Fast fact: If proper care of poultry is taken, farmers can make more money from their eggs and their customers will enjoy better quality poultry products.
Poultry products are an important source of income for many small scale farmers in Zimbabwe. Many people like to eat poultry meat and eggs because they have a good taste and are regarded as highly nutritious thus providing the much needed markets for rural farmers. However farmers continue to suffer great losses feeding chicken that are denying them the much needed income from the eggs. There are several factors that can cause the eggs not to hatch.
Ratio of hens to cocks:If the number of cocks serving the hen is less than the recommended one, then the farmer is likely to be denied good flock for the future. The farmer should make sure that there are eight to ten female chickens for one cock.
Age of cock:If the number of female chickens exceeds eight then the cock will not be able to serve them well, which affects the fertility of some eggs that fail to hatch. The age of the cock may also affect fertility. A cock that is two years old needs to be culled because the quality of its semen deteriorates.
Cull unproductive hens:It is also important to choose high-quality eggs to put on an incubator or give the chickens to sit on for twenty-one days. Natural causes can also cause this condition. It can be a flaw in its nature that a chicken may lay eggs that are not fertile. In such a case the farmer, should sell such chickens for meat to reduce the cost of using large amounts of money on feed.
Feed birds well: Lack or inadequate essential nutrients can also be a major cause of eggs infertility. The farmer should always ensure that his chickens get enough nutrients such as sunflower, soybeans and legume family plants; energy giving food such as maize, millet, sorghum; vitamin and mineral from vegetables, cabbage and grass. Free roaming chicken spend a lot of time and energy seeking food which hinders fast maturity. Make sure your indigenous poultry roaming diet is supplemented.
House hygiene:Regularly cleaning of fowl runs can help reduce the bacteria present in the poultry house affecting their health. A sick hen is an unproductive chicken that you will spend a lot of money on treatment. Prevent diseases: Decontaminating your poultry house regularly will help you prevent diseases such as respiratory viruses, mites, and other poultry health problems especially in laying hens. Some of the pests brought about by dirty living conditions can colonize a chicken’s intestinal tract without necessarily causing obvious disease in the chickens itself. This may lead to the organism invading other tissues and eventually finding its way into the reproductive tract and ovary, contaminating the egg itself.
Article By General Beven Mundida (Livestock consultant)
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