This is probably a cliché but did you know dirt is one of the leading causes of chicken deaths? Chicken though with advanced respiratory system to humans are less resistant to diseases.
Hygiene management measures
Good ventilation discourages the spread of diseases and pests.
In overnight houses, the provision of perches or loosely plaited bamboo mats (such as those used for sieving) placed on the floor can help to keep them dry.
If the birds are housed inside, the floor should be swept daily.
An outside chicken house should be cleaned every week to break the breeding cycle of the common housefly. It takes about seven days to complete the breeding cycle from fly egg to hatching of the adult housefly. Wood ash and sand spread on the floor will discourage lice infestation.
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Mothballs (naphthalene) crushed with ash can also be applied to the feathers or the wings of the birds, or placed where the chickens usually take their dust baths.
If the chickens are already infested with mites, the house can be fumigated (while the chickens are outside) with a rag drenched in kerosene. Lice live on the birds, and dust baths with naphthalene powder in the ash will be more effective than dust alone.
The practice of keeping chickens and ducks together should be discouraged. This results in wet floors, giving rise to diseases such as Fowl Cholera.
Ducks are also much more tolerant than chickens to Newcastle Disease, and are thus often carriers of this viral disease. Adults and young stock of any poultry should be housed separately to minimize cross-infections and injuries from bullying.
Whatever the type of confinement, proper attention must be paid to manure management. Adult birds produce 500 g of fresh manure (70 percent moisture content) per year per kg of body weight that is some money you are throwing away if you don’t collect to sell or use on your farm.
To preserve its fertilizer value, manure should be dried to about 10 to 12 percent moisture content before storage. This will retain the maximum nitrogen content for fertilizer value. Nitrogen in the form of urea is the most volatile component of manure, and is lost as ammonia if moisture content is too high in the stored material.
If the moisture content is too high, then the stored manure releases ammonia, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulphide and methane, which can have serious physiological effects on humans.
Some of these components are also greenhouse gases, which contribute to the global increase in ambient temperature. Poultry manure is very useful as an organic fertilizer, as animal and fish feed and as a raw material for methane gas generation in bio gas plants for cooking fuel.
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