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Keeping Chickens and Ducks

Introduction

It is not a good practice to allow chickens, ducks and other birds to freely wander around the community to feed and drink whatever they can find. Providing shelter, food and clean water to these birds will result in more meat and eggs.

Birds can easily become sick and some diseases kill many birds. Veterinary advice on vaccinations to stop diseases is essential.

Traditional ways of keeping birds

Many communities keep birds to provide meat and eggs for feasts, weddings and other social activities. Sometimes birds are sold for the extra money needed for urgent medicines or food. Many people in the community may keep birds but with limited good results. This can be because:

  • Birds are not fed well, but are left to pick up what food they can find on the roads, and to drink dirty water.
  • They are not provided with shelter (housing) and can become the victims of cold, rain, foxes and other predators.
  • The types of birds (breeds) kept in the community are small birds or those which do not lay large numbers of eggs.

Because of the way they are kept most of the young die and very few birds reach the age of one year. The birds that do survive are small and produce little meat. Many birds must be killed to provide sufficient amounts of meat and little money is obtained by selling them.

Better ways of keeping Chickens and Ducks

You can improve the amount of meat and eggs you get from birds by:

  • Keeping better breeds (types) of birds which are bigger and lay more eggs.
  • Improving the quality of the birds you have by mating them with better quality males.
  • Provide housing for birds and good feed and water.

You should try to find out which breeds are available and try to obtain birds which are bigger, produce more meat, and which lay more eggs. You should encourage the community to start to keep these birds or at least to use some to improve the birds they have. There are several ways of introducing better quality birds into the community's flocks:

  • Buy male birds of the better breed to mate with females you have.
  • Buy day old chicks from the better breed and rear them.
  • Buy some birds at 2 to 3 months of age (this is the best way).

The Quality of eggs

Chicken eggs will stay fresh longer than the eggs of a duck. Eggs should be kept in a cool place. If placed in a fridge the chicken eggs will stay fresh for 3 weeks while those of the duck must be used within 10 days.

  • An egg produced by a female bird kept without a male is called a non fertile egg and will keep fresh for a long time.
  • Eggs from a female kept with a male bird are alive and the young chick will start to grow in them if they are kept in a warm place.
  • To check eggs hold them against a light or the sun, or candle them.
  • fertility of egg

  • Eggs should be cleaned before they are sold or used. Wipe them with a damp cloth but never wash them in warm water.
  • To know the quality of an egg, if eggs are placed in a container of cool clean water, bad eggs which cannot be eaten, will float to the top of the water. Good eggs stay at the bottom.
  • When you use eggs, the condition of the yolk (yellow) and the white of the egg, also tells you how good the egg is.
  • quality of egg

Source : Pashu Sakhi Handbook



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