Poultry in Uganda is carried because of different and various reasons. Some people do poultry because for eggs while others do poultry for the meat. It can be done on a small scale or large scale depending on how much money one has and it is done majorly for commercial reasons.
Factors to consider before starting a poultry farm
Poultry farming is quite large as it involves a lot of things like layers and broilers. This involves different sectors and these sectors are the ones that help you decide which factors to follow when setting up your desired poultry business sector and these factors are listed below:
- Location of the farm
This is the first step into setting up a poultry farm. You need to look for a place that is very conducive and market wise reliable. The location of the farm should be easily accessed in terms of labor and transportation. Select a farm area that has a good location and is security wise safe.
- The budget
You should also consider the amount of money that you have before setting up a poultry farm. The budget that you have will determine how big or small your poultry farm will be and whether you will be able to set it up easily or not.
But just in case the money budgeted for is minimal, you can outsource funds from friends or get a loan from the bank to cater for the construction of the chicken houses.
- Select the poultry sector
The poultry sector is quote wide and before you start thinking about joining the poultry business, you need to find the sector that you desire to work in. these sectors include meat and egg processing, egg production, meat and poultry feed production. All sectors are profitable but you have to get one that you are well versed with.
- Poultry farming done for eggs
The birds reared for eggs are known as layers and these come in different types depending on what one has bought on the market. These chickens are raised from day one and by 19 weeks, they are always ready to lay eggs. The layers lay up to when they are 72 to 78 weeks of age and there are various things to consider when choosing the chicken for eggs that is the breed of the hen and cock.
The different type of layer breeds includes the following:
The type of layer breeds
There are two types of chicken breeds used for laying eggs in Uganda and these are the brown egg laying hens and white hen laying eggs.
The brown egg laying chicken
There are different types of the brown egg laying chicken and these include the Gold Line, Lehman Brown, and Isa brown among others. These lay eggs which have a brown outer shell and they are larger than other chicken and it should be noted that they eat more food than the other chicken.
The white egg laying chicken
These include the Isa white, Harvard white, sever white and Bovanch white. These are relatively small as compared to the brown egg laying chicken and they eat considerably less too. They lay eggs with a white shell.
- Poultry for meat production
Raising chicken for meat is a lucrative business and many people have gained from it. This takes up to 8 to 12 weeks before they mature. There are different types of chicken breed that can be bred for meat and these are kroilers which are of mixed breeds and the indigenous breeds like the Sussex chicken and Dutch Bantam found in the country.
Chicken that is raised for meat are also commonly known as broilers.
- Poultry for breeding purposes
- You can still do poultry for breeding purposes only. This is a process where a farmer rears the chicken so that when they mature, they are resold. The breeding process involves different stages and these include:
- Choosing the breeding chicken and mating process
Choosing the breeding is a bit easy as one focuses on the hens that can be able to lay the eggs and single out one cock that will do the mating. One cock can do mating for like 10 hens.
- The fertilization of eggs
Fertilized eggs cannot be hatched if they are not incubated and to be on the safe side, you need to collect the eggs daily if you want to have the best eggs for hatching. You need to choose the eggs that do not have cracks on them and are of regular shapes and they should be collected with clean hands.
Once the eggs are fertilized, they can be stored in a place that is 13 degrees Celsius so that they do not get spoilt.
- The hatching
This involves hatching of ne chicken in a hatchery. Once the new generation of chicks is hatched, the chicks are then tagged with ID numbers to ensure that you get to know the number of chicks that are available.
The tags are placed on the wings and it should be noted that once that hatching is done, the chicks should be put in a room that has an equivalent temperature as the surrounding environment.
- Examining the chicken
When the chicks are between six to seven weeks, you need to check and see whether they are still in good shape and to make sure that they are not infected by diseases. Make sure you vaccinate them regularly and if found that some of them are sick it is better to isolate them until they are better.
- Rearing of the chicken
Once the chicks are hatched, it is better to separate the hens from the chicks at least until they are 6 weeks old. The chicks can be provided with crumbs and enough water in their feeders till they are set free to roam to look for their own food or tll they are ready to start feeding on other solid foods.
- Select the type of breed
There are very many birds that can be bred for commercial purposes and the only way you can gain from poultry is by choosing the right breed for the sector that you have chosen.
Factors to consider when choosing the right breed
There are several factors that one can consider when choosing the chicken that is to be used for laying eggs and these include the following:
- Purchase healthy chicken and look at the catalogs before purchasing the chicken. This will help you get healthy chicken that will give you high quality eggs.
- The chicken breed that is chosen for laying should have a high quality and good capability of laying eggs.
- Ask for recommendations from poultry farmers that have been in the business for the best breeds to rear for commercial purposes.
Diseases that attack poultry
There are several diseases that attack poultry and these include the following:
- Avian influenza
This is also known as bird flu and it is caused by the virus. It is majorly caused by insects or birds and it attacks the nostrils. It causes the swelling of the face, the blue comb and loss of appetite in the birds. There is no clear treatment but the infected birds can be isolated till they get better.
- Newcastle disease
This affects birds of all ages and is spread through air. It is characterized with difficulty in breathing, facial swelling and twisting of the neck. Its treated using antibiotics.
- The laryngotracheitis
This normally attacks the older chicken and it is caused by the misuse of vaccines in broilers. It can be spread from the infected chickens to others to others through contaminated clothes, shoes and other things.
The chickens that are infected always have watery eyes and they have difficulty in breathing, have cough and they sneeze a lot. It can be treated using antibiotics and there is also a vaccine that can help in preventing it.
Advantages of rearing poultry
It provides high yields for the farmer from the eggs and meat thus improving on the standards of living for the people.
Poultry droppings can be used as manure for the gardens hence saving on the charge of purchasing manure.
Poultry farming provides food to the farmers improving on the diet of the people.
Poultry farming is a continuous source of income for the farmer.
It acts as an employment venture for the jobless by providing them with jobs in form of labor.
Disadvantages of poultry farming
It is expensive to set up from constructing the chicken house t vaccination to ensure that they are not infected.
Chickens need a lot of time to care for in order to look for which is time consuming and leaves n time to do other things.
Poultry is easily attacked diseases and this leads to a loss for the farmer.
There is stiff competition on the market for poultry products and this reduces the prices of the chicken causing farmers to make loses.