A closer look into rural chicken farming

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What does it really take to start raising backyard chickens?

 

It might be surprising for you to know that more people are directly interested in rural chicken farming/production worldwide than in any other single agricultural enterprise. In short, maintaining, and improving the productivity of chicken flocks at the backyard is important for rural family well-being.

 

Why are people interested in rural chicken farming?

Chickens are appreciated by backyard producers for their adaptability, contributions to family income, and nutrition, and for insect control and garden fertilizer. Chickens scavenge plant or food residues and insects around the home in the majority of family flocks.

 

Also, people can hatch and raise chicks with minimal care, produce high-value meat, and offer eggs that meet a strategic nutritional need. Live chickens sold for meat carry good prices and are a primary source of income for households.

 

Is there any profit in rural chicken farming?

The efficiency of backyard animal production lies in the fact that with few purchased inputs it uses excess family labor and surplus on-farm feed, so income from chicken’s sales is virtually all profit.

 

What are the challenges that are likely to be faced by rural chicken farmers?

  • High-input, large-scale poultry systems are obviously not appropriate for family flocks, and even transitional systems of 200-300 birds that use large-scale technologies, such as hatchery breeds, controlled feeds, artificial lighting, etc. are rarely effective for small farms.

 

  • Therefore, families find it incredibly difficult to sustain flock numbers and replace birds that get lost or sold if they are unable to produce chicks on their farm.
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  • Buying replacement chicks from a hatchery is expensive and can be disastrous for household chicken production. Hatchery birds may require artificial incubation, disease control measures, or special feeds not available on the small farm.

 

  • All of these effects are bad for the farm family, but the loss of broodiness of the hens is especially a serious one.

 

Do rural chicken farmers find the incubator hatching method a good substitute for natural methods?

When hatchery roosters cross with conventional hens, flocks will lose their hatching ability in just one generation and raise chicks.

This can make the farmer quickly dependent on buying incubated hatchery stock, which may not perform well under conditions in the backyard. People who substitute them for criollo birds in areas with intermittent electricity may have little success with incubator hatching methods.

 

What happens to the farmers who encounter these problems?

Farmers who have encountered this problem learn quickly, especially when it has to do with raising mixed species of chickens.

Broodiness is a key link in the framework for the production of small scale poultry or rural chicken farming, since the producer sells hens, not eggs.

For example, if a farmer raises criollo birds in a backyard farm, only one-third of a flock usually lay each day; one third laid the day before, and the other third is setting or caring for chicks.

 

How do rural farmers deal with broodiness?

Well, most farmers make it their policy to avoid dealing with hatchery birds, this is because even common breeds like Rhode Island Reds have lost much of their ability to successfully hatch eggs too.

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Elements viable for an effective rural chicken farming

  • Farmers should use small-scale production systems with low purchased inputs and minimized risk.
  • Farmers should choose a suitable breeding stock that can incubate and brood replacement chicks through natural reproduction.
  • Farmers should also apply the basic pest and disease control methods outlined below.

 

Why is the management of diseases important in rural chicken farming?

  • Simple, cheap management of disease dramatically increases a family flock’s survival and productivity.
  • Traditional chickens vaccinated and treated for common infections and parasites are usually sufficiently hardy to thrive under conditions in the backyard.

 

Preventive practices for elimination of health issues in rural chickens

  • Vaccination in the eye for the Newcastle disease virus, which is highly infectious and can kill the whole flock,
  • Deworming for roundworms and tapeworms
  • Dusting under wings for irritating external parasites such as lice in chickens
  • Treatment for chronic respiratory disease which lowers production.

 

Why energy is considered a limiting factor in the chicken’s feed

The key limiting factor in conventional production as regards nutrition is insufficient energy in the feed available to backyard birds.

 

Scavenging chickens may typically meet their protein, vitamin, and mineral requirements, but are unable to obtain sufficient energy for adequate growth and egg production.

Where to buy Chickens in Akwa Ibom State

Since chicken is the only meat that has no negative health conditions, you can always use it to prepare any local and continental dishes of your choice. In Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria, you can buy chickens from sofreshchikens.com at the following locations;

  • Uyo, The Akwa Ibom State capital:

    Number 215 Udo Umana Street opposite Akpan Andem Market, Uyo

  • Oron, Akwa Ibom State:

    Number 27 Market Square by Aba Street, Oron, Akwa Ibom State

  • Eket, Akwa Ibom State:

3 park road, opposite Chinese market, Eket.

 

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