Systems of rearing
Guinea fowls can be reared under any of the three systems
- Free range system
- Semi intensive system
- Intensive system
Free range system
Before rearing the birds exclusively for commercial purpose, they used to be reared in the backyard with simple shelter and equipment. This is known as extensive system or free range system of rearing birds. This system can be followed when sufficient land is available. Guineas require a dry environment with plenty of space and are suitable for free range system because of their inherent herd instinct, excellent foraging ability, hardiness and resistance to most of the common diseases. In this system, birds are let out free, where they feed on their own and rest on treetops near the home at night. The stocking density in free-range system is 500 to 600 birds per acre.
In most of the countries, guinea fowls are reared along with desi chicken under mixed farming system. Country chicken is used tor hatching guinea fowl egg and is a good foster mother in brooding young keets. Bamboo basket is used for protecting keets from predators. Feeding and health of young keets are taken care of by farmers. Guineas tolerate weather extremes fairly well after they are fully feathered.
- Effective utilization of land.
- Minimum feed management care.
- Less labour cost.
- Feed deficiency diseases are rare.
- Vices are Jess.
- Less production cost.
- Suitable for small scale production.
- Protecting birds from wild predators is difficult.
- Flying nature of birds.
Semi intensive system
This system is. a combination of extensive and intensive system of rearing. It refers to the provision of permanent housing to birds with access to a yard or surrounding environment. During day time, birds will be left free in a fenced enclosure and confined to the inbuilt house during night time. Under this system of management, the birds are given supplementary feed and water within the restricted area and allowed to scavenge. This system is suited for small domestic flocks.
- Protection from predators
- Protection from adverse environmental condition.
- Involves additional cost of investment.
Guinea fowl can be reared like commercial broilers under intensive system Birds can be reared under two types of intensive systems
- Deep litter system
- Cage system
Minimum space requirement for broiler guinea fowl is 1.5 sq ft per bird in deep litter system, 0.75 sq ft per bird in cage system and for layers, 2.5 sq ft per bird in deep litter system, 1 sq ft per bird in cage system of rearing has to be provided. Guineas begin to fly at a very early age and can be confined only in covered pens.
Deep litter system
In this system, birds are reared on a cement floor covered with 3 6 cm litter material like paddy husk or wood shavings or peanut shells or any other suitable material. Birds are free to move and feeders and waterers are arranged at convenient places for easy access and at required height to avoid the chance of feed wastage.
- There is no incidence of breast blisters.
- Incidence of broken egg is less.
- Uniform distribution of light in the layer house
- The initial investment is low when the land cost is low.
- Slacker is density is lesser than in cage system.
- Feed wastage due to spillage is more
- Birds consume more feed.
- Chances of occurrence of litter borne diseases like coccidiosis are high. Disease spread is faster.
- Incidence of unclean and soiled eggs is higher.
- Maintenance of individual record will not be accurate as in cage system.
- Fighting among breeding makes occur.
Cage rearing can be chosen fo rear day old keets till they attain market age. This system is adopted when the availability of the (and is limited.
- The housing density is high.
- Better feed efficiency as their movement is restricted.
- Birds consume less feed.
- Less chance of litter borne diseases.
- Maintenance of individual record will be accurate, hence culling is also easy and accurate.
- Labour requirement is less.
- Birds are uncomfortable because they are restricted.
- Chances of breast blisters are high.
- Under humid condition, possibility of ammonia accumulation and problem of house flies are high.
- The initial investment is high.
Baby guinea fowls are known as keets. Day-old keet weighs about 25-29 g. Guineas are much more active than chickens. Guinea chicks are easy to rear although they are susceptible to chilling during the first few weeks. Newly hatched keets cannot regulate the body temperature efficiently. They lose heat faster because they have fewer feathers which act as insulating material. Therefore, it is mandatory that newly hatched keets have to be provided with artificial heat during the initial stages the duration of which depends on the environmental temperature. The brooding temperature has to be reduced every week to stimulate normal feather growth. Brooder house should not be nearer to older birdhouses to minimize the chances of disease transmission. Open-sided poultry houses are best suited for raising guinea fowl in our country.
The two methods of brooding are:
- Floor brooding 2. Battery brooding,
All types of brooders are suitable for keets that should maintain temperature around 100°F and subsequently reduced to 75°F at 5 weeks by reducing 5° F every week. Proper records have to be maintained regarding feeding, medication vaccination and mortality etc.,
On the first day, the addition of sugar or glucose is necessary if keets reach The farm after 6 to 8 hours of the hatch. Mistress medicines and vitamins can be given to alleviate transport stress. During winter and rainy days, it is advisable to give antibiotics in drinking water to control the possibility of bacterial infection.
Artificial light serves as an external supplement of heat and also for visibility. Duration of external source of light depends on environmental temperature. During rainy season, day time light supplementation is given for first one week and nighttime light supplementation from 2nd week onwards.
During summer, day time supplementation of light need not be provided. The light arrangement has to be adjusted according to the environmental factors like temperature, humidity, wind velocity and stocking density. The comfort of the bird itself is a clear indicator for supplementation of artificial heat.
Maximum mortality occurs from 1 to 8 weeks of age. Even though the good managemental practice is adopted, normal mortality of 3 – 5% occurs. Keets require a high amount of proteins and optimum levels of minerals in their feed for the first week of hatching. Deficiency in these could cause poor growth and susceptibility to infections.
Control of keet mortality:
- Good quality keets should be purchased from a recognized organization.
- Good brooder management has to be practised.
- Sufficient amount of chopped green has to be added to the feed to encourage keets for taking feed.
- Optimum micronutrients like calcium, phosphorus, lysine and methionine are to be provided.
Guinea fowls in the age group between 9 and 24 weeks are called grower guinea fowls. During this stage, optimum quantity and quality of feed have to be provided to the birds in order to exploit full genetic potentiality. Periodical culling of stunted and diseased birds should be followed to get maximum profit.
Growers can be reared in separate grower houses or continued to be reared in brooder cum grower house on deep litter system. Optimum microenvironmental temperature in grower house is 75 °F with adequate cross ventilation. The house should be rat-proof without any leakage in the roof with good flooring to avoid rat nuisance.
Generally, paddy husk is used as litter material with a depth of 3 – 4 cm. Spillage of water has to be avoided totally. If the litter is wet, it should be removed and replaced with new litter. The place of waterer has to be changed daily to keep the litter material dry and litter has to be racked daily to prevent cake formation.
Floor Space allowance
Recommended floor space allowance is 1.5 sq ft bird.
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