Poultry farming is one of the fast-growing businesses across the globe. Like any other business, poultry farming in rainy season could be very tormenting. I know farmers that gave up on poultry farming all because they could not cope with the effect of rainy season on their production. It was obviously not encouraging.
Several factors can threaten the productivity of a poultry farm; nutrition is very crucial; the housing system is also very important but the environmental factors play the most prominent role in the productivity of a poultry farm. Rainy season is part of the variations in the environment; as a poultry farmer, it is imperative you learn how to operate your poultry farm in the rainy season.
Poultry farmers find it difficult to cope with this change in weather conditions. Weather conditions play a prominent role in the success and productivity of a poultry farm. Rain is not an adverse weather condition as most farmers presume; it is a natural phenomenon. The inability of the farmer to manage the farm during the rainy season makes it an adverse weather condition. A well-structured poultry house is one of the tools to mitigate the detrimental effects of rain.
How to manage the effects of rainy season in poultry farming?
There are certain period poultry farmers must be cautious about and how to maintain the productivity level of their farm during this period is the key to the success of the enterprise; one of these periods is the rainy season. During the rainy season, poultry farmers experience a lot of challenges in their production. There are certain conditions or occurrences that are endemic to this season.
Several threats surface, ranging from a drastic drop in egg production, epidemics of poultry diseases, the high cost of production, low utilization of feed, etc.; I have garnered several occurrences common to poultry farming in rainy season and likely solutions to mitigate or curb such threats.
1. Reduction in the length of the daylight (photoperiod)
During the rainy season, you would observe the day length, I mean the duration of sunlight, is reduced. Chickens are stimulated to lay eggs by day length; long days and increasing daylight encourage egg production. Laying chicken requires about 16 hours of daylight to aid sound production. During the rainy season, the daylight is reduced as everywhere becomes cloudy; the laying chickens are left with little or no daylight to allow their activities.
Solution: This effect could be alleviated by providing florescent light to mimic the daylight, fluorescent light is the best to use. With this, the production level would be sustained.
2. Chickens change their feeding habit
Chickens feeding habit changes because the weather is cooler. Chicken needs a high-energy diet during this period. Their feed consumption increases in order to satisfy their energy requirement.
Solution: During the rainy season, chicken requires rich energy source such as fats, to meet their energy requirement.
3. Molting occurs during the rainy season
Molting is when the chickens shed their old feathers for new ones to grow. This phenomenon takes place at shorter days and cooler temperatures. This process occurs every year when the days get shorter. During molting, chicken typically stops laying and use this period to build their nutrient reserve.
Solution: Even though they are not laying, the chicken should be fed a high-quality diet.
4. Chicks get cold easily
You should expect this if you are brooding; hence, an adequate brooding facility has to be provided to salvage the chicks. The brooder house temperature has to complement the environmental temperature to enable the chicks to eat well.
5. Prevalence of Diseases
Rainy season favors poultry disease conditions a lot. It is a medium for transportation of pathogens; there are several outbreaks of poultry diseases during the rainy season.
Common poultry disease symptoms during this season include respiratory distress, stained or colored waste, diarrhea, nervousness, loss of appetite, ruffled feathers, swollen face, and prostration. These symptoms may be associated with several diseases making it quite difficult to identify the particular disease. Majority of farmers identify these symptoms as signs of Newcastle disease. The following are diseases prevalent during rainy season:
i) Infectious Bursal Disease (Gumboro)
ii) Fowl Pox
iii) Fowl Cholera
iv) E-Coli and Salmonella
Solution: Ensure you keep the pen dry always, do not serve caked feed; give antibiotics routinely during the rainy season to boost the chickens’ immune system.
6. Mud-Balls on the Chicken feet
This is very common in deep litter system where chickens are allowed to walk on wet floors. Because of the scratching behavior of chicken, soil and manure tend to augment on the chicken’s claws and ends of their toes. If allowed to grow bigger, they can deform the walking posture of the chicken and can result in broken toes.
Solution: The poultry floor must be kept clean and dry always with the aid of litter materials.
Conclusively, poultry farmers have to be well prepared during the rainy season. Adequate hygienic measures have to be put in place to curb the outbreak of any deleterious poultry disease.
The extent of disease occurrence, morbidity and mortality rate during the rainy season in poultry farm is majorly a determinant of the type of management practice and vaccination status of the farm. Hence, poultry farmers are implored to adopt hygienic management practices during the rainy season.
Poultry business is very lucrative and dynamic; hence, a good poultry farmer must be willing to manage the dynamics of poultry farming in rainy season to maintain a reasonable yield.
by Agbabiaka Abdul Quadri
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