Tswana Chicken Production Guide
Traditional Tswana chickens offer several advantages over the commercial layers and broilers. They are hardy chickens with very good survivability. They also cost very low to raise; you can raise them under an improved indigenous production system with better shelter, husbandry and where the chickens are also allowed to free range in their pasture and scavenge for their food. You can supplement their feeding by providing formulated feed purchased from shops, especially when they are still young and need an adequate supply of essential nutrients to grow and boost their immune systems. Alternatively, you can also formulate homemade feeds for your Tswana chickens.
Tswana Chicken Production Guide
Traditional Tswana chickens have evolved naturally. They are not products of controlled breeding like the commercial varieties although there are efforts by the government to develop more improved Tswana chicken varieties.
Our Tswana Chicken production Guide is based on the premise that you can improve the productive capacity of the Tswana chickens by making slight improvements in the conditions under which they are growing. You can make improvements in the biosecurity, housing, feeding and disease management in order to boost the yield of the chickens and generate more wealth from poultry in the rural areas.
The current Tswana chicken production is based on low input and low output where the chickens are often exposed to all kinds of risks including predators, diseases, accidents and poor nutrition.
The Improved Tswana chicken production based on this guide spells out an alternative route that is based on making interventions in the production systems including better housing, better nutrition and better biosecurity in the poultry production system that improves productivity.
With proper medication, you can eliminate some of the most common diseases affecting Tswana chickens such as Fowl Typhoid, Newcastle Disease, and Fowl Pox among others.
Making interventions in the traditional Tswana production systems also means the supply of regular and clean fresh water. In the traditional system of Tswana chicken production, water is provided only sporadically and sometimes not at all. We spell out how you can meet your poultry’s water needs by offering an optimal supply of clean water. As stated in some previous posts, chickens will never forgive you when you fail them in the water department. They are unlikely to recover from stress arising from the insufficient supply of clean water and will be underperforming for the duration of their lifecycle. So water is very critical to efficient and productive Tswana chicken production system.
When all these factors are looked into, we can see that the main reason the Tswana chicken under-perform is due to the poor management and the low nutritive supply that they are subjected to throughout their life cycle.
They are left to scavenge for scarce food in a harsh environment with no effort being put by the farmer to supplement the feeding or improve their living conditions. For Tswana chickens, the hen day production is typically quite low at about 30% while the hatchability of the chickens is only 67%.
Yet indigenous Tswana chickens have great potential. Check out our recommended poultry husbandry techniques that you can use on your Tswana chickens in order to maximize production. We offer recommendations on various aspects of Tswana chicken production including the following:
- Site selection
- Tswana chicken housing
- Chick brooding and management
- Chicken housing
- Disease management
- Feeding and feed management for Tswana chickens
- Marketing your Tswana chickens
- Record keeping for your Tswana poultry production enterprise
Tswana chickens are advantageous for the marginal areas of Botswana and in rural areas where farmers may not have the capital and expertise to carry out intensive poultry production. They can be a means for wealth generation for small-scale farmers who are willing to make little adjustments on the traditional indigenous Tswana chicken production systems.
In the rural areas, they can be a source of eggs, proteins, and an income for small to medium scale poultry farmers. Because women play an important role in rural poultry production, improved Tswana chicken production can also serve as a channel for women empowerment at the rural level.
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