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The Secondary Agriculture course aims to:


1. develop an understanding of agriculture and its importance to the family and the nation


2. promote interest in agriculture as an industry and create awareness of opportunities existing in agriculture and related sectors.


3. demonstrate that farming is a dignified and profitable occupation


4. enhance skills needed in carrying out agricultural practices


5. provide a background for further studies in agriculture

6. develop self-reliance, resourcefulness and problem solving abilities in agriculture


7. develop occupational outlook in agriculture

8. enable schools to take an active part in national development through agricultural activities

9. create awareness of the role of agriculture in industrial and technological
development

10. enhance understanding of the role of technology and industrialization in
agricultural development

11. promote agricultural activities which enhance environmental conservation

12. promote consciousness of health promoting activities in agricultural production.

The Secondary Agriculture course aims to:


1. develop an understanding of agriculture and its importance to the family and the nation


2. promote interest in agriculture as an industry and create awareness of opportunities existing in agriculture and related sectors.


3. demonstrate that farming is a dignified and profitable occupation


4. enhance skills needed in carrying out agricultural practices


5. provide a background for further studies in agriculture

6. develop self-reliance, resourcefulness and problem solving abilities in agriculture


7. develop occupational outlook in agriculture

8. enable schools to take an active part in national development through agricultural activities

9. create awareness of the role of agriculture in industrial and technological
development

10. enhance understanding of the role of technology and industrialization in
agricultural development

11. promote agricultural activities which enhance environmental conservation

12. promote consciousness of health promoting activities in agricultural production.

Welcome to form four agriculture digital content.

Agriculture is an important subject in our day to day life. In form one, two and three you were introduced to both crop and livestock practices. In form four you will continue broadening the content scope using the following topics:-

  • Livestock production v (poultry)
  • Livestock production vi (cattle)
  • Farm power and machinery
  • Agricultural economics iii (production economics)
  • Agricultural economics iv (farm accounts)
  • Agricultural economics v (agricultural marketing and organisations)
  • Agroforestry

You will also have the opportunity to learn new skills as you navigate through form four agriculture digital content and practice answering examination questions as a preparation for the subject evaluation. Practical activities are also suggested to link theory and practice. Welcome and enjoy form four agriculture digital content.

Welcome to form four agriculture digital content.

Agriculture is an important subject in our day to day life. In form one, two and three you were introduced to both crop and livestock practices. In form four you will continue broadening the content scope using the following topics:-

You will also have the opportunity to learn new skills as you navigate through form four agriculture digital content and practice answering examination questions as a preparation for the subject evaluation. Practical activities are also suggested to link theory and practice. Welcome and enjoy form four agriculture digital content.


Suggested Topic Activities


1. Visit a nearby poultry farm and do the following:- i. establish the type of poultry rearing system used on the farm ii. establish their source of chicks iii. establish the market for the poultry product iv. enquire from farm manager whether poultry farming is profitable or not 2. Construct a simple brooder structure using local materials and appropriate tools.


3. Obtain several eggs and use a candle light or a torch of light to check for fertility

  • presence of any hair cracks on shell
  • presence of double yolks
  • size of airspace
  • presence of meat and blood spots

4. Participate in a class project and construct a fold unit 5. Visit a commercial hatchery if possible and make observations on selection procedure for eggs for incubation, candling of eggs, how the incubator works and how eggs are cared for when in incubator. 6. Find out:-a. how eggs are marketed in a nearby local market b. the different types of poultry feeds in a nearby agrovet.

Background information

In your earlier studies, you learnt that the reproductive system of poultry is different from that of other animals in the farm. The females have highly elongated oviduct, an adaptation that enables poultry to produce large eggs. The egg is highly nutritious, making it a popular human food. The chicken embryo develops outside the body of the mother in a process called incubation.







Glossary

Albumen- the white portion of the egg.

Broilers- Bird reared for meat production.

Brooder- A structure in which chicks are kept and provided with food and other requirements for their growth.

Brooding- Its the rearing of chicks from day old to when they are 8 weeks old. Cannibalism- A practice where an animal eats other animals of its own kind . Capon- A castrated male chicken.

Chalaza- White twisted, rope-like structures attached to the thick albumen of an egg which anchor the yolk in the centre of the egg.

Cloaca- The common external opening for the digestive, excretory and reproductive tracts in poultry.

Cull- To remove unprofitable or otherwise unwanted animals from the flock. Embryo-A young organism in the early stages of development

Fertilization- Union of male and female nuclei.

Germinal disc- A small, circular, white patch on the upper surface of the yolk, containing cells from which the chick develops if the egg is fertilized.

Giblets- The term used to describe the portion of poultry carcasses that consists of the hearts, gizzards and livers.

Incubation- Keeping eggs in the right conditions for them to hatch out. Layers- Birds reared for egg production.

Litter- An absorbent bedding material, mainly of plant origins used to cover the floor in poultry houses.

Moulting- A process during which hen stops laying and shed their feathers. It occurs naturally every 12 months or may be artificially induced.

Prolapse- the irreversible protrusion of the cloaca.

Pullet- A young female bird before the laying stage.

Stress- A nervous feeling.

Vent- The external opening of the cloaca.

Vice- bad or undesirable habit such as egg eating, cannibalism and toe pecking in poultry.

Vitelline membrane- A thin, transparent membrane which surrounds and contains the yolk

Yolk- The yellow portion of the egg composed of water, protein and glyceride. It contains all the known vitamins except vitamin C.

Topic Objectives

By the end of the topic, you should be able to:

  • identify parts of and egg,
  • select eggs for incubation,
  • identify suitable sources of chicks,
  • describe broodiness and natural brooding,
  • describe brooder and brooder management,
  • describe conditions necessary for artificial incubation,
  • describe rearing systems of poultry,
  • describe feeding of each age and category of poultry,
  • identify causes and control of vices and stress in poultry,
  • describe marketing of eggs and poultry meat,
  • select, sort and grade eggs for marketing.

Livestock Production V (Poultry)

The term poultry refers to all kinds of domestic bird kept for meat or egg production. They include chicken, turkey, ducks, geese, ostriches, guinea fowls and pigeons. The management of poultry aims at production of high quality eggs and meat to meet the ever increasing market demand. In this lesson , we shall concentrate mainly on the rearing of chicken, which are the most common domestic birds.

Chicken Egg

Parts of an egg

The egg is composed of the following parts: a. the shell b. shell membranes c. air space d. albumen (also called egg white) e. chalaza f. the yolk

Incubation of Eggs.

Before eggs are incubated, farmers should select good quality eggs through physical examination. Eggs for incubation should be:

1. fertilized, 2. smooth shelled, 3. oval in shape, 4. crack free, 5. medium, 6. fresh, 7. free from egg abnormalities.


Egg candling

Egg candling is a method of examining the internal condition of an egg for abnormalities by looking at it against a strong light in a dark room. The source of light can be a torch, candle or electric bulb.

Importance of egg candling

Egg candling helps to detect:-i.any hair cracks on the egg shells,ii. whether egg is fertilized
iii. presence of double yolks,
iv. size of airspace, v. meat and blood spots in an egg.

Brooding

Brooding is the rearing of chicks from day old to 8 weeks old. There are two type of brooding: 1) Natural brooding. 2) Artificial brooding.

Natural brooding

In natural brooding, a hen is allowed to stay with the chicks providing them with warmth and security.

The conditions of a brooder The brooder should have the following: 1) litter, 2) fresh air, 3) heat source, 4) dim light, 5) smooth round inner walls,

Artificial brooding

In artificial brooding, chicks are kept in a structure called a brooder, where food and other requirements are provided. The brooder structure should be rounded to prevent chicks from overcrowding in corners resulting in suffocation.

Equipment used in a brooder

The equipment needed for artificial brooding include:1. Feeders-which should be clean and sufficient 2. Waterers- which should be designed in a way to prevent chicks from fouling the water 3. Debeaking tools- which include scissors, knife, file and debeaker


Brooder and brooder management

There are some management practices carried out before chicks arrival, during day of chicks arrival and during growth of chicks when in the brooder. The brooder should be ready 2 days before arrival of chicks. It should be cleaned and disinfected. Litter should then be spread and covered with newspapers to prevent chicks from feeding on it. Chick mash should be put in the feeders and some spread on the newspapers. Source of heat should be provided. chicks should also be vaccinated.


Poultry rearing systems

Generally, there are three rearing systems followed among poultry keepers. The type of rearing system adopted depends to a large extent on the size of land and the capital available. These rearing systems are:- 1) extensive or free range system 2) semi-intensive or fold system 3) intensive system


Extensive (free range) system

In extensive system, birds are left to roam over a wide open area which may have permanent fence of wire netting and simple house.

Birds are set free throughout the day to fend for themselves and take shelter at night in a poultry house. Laying nests are placed in the house, while feed and water troughs are placed outside the house. The open area can be partitioned into runs to allow proper rotation to reduce disease and parasites in birds.

Semi-intensive(fold) system

In semi-intensive system, birds are confined in a small moveable structure called ark or fold, measuring 3.5 by 1.5 by 1.5 m high which is suitable for 10 to 15 birds. The roofed part of the fold contains waterers, laying nests and feeders while the unroofed part allows in sunlight and is used for exercise and feeding on grass. Moving of the fold to a new ground, reduses build of parasites and diseases, provides fresh grass and avoids accumilation of dropping.


Intensive system

Intensive system of rearing poultry is designed in such a way that a lot of birds are kept in a small area of land. there are two methods under intensive system. these are:-
i. deep litter system
ii. battery cage system


Deep litter system

In deep litter system, poultry are confined within a big house. the house usually has no partition and the floor is covered with absorbent litter.

Ag4-130500Movie
Video- a deep litter house -show open wall in front and the solid wall behind
- show roof.
-show birds inside.
- show feeders, roosts, waterers

The deep litter house should have solid material up to at least 60 cm above the ground surface, to maintain litter in good condition and eliminate floor draughts. The height of the solid wall which should be 2.5m high, can be constructed using timber, stones, bricks, or metal sheets. The house should be well ventilated, with a leak-proof roof. The litter sued should be of good absorbent ability. Roosts, feeders, waterers and laying nests should be provided in the house.


Battery cage system

Battery cage system is the most intensive poultry rearing system. It involves confining of birds in wire cages measuring 45 X 45 x 57 cm. Each cage can accommodate 1 to 3 birds.

Ag4-130600Movie
Video- showing:-outside walls of battery cage house
-the tiers of cages (front and show back to back arrangement of cages)
-birds in battery cages feeding
-farmer collecting eggs
V/O Video-"The cages are normally arranged in rows that are built over one another to form tiers. The lowest tier should be 60 to 90 cm above the floor. The cages have a sloping floor for easy rolling eggs to the collecting tray.

Management of layers

It is important that all the necessary routine operations are carried out properly to ensure maximum production of eggs in layers.

Each layer should be provided with 120g of layers mash per day in addition to sufficient clean water. Green vegetables should also be provided to keep birds busy and provide nutrients. Diseases and parasites should be controlled effectively. A farmer should provide enough laying nests for the layers. Eggs should be collected at regular intervals, at least twice a day. Poor layers should be culled.


Management of broilers

Broilers are referred to as table birds. They exhibit high growth rate due to their high feed conversion ratio.Broilers are kept in a brooder for the first 4 weeks feeding on broiler starter mash ad libitum. From the 4th week they are removed from brooder and are fed on broiler finisher to the point of slaughter at the age of 8 weeks. clean water should be provided at all times. Diseases and parasites should be controlled.


Stress and vices in chicken

Stress in chicken

Stress is a condition imposed on poultry that makes them uncomfortable. Stress in birds is identified by watching the behaviour of birds e.g. unusual noise, opening of beaks, loss of appetite and dullness. Birds with stress are nervous and display signs of discomfort. Stress in birds may be caused by sudden loud noises, presence of strangers or predators, sudden change of routine, overcrowding, lack of food and water, extreme temperatures or poor handling of birds.

Control of stress in chicken

In order to control stress in birds, poultry houses should be build in a quiet place, should be properly ventilated , well insulated and spacious.

Birds should be handled properly in order to reduce stress. Change in routine should be gradual. Birds should be provided with sufficient well balanced diet while diseases and parasites should be controlled promptly.


A farmer showing proper way of handling a bird.- ensuring proper ventilation in a deep litter house.

Vices in chicken

Vices are bad habits developed by birds. The most common vice behaviours are:- a. egg eating b. cannibalism Egg eating is caused by bright light in laying nests, presence of broken or soft-shelled eggs on the floor, lack of calcium, idleness and eggs on the floor.


Control of egg eating in chicken

Egg eating can be controlled through the following ways:- i. making laying nests dark or dimly lit
ii. providing enough laying nests
iii. providing enough balanced diet
iv. collecting eggs frequently and regularly
v. debeaking perpetual egg eaters


Cannibalism in chicken

Cannibalism is a vice in which birds peck each other resulting in injury or in extreme cases, death. Apart from lack of balanced diet in the poultry, cannibalism is also caused by presence of external parasites, idleness, proplapse cloaca, very bright light especially in the brooder and disturbance of the pecking order due to introduction of new birds.

Control of cannibalism in chicken

Cannibalism in poultry can be controlled by provision of enough balanced diet, keeping birds according to their age groups, controlling external parasites, reducing overcrowding, keeping birds busy, debeaking perpetual cannibals.


Marketing of eggs

Marketing of chicken eggs.

Marketing of eggs involves all the activities which are associated with flow of eggs from the producers to consumers. It includes sorting and grading, packing and actual selling of eggs. The farmer should also determine where to sell.


Sorting and grading of eggs

Eggs should be sorted and graded before sale based on the following factors:- 1. Egg size: eggs of different sizes 2. Egg shape: eggs with abnormal shape 3. Shell colour: eggs of different colours 4. Shell texture: eggs with rough shell 5. Cleanliness: stained eggs


Selling of eggs

Selling of eggs involves actual presentation or display of eggs in a market. Eggs can be sold directly to consumers or to retailers, wholesalers or cooperatives.


Marketing chicken meat

Chicken meant for meat are referred to as table birds. Table birds include:-


1. Cockerels and capons 2. Cocks (roosters) 3. Hens past profitable egg production and culls 4. Broilers.



In most cases broiler birds are killed and dressed before sale. Birds are killed by cutting off the neck and feathers removed immediately. The head , trachea, esophagus and the crop are then removed. A horizontal cut is then made through the vent opening to the keel bone to expose intestines, where the hand is inserted to grasp the visceral organs that are detached from the body. The heart and lungs are then removed. The shanks are then chopped off before washing the carcass in clean water. The carcass is then properly packed ready for dispatch.


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