Lindani Nkwanyana is a technical advisor for Meadow Feeds in KZN and Eastern Cape, where he has a major role in developing small-scale broiler farming. His knowledge and expertise have helped hundreds of farmers, whether they’ve been raising 50 or 5 000 chickens. Here are some helpful tips from Lindani:
- Don’t buy cheap second- or third-grade, day-old broiler chicks. Too many will die. First-grade chicks are the only answer.
- Form a group with other producers and place bulk orders from suppliers. You’ll get lower prices and better service.
- Keep strict records of everything. Write down the temperature in the broiler house regularly, how much feed you’re putting out and when, how many birds have died and why, and the birds’ weights so that you know how well they’re growing.
- Keep your broiler house clean. Disinfect between production cycles to reduce the risk of disease.
- Place a 5cm-thick layer of bedding, such as pine shavings, on the floor.
- Comfortable, well-fed birds perform best. Heat your broiler house to 30°C using gas heaters or infrared lamps before the new chicks arrive. Provide a bell drinker filled with clean, fresh water and a feeding tray of starter mash for every 100 chicks. If the chicks have to compete for feed and water, the weaker ones will lose out and under-perform.
- To encourage newly arrived chicks to eat, lay newspaper on the bedding and spread a fine layer of starter mash over the sheets. The pecking sound that the hungrier chicks make against the paper will encourage the less hungry to head for the feeding tray.
Contact Lindani Nkwanyana on 033 392 9168 or 071 603 2641 or email [email protected].