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close this bookBetter Farming Series 13 - Keeping Chickens (FAO - INADES, 1977, 48 p.)
close this folderHow to feed poultry
View the documentTo feed poultry well is important and difficult
View the documentPoultry need good feed

Poultry need good feed

7. To build up their bodies

The muscles

It is the muscles of poultry that yield meat. Poultry are good if they yield a lot of meat in a short time, if the meat is not hard, and is white. The local breeds of hens that are not well fed are thin and their meat is hard.

The hens of improved breeds have well- developed breast and thigh muscles.
If poultry eat plenty of protein feeds, they develop good muscles.
The protein feeds are also part of body- building feeds.

Muscles of a hen

The bones

If poultry have well- formed bones, they can walk well. Poultry bones are long and thin. They are light, but hard.

In order to have strong hard bones, poultry must eat mineral salts; if they lack mineral salts their bones are badly formed. Mineral salts are part of the body- building foods.

Skeleton of a hen

38. To make big eggs

A hen has only one ovary. The ovary produces ovules. The ovule consists of a germ and reserves. It is these reserves which make the egg yolk. The ovule passes into the oviduct where the white and the shell of the egg are formed. The egg passes into the cloaca and out of the hen.

39. A hen begins to lay from the age of five months, and can produce an egg nearly every day from the age of seven months.

Reproductive system of a hen

Hen's egg

40. The egg shell is made of mineral salts, especially calcium.

The egg white contains a lot of water, protein substances and mineral salts.

The egg yolk contains a little water, a lot of protein substances, fat and vitamins.

41. To reproduce themselves and have fine chicks

If you want to have chicks the hen must be fertilized by a cock. You will then have fertilized eggs which will produce chicks. To improve the quality of the chicks you will want to take part in a cock distribution scheme. (See paragraph 25.) The cock makes a lot of sperm. So it also needs to be well fed. A cock eats more than a hen.

One cock can fertilize ten hens

On the other hand, you should not keep cocks if you do not want chicks, but only eggs.

42. To be always In good health

In order to grow and produce eggs, poultry need foods that we call body- building foods.

Poultry also need feeds that give strength (energy feeds).
They need them to live, eat, digest, walk, and to resist cold, heat, and diseases.