What is Poultry?

The word Poultry refers to all birds that man has been able to rear over the years.
He has decided to rear or domesticate them because of their economic value to him.
Such birds include:


fowls or chickens



guinea fowl




game birds, e.g. parrot.

Importance of Poultry:

Poultry provides the following:

1. Money – through

the sale of eggs and its meat

2. Eggs – source of protein

3. Meat (chicken) – source of protein

4. Poultry Feathers – for making high quality pillows and mattresses dropping and it is very rich in plant nutrients.

5. Poultry manure (Guano) – this is obtained from the birds dropping and it is very rich in plant nutrients

6. Poultry Game – some birds such as the parrot and cocks are used for games.

to read more about egg and other poultry management, follow here

Some terms associated with poultry

Cock– Adult male fowl

Drake – Adult male duck

Guinea cock – Adult male

guinea fowl or guinea hen- Adult female

Gander – Adult male geese

Tom – Adult female turkey

Hen – Adult female fowl

Duck – Adult male duck

Goose – Adult female geese

Turkey hen – Adult female turkey

Chick – A young fowl

Duckling – A young duck

Guinea Chick – A young guinea fowl

Gosling – A young geese

Poultry – A young turkey

Layer – A laying hen

Broiler – A meat producing bird

Cockerel – Young male fowl

Pullet – Young female fowl

Capon – A castrated cock

Management of Domestic Fowl

The different breeds of domestic fowls include:

(a) Rhode Island Red (R.I.R)

(b) Plymouth Rock

(c) Harco

(d) White leghorn

(e) Brown leghorn

(f) Babcocks

(g) Ancina

(h) Cornish Dark

(i) Light Sussex

(j) White Wyandotte

(k) Native fowl, etc

Fowls can be managed for any of the purposed stated below:

Egg production (Layers)

Meat production (broilers)


In this case, the fowls are breed for both meat and eggs. However, the management practices for all birds whether reared for meat or eggs have some similarities.


The size of the house depends on the population of the birds. check out farm buildings and structure
The foundation should be made of solid blocks with concrete floor. The wall should be made of solid blocks with concrete floor.
The wall should be short for good ventilation and adequate supply of light.
Wire mesh should be used to complete the short walls upwards to the roofing level.

Care should be taken in ensuring that all holes are covered upwards to the roof. This is to prevent lizards, snakes, rats and wild birds from entering into the house as their presence will disturb the fowls.

The commonest types of roofs used in poultry buildings are:

Lean-to-Roof or Shed:
This is illustrated below:
Figure 2.10.2: Lean-to-Roof or Shed

Gable Rooof:
Gable Roof On completion of the building, a mini gutter (dip) should be constructed around the entire poultry building close to the outside walls.

Any other disinfectants should be used with water and poured into this gilder regularly.

This is to prevent and vermin from entering into the poultry house. Furthermore, a wider clip should be constructed at the entrance of the house.

The attendant as well as visitors are required to dip their legs in the disinfected water in the dip before entering into the poultry house.

This is to prevent disease or germs from being taken into the house.


Systems of poultry management

Fowls can be managed under any of the following systems:


Under this system, birds are reared continuously inside a building.

There are three basic types of intensive management:

(i) Deep litter system

(ii) Battery Cage System

(iii) Slate or wire poor system.


Deep litter system:

In this system a concrete floor is made in the poultry house and saw dust or wood shavings are used to cover the flood.
Feeding and drinking troughs are arranged at appropriate pistes on the floor.
In case of laying birds, laying nests should be provided on one side of the floor.

Advantages of deep litter System

1. It is economical since minimum equipment are needed.

2. Production 01 ammonia from the decomposition of the litter assist in tin- control of coccidiosis.

3. The birds have enough space for exercise.

4. There is easy control of flies since it is fairly dry.

5. The litter helps to absorb the droppings from the birds thereby reducing the offensive odour.

Disadvantages of deep litter system

1. Cannibalism may occur

2. Diseases and parasites are easily spread

3. High cost of constructing the house

4. Eggs are usually dirty where layers are reared under this system


Battery System:

In this intensive management system, wire, cages are used to enclose the birds in a house.
each cage can accommodate two to four birds depending on the size of the cage.


1. Provides better accommodation

2. Elimination of internal parasites because the droppings are collected below the cages

3. Sick birds are easily identified I or treatment

4. Egg production is higher

5. Records can easily he kept

6. Areas are usually very clean or neat.


1. It is expensive to build the house and buy the cages.

2. The eggs may break if slope of mesh is too step.

3. There is high labour cost.


Slate or wire floor system:

This is made raised walls. The birds are kept in the slated or wired floor.

The droppings which collect beneath are collected for disposal occasionally.


1. There is no litter required

2. There is control of infection because birds d droppings.

3. Egg cleaning is needed.


1. Lower egg production

2. Layers are prone to nervousness

3. There mav be cannibalism.

to read more about poultry cages and house follow here


Extensive or Free Range System—

This is the traditional system of poultry keeping in the tropics.
In the system, the fowls are allowed to move nearly in a wide area.

If high land is available, this system poses no problems. Birds reared under this system find food for themselves. They are normally provided accommodation at night.

Advantages of free range system:

1. The cost of feeding the birds is quite low.

2. There is no cost for housing the birds.

3. The birds can move about freely.
They are therefore healthier because of their constant exercises.

4. The birds have access to natural food such as insects and vegetables



, hawks, snakes, wild animals and thieves.

2. There is risk of accident since vehicles can kill the birds.

3. There is low egg production.

4. The birds are normally small in size as they use their energy to move about in search of food and water.

5. They can easily contract disease from other birds.

6. Records are difficult to keep.


Semi-Intensive System

The birds under this system are kept in poultry runs made of wire netting.

The birds move about within the runs during the day lend lor themselves.

They come to sleep in the building at night or during adverse weather conditions such as excessive heat or rain.

Semi-Intensive Svstem of Rearing Birds.

Advantages of the system

1. There is enough space for the birds to move about.

2. The birds have access to green vegetables

3. The pasture growing in the area will do well because of the dropping from the birds

4. The birds are protected against predators such as snakes


1. The cost of making wire fences is high.

2. Birds may not be totally protected from predators such as hawks

3. There is risk of parasite build up and disease out break. check out parasitic nutrition here


Management Practices:

The management practices for poultry production can be treated under the following headings:


Egg Handling:

Fertile eggs are collected from the breeding hens and sorted out.
The defective ones are removed while the viable ones are taken to the incubator for hatching.



This is a process involving the development and hatching of eggs, to give chicks.
The mother hen usually incubates her egg naturally by silting on the eggs.

But the number of eggs hatched at once by a hen under this method is limited. As a result large hatching machines called incubators have been devised to hatch very large numbers of eggs.
All conditions inside the incubators are thermostatically controlled check it here. The temperature is kept at 38V. Relative humidity • 64%. Oxygen – 21%. Carbon (IV) Oxide – 0.5%.
The eggs arc then turned . regularly in the incubator so that all sides are exposed to the incubator conditions and to prevent chicks from sticking to the shells. Candling is carried out to identity the infertile eggs. This IN done on the 6th and 18th day of the egg\’s stay in the incubator. Candling ensures that all hatch able egg are hatched. The eggs are normally ready for hatching after 21 days stay in the incubator.

When the chicks have been hatched, they are sexed (Separation into males and females) before being taken to the brooder house,


Chick Brooding:

This involves taking care of the day-old chicks until they are about four weeks after which the _management practices would change.
The brooder house is normally use used to rear day old chicks.
Brooding is the process of providing the natural conditions of the mother hen in artificial way.

Chick drinking and feeding troughs should be properly arrange* in the brooder house.
Sources of heat should be provided to heat up the room.
Excess heat should be avoided.
The chicks in the brooder house will tell the farmer whether the heat is too much or too low.
If the birds cluster together around the source of heat then the heat it too low.
When most of the birds move far away from the it indicates that the temperature is too high. In either cases, the

Farmer should adjust the temperature as adequate.
Water and feed should be provided to the chicks in the brooder house adlibitum (that is, as much as they need).

At the end of four weeks, the birds should be removed from the the brooder house and reared under the necessary system earlier on in this unit.

Whatever system is used to rear the birds, hygiene, adequate feed and water supply, disease and pest control should be given priority.

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