Poultry FAQs

1Key Words & Meanings
Q. What is poultry and poultry farming?
A. Poultry are domesticated birds kept by humans for their eggs, meat etc., and includes chickens, ducks, geese, swans, quails, turkeys, pheasants, ostriches, emu etc. Rearing these birds for their meat/eggs is Poultry Farming. Production of eggs and broilers has been rising at a rate of 8—10% per annum. National annual consumption is 37 billion eggs and one billion broilers.
Q. What is poultry farm management?
A. Birds in a poultry farm need sufficient care, feed, water, shelter, etc., so that they give good produce and increase income. All these activities in total come under poultry farm management.
Q. What is a Broiler?
A. Broiler is a chicken raised exclusively for meat purpose.
Q. What is a layer?
A. Chicken reared for their eggs are called layer chicken.
Q. What is Backyard Poultry?
A. Backyard poultry farming primarily involves indigenous chicken birds and is characterized by small flock size consisting of 5-10 birds maintained in extensive system under zero or low input venture. It is characterized by indigenous night shelter, scavenging system with little supplementary feeding and natural hatching of chicks. The native chicken varieties adopted in free-range backyard conditions contribute about 11% of total egg production in India. In most of the cases, eggs produced are for home consumption or for limited trade within the area. Backyard poultry production plays a vital role in rapid growth of economy. It provides livelihood security and availability of food to the family. Unemployed youth and women can also earn an income through poultry farming.
Q. What is a DOC?
A. DOC means Day Old Chick, that is, a chick just hatched out of an egg.
Q. What is litter?
A. Litter is the bedding material on which chicken are reared. It is of high nutritive value and can be used in fish ponds or to improve soil fertility of crop farms.
Q: What are layers?
A: Layer poultry are those birds which are used for producing eggs.
Q: What are broilers?
A: Broilers are those poultry birds which are used for meat production.
Q: What are dual-purpose poultry birds?
A: Dual-purpose poultry birds are those birds which are used for both meat and eggs production.
2Common Queries
Q. What are the health benefits of eating chicken?
A. Chicken meat is an excellent low calorie and low fat source of high protein providing important nutrients.
Q: How long does it take a baby chick to grow into a chicken?
A: Depending on the breed, it will take between 16 and 24 weeks for a baby chick to become mature and start laying eggs.
Q: When the hens stop laying eggs?
A: Hens do not stop laying eggs with age, but their egg production decrease with age. Generally the hens lay eggs in good amount for 3-4 years.
Q: In case of raising broiler chickens, how long are the chickens raised before slaughtering?
A: Generally the broiler chickens are slaughtered after their 8 to 12 weeks of age. During this age the chickens produce fresh, tender and juicy meat.
Q: What do chickens eat except the commercial feeds?
A: Except commercial feeds, the chickens also eat seeds, grass, fruits, grains, vegetables, flowers, worms and bugs, wheat, rye, oats, barley, corn etc.
Q: What kind of human food do chickens eat?
A: Backyard chickens can be fed with some human foods such as beans, garlic, raw potatoes, onions, citrus fruits, kitchen scraps etc. The chickens also eat bread, kale, spinach, carrots, tomatoes etc.
Q: How much food do chickens need daily?
A: Depending on the breed, average food consumption of a chicken is between 90 and 130 grams per day.
Q: What not to feed the chickens?
A: There are some food items which are not good for the health of chickens. Some foods are also toxic for them. By the way, you should not feed your chickens with salt, processed food, raw potato peels, avocado skin, coffee, rotten food, raw meat, greasy food and chocolates. Some people also advise not to feed the chickens with garlic, onions or other strong food.
Q: How much do you need to start a poultry farm?
A: Exact amount depends on various factors. But you can start with a minimum number of birds for testing purpose and expand gradually.
Q: How much money can I make?
A: This amount also depends on various factors and very hard to tell the exact figure. But on average the ROI (return of invest) is very high in poultry farming business. The return from the business heavily depends on the investment and the number of chickens you are raising.
Q: Can broiler hens lay eggs?
A: Yes, broiler hens lay eggs. But they comparatively lay less eggs than many other commercial egg laying breeds. Generally broiler hens lay approximately 140 eggs per year.
Q: How long does it take to raise a broiler chicken?
A: Generally the broiler chickens become ready for slaughtering purpose within 4 to 7 weeks of age, depending on strain of the bird.
Q: How long do broiler chicken live?
A: There are not specific lifespan for a broiler chicken. The broiler chickens are most often slaughtered within 4 to 7 weeks of age.
Q: What to feed the broiler chickens?
A: The broiler chickens are generally fed on commercial broiler chicken feeds. Their feeds are categorized into three groups - starter, grower and finisher.
Q: What materials can I use for building a poultry house?
A: The floor of your poultry house should be made of concrete, and the roof can be made of concrete, asbestos, hatched roof etc. You can also use iron sheets, palm leaves or grass for covering the roof. The walls of the poultry house can be erected using bricks, sand blocks, iron sheets, wood and mud. But ensure that there are no cracks in the floor of walls otherwise there would be a risk of parasitic infestation.
Q: Do I need to sweep the house daily?
A: No, there is no need of sweeping the house daily. But you have to do it in a regular basis depending on varous factors like climate and bird density.
Q: What materials can I use as litter?
A: You can use sand, wood shavings, straw etc. as litter.
Q: How do I determine the size of my poultry house?
A: If you are planning to raise layer birds, then you will need about 5 square feet space per bird. But if you are willing to raise broiler birds, then you will need 2-2.5 square feet space per bird.
Q: Can I keep the sick birds together with the normal birds?
A: No! You should not keep the sick birds together with the healthy ones. Keep the sick birds separate from the healthy birds.
Q: Can I keep chickens of different ages together in the same house?
A: No, you should not keep chickens of different ages together in the same house.
Q: How can I ensure the condition inside the chicken house good for chickens? A: By following some general rules, you can keep your poultry farm in good condition and make your chickens healthy.
It will be better if the house is in north to south direction.
Ensure good ventilation system inside the house.
Turn the litter material frequently for keeping proper aeration.
Provide your birds with enough clean and fresh water as per their demand.
Always provide them fresh food and clean the feeder on a regular basis.
Ensure maximum space is available per bird inside the house.
Regular cleaning and disinfecting the area is mandatory.
Check the house and birds regularly and separate the sick birds from the healthy ones.
Q: What are the common type of poultry diseases?
A: Poultry diseases are categorized into 4 groups which are;
Behavioral diseases
Infectious diseases
Nutritional diseases and
Parasitic diseases
Q: How can poultry diseases be prevented?
A: Common poultry diseases can be prevented by following the steps mentioned below.
Cleaning the house regularly.
Changing the old litter beds after a certain period of time.
Now allowing the wild birds into the chicken house.
Adding new birds very carefully to the existing flock.
Being careful when there are visitors to your farm.
Vaccinating your birds timely and properly.
Providing clean water and high quality feeds.
By giving adequate space per bird.
Keeping the pets away from the farm.
Creating quarantine area for birds with infection.
Isolating or removing the dead and diseased chicken from the existing flock.
Q: What is grit in chicken feed?
A: Chickens do not have teeth for chewing or breaking the food they eat. The feed is swallowed and passes on to the stomach and gizzard. Most of the chickens eat small stones called grits which in the gizzard help the chicken to grind and digest the food.
Q: How often do I have to de-worm chickens?
A: Every 3-6 months. Cleaning the floor is also important to prevent the grown of worms.
Q: What foods are poisonous to chickens?
A: There are some food items which are considered as poisonous to chickens. Azalea, boxwood, buttercup family, daffodil, cherry laurel, daphne, honeysuckle, hydrangea, foxglove, ivy, lantana, sweet pea, jasmine, tobacco and tulip are considered poisonous to chickens.
Q: What diseases can I get from poultry?
A: Poultry and people share the Avian Influenza, Bird Flu, Campylobacteriosis, E. coli, Salmonellosis, etc.
Q: How much does a chicken cost?
A: Exact amount depends on many factors and the price can vary from place to place. Please visit any of your nearest market to know more about the current price.
Q: Is it safe to keep chickens in your house?
A: Chickens are free-ranging birds. So, keeping them inside the house can make them uncomfortable and will disturb their natural behavior. Instead of keeping them with you inside the house, you should keep them in your backyard in a good house.
Q: Does a hen need a rooster to lay eggs?
A: it is a very common misconception that a hen needs a rooster to lay eggs, but the fact is that a hen does not need the help of a rooster (cock) in order to lay an egg. But if you want to hatch baby chicks from the eggs your hens lay, you'll definitely need to have a rooster around to fertilize the eggs.
Q: How many eggs will my hens lay and how often?
A: Exact number of eggs depends on the breed and also on many other factors. But on average you will be able to get up to 200 to 240 eggs per layer bird.
Q: How many hours of lighting required for the laying hens?
A: Adequate amount of lighting is very important for egg production. Generally, about 14-16 hours of lighting period is required for the birds to lay eggs.
Q: Why chickens lay less eggs in the winter?
A: Chickens lay less eggs in winter naturally. Because daylight decreases during this period, and the chickens shed their feathers and repair and restore their body. You have to arrange artificial light for your chickens if you want them to lay eggs in winter.
Q: Do chickens lay eggs when they are molting?
A: No, chickens generally don’t lay eggs during the molting period which is typically for 8-12 weeks depending on the breed. Feeding the chickens with nutritious food is very important during this time.
Q: How many roosters do you need in the flock?
A: Roosters are not mandatory for the hens to lay eggs. But you will need to have one or several roosters (depending on the number of hens you have) if you want to produce fertile eggs for hatching. Generally one rooster will be enough for around 10 hens.
Q: Is poultry farming business good for beginners?
A: Yes, poultry farming is very easy, and beginners can also do this business.