The practical orientation of this Poultry Management certificate course is meant to offer a hands-on approach to poultry management and enable participants to gain confidence in the handling of pertinent routine operations. The training will further be enriched through appropriate collaboration, technical visits, demonstrations and interaction with other players in the industry, such as hatcheries, animal feed plants, vaccine production units and key poultry farmers.
The Kenyan poultry industry has been steadily growing in the past decade with a population increase of about 6% per annum. The government liberalization programme covering the production of feed and day-old chicks has spurred extra growth through expansion of these essential and supporting industries.
The modern layer bird now lays over three hundred eggs per year instead of one clutch of twelve eggs, whilst the modern broiler reaches a marketable weight of around 2.0kg live weight at around six to seven weeks. The desire to sit on eggs and hatch them has been bred out of the modern birds so that they seldom go broody. Young birds reach sexual maturity and begin to lay eggs at sixteen to twenty weeks of age, unlike the wild jungle fowl who was only ready to lay at one year old.
Although the laying powers of chickens have been developed to a remarkable degree, birds stop laying once a year when they go into a moult (replace their feathers). Once they are over a moult, the birds will begin to lay eggs again but production during this second laying season will be about 20% below the production of the first season. However, the eggs from the second layer season will be larger.
Healthy hens can continue to lay eggs for many seasons, but the normal practice with commercial poultry is to keep the birds for one season's lay and then replace the birds with a new batch of pullets. Because modern layers have been bred specifically for their egg-producing qualities, their carcase is of little commercial value and is often used for soup or pet food.
Graduates of this Poultry Management certificate programme will be able to: