Learn about the biology, husbandry and general management
- Chickens, ducks, turkeys and other poultry
- A great foundation for a career, business or fascinating hobby.
- Build the skills to manage a small flock of birds for self sufficiency at home
- Explore the possibilities for commercial farming
There are eight lessons as follows:
1. Introduction, Terminology and Breeds
- History of Poultry
- Contract Growing
- Management Factors
- Small Scale Production
- Classifying Fowls (Egg Laying Breeds, Meat or Table Birds, Dual Purpose Breeds)
- Cross Breed Poultry
- Sex Linkage
- Skeletal System
- Poultry Husbandry (Stock Selection, Feeding, Watering, Housing, Health)
2. Poultry Nutrition
- Digestive System (Gullet, Crop, Proventriculus, Gizzard, Intestine, Caecum, etc)
- Nutrient Sources (Carbohydrate, Protein, Minerals etc)
- The End Product
- Modern Feed Requirements
- Phase Feeding
- Limited Feeding
- Consumption Feeding
- Extensive (free-range) System
- Semi-Intensive System
- Intensive Systems
- Deep Litter System
- Battery Units
- Feeding the Laying Hen
- Replacing the Flock
- Brooding Period
- Feeding Broilers (Starter Period, Finisher Period)
- Hygiene and Health
- The natural method (using broody hens)
- The artificial method (using incubators)
- Selecting Eggs
- Storing Hatching Eggs
- Turning Eggs
- Managing a Incubator (Temperature, Humidity, Testing, Hatching)
- Reasons for Poor Hatchability
- The canopy brooder
- The infra-red lamp
- The battery brooder
- The hay box brooder
- Floor Space
- Problems during rearing
8. Record Keeping, economics and Marketing
- Growth Records
- Egg Production records
- Small Scale Business
- Compatible Ventures (Manure, etc)
- Preparing a Farm Business plan
- Land Management
- Analyzing the Market place
- Developing a Marketing Plan
DURATION: 100 hours
- Select appropriate poultry breeds for use in different production situations.
- Explain the techniques used in the management of condition, including both feeding, and pest and disease control, of poultry.
- Explain the management of poultry as layers.
- Explain the procedures for the management of poultry as broilers.
- Explain the techniques used in the management of poultry incubation.
- Explain the management of brooding poultry.
- Develop management strategies for a poultry business.
See the ebook on Poultry written by our staff.
If you are still uncertain about committing to a big course; this is another way of getting a solid introduction to poultry.
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WHAT THE COURSE COVERS
Here are just some of the things you will be doing:
- Distinguish between cross bred and pure bred poultry, being grown in your locality.
- Categorise different breeds of poultry, including ducks, geese, chickens and turkeys; into groups, including: *Egg laying birds *Meat/Table birds *Dual purpose breeds.
- Explain the advantages of cross breeding poultry for two different specified purposes.
- Label the parts of a chicken on a supplied unlabeled illustration.
- Evaluate ten different poultry breeds to determine the most suitable breeds for three different specified purposes.
- Label on an unlabeled illustration, the parts of the digestive tract of a fowl.
- Describe the function of different parts of the digestive system of poultry.
- List the dietary sources of different nutrients for poultry.
- Describe the function of five different ingredients in specified poultry feeds.
- Explain how rations of feed are determined for poultry.
- Describe the feeding of poultry stock in a specified situation.
- Describe possible dietary disorders in poultry.
- Describe commercially significant pests and diseases in poultry.
- Develop a checklist to be used for regular inspections to detect signs of ill health in poultry.
- Explain the treatment of six different pests and diseases in poultry.
- Describe a poultry vaccination program for a specified property.
- Explain the techniques for, and the value of, quarantine procedures for poultry.
- Compare extensive (free range), semi-intensive and intensive production systems, in terms of: *management *production cost *product quality product quantity.
- Describe different housing requirements for poultry.
- Explain a commercially viable method of collecting eggs, used on a specific poultry farm.
- Explain three procedures used in an egg production system which are critical to the efficient operation of a specified farm.
- Develop a production plan for laying poultry, which includes details of; *birds required *facilities required *materials needed *a schedule of husbandry tasks *cost estimates.
- Describe the brooding period for a typical fowl, on a specified property.
- Explain how brooders are successfully fed, on a specific property visited by you.
- Explain appropriate housing for broilers being provided at a poultry farm, as observed by you.
- Explain how hygiene and health are managed in a broiler production system, as observed by you.
- Evaluate the successful management of broilers in a specified situation.
- Describe daily routine tasks carried out in farming of broilers at a poultry farm visited by you.
- Describe the process of incubation, as observed by you on a poultry farm.
- Compare natural with artificial incubation methods, to determine appropriate applications for each type.
- List criteria for selecting eggs for incubation in a specified situation.
- List five different reasons for poor hatchability.
- Compare two different incubator designs with respect to cost and application.
- Describe the management of a specific incubator which the learner has inspected.
- Describe the characteristics which distinguish brooding poultry from other poultry.
- Explain how to create an appropriate brooding environment for a specific situation.
- Compare different types of brooders.
- Describe the operation of different brooding equipment.
- Prepare a timetable of husbandry tasks from hatching to maturity for a brooding fowl.
- Explain problems that may occur during rearing, including: *crowding *cannibalism.
- Develop a checklist for monitoring the condition of a brooding fowl.
- List records which should be kept by a poultry farmer.
- Analyse purchasing procedures for routine supplies, used by a specified poultry farm.
- Explain the value of different records kept by a poultry farmer, including: *growth records *egg production records.
- List the minimum machinery required for a specified poultry enterprise.
- Calculate the cost of production, showing a breakdown of the costs, of one marketable produce item in a small poultry business.
- List factors which may be critical to successful marketing for a poultry farm.
- Explain any legal requirements which apply to a specified poultry enterprise.
- List poultry products being marketed in your locality.
- Write a job specification for one member of staff on a poultry property.
- Prepare a report on innovations in the poultry industry being used in your locality.
- Develop a detailed poultry production plan.
- Describe a successful marketing strategy employed by one supplier of poultry products in your locality.
- Recommend an innovative approach to marketing for a poultry enterprise which you are familiar with.
- Match credit to business needs of a poultry farm to develop the most suitable strategy for the enterprise.
Keeping Your Birds Healthy
Chickens are known to be susceptible to many diseases. But you can prevent this as much as possible with proper care – I have always found the following good rules for you to use when caring for my hens:
- Provide your pets with a balanced diet and make sure the feed is free from mould and chemical contaminants (like pickled grain).
- If you use deep litter for your hens then keep their litter dry; Coccidiosis (an intestinal infection) and worms become a problem with wet litters.
- Provide them with a comfortable environment (temperatures between 10 and 32 degrees C). Clean out feeders and drinkers regularly and remove any rubbish.
- Isolate your new birds for at least 10 days to observe if they have any disease.
- Watch for early signs of disease - (reduced activity and noise, difficult breathing, abnormal gait or posture, changes in comb or shank colour, discharge or crusting around eyes and nostrils, ruffled feathers, unusual smells, sudden changes in feed or water consumption, decreased egg production). Sick or dead birds should be removed promptly.
- Make sure rodents cannot access pens – it is also wise to exclude other birds having access to the pens too so external spread of disease is prevented.
- Prevent cannibalism. This requires sufficient space in the coop, escape areas such as roosts, distractions such as a bale of straw or a cabbage hung from the roof. Injured birds should be removed and treated as soon as possible.
General signs of disease and ill health include:
- fluffed feathers
- increased sleeping and closed eyes
- general lethargy and inactivity
- lack of strength (weakness)– unable to perch
- losing balance or walking in circles
- changes in breathing rates, coughing or wheezing
- discharges of nostrils
- sticky eyes, cloudy eyes
- swelling on the body
- lack of preening
- changes in droppings – consistency and colour
- raised or lowered skin temperature
- weight loss
Some common poisons found in and around the house or property may be easily accessible depending on how you restrict your chickens or confine their movements. They following list of items should be considered as poisonous when thinking about health management:
- Any form of cleaning product interior/outdoor household use
- Paint remover/thinner, turpentine and paint
- Rodenticides, pesticides, insecticides, ant syrup
- Gasoline or diesel
- Charcoal lighters, matches, kerosene or lighter fluid
- Avocado, mushrooms
- Certain plants including poinsettia or mistletoe and more
- Sun tan lotion, hair dye, shaving lotion, drugs, nail polish, corn/wart remover
- Crayons, deodorants, fabric softener, glue, moth deterrents, silver and brass cleaner
Working in the Industry
The poultry industry today is diverse and calls for employees ranging from scientists to farm hands through to production managers, business managers and marketing specialists. Most employees need to be highly skilled to work in this field; the industry demands skilled workers. There is also a shortage of skilled workers so opportunities exist to forge a successful and profitable career within this industry. Courses range from certificate level through to degree and PhD level qualifications.
A poultry hand usually requires a certificate level qualification, a broiler farm manager would need a diploma in poultry management, a Poultry Business Manager needs a Diploma in Agricultural Business Management and a Geneticist would need tertiary level qualifications such as a degree or PhD. A general hand or farm hand may only need experience in the business and undertake (initially) short course rather than a full qualification.
Getting Work in the Industry
There are several ways to enter the poultry industry:
If you are employed in an agricultural position within another sector there are opportunities to move across – those with some agricultural experience are viewed very favourably.
Start at an entry level position as a farm hand and then move into an assistant poultry hand position. You may need to undertake extra educational courses in order for your career to develop from there. For example a poultry hand usually has a certificate in poultry management or similar but may need to upgrade to a higher level qualification in order to advance their career.
- The business may provide an internship of some sort, while you study by distance education.
- As a casual worker with or without some agricultural experience.
- As a formally trained poultry specialist with a certificate or diploma level qualification
The main skill sets required in the poultry industry as a poultry hand:
- Handling chickens
- Sexing chickens
- Hatchery maintenance
- Operation of equipment and machinery
- Workplace Health and Safety