Care and Management
|Care of laying birds||
Use correct lighting schedule to
ensure better performance. While light period should not be
increased for growing birds, it would be advantageous to increase
the light period or photoperiod for laying chicken from 22nd week of
age onwards at the rate of 15 minutes per week so as to reach 16
hours of total photoperiod (natural plus artificial). When the birds
have been in lay for about 6 months, the photoperiod may be
increased to 17 hours per day. The light period may be constantly
maintained throughout the rest of laying period. There is no special
advantage in increasing the photoperiod over 17 hours per day. The
lighting programme, if started, should be followed systematically.
Eggs produced under clean
conditions are most profitable. To produce table eggs keep males out
of flock. Fertile eggs deteriorate more quickly than infertile eggs.
Provide clean good litter material in the nest boxes. Collect eggs
as frequently as possible at least 3 times a day and keep them cool
until they are disposed off. In warm weather increase collection to
four or five times a day.
Chickens prefer a laying house
temperature of about 23.8oC and are comfortable up to 29.4oC. When
the laying house temperature is above 32.3oC, birds are
uncomfortable and the feed consumption is greatly reduced with low
egg production. Over 37.8oC, the mortality rate is rather high.
Coupled with these, the farmer often faces low egg prices also.
Therefore adequate protection of laying birds during hot weather is
The following tips are recommended to keep the birds comfortable and to curtail deaths during summer months.
|Production of Hatching Eggs||
If hatching eggs are to be produced,
cockerels have to be maintained. Rear at the rate of 15 cockerels
per 100 pullets, cull- down to 12 cockerels at 10 weeks of age. For
mating, provide one cock for 10-15 pullets of light breeds and 6-8
pullets of heavy breeds. Collect hatching eggs two weeks after
introduction of males.
Gather hatching eggs 3 to 4 times a day. In hot or cold season increase the frequency of collections. As soon as the eggs are collected, store them at a temperature between 10 and 16oC with a relative humidity of 70 - 80%. Select eggs for hatching that meet the weight requirement and that are normal in shape, colour and texture. While storing and transporting hatching eggs, keep them with broad end up and handle the eggs very gently. If possible either set the eggs for incubation or market hatching eggs twice a week. Never hold hatching eggs for more than one week under ordinary conditions of storage.
The incubation period of chicken egg is 21 days. For successful hatching, eggs require specific conditions of temperature, turning and ventilation
Specific conditions for hatching
(Source: Kerala Agricultural University)
Candle the eggs twice during incubation – one on 7th day and the other on 18-19 days of incubation. Transfer the eggs to the hatches after candling on 18th day.
|Care of growing chicks||
Debeaking is an established procedure
for poultry management, usually carried out by means of thermocautery by
using electric debeaker. It prevents cannibalism and feed wastage. It is
important to remove only 1/3 of the upper beak and slight cutting only of
the lower beak. Debeaking can be carried out between one day and six weeks
of age. Debeaking may have to be repeated sometimes before the pullets are
placed in the layer house, say at about 16 weeks of age. Birds under
backyard system are not to be debeaked. If indicated broiler chicks may be
debeaked during the first week. A trained person should carry out debeaking.
Dubbing may be resorted to in day old chicken belonging to breeds, which have larger/lopped comb.
The main breeds of backyard poultry
are Kalinga Brown, Mumbai Desi, Rhode Island Red and CARI Nirbheek.
The methods of rearing chicken in the backyard differ greatly from
place to place. Though the housing conditions are almost adequate,
proper attention to feeding is practically not given. Also the
production potential of the desi flocks in such units may be greatly
improved by introducing exotic blood. Therefore particular attention
may be given to those important aspects namely,
|Vaccination for chicken||
The general guide for vaccination for chicken
(Source: Central Avian Research Institute)
|References||Kerala Agricultural University. 2001. Package of Practices- Recommendations: Veterinary and Animal Husbandry, Kerala Agricultural University, Trichur. .|