The first edition of Afrimash online training on layer production held successfully on Friday 30th of August 2019. We would be sharing a summary of the training session here to fulfill our promise to farmers to make agriculture convenient and easy.
Before we go into details about the training, we would like you to meet our facilitator
Meet the Facilitator
Dr. Bolaji Olaomo is a graduate of Veterinary Medicine from the University Of Ibadan, Ibadan. He is the CEO/MD of Animal Welfare Services, a major distributor of Hybrid feeds and other livestock inputs. He is an extensive officer, marketer, and farm consultant for Animal Welfare Veterinary Services and other agro-based enterprises.
He is an active member of the following bodies:
- President of Association of Private Veterinary Medical Practitioners, Oyo State.
- Past Editor-In-Chief and current member of the Nigerian Veterinary Medical Association
- Secretary of Association of Private Veterinary Medical Practitioner, Oyo State Co-operative Society
We divided the training into five major sections, which include:
- What are Layers?
- Benefits of raising layers
- The cost implication of raising layers
- Profits from layer production
- Challenges and control of layer production
What are Layers?
Layers are poultry being raised basically for egg production and later for meat after their laying is no longer economically productive. At the point of using them for meat, we usually refer to them as Old layers or Spent layers. Under normal circumstances, this type of birds starts laying any time from 16 weeks of age. The most common time is between 18 & 20 weeks of age. They should lay actively for at least a year and two months. Though not common, I have handled birds that laid actively for two years before.
The birds commonly come in brown, black and white.
Benefits of Raising Layers
These include, among others:
- Daily source of income
- Good protein source for even the farmer’s family
- A good way of keeping fit
- Means of saving and investing money
- It kills boredom as you daily interact with farm workers and customers
- Getting back what you have invested most especially when the birds are later sold as Old Layer.
Cost Implications of Raising Layers
This depends on so many factors ranging from the number of birds you are raising, from what age are you raising them, which type of feed are you giving them, which type of housing, etc? Note that putting an exact amount will not be appropriate for this discussion, as this varies from one area to the other and from time to time. So in layer production, the following areas are what will cost money:
This will be determined by whether you are buying your land and building your structures or you are leasing an existing farm. Also, whether you are interested in a deep litter system (where the birds are raised on the floor) or the Battery Cage system. The number of birds you plan raising will determine the size of the pen and quantity of cages which will, in turn, determine the cost.
This is determined by the age at which you are getting your birds. Is it a day old, or the point of cage (12 weeks) or Point of lay(16 weeks).
Factors that determine which age you go for include but not limited to your availability, interest, and choice. You can contact us after this training for discussion as to which age fits into your peculiarity.
This is determined by the age of the birds (different age takes different feed), the type of feed you intend using (whether finished feed or self milling). The cost of feed is never stable all round the year but just note that 65 to 70% of the total cost of raising your birds will go into feeding them.
No matter the number of birds you are raising, you cannot do without consulting a Veterinarian if you must be very successful.
You need them for general advice on the health of your birds, and vaccine and drug administration on your farm. So, please consult with one today. So, consulting a Vet and purchase of drugs and vaccines is another area that will cost money in layers production. However, this is not likely to be over 5 to 10% of your total cost of production.
5. Cost of Staff:
Depending on the number of birds you intend raising, you may need to employ more hands to join you. These may include farm managers, supervisors, and attendants
So, you will need to put their salary and welfare packages into your budget.
6. Other Expenses:
These will include transportation, fuelling, light supply, etc most especially for people who may want to go into large scale poultry production.
Profiting from Layers Production
If you get it right, layers production is very lucrative and could be very rewarding. Proceeds from the sales of the egg is a very good way of making good money. Selling of the birds as old layers will also bring back bulk money.
Challenges of Layers Production and Handling Them
As lucrative as layers production could be, if care is not taken to get it right, it may turn out to be a loss.
Among many challenges are:
- Poor birds source and sourcing: The best way out is to always carry an expert along whether you are buying as day-old or at a point of cage or point of lay.
- Unstable cost of feed: This could be very challenging and most time beyond the control of the farmer. However, relating with other successful farmers and your consultant will help navigate this.
- Health and general management challenge: This may present as disease outbreak, drop in egg production, regular moralities on the farm, etc.
Consulting with a sound and experienced Veterinarian will always help to sort this out.
- Staff Management: This is another challenge because some of the workers may be stealing eggs, feeds, etc.
Some of them may like to get paid without actually doing the job.
So, it is your responsibility as the farmer to put in place all security measures you know to checkmate this.
- Egg Glut: This is a situation whereby sales of the egg is generally slow. The eggs are not selling and the birds continue to eat and lay eggs.
The way out of this is to work on your marketing strategies before embarking on poultry production.
Also, when such a time comes as it does come, you will need to relate and liaise with other farmers to get out of it well.
Here are some questions that were asked during the training and the facilitator’s response to them:
Q1: So what type of birds is best for layers production?
Response: Layers are the only type of birds you can raise to produce birds that will lay. If you want the ones for meat, then go for cockerels or broilers
Q2: At how old will the birds lay?
Response: Any time from 16 weeks.18 to 20 weeks is still reasonable. After 20 weeks, you may need to check certain parameters on your farm. You will likely need a piece of professional advice.
Q3: How do we prevent mortalities?
Response: Proper health management of your birds.
These include adequate feeding, biosecurity, proper disease prevention through vaccination.
Q4: In terms of economy, which one is better to start with? Day-old or point of lay?
Response: The cost implication is a relative term. If you don’t have the time for brooding day old chicks, then for you, your point of lay is economical.
However, if you have the time and the experience to handle day old chicks, it will be cheaper.
Q5: Considering the cost implication of feeding, is it advisable to feed pullets with broiler starter feed from day old to 8 weeks of age?
Response: Well, this depends on what you are targeting. But generally, good weight at this age will later determine the size of the eggs the birds will lay and when they will start laying.
Just be sure you give the feed that will aid their weight gain
Q6: Thanks for all your information. Please, can you explain more on the drugs aspect sir
Response: As for how Sir? Avoid using drugs without recommendations from a qualified Veterinarian.
Q7: So what type of birds is best for layers production? Broiler or Noiler?
Response: Noilers are mainly for meat. Raising them as layers will not be economical unless you are not expecting the quantities of egg layers will give you.
Q8: What are the main factors that influence size of eggs in laying period
Response: It is based on your quality of management.
Q9: Please where can I get hatchery machine
Response: We have different capacities of incubators on our website with manual and also the option to get hands on training after installation
Q10: How can I boost the production of layer birds
Response: It is not advisable you boost them early in life so they can reach their maximum production. Also there are drugs available for boosting if need be but please it is used only by veterinarian prescription.
I hope you found this resourceful. You would not want to miss the next webinar, kindly follow us on our platforms for updates on agricultural events and our next training date for September.
Kindly click on the convenient platforms below to get information on the aforementioned