A regular supply of low cost feed,during the dry season is needed if there is just for the maintenance of the birds is essential for improved productivity.
Free range-Poultry roosts on trees at night
Backyard-Poultry are confined at night
Semi intensive-poultry are closed in during the day.
When feed resources are low its better to have a few birds in production than more birds maintained with inadequate feed supply.
Farmers attempt to balance the flock number in regards to the season and availability of food.
During the dry season food production and availability is often low for any flock above maintenance level.
I supplement my flock feed with sources of minerals,vitamins, protein and energy.This can be achieved by integrating chicken and other birds or animals on the farm.
This benefits the chicken since they can feed on the ticks and insects that feed and borrow in the dung.
Chicken raised with animals weigh an average of 500 grams more than those raised without cattle.
All nutrients required by the birds must be provided for in the feed,usually feed purchased from millers
Since these are always expensive , small scale farmers often dilute them with grain by products that provide energy and some protein.
A well balanced diet is however becoming hard to find as plant protein sources are becoming increasingly unavailable.
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The size and productivity of the village flock ultimately depend on the human population and its household waste and crop residues, and on the availability of other scavenger feed resources. There is a clear relationship between egg production and nutrient intake.
This is demonstrated in Feed Resources 14 Bangladesh, where fewer eggs are laid in the rainy season from August to September, but when snails are available in January and February, production increases (ter Horst, 1986). A list of feed resources available to smallholders was compiled from surveys undertaken in Nigeria (Sonaiya, 1995). These feedstuffs were mostly by-products of home food processing and agroindustries, and were similar to those found in other tropical countries.
The Scavengable Feed Resources Base (SFRB) include:
x household cooking waste;
x cereal and cereal by-products;
x roots and tubers; x oilseeds;
x trees, shrubs (including Leucaena, Calliandra and Sasbenia) and fruits;
x animal proteins;
x aquatic plants (Lemna, Azolla and Ipomoea aquatica);
x commercially prepared feed.
Keeping poultry under the free-range and backyard systems depends to a large degree on the quality of the feed available from scavenging. Therefore it is essential to know what feed resources are available. For example: a flock of 12 young growing chickens with five productive hens have access to an SFRB of 450 g (dry weight) containing nine percent protein and 2 300 kcal of metabolizable energy (ME)/kg. This supports about 22 percent daily egg production, with about three eggs/clutch, assuming 80 percent of the SFRB was utilized.
Methods of estimating SFRB
The value of the SFRB can be estimated by weighing the amount of daily food product/household waste generated by each family as parameter “H”, which is then divided by the proportion of food product/household waste found in the crop of the scavenging bird (assessed visually) as parameter “p” (Roberts, 1999). This is then multiplied by the percentage of households that keep chickens (parameter “c”): SFRB = H/p(c)
For example, an SFRB measured using the above method in Southeast Asia ranged from 300 to 600 g on a Dry Matter (DM) basis, containing eight to ten percent of vegetable protein and 8.8 to 10.4 megajoules (MJ) of metabolisable energy (ME) per kg (2 100-2 500 kilocalories [kcal] ME per kg) (Prawirokusumo, 1988; Gunaratne et al., 1993 and 1994). The amount of protein and ME in the SFRB was determined by analysis of the crop content. In Sri Lanka, the annual SFRB available to each family was calculated to contain 23 kg of Crude Protein (CP) and 1959 MJ of ME (468 mega [M] cal of ME) (Gunaratne et al., 1993).
In a case study conducted in Sri Lanka, collections of daily waste from 34 households were made on 14 occasions (Gunaratne et al., 1993). The collections were weighed, examined and analysed for approximate composition, calcium and phosphorus. Fifteen scavenging hens were collected late in the morning and slaughtered and their crop and gizzard contents examined and weighed. The results indicated that the fresh weight of food product/household waste per household averaged 460 ±210 g per day and consisted of: x 26 percent cooked rice; x 30 percent coconut residue; x 8 percent broken rice; and x 36 percent other (vegetable trimmings, egg shells, bread, dried fish and scraps).