Raring Local Chicken
Advantages of Raring Local Chicken
- They are self-sustaining i.e. can raise their own replacement stock
- They are hardy birds that can survive harsh conditions
- Management requirements are not critical as those of commercial exotic breeds
- They are immune to some diseases and parasites
- Their products fetch more money than those from exotic birds
Limitations of Raring Local Chicken
- They have low growth rate
- They produce fewer small sized eggs and comparatively little meat
- People keep them without commercial intentions
- They have been neglected by breeders/scientists despite their potential
Control of parasites and diseases
- External parasites that affect local chicken include: poultry body louse, stick tight flea, poultry lice, ticks, feather mites and leg mites.
- Control can be done using commercial/synthetic or herbal insecticide.
- Herbal preparations are cheaper for local chicken but a lot of research is still needed in this area to establish proper dosage.
- Internal parasites include worms and coccidia.
- Worms can be eliminated using a potent dewormer preferably given as a tablet because these chickens have low water consumption.
- Deworming should be done at least every month.
- Commercial coccidiostats can be used alternately with herbal preparation. These must be given to birds on 8th, 9th, and 10th days of age. Repeat as directed by veterinarian.
- In early days, vitamins-mineral mixtures should be given to chicks to minimize losses.
- Vaccination of birds especially against New Castle Disease. Target first vaccination at the beginning of the dry seasons, repeat after one month and every four months thereafter.
Feeding Local Chicken
- Farmers can mix their own feeds using the abundant carbohydrate and protein feed available in their area.
- Feeding should be accompanied by green feeds and fruits such as papaws.
- Only palatable green feeds should be given to birds. Avoid poisonous feeds.
Good Green Feeds
- Macdonald (Kafumbe omukazi)
- Black jack (Ssere)
- Asystasia schimperi (Temba)
- Vermonia amygydalina (Omululuuza)
- Amaranthus (Ddodo)
- Pawpaw leaves
- Ascalepias simulunata (Akabombo)
- Marmodica fortida (Ebbombo)
Poisonous/unpalatable Green Feeds
- Datura stromonium (Amaduudu)
- Ferns (Kayongo)
- Fresh cassava leaves
- Fresh sweet potato leaves
- Tobacco leaves
- Nicotina rustica (Ssetaaba)
- Castor oil leaves (Ricinus communis)
- Siyesbeckaia orientalis (Sseziwundu)
- Sunflower leaves
- Irish potato leaves
- Tomato leaves
- Dichrocephata latifolia (Bbuza)
- Tagetes munital (Kawunyira)
- Pumpkin leaves (Essunsa)
Even in the local birds, there are some laying strains and those that can be developed for meat production.
Selecting indigenous Egg Strains from the local stock
- These are usually small chickens with elongated bodies
- They have tail feathers that stand higher than their head
- They are usually birds that lay 25 eggs and above in one laying season under the unimproved situation
- When improvement is done in feeding, disease and parasite control, etc. such birds may not go brood
Selecting broiler strain from indigenous stock
- These are usually birds whose bodies do not spread out
- They are compact and if you follow their bodies, you can draw a circle around them.
- After selection, the birds in these lines should be bred. Selection and breeding takes a lot of time and effort but we must get started
The following should be observed in rearing local chicken:
- Vaccination against Newcastle disease
- Remove mites and lice manually or better still using medicated powder• Provide water as much as possible
- May supplement free range with other feeds e.g. maize bran and concentrates
- Avoid buying chicken in dry seasons because diseases, especially Newcastle, are more rampant in dry seasons
- Avoid buying birds when there is a disease outbreak
- Buy birds of almost the same age i.e. 2-3 months are more ideal. Avoid buying old birds
- Plan for synchronized mating and therefore synchronized reproduction and production to ease management
How to program/synchronize local birds
- Assume a farmer has 14 local hens and 2 indigenous cocks
- Give each bird own nest when they start to lay. A builder’s kalai is ideal because it is metallic and can easily be disinfected by heating on fire. Put ash in kalai first then dry grass on top.
- Boil one egg from each bird and put it in nest as a landmark for each hen. Mark the egg.
- Remove eggs that are laid on the day they are laid. Write dates on them using pencil and store them together on trays with broad end facing up. Leave boiled egg in nest.
Precaution during egg storage
- Do not store eggs in a kitchen where it is hot. Heat may partially incubate the egg and kill the embryos in them
- Do not store them on top of a cupboard because heat from roof may incubate them.
- Keep eggs in a cool secure place
Incubation by mother hens
- Usually one bird starts incubating by staying overnight on the boiled egg. Leave this hen on the boiled egg for 10 days while it is waiting for other birds
- After the 10 days, give all the birds that would have started incubating (within the 10 days) 17 selected but recently laid eggs
- Leave the birds that refuse to incubate alone
- If you want to eat or sell, eat/sell those which were laid first (old ones).
- Avoid giving these eggs to birds: very small, round eggs, very dirty, cracked eggs, extremely pointed eggs, very big eggs, very old eggs.
- When done this way, all birds will hatch on the same day. An egg takes 21 days, 6 hours to hatch.
Eggs can also be collected and taken to a hatchery instead of incubation by mother hens.