System Of Rearing Poultry
Poultry housing serves two major functions:
First, it permits to organize and concentrate the flock in a manageable unit and
secondly to provide a physical micro and macro environment which is conducive for optimal egg and meat production.
Rural poultry is also an important element in diversifying agricultural production and increasing household food security.
The village chickens provide readily harvestable animal protein to rural households.
Egg dishes and chicken meat cook faster than pulses and red meat and therefore use less fuel wood.
Housing in modern poultry is an important input, accounting for a major component of the initial capital investment.
In modern poultry enterprises, the structures are constructed and designed in consideration of bird welfare and efficiency of production.
Housing in rural poultry is at a rudimentary stage.
Where housing is provided to village chickens, the houses are made with locally available materials such as wood, mud bricks, sugarcane stems, bamboo and cereal stovers.
It is also known scavenging system.
Free range poultry farming consists of poultry permitted to roam freely instead of being contained in any manner.
Free range chicken must have daytime access to open-air runs during at least half of their life.
The chickens are given continous access to an outdoor range during the daytime and at night they have some temporary shelter.
In India many of birds shelter on trees only birds with their young chicks are given some shelter or are provided cover using with a big bamboo basket.
Free-range chickens grow more slowly than intensive chickens.
Poultry are raised on pasture, enabling the poultry to move, around, forage for their natural diet and live in cleaner conditions than those in batteries.
The manure from free range poultry can be used to benefit crops.
Although there is a reduced growth rate, the opportunities for natural behaviour such as pecking, scratching, foraging exercise outdoors, as well as fresh air and daylight are a benefit to the scavenging bird.
They grow slower and have opportunities for exercise.
Free-range chickens have better leg and heart health and a much higher quality of life.
Excess heat, cold or damp can have a harmful effect on the birds and their productivity.
Diseases are common and the animals are vulnerable to predators, studies have shown that some birds have better scavenging ability than others.
A group of 15 chickens produce 1.0 to 1.2 kg manure per day. These aspects directly or indirectly contribute to village economy.
Backyard rearing system:
As the name indicates the birds are reared in the backyard of the homestead.
Here, there is an area that is fenced either with Bamboo, Mud wall, thorn bushes etc. and birds forage within this area.
Backyard rearing is mostly seen in villages but some houses in the urban areas also rear chicken in the backyard.
The birds are provided with lots of kitchen waste and food leftovers.
They scavenge and eat termites, ants, earthworm and insects.
During the dry seasons the birds are provided with rice bran or wheat bran mixed with the rice starch and other vegetables.
The eggs are laid within the boundary and birds are more safe from predators than those that are out in the range.
These birds they are provided with shelters that protect them from predators and from inclement weather.
If the farmers is close to the city, the birds are even provided with a balanced feed along with the scavenging material.
During dry seasons the birds are hand fed provided with feed or bye products of grains, greens etc. and many of the upgraded birds are used for backyard rearing.
Semi intensive system:
This system is adopted where the amount of free spare available is limited, but it is necessary to allow birds 10-20 square meters per bird of outside run.
Wherever possible, this space should be divided giving a run on either side of the house of 5-10 square meters.
In the semi intensive system of rearing, feed and water are placed in the outside run or yard.
The floor in the run can be cemented with addition of litter over the cemented floor or it could just be a sand floor.
The run is fenced by using wire, bamboo are any other local material. The birds are droved to the pen during dusk, and they are well protected during the night.
At day time the birds are let out in to the yard or run and stay there till the evening.
The yard and the pen must be cleaned regularly once the birds are out of them.
In ducks the birds are kept in the pen till all the eggs are laid and then sent out in to the yard.
Under the semi intensive system of rearing birds are provided with feed and clean potable water.
The feed could be a well balanced mash or pellet, or it could be the remains of household waste, vegetable waste mixed with some cheap grains and by products of grains.