mash and Layers Mash
As days pass reduce the proportion of Growers Mash and increase Layers Mash
After 1 week feed the birds with Layers Complete Meal only
Supplementary Feeds
Broilers and Layers should be provided with supplementary feeds such as:
Green Vegetables or Green leaves of Legumes e.g. beans, Lucerne etc to provide protein (legumes) and Vitamin A (green leaves)
The feeding is done by tieing the leaves with ropes and hangs them in the poultry shed
Ill health: Is a condition in which birds are unwell? Ill health in Poultry can be detected through visible signs such as appearance: Birds become abnormal, appetite and Feeding; A sick bird is reactant to feed and swallow with difficult.
Defecation; Diarrhea / water, blood stained faces or contaminated with worms segment indicating diseases.
Mucous discharge; Due to respiratory and digestive system problems the birds would discharge mucous through nose or mouth
DISEASES; This is a condition in which an individual’s physical and psychological state shows diversion from a normal state
Diseases may be caused through the following causes:- Nutritional causes
Excess feed to birds may cause rapture of stomach, diarrhea and constipation while under feeding in the other hand results into starvation and nutritional.
Living organisms
These are of two groups

Infectious diseases
These are caused by micro organisms e.g. bacteria, virus, fungus etc Parasitic diseases: This group include External parasites (Ectoparasites)
These live outside the body of a bird e.g. flies, lice mites etc
Internal parasites: (Endo parasites)
These are found inside the body of the bird such as alimentary canal e.g. tape worms

These are undesirable habits of poultry.
    €€€€€€€€€€€€ Egg eating
    €€€€€€€€€€€€ Toe Pecking
    Feather pecking
€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Overcrowding of birds because fighting/cannibalism
€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ High temperature and lack of Ventilation
€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ High light intensity
€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Low protein level
€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Insufficient salts and other essential minerals in the food. Starvation
€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Keep the correct number of birds in the house to reduce fighting for food and water
€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Supply green feeds to the birds by hanging them in the poultry house to reduce mineral deficiency
€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ De- beak the birds when and weeks old
€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Supply feed with enough minerals and protein
€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Reduce light intensity in the poultry house
€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Provide enough waiters and feeders to reduce scrabbling and fighting. NUTRITIONAL DISORDERS
Deficiency causes Nutritional rupee condition in which the birds have yellow- white pustules in the mouth
Calcium (Ca) and Phosphorus deficiency causes sickest.
€€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Internal or ectoparasites
€€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ External end parasites
Generally external parasites bites the chicken on the body s
urface and suck blood causing the birds to scratch themselves by beak and toes. Examples, lice mites fly etc.
Internal parasites suck blood in the alimentary system resulting to loss of blood, pale combs and wattles and diarrhea examples tape worm, Roundworm, caecum worm, thread worm
Concepts of feeds and feeding
Feeds : There are materials given to animals so as supply nutrients
Feeding : This is a process of supplying animals with feeds
Feed stuff : These are materials which are included in the diet of farm animals
Balanced diet: These are feed supply having the right proportion of nutrients
Compounding of feeds: This is a process of mixing several feed stuffs to make up a balanced diet.
Feed nutrients which are required by livestock Livestock require six types of feed nutrients mainly: Carbohydrates
Animal body require energy in order to maintain body temperature warm as well as conducting body activities and assist in production e.g. milk and eggs.
Grains, root tubers are rich in starch while grasses are rich in fibers. Starches and fibers are good source of Carbohydrates
Fats; Oils and Fats are a good source of energy
Fats are important also in facilitating the intake of vitamin A, D, E and K Proteins:
€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Is important for growth and repair of worn out tissues
€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Is important in making livestock products e.g. eggs, wool, milk, meat etc
€€€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ Is important in the formation of antibodies and enzymes, hormones, skin, hairs, feathers.
Vitamins; they are essential for health and growth of animals
Act as a catalyst for many processes in the body, Promote growth, Formation of bones, Important in protection against diseases, Assist in blood clotting, Help in muscular activities Minerals: include
Calcium – Chlorine
Sodium – Iron
Sulphur – Copper
Zinc – Manganese
Potassium – Phosphorus
They are essential in health, growth, reproduction and development
€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ For transportation of digested food
€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ For keeping the body cool
€€€€€€€€€€€€€ ∙ For removing waste materials from the body
Classification of Feeds in Livestock
Basing in their nutritive value and moisture content, feeds in animals can be classified as follows:
o Concentrate Roughage’s Succulents Concentrates Feeds
o They are highly nutritive as they are rich in Carbohydrates and protein
o They contain little indigestible fiber and dry
Protein concentrates
Include Fish meal, bone meal, bone meal, sunflower cake, cotton seeds cake, Lucerne etc
Energy concentrates: Include sorghum, maize, oats, wheat etc
Specific concentrates:
These are concentrates which contain vitamin and minerals mixed together Sometimes called vitamin and mineral premises or supplements.
o These are high fiber content feeds – 18% C.F
o These include pasture grasses, straws and hay are good examples
o These are main feeds for ruminant animals.
o These are high moisture content feeds; most of them are plant origin
o They include, green plants, such as elephant grass, fresh cassava tubers, fresh potato etc
o They have very low nutrient content, but high water content
Livestock feed Rationing
Ration: This is a combination of feed stuff which is fed to a particular animal in order to meet its daily nutritional requirement e.g. draught animal’s egg production, meat production etc
Balanced ration:
This is a ration that supply nutrients needed for maintenance and production in correct amount and proportion.
It contains is made up of various feed stuffs. Maintenance ration:
This is the amount of ration required by an animal per day in order to live
Production ration:
This is a ration fed in addition to maintenance ration in order to supply nutrients needed for production of e.g. wool, eggs, milk etc
Factors to consider when making balanced ration
(i) Age of an animal
Young animals Grower animal Mature animal
(ii) Production of animal products; Eggs, Wool, Meat, Fatty etc
(iii) Types of animals
Non – ruminants (iv) Body size Light breeds Heavy breeds
(v) Breeding
Parent stocks
(vi) Energy producing animals
Drought animals
Mixing Rations in the Farm
There are several methods that can be used in ration formulation such as
(i) Person’s square method
(ii) Simultaneous equation method
(iii) Simple variable method
Pearson’s square method
(i) Draw a square as shown below;

(ii) Determine the protein percentage of the ration which you want to prepare. Place this protein % in the Centre of the square e.g. 14%
(iii) Place the % percentage of protein in the protein supplement on the upper left hand corner of the square e.g. 45% (see diagram)
(iv) Place the % percentage of protein, present in the grain on the lower left hand corner of the square e.g. 10% (see diagram)
(v) Subtract the figures along the diagonal NB Subtract the small number from the large number (Do not mind about negative or positive sign)
(vi) The number you obtain represents the pasts of each food stuff.
a. Supplement and
b. Protein stuff 45-14=31 parts 45-14=4 parts
In termed of 4/35×100=11.4kg and 31/35×100=88.5kg Weight (kg) in 100kg ration.
On the other hand if percentage by weight is required in this case for example 80% protein and
20% other materials e.g. Vitamins and Minerals, then
8/18X80% =36% and 10/18×80%=44% Protein supplement
Facture: This is a crap consisting of grass and legumes sown and used for feeding animals e.g. guinea grass Kikuyu Grass, wholes grass, star grass, tegument etc.
During wet season grass and their heritage plans grow well in pastures. On the other hand in the dry season plants do not grow well because of drought. Hence there is a necessity of preserving pastures which is in excess so no to be fed in dry season i.e. Fodder conservation.



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