Light management in the layers brooder and house
Layers are sensitive to change in the period of light exposure, and this influence the age of sexual maturity and feed consumption.
Long hours exposure to light increase feed intake and hence growth. Its advisable to use slowly decreasing light for the first 7 weeks before leaving the birds on natural day light.
|Age (weeks)||Light exposure|
|1-2||23 hours for 2-3 days|
|18||14.5hrs increase by half an hour to 17hrs up to 23rd day|
Feeding program for commercial layers in Kenya
|Age (weeks)||Feed type||Amount per bird|
NB: When introducing another type of feed to the chicken make sure its done gradually to avoid stress. For example when introducing growers feed to chicks or layers to growers should be gradual.
Distribute drinkers evenly throughout the whole house, alternating them with the feeders so that they are easily accessible to all birds. No bird should walk more than 1.5m to get to either feed or drink.
Provide one chick fount for 50 chicks during the first week and gradually replace them with the regular drinkers allowing space. Wash and disinfect drinkers every day and ensure that the chicks access water all the time.
Poultry diseases are prevented through following vaccination program. Adhere to the program to keep your flock healthy.
|Day 1||Mareks, IB and Newcastle||Intramuscular|
|Day 10-14||Gumboro||Drinking water|
|Day 14-18||IB and Newcastle||Eye drop|
|Day 24-28||Gumboro||Drinking water|
|Day 28-32||IB and Newcastle||Eye drop|
|Week 6-8||Fowl typhoid
NCD killed/IB +NCD live
|Week 8-10||Foul pox
|Week 12-14||Foul typhoid||Intramuscular|
|Week 16-18||Foul cholera
Done to prevent feather pecking, egg eating, cannibalism and feed wastage. The operation should be done by trained person since poor beak trimming often leads to unevenness of the beaks and in some birds cause difficulties in feeding and drinking thus low body weight.
A light trimming at 10 days and the second operation between 8 and 10 weeks of age. This is because trimming only at around 10 days will not prevent pecking entirely while if done too severely at that age will lead to a reduction in growth rate and uniformity.
Deworming: Layer flocks are routinely de-wormed at around 8 weeks of age and again at around 18-20 weeks of age, just before production commences. The flocks are not de-wormed again until after peak production, unless there is a serious worm infestation. This is because de-worming during this time would disrupt peak production. Subsequently the flock is de-wormed every 2-3 months or when worms are detected or identified.
External parasites: Layer flocks are at times infected with red mites and fleas which suck blood and affect the performance. The birds should be dusted with an approved poultry insecticide and also the nest boxes and perches.