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How to reduce heat stress in broiler production

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How to reduce heat stress in broiler production

Heat stress is a major concern in broiler production and must have had its share of all broiler farmers in the tropics. This also affects the way the farmers plan from day 1 to marketing for broiler rearing. Failure to manage heat in broiler chickens effectively and swiftly can be disastrous. Most farmers have for heat stress lost a large percentage of their total flock.

The transport of broilers can be a major problem even at 4 weeks of age, especially when done in the afternoon without the use of a special van with temperature control provision. The heat stress solution in broiler production starts by understanding that this can be a problem. You can then consider the following factors, if you know it, that can help you succeed as a broiler farmer.

  • Invest in good housing

Broilers normally with strong bedding content are raised on deep litter. They can, however, also be raised in broiler cages.

While this article is not centered on discussing the pros and cons of each of the types of housing, it is noteworthy to mention that the cage system allows for a higher storage density while the deep litter system eliminates breast blisters that can be found in broilers up in cages.

Back to my point concerning good housing. The housing must have cross ventilation, in order to prevent heat stress. That is, fresh air must be allowed into the room, and heat must be removed from the flock. As basic as this measure is, it will decide whether your broiler output is going to be a success or not.

  • Invest in shade

Wherever possible, it is vital that you provide the broilers with additional shade, apart from their home roof. This helps to keep the atmospheric temperature cool. This can be achieved by planting trees around your broiler house. If you are running a broiler farm in the backyard, it’s easier to provide additional shade for the chickens. Commercial broiler farmers, though, also embrace the option of giving their birds shade.

  • Avoid large stocking density

Some farmers assume that increasing the density of stocks will help them maximize income. The reverse, however, is the case.

In fact, my theory is that if you overstock your broiler house, as the birds grow, natural forces will come to help you eliminate the excess and more. Higher stocking densities will cause heat output to rise which will do no good for your farm at best.

  • Invest in cool and freshwater

Cool water is another aspect that will reduce heat stress after you have taken care of the housing and the ventilation. One way to always give your chicken cool water is by providing sufficient shade for their water. Commercial farms ensure there is no direct sun exposure to the water tank. You should add ice to their water to keep them cool during the hot days for broiler farming in the backyard.

You may need to repeat that step a few times a day to make sure your birds stay cool during hot periods.

  • Invest in cooling fans

That applies only to commercial broiler farms where electricity is not an issue. In broiler pens, electric refrigeration fans are installed to keep the house temperature down. Because this may be an additional cost, it is usually adopted in large commercial farms where the cost can be justified by profit.

You need to understand how to keep your meat-making machines cool if you really want to make a profit as a broiler farmer. Because they have to.

Rules for a successful broiler farming

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How cold water affects broilers

I know you want your broiler farming to succeed. Efficient broiler farming in Nigeria, however, is only achievable if you follow other inevitable laws. Every business has rules and broiler farming is no exception.

I’m not going to waste your time in this article before sharing some rules which successful broiler farmers always obey. Did you read that correctly? I mean, if you’re going to have to succeed as a broiler farmer, you need to follow those rules.

  • Feed your broilers well

All who have been doing broiler farming for some time in Nigeria would agree with me when I say broilers are egg machines.

Such genetically engineered chickens have the trait of being hardwired to develop very quickly and reach market weight as early as 6 weeks. In fact, if you’ve been doing broiler farming for a while, you can almost notice the difference in size and weight within 12 hours. That is, you’ll see they have grown when you leave them in the morning and come back in the evening. That’s what they are again-meat-making devices.

They must not be starving to get the best out of your broiler chickens and help them improve their growth potential. One research suggests that when broilers starve for up to 6 hours, they tend to ‘eat up themselves’ that is break down body fat.

Give as much feed as your birds can consume. It’s what they’re turning into meat, after all. But their feeding is covered by a clause, and that is discussed in the next item.

  • Broilers don’t like Heat

You and I may have ways to escape from the impact of extreme heat, but when you expose them to unnecessary heat, there’s almost nothing broilers can do. That is why consideration of the heat factor is important when considering the type of housing to be used. You have to do everything you can to keep them always cool. This includes a high roof, ample space, cool water, and eating less during hot days.

If you see them panting during hot days, it is best not to feed your broilers for the meal. Giving them food just adds to the heat stress that is killing them already.

  • Do Less Brooding in Broiler Farming

If you plan to brood for four weeks then you don’t plan broilers. Maybe the layers and the cockerels. Due to the mechanical action of eating and the cycle of feeding metabolism, broilers generate a lot of heat which makes supplementary heat almost unnecessary. Except in cold regions and on cold days, even in their first week, broilers don’t require additional heat during a sunny day.

If you keep giving your broilers additional heat, you can begin to notice sudden death from the third week. Remember broilers do not like heat.

  • With your vaccine schedule, you can’t be rigid

Though broiler chickens typically come with a hatchery vaccination schedule; typically you get the schedule when buying in large quantities and directly from the hatchery, broiler farming is one of the businesses that need flexibility, and you can’t afford to be rigid.

Broiler vaccination schedule should serve as a broiler farmer’s guide. It’s meant to show him when to vaccinate and which vaccine he’s going to be using per time.

It is important to note, though, that if administered unwisely, vaccinations can be deadly.

You’re not vaccinating sick birds, it is said, but some farmers seem to forget that fact. They rush to meet the timetable for their vaccination. You might want your broilers vaccinated on day 21, for example. If, on day 20, you notice coccidia among the flock, though, you have to wait. Do not vaccinate the birds until you have coccidiosis treatment with them. Keep in mind-Vaccines will only work for you if your chickens are healthy.

  • Plan according to your target weight

Some people begin broiler farming in Nigeria without having a proper plan about the birds’ target weight and the length of time it takes to reach the weight. Usually raising broilers longer than the necessary time would lead to a loss on the farmer’s part.

If you target festive periods such as Easter and Christmas, do not start earlier than needed. Depending on your feed formula, you should work towards achieving a weight of around 2.5-3.5 kg within 6-9 weeks. Putting your hands on an outstanding recipe for the feed will help you gain an impressive weight in a short time.

Holding your birds until 12 weeks is a waste of time and money. Evite this, if possible.

Conclusion

Broiler farming in Nigeria is a very lucrative business if you do it as you should, and in order to succeed as a broiler farmer, you must obey the rules mentioned above. I wish you a wonderful experience in agriculture.

 

How to prepare chicken Jollof rice

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How to prepare chicken Jollof rice

Chicken Jollof rice is an omnipresent one-pot dish in Nigeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Liberia, Togo, and Sierra Leone. Indeed, this is West Africa’s most popular party food and has gained momentum elsewhere in East Africa.

Due to its popularity, several debates have been held regarding its origin. What I know for sure is this- it’s a one-pot amazing dish and when someone fires it down their throats, there is no debate.

Ingredients for chicken Jollof rice

  • skinless, boneless chicken thighs, 8 pieces
  • 3 tbsp of vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion bulb, halved and sliced
  • 3 tbsp of tomato purée
  • 1 stock of chicken cube
  • 400g of basmati rice
  • 1 red pepper, all disserted and thickly sliced
  • 1 yellow pepper, disserted and thickly sliced
  • A bunch coriander, roughly chopped, to serve for ginger and chili base
  • 2 garlic cloves or bulb
  • 2 x 400g cans of plum tomatoes
  • thumb-size piece of fresh root ginger
  • 1 scotch bonnet of chili, disserted

Method of preparing chicken Jollof rice

  • The chicken is flavored with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil over high heat in a large deep frying pan, then add the meat and fry for about 5 minutes until golden throughout. Lift the pan out onto a tray.
  • Add the remaining oil to the saucepan and fry the onions until soft but not golden, about 5 minutes. Allow the ginger and chili base while the onions cook. Put in a food processor or blender and whizz the garlic, tomatoes, ginger, and chili until smooth.
  • Add the tomato purée to the onions, fry the ginger and chili mixture for another 2 minutes. Crumble into the cube of stock, stir then pour in boiling water of 600ml. Add the chicken and bring it to the boil for 15 minutes then simmer.
  • Put the rice in a large bowl, cover with cold water, and wash the grains using your hands. Then tap the water out and repeat until the water runs clear. Add the rice to the saucepan, reduce the heat to a simmer, and then cover with foil and a lid to prevent steam from escaping and cooking for 20 minutes.
  • Take off the lid, the rice is not yet to be cooked, then scatter the peppers over the rice. Cover again and cook for 10 minutes until the veg is softened and the rice is tender. Mix the veg through just before serving, then scatter over the coriander.

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

PS: The images and most of the explanations used for this article is credited to bbcgoodfood.com and elleyajoku.com

Use chicken manure in your vegetable garden today

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Why you should use chicken manure in your vegetable garden

There’s nothing more wanted for the vegetable garden when it comes to manures than chicken manure. Using it for vegetable garden fertilization is excellent but in order to use it correctly, there are some things you need to learn about.

Using chicken manure as fertilizer

Chicken manure fertilizer is very high in nitrogen and also contains good potassium and phosphorus content. The high levels of nitrogen and balanced nutrients are the reason chicken manure compost is the best type of manure to use.

Although, if the manure has not been properly composted, the high nitrogen in the chicken manure is harmful for plants. Raw fertilizer from chicken manure can burn, and even kill plants. Composting manure from chicken mellows the nitrogen and makes the manure appropriate for garden use.

How to get the composition for your farm

Manure Composting gives the manure time to break down some of the more powerful nutrients to make them more usable by the plants.

It’s easy to compose manure from chicken. You can use the bedding from your own chickens, if you have chickens. If you don’t own chickens, you can find a farmer who owns chickens and they’ll most likely be able to give you the chicken bedding you’ve used.

The next step in composting this is to take the bedding that is used and bring it into a compost tank. Water it properly and then transform the pile into the pile every few weeks for air to join.

On average, it takes between six to nine months to get the composition finished properly. The exact amount of time it takes it to compost is dependent on the conditions under which it is composted.

If you are uncertain how well it has been composted, you can expect to use the compost for up to 12 months. When the composting process is complete, it is ready to use. Just spread the compost evenly over the garden.

Run the compost with a shovel or a tiller within the soil. Using it for fertilizing vegetable garden can yield excellent soil in which to grow your vegetables. You’ll find that the use of this fertilizer will help your vegetables grow bigger and healthier.

How to prepare Nigerian Chicken Pepper soup

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How to prepare Nigerian Chicken Pepper soup

Nigerian Chicken Pepper Soup is a comfort food that’s easy and hearty. As the name implies, pepper soup is a ‘pepper soup?’ It is a recipe for chicken broth which is hot and spicy. Like most West Africans, the Nigerians love spice.

But I have you covered if you don’t like hot and spicy food. Simply reduce this recipe’s amount of pepper, or skip it altogether. Though I doubt it would still be called a pepper soup, with the complete absence of heat.

This easy chicken pepper soup put together is loaded with spicy, bold, and hearty flavors. It’s so easy to make and putting this together can hardly go wrong.

Why should you try this chicken pepper soup out?

  • The broth gives good health
  • The Chicken is well raised from home
  • The green plants are full of healthy carbs
  • The spice of the chicken pepper soup is medicinal

This exceptional delicacy is highly medicinal, made from aromatic spices, and can be eaten any time of day. Some prefer eating it after birth-giving; others like having it when they want to recover from cold or flu while others eat it because they like it.

The ingredients used in making pepper soup give you a whole package of nourishment and flavor; the whole atmosphere is filled with the strong aromatic smell of the spices right from the cooking process.

Starchy foods such as yam, potatoes, or unripe plantains may be introduced into the chicken pepper soup on many occasions to make it a full meal. I used green plantains in this recipe-plantains are highly nutritious and a good iron source.

INGREDIENT FOR CHICKEN PEPPER SOUP

  • 2 lb of chicken
  • 2 Tbsp of Crayfish
  • 3 inches of ginger root
  • 1 Tbsp of pepper soup spice
  • 6 to 8 cups of water
  • 2 scotch of bonnets
  • 1 bulb of onion
  • 2 green plantains
  • 3 to 4 tsp of seasoning powder this will be about 3 cubes
  • 5 garlic of cloves
  • Pinches of Salt to taste
  • Fresh scent leaves especially Basil

How to prepare the chicken pepper soup

How to prepare Nigerian Chicken Pepper soup

  • Blend and set aside the onions, ginger, garlic, and scotch bonnet.
  • Cut the chicken into bits, and thoroughly clean.
  • Put the chicken, cooked, in a bowl. Put the mixture together, season powder, and salt to taste. Mix thoroughly, and leave for 10 to 15 minutes to cook.
  • Add spice, crayfish, and water to the pepper broth. Stir and leave for a further 15 minutes to cook.
  • In the meantime, the plantains are peeled and cut into about 2-inch chunks.
  • In the cooking soup, add the cut plantains and allow to cook for 15 to 20 minutes or until the plantains become tender
  • Sprinkle the basil leaves and serve you chicken pepper soup either hot or warm.

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

PS: The images and most of the explanations used for this article is credited to mydiasporakitchen.com and chieflola’skitchen.com

How to prepare Nigerian chicken stew

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How to prepare Nigerian stew with chicken

Every Nigerian loves Nigerian chicken stew no matter where they reside. Nigerian chicken stew is a classic recipe which is also very delicious.

Nigerian chicken stew can be eaten from boiled rice to soups and as a dip, with almost everything.

To make Nigerian chicken stew, there is no hard or soft rule, some people like it well fried while others like it lighten. For the sake of intense taste, we would say the majority want theirs well fried or thick. This classic Nigerian stew recipe is simple and you can also use any meat of any kind to accomplish this.

But today, we will be guiding you on how to prepare Nigerian stew with chicken.

Nigerian stew cooks best with vegetable oil. Although curry and thyme may or may not be added to the stew, it is essential that you use it to cook your favorite protein. The authentic Nigerian chicken stew taste, full of flavor and depth, is to be achieved. If you choose to use palm oil for this recipe for any reason, we recommend that you do not use curry and thyme, as palm oil doesn’t work well with this spice and herbs.

Ingredients for Nigerian Chicken Stew

  • Nigerian pepper mix boiled, 8 cups.
  • Pieces of hard chicken, 18 pieces
  • 2 medium onion chopped, this will be used in boiling the chicken and later used in the stew
  • Chicken bouillon cubes usage will be according to preference
  • 1 tsp ginger powder which can be substituted with fresh ones, minced
  • 1 tsp garlic powder which can be substituted with fresh ones, minced
  • 1/2 tsp of thyme spice
  • 1 tsp of curry spice
  • Vegetable oil, about 2 cups
  • Salt to taste.
  • 1 cup of chicken broth, this broth is gotten from boiling the chicken.

This chicken stew can be enjoyed with anything, soup staples such as ewedu, okra, all kinds of Efo and white rice are usually served with

Directions for preparing Nigerian chicken stew

  • Rinse the chicken and place it in a bowl, put the bowl over medium heat, add the ginger, garlic, curry, thyme, salt, 1 chopped onion, cubes of bullion, and water. Stir to combine, and bring to a boil until tender. Fry the chicken and then set it aside.How to prepare Nigerian stew with chicken
  • Place a pan that is large enough to cook the stew at medium heat, add vegetable oil, the one used to fry the chicken can be used, and heat for 2-3 minutes. Add chopped onions and fry until the onions are translucent and heat reductionHow to prepare Nigerian stew with chicken
  • Stir pepper carefully in hot oil and cook for around 3-5 minutes, then add the tomatoes mix. After a while, add seasoning and salt and allow to cook for a few more minutes
  • How to prepare Nigerian stew with chicken
  • Add chicken broth/water to make the stew lighter.How to prepare Nigerian stew with chicken
  • Attach the fried or grilled chicken and start cooking over medium heat until stew stops foaming and the oil starts to spill over the stew. If you see too much oil floating on your stew, don’t worry, you have done well. Just scoop the stew’s excess oil and hold for some other dish or discard.
  • by this time, your chicken stew will be well cooked and ready to be served with any food of your choice.How to prepare Nigerian stew with chicken

Conclusion

Cooking this stew is fairly straight forward and the result is superb. Just follow the simple steps as outline above and give us feedback on the outcome of your food. Enjoy your chicken stew.

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

PS: The images and most of the explanations used for this article is credited to sisijemimah.com and myactivekitchen.com

Having shell-less eggs? Here is why

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Having shell-less eggs? Here is why

A chicken laying eggs without shell (shell-less eggs) does so for a reason and you may not be able to stop it until you figure out the cause. It may be beautiful for the first time to see a shell-less egg in your poultry farm or chicken house at the backyard. But when you start seeing a few of your hens laying eggs without shell, the feeling changes. There are a few reasons, as a farmer, why you don’t want your chicken to lay eggs without shell, they include;

  • Since you cannot sell those shell-less shells, it’s a blow to your farm
  • Thin-shell eggs quickly crack and create a mess
  • It’s a big concern when the cause is not yet known
  • The chickens continue to eat but lay poor quality eggs
  • You will start to worry it could be a disease

Causes of shell-less eggs

  • Low Calcium

This is one of the most popular reasons your chickens could lay eggs without shells. For your information, an eggshell is mostly calcium that is deposited over a few hours before the egg is laid. And as the saying goes, you don’t give what you don’t have-when your hens are low in calcium deposit, they can’t lay eggs with shells that are strong. The eggs come either with thin shells or without shell at all. The cure for this reason is supplementing calcium in your hen’s diet. Examples of sources of calcium include oyster shell and bone meal.

 

  • Vitamin D deficiency

This might not be addressed by many people, but it is more critical than you would think. The truth here is that if you have a chicken that lays eggs without shell, the hen may have vitamin D deficiency. You might ask, how does eggshell affect vitamin D? Nutrient D is the nutrient that lets your hen take advantage of their dietary calcium. You need to test your micro-ingredients, and make sure you give your hen what she wants for a good shell of eggs.

 

  • Low or excess phosphorus

Low phosphorus causes shell-less eggs while excess phosphorus can lead to thin shell eggs. Check the formula on your chicken feed.

 

  • Saline water

Thin shells will result in too much salt in the water.

 

  • Stress

This is another factor that can lead to a shell-less chicken laying eggs. The egg formation process takes around 16 hours from beginning to end. And if your hen is overexcited, particularly during the night period, it could have an effect on the egg formation process, leading to low calcium deposition on the formed egg.

This stress may sometimes come from the disturbance caused by rodents or predators such as snake. Hence, sealing all crevices and preventing intrusion of any dangerous animal is important.

During hot periods stress can also come from heat. Offer the serenity and ambient temperature that your birds deserve and you will remove shell-less eggs from your farm.

 

  • Immature or Defective Shell Gland

The shell gland of the hen may still develop. There are instances in which some hens develop an issue with their shell gland. This will trigger shell-less eggs to lie in.

 

  • Diseases

Such as Avian Influenza, Newcastle Disease Virus, Infectious Bronchitis, Egg Drop Syndrome, and the presence of mycotoxin in feed can also affect the thickness of the eggshell.

  • Early Laying

When you see shell-less eggs at the start of laying, it is most likely because the chickens are still adjusting to production. The shell-less eggs will disappear when the birds’ system is fully adjusted in a few weeks’ time. Do your hens a favor and turn to layer mash to provide them with the nutrients required to produce the eggs.

 

  • Old Age

Just as the human body system tends to slow down in metabolism and many other processes in the body, so does the hen’s reproductive system. Old age can cause the chicken to begin laying eggs without the shell.

If this occurs after your chickens have been laying for 18 months, you will need to sell them in the nearest time. There’s nothing you can do at this age-they’re just worn out.

In general, the genesis for solving the problem is to determine the cause of shell-less egg or thin eggshell. And while one can operate on some factors, others cannot.

 

Vaccination errors that are likely to kill your chickens

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Vaccination errors that are likely to kill your chickens

Vaccination is meant to avoid disease from poultry, but not when it is handled the wrong way. In this article, we are going to share some of the reasons why vaccines might kill your chickens before illness comes.

Vaccines are live, killed or attenuated (weakened) form of a disease-causing organism (pathogen) that is administered to animals in order to sensitize them and prepare them in their active state for the naturally occurring pathogen.

When a vaccine (antigen) is noticed by a chicken’s immune system, the antibodies try to combat that weakened organism.

The chicken finds it easier to overcome because of the weakened state of the organism. And so, if encountered later in life, the chicken is prepared for the stronger organism. It is the organism’s predisposition that prepares the chickens, and this is the very essence of vaccination.

Having decided what a vaccine is and why it is administered, let’s get into the common mistakes that farmers make when vaccinating their chickens.

Giving vaccinations to Sick or Stressed Chickens

Vaccinating diseased birds is like adding to the disease. When a chicken gets sick, it compromises the immune system. At times like this, vaccines will only do more harm, rather than preventing the disease.

What happens when you vaccinate a sick bird is that the weakened organism which is inserted into the body of the chicken can now cause the disease. Stressed chickens have also decreased lymphocyte count. Lymphocyte is known as an antibodies factory. And the antibodies play a significant role in the immune response of your chickens.

Using Vaccination as Medicines

In poultry farming, this is demonstrated when a farmer decides to repeat a vaccine without proper guidance. They have the idea, in most cases, that repeating the vaccine would improve their chances of efficacy. Some also subtract the doses for every exercise in vaccination.

Well, there are instances where vaccines should be repeated at secure intervals only. This should be according to the prescription of the manufacturer, and not simply because you think you need to add an extra dose. Some farmers also take vaccines to treat the symptoms of viral diseases. All of these must be verified.

Poor Administration of Vaccines

This includes the management problems which may break an exercise in vaccination. For example, if careful surveillance is not performed and certain birds do not have access to the vaccine, this may lead to a significant potential outbreak. Unvaccinated birds, in such cases, pose a challenge to the vaccinated ones and to the profit of the farmer.

Bad method of storing drugs used for vaccination

Vaccines for the poultry are normally kept in a cold chain. That is, they must be kept in cold storage, from the point of manufacture to the point of use. Bad storage would then make these vaccinations useless, so no vaccination has taken place, even if administered.

It is critical as a poultry farmer that you place importance on the source of the vaccines you use. Only buy vaccines from reputable places that are trusted to have kept all the vaccine requirements potent.

Bad storage can also be caused by a freezer failure, personal carelessness, or transport problems. The worst thing about disappointment with the vaccine is that it sometimes goes unnoticed.

That is, the farmer believes that all the chickens were vaccinated until symptoms of the disease that they were vaccinated for started to surface. By taking this extra precaution to protect your investment.

The use of bad quality water

As we should already learn, most vaccines use water as the diluent. Using water that has a high salt or chlorine concentration will make vaccines impotent. This implies that the composition of the water used for vaccination must be certain. You can find more on vaccination and water quality here

As important as vaccinating your chickens to protect them from disease, it is more important that you do it properly. I hope this article will point you in the right direction as regards vaccination and the danger of not doing it properly.

How to select the best egg incubator for your chicken

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Chicken egg incubators, steps to choosing it

Purchasing and using the egg incubator for your chicken has been on the rise over the last few years. With the help of websites like sofreshchickens.com, farmers can now get themselves a hold of brooding chicks. It is only natural to want to play with some fertile eggs from your stock after a certain level of success in brooding chicks.

Sometimes you just want to hatch your turkey or Noiler eggs by artificial means, if you’re like us, having some turkeys, noilers, cockerels, and broilers; the new feeling of hatching chicks and poults is enough to make you want to do that, combined with the money you’ll save.

There are some factors you must consider when you start considering buying an egg incubator.

  • Source of Power

This is the main reason we didn’t buy an egg incubator until we discovered the way out. Most incubators run on electricity, and an uninterrupted power supply was required for the incubation process. If you’re in our country, Nigeria then you’ll agree we’re paying for electricity but don’t get to use it. But let’s cut back on that chase. There are some egg Incubators are available with inbuilt inverter. Alternatively, you can get your own inverter unit and connect it to a battery. You will have your egg incubator device running without having to think about PHCN for an additional cost of N12, 000 – N24,000.

  • The price of Egg Incubator

Honestly, this is the second reason we hadn’t owned an egg incubator before. Until recently when portable incubators began to take over from the market, the majority of available incubators were large and expensive. The price of an incubator largely depends on its size, automation settings, and manufacturer. So, if you choose an incubator now, you’ll get one within your budget range. For as low as N30, 000, you can get a small automatic egg incubator, and the big ones could run into millions.

  • The scale/size of the Egg Incubator

Price is one factor, but the size is another. If what you need is a big one that can hatch hundreds or even thousands of eggs at a time, you don’t want to get a small incubator. Buying a huge incubator, which you don’t even have the room to hold, also doesn’t sound right. Consider room, and how many eggs you’ll need to hatch each time. This will help you choose from the wide array of available incubator sizes.

  • Control of Temperature

The incubator for chicken eggs should have temperature control capability for optimal performance. Most incubators come with thermostat function to keep a steady temperature. But the thermometer is what counts for you. During the incubation process, you should be able to view temperature reading at any point. Some even come with an alarm device to warn you when unexpectedly the temperature gets out of control. It is important that you get one with an alarm system, because for a long time you don’t want things going bad.

  • Choose Egg Incubator with Moisture Monitor

Also, moisture is very important when you want to achieve high hatchability. You’ll need to get an egg incubator with a moisture monitor. That essentially tells you how wet or dry the air is within the hatching machine. Each stage of the hatching process requires the required humidity. You want your incubator to be set and you want to be able to track what is going on inside.

  • How easy can you keep an eye on your egg incubator?

It’s easier to be able to take a peep at what’s happening inside the incubator without opening it all the time. For this reason, most portable incubators come with transparent plastic or glass that covers some of it.

Some have the sides with clear plastic while some manufacturers use a clear cover. Both large incubators of a cabinet type have glass doors. So look for an incubator that will give you a clear enough view to see the eggs, and the chicks when they start hatching.

  • And then, Cleaning Facility as finality

The hatching should be complete within 21-28 days depending on the type of bird. After this, a thorough cleaning and disinfection is required. Having an easy to clean incubator would make the cycle quick. Most portable incubators are readily cleanable.

However, the material used as well as the presence or absence of tight corners that cannot be reached when cleaning is still to be considered. If you’re going for a large incubator, make sure the cleaning is simple.

The tips above will help you select the right incubator for chicken eggs but there’s more to it. You will need to pay attention not only to the description of the incubators by the manufacturers but also to user reviews. I hope you find the right egg incubator for your birds.

The role of light in egg production

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The role of light in egg production

The production of eggs is associated with the length and intensity of light that the bird receives daily. Light stimulates the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland for the release of FSH and LH through the optic nerve. The role of Light in egg production is fully discussed here.

The light energy penetrates the skull, skin, and feathers, too. FSH is boosting ovarian follicle growth. Upon maturity, the ovum is released through LH’s action.

Significant points about light

  • Wavelength from 400 to 700 microns (nanometer) which is visible to the eye
  • The longer visible light wavelengths (red) are more able to reach the brain than the shorter wavelengths.
  • The intensity of the light rays in the sun varied because of
  • The position of the sun
  • The cloudiness of the weather
  • The dust and moisture present in the air
  • Daylight duration varies because of the relative position of the earth to the sun
  • North Hemisphere,
  • 21st June is the longest day of the year
  • 21st December is the shortest day of the year
  • It is reversed in the southern hemisphere

Daylight occurs from 15 to 30 minutes before sunrise and darkness occurs 15 to 30 minutes after sunset due to the curvature of the earth’s crust and therefore the length of daylight is much greater than the hours between sunrise and sunset. But sunrise-sunset time is usually considered as the light day.

Words used with respect to light

  • Candela (Laughter)

A candela is the luminous intensity unit of a light source in a given direction

  • Lumen-Lumen

The lumen is characterized as the rate at which light falls on a square foot surface that is just as far away as one foot from a source with one candela in intensity.

  • Footcandle

In foot-candles, the illumination on a surface is measured. A foot-candle is defined as the intensity of light that strikes any point on a section of the inner surface of an imaginary one-foot radius sphere with a single candle-power source in the middle. One footcandle therefore equals one lumen per square foot.

  • Lux

A lux intensity of light equals one lumen per square foot.

1 Foot Light is equal to 10.76 lux

Types of light

There are four common types of light used in poultry houses,

  • Incandescent  least expensive; requires reflectors, short bulb life (750-1000 hrs.)

  • Fluorescent-3 to 4 times more efficient than light bulbs; 10 times longer life than light bulbs

  • Mercury vapor-Long life (24,000 hrs.); it takes several minutes to warm up; it cannot be used in low ceiling houses.

  • Compact fluorescent (CF) lighting-More efficient energy. One-fifth fluorescent light energy is needed to provide the same intensity of light (lumen)

Light Management

  • The way lights are installed in the poultry house has a role to play in their performance. Some of the key points about the fixation of bulbs in poultry houses are,
  • The gap between the bulbs should be 11⁄2 times that from the bulb to the level of the eye.
  • The distance between the bulbs and the outside edges of the house should be just 1⁄2 the distance between the bulbs.
  • The bulbs should be placed in cage systems in such a way that their rays fall on the feed and the birds.
  • Clean reflectors increase light intensity by 50 percent at bird level compared to no reflectors.
  • Avoid reflectors of the cone shape since they confined the light rays to a limited area. Better to use rounded-edge flat-type reflector.
  • In the case of a deep litter system, the bulb should be placed at a height of 7-8′ whereas, in a cage house, it should be kept in the aisle.
  • Stop hanging the bulbs in open houses by a string
  • Very dirty bulbs emit less than 1/3 of light than clean bulbs.
  • Cleaning the light bulbs once in two weeks.

Effects of light during the growing period

Reducing the length of light day during growing periods would result in

  • Increase age when sexually mature
  • Increase the number of eggs laid during egg development in the first half (but not in the total number of eggs laid)
  • Grow the size of the first produced eggs.

Light restriction alone delays sexual maturity by up to 3 weeks at most. If feed restriction is combined with light restriction we may delay a period of up to 4 weeks.

Effects of light during the laying period

Birds reared under increased daylight develop more eggs because the pituitary releases FSH and LH. Light shine also affects the development of eggs.

In layer houses, the intensity of 1 ft. of candlelight is necessary under realistic conditions. At the lower deck, a minimum of 0.5 feet of candlelight intensity is needed in the multi-duck cage system. 16 hours of light during peak egg production period is required for maximum egg production.

Reducing the photoperiod during laying time seriously affects the development of eggs. The artificial light can be provided in the morning, in the evening or morning, and in the evening.

Combination of both growing and laying lighting programs

Two important points about lighting to remember are,

  • For growing pullets, the length of the light day should never increase.
  • For the laying of pullets, the length of the light day should never decrease.

Flocks at season

Those birds which are grown during a time when the duration of the natural light day is decreasing, are called in-season flocks at least during the last part of their growth cycle. As a general rule, chicks hatched in the Northern Hemisphere between 1 March and 31 August are called in-season flocks.

Flocking out of season

Chicks hatched between the 1st of September and the 28th of February are called out-season flocks, as their growing period falls on the daylight.

Instructions for light programs in open-sided buildings

  1. A) Flocking in season

There is no need for artificial light up to 20 weeks (22 weeks for meat-type breeders). At age 20 weeks, the light is increased to 13 hours. Then add 1 hr. a week before light hits 16 hours.

  1. B) Flocking out of season

There are two ways to adopt

  1. Light-day program permanent

Determine the length of the longest day of natural light until the pullets hit 20 weeks of age. Maintain this average light hour span from the 3rd day until 20 weeks by supplementing natural light with artificial light. Then, at this point, increase 1 hour of light and increase 1 hour per week until the total light duration reaches 16 hours.

  1. Daylight Diminishing program

Determine the total natural hours of daylight when the pullets reach 20 weeks of age. Then, add seven hours. This represents the length of daylight from day 3. The length of the light day is then shortened by 20 minutes per week. At age 20 weeks the length of the light day increases by 1 hour. Then growing for 1 hour per week until it reaches a light of 16 hours a day.

Photo-refraction

Photo-refractoriness is a condition in which the bird cannot respond to the lengths of the long day. The longer the stimulating day, the sooner and the more pronounced the photo-refractory reduction in egg production.

Ahemeral light programs

If the total light and dark period is not twenty-four hours, we can call it the ancient lighting cycle. Two types exist: Longer day (14 hr. light + 14 hr. dark) and shorter day (11 hr. light + 11 hr. dark).

The longer day cycle increases the quality of the eggshell, since the shorter day cycle increases the production of eggs by 2%. These cycles, however, are not compatible with the normal schedule of work and need light-proof houses.