By: Modou Touray
Aramata Cham, an old woman poultry farmer in Farafenni, North Bank Region, has decried the expensive cost of animal feed, which she highlighted to have contributed to his low profit. She further said that she intends to expand the poultry farm, but financial deficiency is her predicament.
Poultry health can easily be compromised by the wrong food or not enough of the right nutrients. An inappropriate diet can affect a bird’s immune system, leaving it unable to cope with the stress of infection or parasites. If the feed is short of key nutrients, a bird may develop physical or neurological issues.
“I have been in this business since 1991. I am still struggling with my farm. Poultry feed is costly, and I cannot afford it. Currently, a bag of feed is more than D2000 dalasi. I have 200 chickens and a bag of poultry feed takes 4 days to finish. Therefore, the amount of money I spend on feeding is very expensive.”
Poultry farming is a form of animal husbandry which raises domesticated birds such as chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese to produce meat or eggs for food. Poultry – mostly chickens – are farmed in great numbers. More than 60 billion chickens are killed for consumption annually. Chicken raised for eggs is known as layers, while chickens raised for meat are called broilers.
“It requires enough time and energy to embark on poultry farming. Chicken must be well fed and if farmers lack feeding, it will affect the health of the poultry.”
Wheat usually is one of the best grains for poultry feeding, although a proportion of course grains in some form should always be included in the ration, along with wheat. In seasons of rust or frost, when wheat is shrunken, more should be ground and fed in mashes and less in the scratch feed.
“Government and other development partners should assist in helping us so that our poultry farming can be sustainable. Our profit is very little and that is discouraging. It doesn’t make sense if we are spending more money and not making a profit.”
An important part of raising chickens is feeding – feeding makes up the major cost of production and good nutrition is reflected in the bird’s performance and its products.
“Many people especially event organizers always demand more chicken, but my production capacity is very low. Disease outbreak is another challenge I encounter as a poultry farmer. I spend some money too to ensure their health.”
According to experts, there are six key components of any poultry production system: genetics, husbandry, nutrition, health, environment and human resources. Nutrition and health put together lead to good Health. Regular cleaning is essential to keep your chickens healthy. Remove wet or soiled bedding daily, and weekly, and remove and replace all bedding, at least twice a year.
“I buy animal feeding from Abuko and sometimes travel to the border villages in Senegal to buy. The feeding is cheaper in Senegal. Most farmers who are close to the border get their poultry from Senegal.”
After More than 30 years of poultry farming, Aramata is still struggling with key challenges to enhance her productivity.