In tropical environments like Nigeria, seasonal variation is one of the major non-genetic factors that affect poultry production. For instance, the cold rainy season affects both poultry production and the general well being of poultry. The rainy season is usually synonymous with an increase in relative humidity and a reduction in temperature; rainfall affects both the quality and quantity of feeding, while wind speed has an impact on outbreak of diseases.
At certain periods, there is need for certain precautionary measures with regard to the daily care and other needs of your poultry. This is especially true when it comes to poultry farming, a business venture that is susceptible to risks, just like other business ventures. As we begin to experience a transition from the dry season to the wet season, it is therefore critical for farmers to be cautious, the rainy season being one of such periods when farmers must put necessary measures in place to tackle any disease outbreak or threat.
In June 2016, a torrential downpour lasting many hours destroyed property worth millions of Naira, including a poultry farm in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. The farmer in question lost more than 500 birds to the resulting flood, with the loss valued at an estimated N1.3million for the birds alone.
Primarily, there is a need to provide suitable shelter for your poultry to get away from the rain. Coops or roosts should be made available for your birds, in order to protect them from risks associated with cold wet grounds. Keep your chickens as dry as possible during this season. Stagnant water should also not be left in the chicken coops, as they serve as breeding ground for disease agents. The litter should also be kept dry and changed once it gets wet, as wet litter boosts microbial growth which can lead to potential outbreak of diseases, in addition to emission of toxic gases that are not conducive to poultry health. Keeping the environment fumigated against bacteria and germs is crucial at this period, so as to keep outbreak of diseases at bay.
Drinking water from the ground leads to pathogenic and parasitic infection such as intestinal round worms, which are a common problem in chickens. When chickens get infected with worms, they tend to consume a lot of food without any improvement in their physical weight, and may remain too skinny for their breed. In order to address this problem, de-wormers should be given every three months, with strict adherence to label directions and professional advice.
There is also a reduction in egg production for laying birds during rainy seasons. For chickens, egg laying is usually stimulated by daytime length, as they require about 16 hours of daylight to aid maximum production. However, during rainy season, everywhere becomes cloudy and less daylight is available. This effect can be tackled by providing florescent light to simulate the daylight. With this, there will be sustained production level.
In order to keep warm and generate heat, poultry tend to stay in clusters. Also, your poultry will begin to change their eating habits during this period by increasing their feed consumption, so as to maintain the requisite body metabolism. Including an extra handful of feed with high starch content during this period provides them with some extra calories to burn in order to keep warm. It is advisable to purchase enough feed required for the season so as not to be caught in a fix when there is a need to restock. Feed should be stored properly in a dry environment, preferably on a wooden platform away from the ground and wall, in order to prevent molds and fungus formation, which is harmful for birds when consumed.
In poultry farming, the wet season typically causes the birds to become stressed and this affects their production and their ability to withstand diseases through immunosuppression, leading to reduction in egg production. There is also a great chance for birds to experience various pathogenic and parasitic diseases such as Coccidiosis, fowl pox, E-coli and Salmonella, which may lead to poultry mortality. However, the extent of disease occurrence, morbidity and mortality during this season is majorly dependent on the type of management practices employed by you and the vaccination status of your flock.
Then, since you cannot totally guarantee against some of these exigencies, it is advisable to protect your business from the devastating financial effect of any loss you may face during this season by getting an insurance coverage. With the Leadway Agriculture Insurance, you have an advantage because it puts you in a position to recoup your losses. Since the weather pattern is largely unpredictable, the insurance package gives you peace of mind in the event of disaster, as you are sure of compensation for your covered losses.
Leadway Assurance offers a range of agricultural insurance policies, which cover the myriad of risks that threaten poultry business. Our Poultry Insurance package covers your investment as a poultry farmer in the event of death of your birds, which may be caused directly by diseases, flood, fire, windstorm, lightning and accident. The policy secures the capital you have invested and pays the assessed value of your birds in the event of death.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket. Contact us by calling our customer service care line on: (01) 2800 700, 2800 701, +234 812 999 7175. You can also send an email to: Lcs@leadway.com for more details on our Poultry Insurance Policy or any of our other agriculture insurance policies.