To keep records is simply to collect relevant information that can help you to take good decisions and to keep track of activities, production and important events on a farm. Records can be about any performance of the poultry, economic development, or any activity of the farmer or veterinarian. It is important to make record keeping simple, and to keep records systematic. If records should be of use for the farmer, then they must be complete (no missing information), they should be true (collected carefully). When record can't be trusted because they are not complete or true, time should not be spent on it at all.
If a farmer wants to build a financially successful livestock enterprise, record keeping is a must. The records can be used to further develop the farm and the herd, and thereby the sector in the country. For many farmers, it helps to think of their farm as a business, and to see that good care and good management actually also influences the production and profitability of the farm.
Records are important in poultry farming because they help:
• To keep track of all animals (Identification records)
• In evaluation of livestock for selection (breeding records; financial records; production records)
• In control of inbreeding and aid in breeding planning (breeding records)
• Aid in selecting birds with the right characteristics for breeding (production, health, feed efficiency) to improve the herd or flock
• To rationalize labor
• Aids in feed planning and management
• Aids in disease management; keeping track about treatment (disease records)
• Aids in finding the effective treatments
• To assess profitability/losses (financial records)
• Improves bargaining power on products, because you can see the investment and the price of the production (financial records)
• Credit/loan access (financial records). Well kept financial records can be used in getting loan facility.
The major types of records to keeping in poultry production are: Identification to know ages and batch of birds, Breeding records, Production records, Feeding records, Disease and treatment records, and financial records.
1. Identification Records
• An identification method should be cheap, not harming the animal,reliable to read at a distance of at least 2-3 metres and by preference be permanent.
• Identification of the animals is of course not necessary if a farm has only one animal of a certain species, sex and age group.
• Identification of animals is usually through use of numbering, by marking of the animal and by description of certain characteristics of the animal. The latter is the most animal friendly, and can be done in practice by drawing e.g. the different color spots of the animals, or taking photos. Giving the animals names and keeping a table with the characteristics of the animal and link it to the name can work in many cases.
• Intrusive methods of identification can be subdivided into 2 categories: permanent at the animal itself (which affect the animals most when doing it) and non-permanent. For the case of poultry the non permanent identification is more applicable which include:
a) Collars or neck or leg straps (chains)
b) Paint and dyes (can be very animal friendly, but if the paint is full of chemicals it is not healthy and is not recommended, please check)
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