Poultry Signals: A Practical Guide for Bird Focused Poultry Farming

Poultry Signals: A Practical Guide for Bird Focused Poultry Farming

By Monique Bestman, Jos Heijmans, Koos van Middelkoop and Marko Ruis

Poultry Signals: A Practical Guide for Bird Focused Poultry Farming PDF. ‘The equipment in the house is just a small part of keeping chickens. You are a far more important factor than you think.’

Not all poultry farmers maximise the full potential of their birds. This applies equally to laying hen farmers and broiler farmers. For a good performance during the production period, the house has to be equipped and managed correctly and efficiently.

But how do you know that what you are doing is right? Your chickens continuously send out signals: about their health, how well they know their way around their surroundings and whether they feel happy and comfortable.

Do you recognise the signals your chickens are giving? And do you know what to do if, for example, there are too many floor-laid eggs or if the chicks are spilling too much feed? Do you know the difference between abnormal, runny droppings and healthy caecal droppings? And how do you recognise thirsty chickens when the flock has just been set up?

If you recognise the signs that point to potential problems, then make sure you are armed with information to take the appropriate steps to get your flock back on track. And the things you should take into account if switching from caged to free ranging birds. A lot can be achieved using ventilation, lighting and different routines. But to do so, you must know all the ins and outs of your own farm and be able to asses the impact these changes will have on your animals.

Poultry Signals® is a practical guide that shows you how to pick up the signals given by your animals at an early stage, how to interpret them and which action to take.

Table of Contents

1 Seeing more by looking more closely 
Pick up the signals 9
Using the signals 10
Know yourself 12
What she wants 13
Bird behaviour 14
Anatomy 18
Senses 20
Chicken sounds 21
Checking individual birds 22
2 The chicken and her environment 
Ideal home 24
Choosing a systgem that works for you 25
Moving in 26
Perches 27
Litter 28
Climate under control 30
Effective temperature 31
Air 32
Light 33
Dust 34
Home on the range 36
The facts 37
How do you get them outdoors 38
Gimme shelter 39
Bad behaviour and problematic pests 40
Covered range or winter garden 41
3 Rearing hens 
The early days 43
Quality of day-old chicks 44
Assessment at 16 weeks 45
Light 46
Teaching good behaviour in aviaries 47
Vaccinations 48
The right way to vaccinate 49
From small to big in 18 weeks 50
Feather pecking during rearing 52
Beak treatment 53
Smooth transition 54
4 Laying hens 
Schedules aren’t written in stone 56
The ideal curves 57
Feed and feed management 58
Feed and light 59
Feeding in hot weather 60
Deficiency signal: eating feathers 60
What to look out for in feeding systems 61
Water 62
External egg quality 64
Internal egg quality 66
What makes a nest attractive? 68
Avoid floor eggs 69
Gear management towards nesting peak 70
A second laying period? 71
Pecking, feather pecking and cannibalism? 71
Difficult to reverse 72
Feather pecking 73
Preventing feather pecking 74
Cannibalism 75
5 Broilers 
Checking the chicks on arrival 77
Ventilation 78
Distribution of the chicks in the house 79
Assessing your birds 80
Signals from manure 82
Poor litter 83
Feed signals 84
Drinking 85
Weak chicks 86
Identifying causes of death 87
Broiler parent birds 88
6 Health 
Disease signals 91
Biosecurity outside the house 92
Biosecurity in the house 93
What seems to be the trouble? 94
Gastrointestinal problems 95
Respiratory diseases 96
Egg production problems 98
Locomotion organs disorders 100
Sudden increase in mortality 101
Summary of the main diseases 102
Viruses 102
Bacteria 105
Gut parasites 107
Worms 108
Red mites 110
Keywords 112

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