Layer Production

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Introduction

Poultry is an important source of protein patronized by most people irrespective of their religious backgrounds.

Poultry species commonly raised for commercial purposes in Ghana are fowls/chicken, categorized as broilers and layers for meat and egg production respectively

Layer production

Layers are species of chicken primarily kept for egg production. They start laying from 18th-20th week and continue for50-52 weeks when laying % drops and keeping the birds becomes commercially uneconomical. At this stage the birds are sold for meat.

Management of Layers

Commercial layer production is commonly managed under intensive system. The

Preferred housing is the deep litter fixed with cages for laying.

Floor Space Requirement for Birds

Broiler Age in weeks Ft.sq/bird M.sq/bird Birds/m.sq
Starter 0-6 0.6 0.06 17.8
Grower 7-20 1.5 0.14 7.1
Layer 21-72 1.25 0.11 9.0

Grower stage is 7-20 weeks of age

Birds can be reared in ne house throughout the brooding, growing and laying periods. Floor space is as recommended in the table above. The house can be partitioned and adjusted when necessary according to the space requirement.

Water space (water trough)

Chicks require 1.3-1.5cm/chick (0.5-0.6inches) of trough space. As chicks grow, that is from 4weeks the space must be increased to 2cm/bird 90.8inches) of trough space at grower stage and to 3.2cm. (1.25inches) at layer stage.

Feeder space (feed trough)

Chicks require 5m (2inches)/chick of trough space. As chicks grow, the space must be increased to 7.6 cm. (3 inches) of trough space per bird at grower stage and 10.5cm. (4inches) at layer stage.

How to prepare chicks

Chicks are brooded for a period of 2-3weeks under hygienic environment to avoid infections

Steps to follow

  • Clean and disinfect the brooder house 1-2 weeks before birds arrive
  • Wash and disinfect water/feed troughs and brooder guard
  • Clean and remove weeds and debris outside the house

How to receive chicks

  • The floor of the house must be covered with wood shavings 3 days before chicks arrive
  • Place brooder guard around the source of heat few hours before chicks arrive

The house must be preheated at a temperature of 31o-33oc (90o-95oF)

  • about 3-4hours before chicks arrive (gas or electric brooders are recommended) this should be reduced gradually to 21oc by 3 weeks of age. Two of 150 watts incandescent bulbs are recommended for a floor space of 4.95sqm. (53.28sqft.) suspended at 0.3 m. (1ft) from the floor level.
  • Fill waterers with clean water and place in the house 3-4 hours before chicks arrive. Provide feed on flat pans about I or 2 hours after the chicks have taken some water.

    Layer2Raising of birds

     

    Birds are transferred from the brooder house to the grower house/pen at 6-7 weeks of age and to the layer house at 18-20 weeks of age. At the layer house cage /nest measuring 31 cm wide (1ft) by 31cm high (1 ft.) per compartment are placed in at various points for layingThe nests are placed in the house before birds start laying.

    Birds are debeaked at 8 days old. This is done to avoid pecking and cannibalism among chickens.

    Biosecurity measures

    Wash water troughs with clean water and detergent daily.

    Provide foot bath with disinfectant at the door step. The poultry house and feed storage area should be kept free of rodents and wild birds. There should be good aeration and light in all poultry houses. Avoid wet liter conditions as this promotes the growth of infectious diseases.

    Feeding

    There are 3 types of feed for layers: starters mash, grower mash and layer mash.

    Sample of feed

    Ingredient Chick starter (in kg) Grower mash (in kg) Layer mash (in kg)
    Maize 60 50 50
    Fishmeal 15 10 12.5
    Soya bean 12 5 7.5
    Wheat bran 12 30 20
    Oyster shell 1 5 10
    Salt 0.1 0.15 0.25
    Vitamin premix 0.25 0.25 0.25
    di-calcium 0.1 0.1 0.1
    Total 100.45 100.5 100.6

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Vaccination regime

Vaccination Age
1st Newcastle disease 2nd week
Fowl pox 4th week
2nd Newcastle disease 6th week
Deworming 6th week
Fowl pox 12th week
Deworming 15th week
3rd Newcastle disease 16th week

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For further information contact:

Animal production directorate,

Ministry of Food and Agriculture.

Ministries-Accra.

Tel 🙁 0302)666374

Any regional or District Agricultural Development Unit across the country.

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