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The poultry sub-sector is the most commercialized of all of Nigeria’s agricultural sub-sectors.
The livestock sector is vital to the socio-economic development of Nigeria. It contributes about 9-10% of agricultural GDP (FAO, 2006). Moreover, Nigeria’s chicken population is about 150.682 million (UNDP, 2006) of which 25% are commercially farmed, 15% semi-commercially, and 60% in backyards. Consequently, livestock represents an important source of high quality animal protein, providing about 36.5 per cent of the total protein intake of Nigerians. It is one of the highest investments in agriculture with net worth of N250 billion.
Poultry production in Nigeria can be classified into extensive and intensive systems based on scale, stock and the extensive production system presently account for about 85%.
Importance of poultry production
Poultry are raised for their meat and eggs, and are an important source of edible animal protein. Poultry meat accounts for 30% of global meat consumption. The worldwide average per capita consumption of poultry meat has nearly quadrupled since the 1960s (11 kg in 2003 compared with 3 kg in 1963)
Meat: The meat is rich in proteins and is a good source of phosphorus and other minerals, and of B-complex vitamins. Poultry meat contains less fat than most cuts of beef and pork. Poultry liver is especially rich in vitamin A. It has a higher proportion of unsaturated fatty acids than saturated fatty acids. This fatty acid ratio suggests that poultry may be a more healthful alternative to red meat.
Eggs: Chicken eggs are widely used in many types of dishes, both sweet and savory, including many baked goods. In 2009, an estimated 62.1 million metric tons of eggs were produced worldwide from a total laying flock of approximately 6.4 billion hens
FACTORS TO CONSIDER IN SETTING UP A POULTRY ENTERPRISE
Site selection: Availability of utilities is high on the list of factors to consider during site selection availability of Electricity, water, accessible road etc.
Much more important is bio security of the environment; Biosecurity will prevent flock exposure to disease-causing organisms. It includes background check of the environment of the site, disinfecting the area to reduce the microbial, the site history to ascertain if it previously used for poultry purpose etc.
Choosing the poultry breed:
All over the world, more than 300 breeds of the domestic chicken species (Gallus domesticus) exist. There are basically three types of chicken. They are:
1. Layers: Layers are reared for egg production
2. Broiler: Broilers are reared for meat production and are ready for market from 8 weeks.
3. Cockerel: This is also reared for meat production. Cockerels grow slower and can take up to twenty four weeks before they are matured for marketing. Cockerels are reliable in terms of survival and withstanding bad weathers. They are more resilient, and can absorb shocks far better than Layers and Broilers.
A number of factors are considered when choosing the type of breed to embark on. These are: price, consumer’s preference for the product, Market situation etc.
Poultry housing should provide optimum condition for growth and egg production, by protecting the flock from wind, rain and temperature extremes. Based on the kind of housing, there are three forms of farming. These are:
· Extensive farming:
· Intensive farming:
· Semi-intensive farming.
The basic requirements for poultry housing are: space; ventilation; light; and protection (from weather and predators).
Large-scale commercial farm: uses structures with litter on the floor for meat birds or cages for laying hens. For controlled-environment housing of layers, multi-tier cage systems are common. Most large-scale commercial farms use controlled-environment systems to provide the ideal thermal environment for the birds. Birds’ performance in controlled-environment sheds is generally superior to that in naturally ventilated houses, as the conditions can be maintained in the birds’ thermal comfort zone. Achieving the ideal environment for birds depends on appropriate management of the poultry house.
The kind of bird reared to a large extent determine the kind of housing requirement, for example layers are better suited to battery cage system to reduce breakage of the eggs.
Space: (density of birds per unit area): This is the most important basic principle in housing, as the space available determines the number and type of poultry that can be kept. For example, a deep litter house measuring 6 m by 11 m can hold 200 laying hens at a stock density of 3birds/m2. Linear space or length of perch per bird is measured in centimeters. The recommended floor and perching space for the three main types of chicken is shown in the table.
Requirement of chickens for floor and perch space
25 cm (10 in)
20 cm (8 in)
15-20 cm (6-8 in)
This is an important aspect of any commercial poultry enterprise, as it account for up to 70% of the production cost. Healthy poultry require a sufficient amount of protein and carbohydrates, along with the necessary vitamins, dietary minerals, and an adequate supply of water. Certain diets also require the use of grit, tiny rocks such as pieces of granite, in the feed. Grit aids in digestion by grinding food as it passes through the gizzard.
Better nutrition for young stock boosts their immune response to disease challenge and to vaccine response by developing full immunity. The quantity of feed and the nutritional requirements of the feed, depend on the weight and the age of the poultry as well as the season. Feeders are used to provide food for the birds. There are different types of Feeders and are also modified depending of the age of the birds.
There are different forms of feed for the various types of chicken. Which is a function of the constituents; and are fed to birds based on different age, production expectation etc. This is categorized into: starter, grower, layers mash, and finisher.
There are three types of Poultry Feed:
Water: Equally important is the provision of clean and adequate water to birds. Poultry can do without feed for a while but not without water. Water requirement varies with the age of the birds, type of feed, temperature etc.
Medication: The administration of therapeutic agents to treat various infectious diseases or conditions. This include: Dewormer, Antibiotics, Coccidiostats, Antifungals, Insecticides/Acaricides, Vitamin/Mineral supplements etc.
Vaccination: This involves inoculation with a specific biological substance (antigen) to stimulate resistance or immunity to a particular disease. A good vaccination schedule for the flock will guarantee a better management of the health of the poultry. There are different vaccines to prevent different diseases such: Fowl pox, Newcastle disease, Fowl cholera etc. Examples of vaccines includes: Lasota, Fowl Pox vaccine, Marek etc. vaccines could be administer by water vaccination, intramuscular vaccination, eye drop vaccination, subcutaneous vaccination.
Vaccination is no substitute for good management and does not provide 100% protection. Diseases are best prevented through good biosecurity, nutrition, and management.
Once the chicks are hatched, they must be maintained at higher than normal temperatures until they develop sufficient size and feather coverage to acclimatize to more normal animal housing temperatures. The need to provide auxiliary heat for the animals is known as Brooding. A brooder house is used for this exercise; an enclosed building or portion of a building in which baby chicks can be grown from day-old to 8 weeks of age.
Temperature Management: The chicks should be housed at a temperature between 30 -33OC, at a relative humidity between 40 -60%. This temperature is reduced every week; however, observing the birds during the brooding period will assist in providing the most desirable temperature. Birds that are cold will huddle together in a very tight group. This is an indication to increase the temperature. On the other hand, when the temperature is too hot the birds will pant and appear drowsy, and they move away from the heat source. Birds will be evenly dispersed within the brooder house and be active when optimum temperature is available. Brooding procedures until 8 weeks of age are the same as for the different types of chickens.
Summary of Brooding requirement
*Increase appropriately as birds grow and for larger breeds and types
Broilers are chickens bred and raised specifically for meat production. Broilers are the main type of chicken produced by modern integrated poultry raising facilities due to their high feed-meat conversion ratio. Most commercial broilers bred for meat reach slaughter weight at between 6 to 8 weeks of age. The length of the cycle is influenced by the degree to which the feeding diet is balanced and considers the cost of feed per 1 kg of meat produced, the feed-to-meat conversion ratio and the sale price of boiler meat. Feed quality, heat regulation, veterinary/sanitary control and animal density within breeding houses (on average 10 animals/m²) are the most important factors affecting growth.
Bird health is of extreme importance in broiler production. Poor chick health will have a negative impact on all aspects of production and flock management including growth rate, feed conversion efficiency, condemnations, livability, and processing traits.
Broilers are fed ad libitum to allow for rapid growth within the short period of time. Lighting programs are typically designed with changes occurring at predetermined ages and tend to vary according to the final target market weight of the broilers. They feed all day long in the presence of light. The nutrient requirements decrease with the age. The birds are placed on broiler starter, grower and finisher diet depending on their age and target market.
COCKEREL: These are male chicken (for meat or breeding purposes) attains market weight of 1.5 – 2.5kg at 20 - 22wks. The same management principle as applied to broiler also applies to cockerel.
These are birds which are raised for egg production. Most layers will start laying eggs the moment they are 18 weeks old but some wait till they are about 22 weeks old. Whichever way, Layer farming is considered the most lucrative of all poultry farming. This is because Layers do two things, they lay eggs which fetch good money in the market, and are equally sold for the meat.
In the absence of photo stimulation, the age of start of lay is determined by body weight. Weight can vary according to climatic conditions and the day length experience during rearing. Once photo stimulation has started, age at start of lay is no longer influenced by the pullet’s body weight. Egg weight is to a large extent dependent on body weight. For that reason, it is important not to start the light stimulation until pullets have achieved target body weight. The pullets are fed ad libitum (that is without restriction) to attain desired weight.
Starter feed is fed from 1 day old to 6 weeks, after which growers mash are given. Between the ages of 17 – 18 weeks layers mash are given to help egg development. Birds typically lay for a twelve-month period starting when they are about 21 weeks old and lasting until they are about 72 weeks old.
Effective and efficient management techniques are necessary to increase the productivity of the birds and consequently increase income. This entails not only proper housing and feeding, but also careful rearing and good treatment of the birds.
Vaccination and disease control. Diseases and parasites can cause losses in egg production.
Some of the diseases are as follows:
· Bacterial: Tuberculosis, Fowl Typhoid
· Viral: Newcastle, Fowl Plague
· fungal: Aspergillosis
· protozoan: Coccidiosis
· nutritional: Rickets, Perosis
Some of the parasites are: External: Lice, Mites Internal: Roundworms, Tapeworms
Vaccinations are administered to birds by injection, water intake, eye drops and spraying. Clean and hygienic living quarters and surroundings may eliminate up to 90 percent of all disease occurrences.
The poultry sector was the most dynamic meat sector during the last decade, showing the greatest growth of all meat sectors as reflected in world consumption. The dynamism of the global poultry sector has been supported by a strong growth in demand. In Eastern Asia, the lack of supply in pork meat already observed in 2007 and food scares resulted in a gradual shift in consumption from pork to poultry. In the Russian Federation and Latin America, income growth significantly promoted the consumption of meat in general and poultry meat in particular. The demand for poultry meat was even more important in the Middle East, where competition with pork is almost non-existent. At the global level, total poultry meat production increased from 69 million tons in 2000 to 94 million tons in 2008, which corresponds to an increase of 35%. This growth was attained despite recurrent consumer scares and regional trade restrictions linked to the spread of various diseases, such as the outbreaks of the avian influenza and the Newcastle disease, which represented major threats for the poultry sector worldwide.
Source: FAO Food Outlook, June 2009
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimated poultry population in Nigeria to be in the range of 175,000,000 in 1987 and 200,000,000 in 2002. These figures reveal a very slow growth rate of nation’s poultry industry.
The imports of chilled and frozen poultry meats into Nigeria for the years 2000 to 2005 shows that the total import of poultry products over the five-year period is 11,045,522 kg. The import figures declined from 421,569kg in 2003 to 2,235kg in 2005, (Due to review of import policy which is unfavorable for local production). Thus, indicating a declining contribution of poultry imports to poultry products consumption in Nigeria.
It is expected that in the next ten years, the meat sector as a whole will continue the upward production trend driven by world population growth, particularly in developing countries.
The poultry industry in Nigeria had been rapidly expanding in past years, increasing from 185,300 MT in 2001 to 268,000 MT in 2011. Very high input costs in 2008 and 2010, caused flock expansion to effectively cease in 2008 and in 2011.
Data Source: FAOSTAT | © FAO Statistics Division 2013 | 5 February 2013
In 2011 Nigerian hen egg production totaled 636,000 MT and was valued at $527.49 million, ranking 19th in world hen egg production and the top producer in Africa.
Data Source: FAOSTAT | © FAO Statistics Division 2013 | 5 February 2013
Nigeria: Chicken Meat and Shell Egg Production
Data Source: FAOSTAT | © FAO Statistics Division 2013 | 29 January 2013
Nigeria: Chicken Stocks
Data Source: FAOSTAT | © FAO Statistics Division 2013 | 29 January 2013
Nigeria: Projected Poultry Meat Production
Data Source: OECD-Agricultural Outlook © OECD http://oecd.org
Constraints to poultry production
The main limitation to improved household poultry production is the extremely high loss of birds before they reach maturity caused by inadequate nutrition and disease.
The main causes of loss are:
· Poor nutrition a major cause of loss which predisposes birds to disease, poor immune response to vaccines and predation.
· Disease, especially the highly infectious viral Newcastle Disease, is believed to be endemic in most rural flocks. Clinically the disease is cyclic and occurs at times of climatic and nutritional stress. The virulent (velogenic) strain common in Africa and Asia can, but not always, cause up to 80 percent mortality in unvaccinated chickens.
Fowl Cholera (Pasteurellosis), Coccidiosis, Gumboro disease (Infectious Bursal disease) and Fowl Pox can also, to a lesser extent, cause problems in rural flocks.
The majority of indigenous breeds or strains of chicken/fowl have evolved to survive under harsh conditions where they largely have to fend for themselves. Such hardiness, however, is at the expense of higher levels of productivity and they are less able to exploit the advantages of improved management, nutrition, etc., than breeds with a greater genetic potential for egg production and feed conversion (growth).
 FAOSTAT. © FAO Statistics Division 2009
 Encyclopedia Britannica.
 James R. Gillespie; Frank B. Flanders (2010). Modern Livestock and Poultry Production. Cengage Learning. p. 693. ISBN 978-1-4283-1808-3. Retrieved 7 November 2012.
 Culled from www.unaab.edu.ng
 Source: National Bureau of Statistics, 2006