In winters when temperature goes down below 55o F, various problems like reduction in weight gain and egg production, reduction in water intake, reduction in fertility and hatchability, enhanced mortality, etc. occurs. Hence managing poultry in winters is very important concern for poultry farmers. Following tips can be practiced by the farmers for optimizing the poultry production in winters as well.
- House should be designed in a way that maximum sun light enters the shed during day time.
- Birds should be protected from chilled winds, for this gunny bags should be hanged at the places from where the cold air enters.
- Birds release a lot of moisture in their breath and droppings which adversely affects their health, if there is restricted ventilation it causes ammonia build up in the air which causes respiratory problems. So, they need plenty of fresh air circulating around the house.
- For better ventilation sliding windows are useful as they can be opened during day and closed during night.
- For better results, there should be arrangement of exhaust fans to remove impure air.
- Prior to chick being placed in house, the surface of floor should be covered with a bedding material called litter which should be of good quality made up of saw dust, shredded newspapers, grain husk, etc.
- The thickness of litter should be around 6 inches during winter. If litter management is proper, it will be felt quite warm when taken in hand.
- For maintaining the heat in the poultry shed it is necessary to install traditional Bukharis or heaters in the shed. 200W bulbs can also generate heat in modest way in small scale operations.
- Poultry uses food for two main purposes i.e., as an energy source to maintain body temperature and to carry on normal physiological activities and as building material for development of bones, flesh, feather, egg, etc. Therefore, adequate, balanced and healthy feed should be provided to the birds.
- As low temperature causes more feed intake and higher oxygen demand, provide adlib feed to the birds for rapid weight gain and egg production.
- To avoid wastage of feed by excess intake of the birds, provide fat rich diet to the birds in winters.
- In winter number of feeders should be increased as compared to summer. Feed should be available to the bird whole of the day.
- During winter season birds take less water so far maintenance of water in the body, it is necessary to give continuous supply of fresh water which can be taken by the bird.
- If water is cold enough, then it should be given to chicken after adding hot water to it, so that the water comes to normal temperature.
- Many of vaccines/ medicine/ antis tress vitamins are given to poultry through water. As water consumption of bird is reduced during winter season. Therefore, care should be taken that waterers are removed few hours prior to water medication and medicine/vaccine is given in less amount of water so that birds can consume total water and each bird get benefit of medicine/vaccine or other supplements.
- Ensure pest and rodent control in the poultry shed as they also seek warmer places for dwelling and poultry shed is most favourable place for them to reside.
- Do not empty the shed in winters as built up litter save heat in the shed. If in case you wish to remove litter, remove a part of it.
- Store feed in dry place so that it may not get in contact with moisture.
- Winter illnesses are rarely significant but can become problematic if left unattended.
- The standard procedures for treatment of illness include quarantining the bird and using a broad-spectrum antibiotic, such as Terramycin, Enrofloxacin, etc. in feed or water, depending on which type of antibiotic you have.
- Take care of the vaccination status of the bird and carry out necessary vaccinations as and when required.
- If your birds fall sick, contact local veterinarian.
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