You decide to start raising poultry either full-time or as a hobby. You are excited at the prospect of this new venture and are ready to dive right in. However, raising poultry takes some planning before you begin and there are a few things you will need right from the start. Below are 5 pieces of poultry supplies and equipment you definitely need to start raising poultry.
1. Proper housing
You will need to construct or buy a ready-made poultry house to protect your poultry from harsh weather, theft, or predators. Some of the various types of poultry housing you can pick include free-range, semi-intensive, and intensive systems. It is recommended that you erect the house in a high and well-drained place to prevent flooding. It is also essential to ensure that the coop is well-ventilated.
The ideal measurements of the poultry house depends on the type of poultry you are raising. For instance, broiler poultry requires approximately 10 square feet housing space per bird while layers poultry requires just over 20 square feet housing space. You should place liter in the poultry cage to a minimum depth of 3 inches and change it regularly.
Feeders are used for serving food to the poultry. The available feeder options include linear feeders, circular feeders, automatic feeders, and shell grit boxes. Always ensure that the feeders are well cleaned to guarantee the health and safety of your poultry. Placing grills on the feeders will also help to minimize food spillage.
Have sufficient feeders depending on the number of chickens you have. If you are not always there to monitor their feeding, then consider buying automatic feeders. They run on electricity and provide proper distribution of the feed, saving you time, effort, and money.
3. Watering system
You should pay close attention to the type of poultry watering system you purchase, especially when rearing small chicks. Open pans should be avoided since young chicks are more likely to drown in them. Automatic bell drinker systems are considered safer because they ensure a continuous flow of water while still maintaining it at a safer level to avoid drowning.
Nipple drinkers can be used for both cage systems and deep-litter poultry houses. However, when it comes to providing vitamins and medicine, a manual drinker is the ideal choice. They deliver liquids through holes with ease similar to the fountain models.
4. Heaters & lighting equipment
To increase productivity and ensure the health and safety of your poultry, you will need to keep them warm by using heating equipment such as bulbs and heaters. For layers, you should maintain temperatures of about 20 to 24 degrees Celsius. However, the ideal temperatures for boilers will greatly depend on their age.
Temperatures less than the recommended critical temperature for layers will require an increase in feeds while higher temperatures will have an impact on the egg weight and shell quality. Proper lighting is also an essential factor in increasing the productivity of your poultry. Experts recommend the use of dimmable white light and preferably light intensity of at least 20 lux for brooding and approximately 5 to 8 lux for growing.
If you are considering large-scale poultry, then an incubator is helpful and essential. It is a convenient way to hatch eggs. Commonly used incubators include electric and diesel incubators.
Although poultry birds can hatch the eggs, they are limited to a certain number of eggs. This means they will have to stop laying eggs during the brooding period up until when the chicks mature. Having incubators allows you to hatch more eggs because the adult birds are not needed.