The integrated compost and poultry system is a farming method that combines composting, poultry raising, and egg production. It is a low-cost method to raise chickens while producing good quality compost. Feed costs are almost eliminated because food scraps, manure, and mulch are used for feed – all of which can be obtained from either the same farm or sourced cheaply from nearby restaurants or markets. These birds are fed a zero-grain diet and are comparatively more robust and toned than grain-fed chickens. The number of eggs produced from compost-fed chickens is the same, if not more (by up to 1/3), than that of grain-fed chickens. The protein content in the chicken feed is high and very good quality compost is made from this system.
The system explained in this technology employs a trailer that provides housing for protection of predators, collection of eggs, and capture of feces of the chicken to enrich the compost. An automatic watering system ensures that there is always enough water for the birds to keep them hydrated. The resulting compost is rich in nutrients and is recycled into vegetable gardens that produce high quality fruits and vegetables. This system is designed for about 36 adult birds because the chicken coop (a repurposed trailer) has six perches; each perch holds six chickens. The chickens have the option to lay their eggs on two different sides of the trailer where they are housed. Depending on the breed and the age of the birds, in four weeks’ time, this system will produce a high amount of quality compost, over 200 eggs, and robust chickens that can continue to produce eggs or be processed for food.
Using the hay-box chick brooder is a simple technique which conserves the metabolic heat produced by the chicks and thus keeping them warm. Unlike other brooders, this device does not require coal, oil, or electricity for heating.
The following description gives detailed information on how to build and manage the hay-box, in addition to tips on how to preserve the Box and the chicks during the different seasons and how to maintain the required temperature based on experiences in Ethiopia.
The hay-box chick brooder which is not using any artificial heat is an ESTC (Ethiopian Science and Technology Commission) award winning technology developed by Prof. Solomon Demeke at Jimma University College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine (JUCAVM) (Solomon, 2003).
This Agrodok provides a wealth of useful information on how to overcome
the main constraints in small-scale poultry production and deal
with threats like predation and infectious diseases. It is a practical
booklet with chapters on hatching, housing, nutrition and health. I sincerely hope and believe that the knowledge, tools and experiences offered here will be a valuable resource for poultry keepers.
N. van Eekeren
Indigenous chickens play an important role in the livelihoods of most rural families in Eastern Africa. Despite increased use of commercial breeds by large-scale producers, around three quarters of chickens in the region are indigenous breeds. This manual gives information on improved management practices of rearing indigenous chickens. The following technology is from the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA) in collaboration with several African institutes ( Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya).