YOUR ANIMAL DOCTOR

Saturday November 18 2017

A chicken house in Nakuru.

A chicken house in Nakuru. For 200 hens, one requires an area of 200sq ft. or a house measuring 20ft x 10ft. FILE PHOTO | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By DR JOHN MUCHBI
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Chicken house for 200 hens
What size of a house can accommodate 200 mature hens and what should I do before I bring them in?
George, Sori

Each layer bird requires a floor space of 2 square feet. For 200 hens, you require an area of 200sq ft or a house measuring 20ft x 10ft.

The siting of your layer house must be on an East/West orientation with ventilation on both the long sides.

Two weeks before bringing in the chicks, wash and disinfect the house and put 4 inches wood shaving on the floor.

Three to six hours before bringing in the chicks, prepare and switch on the brooder, have clean drinking water mixed with glucose, Stressmix multi-vitamin and liquid paraffin.

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Best dairy practices
I am interested in keeping Holstein Friesian cows in Nyandarua. Please educate me on the following:
i) How to plan a cowshed:
There’s a recommended plan for a zero-grazing unit available online on the link http://kdb.co.ke/press/publications/manuals/3-design-of-zero-grazing-unit, or search for ‘design for zero grazing unit’.

ii) Where should I source for the best breed?

It is convenient to buy an animal closer to where you are. Kinangop has good Friesian cows. Alternatively, you can get good animals from farmers in Githunguri in Kiambu or Njoro in Nakuru.

iii) How do I make the best dairy meal at home?
I would encourage you to buy ready-made commercial dairy meal due to challenges of sourcing correct ingredients, uniform mixing and economies of scale.

iv) What are the best management practices?
Ensure the animals have proper housing and maintain good hygiene.

Ensure you offer them quality nutrition and mineral supplementation, deworm regularly and spray weekly.

Please keep records on heat and service, feeding and milk production.

v) How do I market my products?

The best thing to do is join a local dairy cooperative society.

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What day-old chicks need
Apart from liquid paraffin, what else do I need to give my day-old chicks and for how long?

Provide glucose (energy), vitamins, minerals and essential amino acids. You can use Stressmix, glucose and liquid paraffin for the first week.

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Causes of stress in poultry
What are the causes of stress in poultry and how do I manage it?

Stress can come from transportation, vaccination, diseases, internal and external parasites, change of weather, debeaking and sudden change of feeds, among others.

Stress may lead to reduced production in layers and reduced weight gain in broilers. To manage it, give high quality anti-stress agent such as Stressmix.

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How to change chicken mashes
What should I do when changing feeds, from one type to another, for example from chick to growers mash?

Changing feeds can be stressful to the birds. To mitigate this, the changeover needs to be a gradual process that is usually done over three days.

On the first day, mix and give three quarter of the current feed and one quarter of the new feed, on the second day mix half of the current feed and half of the new feed, on the third day mix a quarter of the current feed and three quarter of the new feed.

During this transition, birds may be stressed, therefore, minimise the stress using Stressmix in drinking water for five days.