|Better Farming Series 13 - Keeping Chickens (FAO - INADES, 1977, 48 p.)|
|How to choose poultry|
21. They do not ask much In the way of looking after.
Often they are quite resistant to dampness, heat, and even to certain diseases: they are called hardy.
22. They are small.
They do not weigh much. They do not yield much meat.
23. They do not grow quickly.
You have to wait at least six months before you can eat or sell them.
24. They do not produce many eggs.
Their eggs are often small.
They produce only 30 to 50 small eggs a year.
So the traditional types of poultry must be improved.
25. In several areas animal husbandry centres and services are
carrying out what is called cock distribution. The village cocks are taken away
and replaced by cocks of good breeds.
As you know, the qualities of an animal's father and mother are passed on to their young.
The qualities of a cock of good breed and the quality oat a hen of local breed are passed on to their chicks.
Thus the chicks born of a cock of good breed and a hen of local breed are Improved poultry.
The male chickens must be sold or eaten.
Then another cock has to be bought next year and mated again to hens of the first cross.
After that the new breed can reproduce itself without further introduction of cocks.
26. Cock distribution is a quick way to get a better product for eating and selling.
It costs the farmer little - the price of the male, the cost of the vaccination and some improvement in the poultry shed, better feeders and drinkers, which he can make from scrap material.
27. The hens of Improved breeds
Those that come from foreign countries make better use of their feed than the local hens do.
They grow quickly, become fat, yield a lot of meat and produce many big eggs.
28. If a farmer decides to feed his local hens well he will not earn much money and will not get much meat.
A local hen grows fat very slowly, uses a lot of feed and uses it badly.
On the other hand, a chicken of improved breed needs only 3 to 5 kilogrammes of feed from its birth to the day when it can be sold or eaten.
29. You get more meat and you earn more money by feeding well a hen of Improved breed than a local breed of hen.
30. The animal husbandry centres and services have selected the improved breeds of hen with good resistance to diseases, and well adapted to the climate.
It is best to buy these hens from the animal husbandry centres and services.
31. You can buy either day- old chicks, or three- month- old pullets.
Day- old chicks Cost less than three- month- old pullets. But you have to know how to raise them. You have to be able to house them well, for they are very delicate and can die easily.
Three- month- old pullets Cost much more. But they require less looking after. They have been vaccinated and they are more resistant to diseases.
32. When you begin modern poultry keeping it is better to buy three- month- old pullets.
They are easier to raise than the day- old chicks. They need less looking after. They do not die so easily. They are vaccinated.
33. It Is no use selecting cocks, hens and chicks of a modem breed - unless you feed them well
The cocks, hens and chicks bought from the animal husbandry centres have been well fed.
You must go on feeding them well. If you do not, they will not get fat. They will catch diseases and they may die. In a well- run poultry farm with 100 laying birds, not more than 5 or 10 birds should die in the course of one year.
· unless they are vaccinated
All poultry should be vaccinated.
If the birds have not been vaccinated at the animal husbandry centre, you must vaccinate them at once.
· unless you look after them well
If you buy cocks and hens and then do not take good care of them, of their food, their housing and their health, you are wasting all your money.
Traditional poultry raising means little work, costs nothing, but yields little.
Modem poultry raising means work, costs a little money, but can yield a lot.
34. At the animal husbandry centres you can get Improved breeds of poultry.
For example, here are some of the more successful crosses. In naming the crossed breeds, the breed of the male is always given first.
Rhode Island- Sussex cross
The hen is a light mahogany colour; the cock is white speckled with black.
The hen is a good layer.
In 10 months, that is about 300 days of laying, it will lay 165 to 180 eggs.
Sussex- Rhode Island cross
This cross gives birds that are white speckled with silvery black.
The hen is quite a good layer.
A three- month- old pullet will weigh from 1.5 to 1.7 kilogrammes.
Rhode Island- Wyandotte cross, also called P- 60, is a bird of dark mahogany colour.
Often the hens have a flat curly comb. The hen is a good layer.
But it dislikes damp.
The adult hen weighs between 1.7 and 2 kilogrammes.
New Hampahire- Leghorn and Rhode Island- Leghorn crosses.
These crosses often produce white birds and sometimes birds with mahogany feathers.
They produce white eggs.
There are the Gold- Hen and Harco crosses.
Other new breeds are being introduced which carry trade names.
The animal husbandry centre can tell you which of them are suitable for your particular conditions.