Written By Dr. Samuel Akpan
Poultry farmers in Nigeria have been urged to improve their management practices if optimum productivity and profitability must be achieved. This advice was given at a recent online farmers forum organized by AnimalCare Services Consult, on Friday 7th August 2020; anchored by Muyiwa Semowo.
Dr. Aduta Gabriel, a veterinarian, and staff of Animal Care was a resource person at the Farmers Forum. He spoke on the topic, “Gut Health Management to Promote Efficiency in Poultry Production”, and stressed that in managing gut/intestinal health in birds, the major concern is always the risk of antimicrobial resistance. He opined that antibiotic use is not wrong, but that the farmer should rather engage other preventive measures that would forestall their usage, and keep diseases at bay. He outlined the preventive management approaches as follows:
- Proper water hygiene
- Gut pH moderation
- Timely Vaccination
- Appropriate Feed
- Hygienic Water
Dr. Aduta stated that water is the source of 70% of intestinal infection in birds because birds’ water consumption is about twice the amount of feed taken. Hence, constant water sanitation is recommended. He further opined that birds are less immune than humans, therefore, if the water intended for birds’ consumption is not good enough for the farmer’s consumption, then it is also not good enough to be served to the birds. He also mentioned the impact of biofilms – a community of microbes and algae bound together in a slime – stating that they could also be problematic for the birds, hence the need to add appropriate sanitizer to their water and acidifying the gut in order to moderate their pH.
Mr. Akuekegbe Lordson, an Animal Scientist and also a staff of Animal Care thereafter presented his own lecture titled, “Promoting Efficiency in Poultry Production Through Quality Feeds and Feeding”. He mentioned that from the recent analyses he performed, he observed that feeding currently accounts for over 89% of cost of production, as against the 75% previously known. Hence, since feeding is a very important part of poultry health and management, the feed quality should not be handled carelessly. He showcased pictures of analyzed raw feedstuff in which over 50% comprised of sand, stating that if such is used to compound feed, then such farm can never experience productivity. He reiterated that it is important for the feed manufacturers or those milling feeds for direct use on their farms to put more effort into the screening of raw materials before using such to compound feed. According to Akuekegbe, contaminants must be totally avoided. “As farmers, we may want to adulterate feed so as to make more money. Some people add garri, sand, urea, bones, hulls, non-protein nitrogen (NPN), etc, to feedstuff. In the short term, you may get what you want, but you will lose in the long run. When you lose, you end up increasing your cost of production via treatments, drug costs, marked decrease in productivity, as well as the loss of customer patronage“, he added.