Poultry production involves the husbandry of poultry birds. It involves a series of activities of rearing birds like chicken, turkey, quail, guinea fowl, and ducks for the purpose of meat, egg or sale. These varying level of production differs in terms of cost of production, stock size, labour intensity, method of production, equipment used and market size. The equipment variation is our concern in this article. Ranging from plastic to automatic feeders, the choice of poultry farming equipment depends on the size of bird stock and it is imperative to use the right poultry farming equipment for the right size of birds.
Things Every Beginner Should Know About Poultry Equipment
Poultry equipment are tools or instruments that are used for purposes like hatching, brooding, housing, feeding, cleaning, and maintaining good conditions in poultry farms. Basically, small farm owners require manual equipment that will effectively fulfil their purpose but at the commercial level of production, the huge amount of birds will require more sophisticated equipment and labour with technical-know how to power them. Depending on the level of your production, there is a variety of equipment to select from.
Criteria For Selecting Poultry Farming Equipment
- Type of Birds: The breed and needs of birds are different and hence, the type of equipment you would use to rear them will be different from one another.
- Area of Specialization: Another factor to consider before buying poultry equipment is your area of poultry production as the poultry business has a wide value chain. There is meat production and packaging, poultry feed production as well as egg production, all under poultry farming. Your role along the value chain will determine your choice of equipment.
- Space: When buying poultry equipment, the size of your poultry farm in terms of birds is a requisite factor.
- Price Comparison: Yet another important thing to take note of is the price. There are lots of things to be bought and saving a couple of naira on some items will reduce the total expenses.
- Technical Know-How: The technical know-how requirement of your choice of equipment is important. Who and how it would be operated should be decided before purchase.
- Technology: Technology is also very important when buying poultry equipment. As you already know, technology is always evolving. Therefore, you must conduct your research carefully to be sure that you are buying technology-effective poultry equipment.
Common Poultry Farming Equipment and Their Uses
Incubators are devices used for ensuring the safe and productive hatching of eggs. An incubator is a machine used to simulate avian incubation by keeping eggs warm at a particular temperature range and in the correct humidity with a turning mechanism to hatch them. It takes 21 days to hatch a chicken egg. There are varying types of incubators in terms of sizes, the possible number of eggs, and the method of operation.
A brooder is a heated structure that provides warmth for chicks. Research has shown that chicks that are subjected to cold temperatures have impaired immune and digestive systems. As a result, cold-stressed chicks have reduced growth and increased susceptibility to diseases. It is imperative to provide heat for the chick. There are brooders that regulate heat and ensure optimum temperature.
The type of cage is dependent on factors like the system of production (open system or deep litre system do not require cages.) and the type of bird (layers are more suitable for battery cages). Cages are structured with either wood or iron rods and they come in various sizes and structures.
- Broiler Battery Cages: The broiler battery cages are semi-automatic models designed for clean and convenient brooding within limited land spaces. They come with all the required water accessories and adjoining parts. The cages are suitable for all kinds of poultry chicks as well as mature birds in an all-in-all-out intensive management system.
- Layer Battery Cage: This system for layers is a type of intensive poultry housing system in which chickens are kept in compartment units. This system is called the battery cage system because it involves the arrangement of similarly-looking cages in rows and columns. What differentiates the layers’ battery cage from most other cages is that its floors slope from back to front. The reason for this is so that eggs can roll from the back to the front of the cage for easy collection.
For ease of transportation, there are enclosed boxes that are called “transport crates”. They are useful for the purpose of transferring birds from one place to another especially from hatcheries to farms.
Feeders and Drinkers
The regular supply of feed and water to birds is a very important factor that determines their level of production. The system of production also affects the type of feeding and drinking equipment a farmer will go for. There are various types of feeders and drinkers, some are hangable while some are automatic.
- Poultry Feeders are containers from which poultry birds feed. They hold the feed of the chickens and provide a secure environment for them to eat without wastage.
- Nipple Drinkers are designed to assist and provide the poultry birds with clean drinking water. This type of drinker is a three-in-one drinker consisting of the nipple, clip, and drip cup. They can be used for broilers, breeders, and layers.
- Bell Drinkers are used in supplying water sufficiently to poultry birds groomed with the deep litter system- from day-old chicks to matured chickens.
8. Vaccination Equipment
There is equipment that is used to administer vaccines and drugs to farm birds. Intravenous injectors are very common in poultry farms.
9. Debeaking Machine
Debeaking is a term in poultry that refers to the act of reducing the length of a bird’s beak, especially layers and turkey for several reasons. It is also called beak trimming or beak conditioning. There are two types of debeaking equipment, the infrared debeaking machine and the hot blade debeaking machine.
10. Poultry Processing Equipment
Processing equipment comes to play in the packaging value chain in poultry production. There is equipment that is useful for the purpose of slaughtering, defeathering and packaging matured poultry birds in an efficient way.
11. Egg Crates
Egg crates are peculiar to layers and they are useful for the purpose of transferring and storing eggs from poultry.
A major key to a successful poultry business is the use of appropriate equipment. It is important to get your poultry farming equipment from trusted vendors and also ensure they are in good working condition.