Indigenous chicken does not have desirable genetic characteristics compared to commercial breeds. They take longer to mature, have poor food conversion ratio, do not lay a lot of eggs among others. However, there are areas where the indigenous chickens have certain strong points.
They generally have better resistance to diseases, produce nutritious and sweet tasting poultry products and the meat is often tender with more muscles than fat. However, the time and long-term cost for rearing indigenous chickens may not justify doing this on a commercial scale. Still, there ways to improve the system so as to make the most of your indigenous chickens ensuring they put on weight fast and offer better yields. Let’s look at some of the ways in which you can make your indigenous chickens grow faster and produce more:
How to make indigenous chickens grow fast
#1 Feed High Protein Food
While chicken needs a lot of carbs to meet their energy needs and make them put on weight, a high protein diet can help your indigenous chickens grow faster. Animal by-products are generally some of the best quality protein sources for your chickens. You can also supply them with some plant protein. However, if your chickens are not supposed to mature faster, don’t try to force it. Let them go through their natural cycle based on the chicken’s genetic potential. Early maturation for indigenous chickens can bring with it its own sets of complications such as prolapse and egg binding.
#2 Proper Feeding
Indigenous chickens are often left to their own devices to forage for their own food but small interventions in the feeding can make a huge difference. For example, instead of letting the chickens to fully forage on the pasture, you can supplement their diet with high quality formulated feed such as starter mash, growers mash, layers mash etc.
While indigenous chickens are hardy, you should still vaccinate them against deadly diseases such as the Newcastle disease to boost their chances of surviving an outbreak. Follow the proper vaccination schedule as recommended by the Ministry of Agriculture or your trusted local veterinarian.
#4 Proper Housing and Biosecurity
Reduce losses due to temperature extremes, overcrowding or predation by building a proper chicken house that will comfortably accommodate your flock. You should also observe the highest standards when it comes to hygiene and sanitation.
#5 Selective Breeding or Proper Breed Selection
Go for indigenous chickens with good characteristics such as early maturity, prolific layers and excellent resistance to disease. Bring outside cockerel often to prevent inbreeding. You can also do cockerel exchange programs to reduce inbreeding which has an impact on the productivity of your chickens.
#6 Provide enough water
Water is highly essential for the health and vitality of your chickens. Freshwater supply also has a positive impact on the feed intake. Make sure you provide enough drinkers in the poultry house to allow all chickens to drink comfortably without overcrowding or injuries.