The poultry sector of Rwanda is one of the clusters the country relies on for value chain development.
This is owed to the fact that poultry is conversant with everyone, including smallholder farmers and rural households in Rwanda due to its short life cycle and low capital investment.
Broilers can be produced within the least possible time compared to other meat-producing animals. However, poultry farming would not be successful if a farmer is not careful and unable to solve some input problems.
During a two-day media trip on poultry value chain conducted in Bugesera and Musanze districts from 3-4 October, Dr. Theoneste Sikubwabo, Sales and Marketing Manager at Uzima Chicken Ltd explained the three most important things for successful poultry farming.
Dr. Sikubwabo said that the first thing to think and care about is hygiene as chicks are fragile and sensitive to poor hygiene.
“Chickens need hygiene, the chicken coop should always be dry and when it comes to water feeding, they should avoid putting water on the floor. Also, you have to clean your materials with water and soap,” he said.
He said that clean water is a critically important source of the birds’ health.
Birds drink twice as much as they eat. For this reason, water should be monitored regularly as it impacts the birds’ gut health. Moreover, humidity and high levels of ammonia are two of the biggest impediments to good air quality in a poultry.
The second thing is vaccination because birds fall victim to different viral diseases like the new castle known in Kinyarwanda as ‘Umuraramo’, infectious bronchitis, among others that are otherwise incurable.
“When the disease happens to occur, all chicks die if they are not vaccinated,” he explained.
The third important component in rearing chickens is quality food.
“The above-mentioned two things may be good, but when there is no quality food, they may be in vain. If boilers can be harvested in 45 days, the chickens will not have enough kilograms and the farmer will lose. It is the same for layers that produce eggs, eggs will not have quality,” he said.
Journalists visited hatcheries, animal feed processing factories, and poultry farmers and several good practices were registered at Uzima Chicken.
The company is among giant chicks producing firms in the country. It produces more than 1.200.000 day-old chicks per month. 97 percent of those chicks are supplied to local poultry farmers; others are exported to countries like the Central African Republic (CAR), Cameroon (for fertilized eggs, but with a plan to also export chicks), Congo Brazzaville, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Uganda.
Uzima Chicken production comprises 500,000 chicks for SASSO (dual-purpose chickens – for both egg and meat production), 500,000 chicks for broilers, and 200,000 for layers.
Successful broiler rearing depends on many inputs such as availability of quality chicks, supply of quality feed, medicine and vaccine, hygiene, and other support services. Each of these factors is vital for profitable broiler farming, concluded Dr. Sikubwabo.
The media trip was organized ahead of the third edition of the Poultry Africa 2022 exhibition happening in Kigali from 4 to 6 October.