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Achieving 18 weeks point of lay (pol) in commercial layer birds

Poultry venture in a commercial hybrid layer bird starts from when they are day old chicks, during the pullet phase and lastly during the egg laying (layer) phase.

In this article we will discuss the critical chick & pullet rearing phases that has a direct influence on the future productivity and hence profitability of the layers agribusiness. Upon the chick arrival at the poultry unit, feed and water should be available for immediate intake while the right brooding temperature set for chicks’ comfort. The brooding period ranges between 21-28 days depending on the environmental temperatures as most farmers have open ventilated houses. Supplemental heat source can be from poultry gas brooders, charcoal/briquettes poultry jikos or infra-red electric bulbs.

The target is achieving the expected weights of 1.5-1.6 Kgs/Pullet which will indicate the point of lay (POL). This is monitored on a weekly weight gain until the desired weight is achieved at POL. Many farmers have a delayed POL or a slower egg production rate towards and unexpected rapid decline after the peak (28 Weeks) egg production. Poor weight gains and uniformity issues during the rearing phase can be attributed to this poor performance, amongst other management aspects.

Proper feeding regime for a layer bird therefore contributes to a better performing flock. Unga Farm Care (EA) Ltd. recommends a 3-phase diet for a layer bird as below:

Fugo Chick & Duckling Mash is fed from Day 0-Week 8. It provides balanced nutrients that support internal organs growth and better immune system to resist early chick mortalities. A good start of a chick gives a better milestone for the growth of a pullet.

Fugo Grower Mash is introduced gradually in a span of 3 days from (Week 9-18). This feed provides high quality supplementary nutrients that support proper frame development of a pullet and faster weight gains.

Fugo Layer Compleat Meal is introduced gradually in a span of 3 days to a layer bird from the start of lay at 2% egg production (expected from end Week 18) and continued during egg production phase. This feed provides high quality nutrients that gives strong shelled eggs and yellow coloured egg yolks.

Poultry house equipment distribution and proper stocking density ensures that the pullets are able to easily access both feed and water. These are key to ensure flock uniformity and reduce feed spillage that translates to better feed conversion ratio (FCR).

The health status of the chick/pullet is also paramount to a successful rearing phase. A well bio-secured poultry environment will ensure a disease free flock that will definitely grow better.

Kenchic Ltd. who are reputable suppliers of pre-vaccinated day old chicks have provided a vaccination schedule for the layer bird at the farm.

This guides on the expected dates for the other vaccination at the farm. To enhance water based vaccine efficacy, clean water without acidifiers (Selko-pH) or chlorine (neutralized by commercial blue dyes or skimmed powder milk) is used to reconstitute the water used during poultry drinking water vaccination.

Injectable vaccines are recommended to be administered by the local animal health provider. Routine deworming on the pullets at around 9 weeks and just before start of lay is recommended in deep litter system.

Technical teams from both Unga Farm Care (EA) Ltd. and Kenchic Ltd. can guide at the farm the type and frequency of the dewormer to be used.

Good record keeping on water intake, feed intake, weekly weight gains, mortalities, vaccinations helps to identify on time any farm related issues and offer a clear indication on the pullet performance. Later, good pullet performance enhances a sustained egg production.

Unga Farm Care (EA) Ltd. is committed to offer technical support and trainings to poultry farmers across the Country. They remain the market leaders in animal nutrition expertise in the region with international linkages to give our farmer the best and consistent nutritional products. For more information contact Daniel Muraria on [email protected]

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