Breeding poultry

The domestication of poultry. Principles of maintenance, care and breeding chickens. Selecting breeds for breeding. Basic principles of culling birds at breeding. Breed Character. Detailed official colour standards. Guidelines for keeping cockerels.

Рубрика Сельское, лесное хозяйство и землепользование
Вид контрольная работа
Язык английский
Дата добавления 25.04.2015
Размер файла 19,4 K

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Introduction

My topic is relevant at the moment. Because the problem of poultry is not the last place in society. I have been studying in their work: what poultry, the history of poultry, conditions for keeping birds, selection for breeding, a guide for the content of the males. Analysis of this topic is carried on the study of the previous topics.

Objective - to study the history of poultry, what poultry, safe conditions in which to live poultry, what breed is and what is most successful for growing, learn more about the content of the males, their dispatching and disposal.

Objectives of the study - to learn as much as possible material for the study of this problem.

Methods of work - i have studied various articles revealing my topic in more detail.

Abstract:

The essay topic poultry.

The main idea of the essay is to elaborate on the poultry industry.

Content: Poultry - are domesticated birds kept by humans for the eggs they produce, their meat, their feathers, or sometimes as pets. Four thousand years is a fair old time for chickens to have been domesticated, they originate from the Red Jungle Fowl and have provided us with some truly horrible traditional medicines, domestic ducks are all descended from the lascivious ubiquitous mallard and domestic geese, turkeys originated in Central and North America. Some conditions have to be favorable for poultry, for example: space, ventilation, light, cleaning, nestboxes, perches, pophole, security, litter, materials. If the new poultry keeper intends to concentrate on serious breeding and or exhibiting it will be necessary to select parent stock very carefully, the same basic principles apply to all breeds of poultry and bantams when the selection of breeding stock is under scrutiny. There is measures can be taken to reduce the nuisance of cockerels crowing to whom they do not interfere with. Culling is never easy: it doesn't necessarily mean killing a bird, but removing it from the breeding pen so that whatever fault it has is not perpetrated, improvement in the standard of your stock is the goal and this includes not only superficial points but utility aspects as well.

Conclusion: I told you his lecture that is poultry, told the story of poultry, which should be the conditions for poultry, which breeds selected for breeding, found conditions for the maintenance cocks so they do not interfere, told how utilize birds.

1. Poultry

Poultry - are domesticated birds kept by humans for the eggs they produce, their meat, their feathers, or sometimes as pets. These birds are most typically members of the superorder Galloanserae (fowl), especially the orderGalliformes (which includes chickens, quails and turkeys) and the family Anatidae, in order Anseriformes, commonly known as "waterfowl" and including domestic ducks and domestic geese. Poultry also includes other birds that are killed for their meat, such as the young of pigeons (known as squabs) but does not include similar wild birds hunted for sport or food and known as game. The word "poultry" comes from the French/Norman word poule, itself derived from the Latin word pullus, which means small animal.

The domestication of poultry took place several thousand years ago. This may have originally been as a result of people hatching and rearing young birds from eggs collected from the wild, but later involved keeping the birds permanently in captivity.

Domesticated chickens may have been used for cockfighting at first and quail kept for their songs, but soon it was realised how useful it was having a captive-bred source of food. Selective breeding for fast growth, egg-laying ability, conformation, plumage and docility took place over the centuries, and modern breeds often look very different from their wild ancestors.

Although some birds are still kept in small flocks in extensive systems, most birds available in the market today are reared in intensive commercial enterprises. Poultry is the second most widely eaten type of meat globally and, along with eggs, provides nutritionally beneficial food containing high-quality protein accompanied by a low proportion of fat. All poultry meat should be properly handled and sufficiently cooked in order to reduce the risk of food poisoning.

1.2 History of poultry

Four thousand years is a fair old time for chickens to have been domesticated. They originate from the Red Jungle Fowl (Gallus gallus, a small pheasant of Asia) and have provided us with eggs, fresh meat and feathers plus some truly horrible traditional medicines. Domestic ducks are all descended from the lascivious ubiquitous mallard (Anas platyrhychos) and domestic geese from the tame and confiding greylag (Anser anser) which in return for a little corn would have provided meat, eggs and excellent fletching for arrow flights from the moulted wing feathers when the bow was a common weapon. Turkeys originated in Central and North America and the various pretty colours come from the different subspecies ranging from Mexico up to New England.

Chicken provides 20% of the world's animal protein at a reasonable price - what a huge debt the human race owes the humble domestic fowl. But don't you want to know where your eggs and poultry meat have come from? Wouldn't you like the thrill of producing and eating your own free-range fresh eggs? The taste and texture is something everyone should be able to experience. Truly fresh equals less than 24 hours old and a newlaid egg is obvious when you find you have difficulty in cleanly peeling off the shell from a hardboiled egg - the white sticks to it. And what fun to have different coloured or sized eggs for different members of the family. If you are concerned about how industrial poultry is grown, you can even grow your own poultry meat: you know what it has been fed on, you know it has had a very good life and there is no stress at slaughter as the bird is in familiar surroundings. And the taste is magnificent - what need then for those spicy sauces which are promoted to give supermarket chicken some sort of taste?

The popularity of poultry continues to increase, and even the newest and smallest farm parks and tourist attractions have a few fowl for added interest. When these are pure breeds, suitably labelled, it fuels the enthusiasm for others to take up the hobby. Not only is feeding made easier, there are many firms supplying suitable housing and equipment designed for the best welfare of the birds, and advances in veterinary research ensure that healthy stock is normal. Legislation concerning poultry tends to change with epidemics or scares and may apply both to commercial and backyard flocks. Records of poultry keeping go back centuries, but it is only since Victorian times that Standards have been written down for specific breeds. Survival of the fittest was definitely the main criterion in the past and breeds like the Old English Game fowl would have been bred true to type for hundreds of years. Five-toed fowls were mentioned in AD 50 and those with crests appeared in paintings and writings from the fourteenth century onwards.

After cock-fighting was outlawed in England in 1849 the idea of exhibitions took root as a way of continuing the competition, but in a modified form. The first Standards were produced in 1865 for just a handful of breeds to try to maintain uniformity; it was not until the turn of the century and the importation of breeds from the continent and America that a volume of any size appeared. The Poultry Club has always been the guardian of the Standards, but the Standards themselves are delineated by the specialist Breed Clubs. None of the Standards have changed radically over the years, but slow changes have been introduced when necessary, following approval by the Council. It should not be easy to alter the Standards, because it is a human failing to tend towards the biggest or most exaggerated feature at the expense of the true type of a bird in order to win. This `fashion' can sometimes be instigated by judges and followed slavishly by those wanting to win at all costs. It would behove some judges to re-read the Standards occasionally.

It is more difficult and takes a longer time to become a judge now, quite rightly. An aspiring judge may take only one judging test per year (written and practical examinations) and it then takes seven years to complete the various sections. Even then, a judge is expected to have kept and bred, as that is the true source of experience, as many breeds as possible if he or she wishes to attain the highest level of Panel A. The Breed Club shows are good training grounds, as there are always those around whose level of experience is higher and much can be learnt.

The Poultry Club, a registered charity, has a voluntary Council of 16 elected members, a Chairman elected from the Council and an elected President. The Secretary is part-time.

1.3 Housing, Equipment and Feed

Poultry housing is used by the birds for roosting, laying, and shelter. The welfare of the birds is entirely in your hands and certain principles must therefore be observed.

Space

Floor area should be a minimum of 1 square foot per bird (large fowl) or 8” square for bantams. If you can give them more space then so much the better bearing in mind they will be spending time in the henhouse sheltering from the rain and wind. Perches should allow a minimum of 9” for large fowl and 6” for bantams and be 2” wide with rounded edges.

Ventilation

Correct ventilation is vital to prevent the build-up of bacteria and condensation. It should be located near the roof to ensure there are no draughts. It can be more difficult keeping the house cool than warm.

Window

Normally located near the roof with a sliding cover to allow for adjusting the ventilation and covered in mesh. Glass can break and does not help the ventilation. One window is best as the house can then be sited with its back to the wind. The amount of light increases egg laying, 14 hours being the optimum if you are adding artificial lighting which can come on with a timer in the early morning, allowing the birds natural twilight to choose their roost.

Materials

Timber should be substantial for the frame and can then be clad with tongue and groove or shiplap or good quality plyboard. If the timber is pressure treated by Tanalising or Protimising it will last without rotting. The roof needs to be sloping to allow rain to run off. Avoid using felt if this is possible as this is where the red mite breeds (see Health). Onduline is a corrugated bitumen which is light and warm therefore reducing condensation but needs regular supports. Plywood can be used if it is treated with non-toxic pet-friendly preservative. To protect the plywood roof further, instead of felt,corrugated clear plastic can be used as it lets the light through and deters red mite which likes dark places. Square mesh is best used on the window and ventilation areas as it is fox proof. Sectional construction is best for ease of moving.

Nestboxes

Located in the lowest, darkest part of the house as hens like to lay their eggs in secret places. Size for large fowl is up to 12” square or 8” square for bantams with one nest box per four hens. Communal nest boxes with no partitions are useful as sometimes all the hens choose just one nestbox and queue up or all pile in together which is when eggs get broken. Make sure there is outside access for you to collect the eggs. Litter in the nestboxes can be shavings or straw (not hay due to moulds).

Perches

Even for bantams, perches should be broad - 2” square (5cm) with the top edges rounded is ideal. They should be the correct height for the breed so they can get on them easily and have room to stand up on them, but heavy breeds should have low perches to avoid bumble foot (see Health). See above for spacing but allow 12” (30cm) between perches if more than one. Make sure they are higher than the nestbox otherwise the hens will roost in the nestbox. If you can provide a droppings board under the perches which can be removed easily for cleaning it will help keep the floor of the house cleaner as hens do two thirds of their droppings at night. You can also check the droppings for colour and consistency (as a guide to health) more easily.

Pophole

This is a low door so that the hens can go in and out of the house at will. The most practical design has a vertical sliding cover which is closed at night to prevent fox damage. The horizontal sliding popholes quickly get bunged up with muck and dirt and are difficult to close. There are light sensitive or timed gadgets available which will close the vertical pophole for you if you have to be out at dusk.

Security

The house must provide protection from vermin such as foxes, rats and mice. One inch (2.5cm) mesh over the ventilation areas will help keep out all but the smallest of vermin. You may need to be able to padlock the house against two-legged foxes.

Litter

Wood shavings for livestock is the cleanest and best. Straw may be cheaper but check that it is fresh and clean and not mouldy or been contaminated by vermin or cats. Do not use hay due to harmful mould spores which will give the hens breathing problems. Litter is used on the floor, in the nestboxes and on the droppings board.

Cleaning

Weekly cleaning is best, replacing litter in all areas. There are disinfectants available which are not toxic to the birds and will destroy many if not all of bacteria, virus and fungus harmful to poultry (e.g. VIrkon or F10).

Buy or make?

If housing is bought from a reputable manufacturer and meets all the basic principles then that may be the quickest and easiest method of housing your birds. If you wish to make housing yourself, keep to the basic principles and remember not to make it to0 heavy as you may want to move it either regularly, or at some stage if it is not permanent. Remember to make the access as easy as possible for you to get in to clean, catch birds, or collect eggs. Occasionally, second-hand housing becomes available. Beware of disease, rotten timber, and inability to transport in sectional form.

Types of housing

Movable pens are good as the birds get fresh ground regularly. Some have wheels which makes moving them easy for anyone. Triangular arks were developed to prevent sheep jumping on housing in the days when different stock was kept together. The shape of an ark can damage the comb of a cockerel. A disadvantage of movable pens or fold units is the limit on the size and therefore the number of birds kept in each one.

Static or Free-Range housing needs to be moved occasionally in order to keep the ground clean around the house, but the hens are allowed to roam freely or contained within a fenced-off area. Tall thin houses are unstable in windy areas, so go for something low and broad based. If a sliding or hinged roof is incorporated there is no need to have the house high enough for you to stand up in. It is useful to have a free-range house with a solid floor raised off the ground for about 8”. This discourages rats and other vermin from hiding under the house and can make an extra shelter or dusting area for the birds. They are liable to lay under the house if their nestboxes are not adequate. When using movable pens and moving them on a daily basis it is useful to have feeders and drinkers attached to the unit so it all comes with the unit without having to take the equipment out and put it all back again.

The aviary system of keeping poultry is another method, but does depend on a larger garden. The aviary can be one free-standing or a line of them with rotational access to grass. The principle of an aviary is that it is spacious, at least one side has mesh, the roof is solid and the walls can be either solid or mesh. The birds are protected from the elements and have plenty of fresh air without contamination from wild birds. The floor can be covered in straw, sand, gravel or wood chippings to provide drainage. There should be a shelter with perches at the back for roosting plus laying boxes, feeder and drinker. Furniture can be provided for entertainment such as branches to climb on.

Pen or run?

Some houses come with a detachable run or you can make your own. Preferably with a net or solid plastic roof to deter wild birds from defecating near your poultry. If movable, then the grass stays in good condition and is fertilised. If static, beware how very quickly the run can become either a sea of mud or bare of vegetation, so make it larger than recommended or divide into two so that one side can be rested on a regular basis. If the area is a bit small, consider placing square, strong, 2.5cm (1?) netting over the grass so that the hens can still eat it but do not destroy the roots. They will appreciate a separate dustbath if this method is used as the netting will prevent this natural activity.

Some people put down wood chips (not bark as this harbours harmful mould) to maintain free drainage. A large run should be netted over the top to prevent wild bird access. If this is done, then the feeder and drinker can be put outside, otherwise feeders and drinkers should be inside the house to discourage wild bird access - not only does DEFRA consider wild birds a risk to domestic poultry due to disease, but wild birds will steal a huge amount of the chicken food and magpies will quickly learn to take eggs, even from inside the henhouse. If you are doing some gardening, then the hens will love to help you find worms and insects, but they are best let out under supervision as they have a tendency to try and replant everything. The very small bantams do least damage. Free-range in a domestic situation usually means daylight access to grass, not necessarily total freedom.

Beware poisonous plants (see the side menu), but if you have children you won't have these in your garden anyway. Daffodil bulbs are toxic, so be careful of these, although most poisonous plants taste horrible to hens. Unless the covered run is a large area, don't attempt to plant shrubs inside it as the hens will soon dig these up. Clematis, honeysuckle, berberis, pyracantha or firs can be grown on the outside of the run both for shelter and to enhance the area.

If wanting to weed an allotment, use a fold unit which is a house and run combined and can be moved to a fresh piece of ground as soon as the hens have done their job, possibly daily, which means any droppings can be incorporated immediately as there will only be a few. If the hens are contained within the fold unit (feeder and drinker hang in the run part) they will efficiently weed and manure an area of your choice and leave your precious vegetables alone, plus being protected from the fox.

If you already have a stone or brick building which you want to use for hens it can be adapted by following the above principles. Indeed, many poultry keepers have permanent poultry runs which cannot be moved, and others incorporate their poultry into the garden. You can adapt poultry housing to suit your conditions, space, and chosen breed but it is always important to make the welfare of the birds the prime consideration. Click here for a diagram of equipment best placement in a static building.

When choosing poultry housing go for the basic principles but remember ease of access - if a job is easy to do it is much more likely to get done.

Equipment

Commercially produced specialised feeders and drinkers are readily available and help keep feed and water clean by not allowing the birds to defecate in it. They are made of plastic (cheaper but not very long-lasting) or galvanised metal (more expensive but last for many years). Remember to use only plastic drinkers if providing cider vinegar in the water (see Health).

Feed

It is important that only balanced feeds from reputable sources are used and that the correct ration is fed for the age of the birds: chick crumbs to 6 weeks then growers pellets to 18 weeks then layers pellets for example. Cheap feed will be of poorer quality. Feeding scraps tends to upset the balanced ration which has been proven over many years, but green vegetable matter is appreciated in the winter and to be able to call the hens over with the reward of a small piece of fruit or stale brown bread will be very useful. The compound rations can be fed either as pellets or meal/mash. The meal can be fed dry (this may be wasteful and sticks to the beak making any water quickly foul) or as a wet mash. When mixed as a wet mash it should have enough water added so that when pressed in the hand and released it should just crumble away. Pellets and dry meal can be fed in ad lib feed hoppers but wet mash must always be fed freshly mixed as it goes rancid very quickly.

If birds have access to grass they will not need extra greens but if in the winter there is not enough grass, hang up some cabbage stalks, nettles or brussels sprouts plants in their hut. A swede cut in half and impaled on a blunted nail previously driven into a block of wood will provide much entertainment for the hens.

Clean water and mixed grit should be available at all times. Empty drinkers in hot weather are as bad for the hens as frozen water in winter ? they dehydrate quickly. Flint (or insoluble) grit is needed to assist the gizzard in grinding up the food, especially hard grain. From 4 weeks before laying commences, oyster shell or limestone grit should be provided ad lib to help with the formation of egg shells. Light breeds start to lay at about 5 months and heavier breeds at about 6 months. Large fowl will eat about 4-6oz (110-170g) per day, bantams need around 2-3oz (50-85g), according to size. Wheat (and a little maize in cold weather only) can be offered as a scratch feed to keep the birds active.

Keep feed in a vermin-proof and weather-proof bin to keep it fresh. Check the date on the bag label at purchase as freshly made feed will only last three months before the vitamin content degrades to an unacceptable level.

Turkeys should be fed on commercial turkey feed and growing waterfowl need lower protein levels than hens to avoid joint problems.

1.4 Selection for Breeding

Even the smallest of back yard or garden poultry keepers can become a leading breeder. To do so there are some basic principles to observe.

Selection

If the new poultry keeper intends to concentrate on serious breeding and or exhibiting it will be necessary to select parent stock very carefully. The same basic principles apply to all breeds of poultry and bantams when the selection of breeding stock is under scrutiny.

1. Health

Poultry which have suffered from any disease which has necessitated severe treatment should not be used for breeding. Good health is visible, it can be seen as well as felt when breeding stock is being selected. The feathers will be sleek, well furnished to form a protective covering during bad weather or hot sun. There will be a healthy glow about the head with no discolouration or weakness apparent. In most varieties of poultry and bantams combs, faces, and wattles will be bright red. Discolouration or darkening of the comb might indicate liver or heart trouble, or it might be obesity, so the correct diet is important. There should be no wheezing that indicates respiratory or heart trouble. The face should be open with a pleasant expression. Eyes should be bright and stand out well from the head and nostrils should be dry. Plumage should be normal for the breed with each feather wide, well made, whole, and resilient. Tail furnishings should be plentiful according to the sSandard.

3. Conformation

According to breed, the shape of the bird is laid down in the Standards. Examine the legs and feet: bones should be sound, neat, toes straight and refined. No breed should have coarse shanks and thick scales. Texture will be shown in tight, well-fitting scales continuing down the toes. Any deformity such as bent toes, duck feet, crooked breast bone, wry tail, or split wing should mean rejection as a breeder.

Scale of points are typically thus:

Type and Carriage25

Colour and markings25

Head points25

Legs and feet15

Condition10 = 100

4. Breed Character

All the poultry which have passed the handling test for health and conformation should be scrutinised for breed character. Because points vary for each breed it is necessary at this stage to know how many points are awarded for which shape, size, or colour according to the different breeds, especially for show stock. This can be found in the British Poultry Standards, organised by The Poultry Club and from whom copies can be purchased.

5. Colour

Detailed official colour (and type) standards for each breed are to be found in the British Poultry Standards. Every breed has a standard to which it must conform and every prospective breeding bird must carry good points of breed character and colour to accord with its breed name.

6. Head points

These are especially featured because few standards exist which do not give a fair share of points to formation of comb, lobes, and wattles. Close inspection is necessary. Breeds with small single combs will not readily show up defects in females but will be latent and recur in cockerels of the following generation. Thin, glossy skin is not wanted in white lobed breeds. It will soon yield to white in face, a serious defect in showing and breeding.

Mating up

After all the chickens or bantams have passed the above tests and are considered up to standard and fit for breeding, the question arises of how many females should run with a male. With breeding, there is no hard and fast rule about this mating ratio. The breeder's target is quality rather than quantity of day-old chicks. Thus many breeds, especially true bantams are simply pair mated (one male to one female) or trio mated (one male to two females). This is very advantageous for pedigree records, particularly if the stock is Poultry Club close rung (see Ringing Scheme). In the larger breeds they will be mated in pens of six or seven birds. The objective here is to get as many as possible from which to select those of high quality; when they are less robust, the number of females which will run with one male is reduced. The surest way to progress is try using birds which are similar in quality and possessing no bad faults. Of course it is not always easy to come across birds for breeding which do not possess bad faults. Minor faults in one individual may be balanced by similar extra good points in the opposite sex. Having put the stock breeders together, eggs should be checked for shape, size, and texture. The better the egg, the more chance it has of producing a robust chick, if fertile. As the saying goes, “Good eggs come from healthy birds and healthy birds are the best breeders”. If egg shape and texture are neglected, the strain will gradually deteriorate until there are more weak eggs than there are good ones.

The same principles above apply to turkeys, but light drakes will need 5-6 females to avoid over-mating, heavy drakes can be run with 1-3 ducks and Call ducks do best if they select their own mate. Geese pair up in autumn and may not accept another goose if added in spring.

Fertility

When egg laying commences, usually when day length is increasing, fertile eggs may be

expected within ten days of the male being introduced. If the male is already running with the females it is possible that their eggs will be fertile from first laying. If you have a different breed male running with the females, allow a fortnight for the correct bird to be fertile with those females after removal of the other one. It is not necessary for the male to copulate with each female daily. He can fertilise several eggs at one time if there is free access for the sperm to travel to the ovary. Some of the more fluffy breeds may need feathers removing from around their vents in order for successful mating to take place. You will find that cocks will have favourite hens and the feathers on the backs of these hens will be worn away. In order to prevent this if you want to show your birds, put the cock in with the hens for only a few minutes each day or fit a breeding saddle. Drakes of light breeds have a habit of removing the feathers from the necks of the ducks. It is not possible to determine from the actions of the birds how many eggs will be fertile, but if the stock is selected on the lines indicated and allowed to settle down in the breeding pens, the percentage of fertile eggs should be quite high, according to breed.

Culling

Culling is never easy. It doesn't necessarily mean killing a bird, but removing it from the breeding pen so that whatever fault it has is not perpetuated. Improvement in the standard of your stock is the goal and this includes not only superficial points but utility aspects as well.

Motivation

When selection has been accurate, when mating up has given good, fertile eggs, when hatching has produced strong, healthy chicks, when rearing has brought those pictures in books to life, now may be the time to seek comparison with other like stock. The route to follow is through the shows held under Poultry Club rules. First the small local shows, next the more ambitious regional shows, then to the big one where most Breed Club shows are held - The National Championship Show, where every conceivable breed of poultry in the UK has classes of its own, held during the winter at Stoneleigh. Breed winners are taken to Championship Row and judged by a separate judge, to establish Show Champion and all the other major awards.

For some people just the sheer pleasure of keeping poultry for eggs is enough, and why not, but if you have chosen a pure breed, please try and make sure it is close to the Standard, so join the Poultry Club and the Breed Club(s) which look after your chosen breeds.

7.Guidelines for keeping cockerels

poultry chicken breeding

In response to the increasing number of incidents of noise from cockerels being reported to District Councils the Poultry Club has produced these guidelines on the keeping of cockerels, which it hopes, will be of value to poultry keepers; Environmental Health Officers, District Councillors, and interested members of the public.

Although the majority of neighbours may be happy with the level of noise from cockerels it only takes a complaint from one neighbour for an investigation by the Environmental Health Department to be undertaken.

The following measures can be taken to reduce the nuisance of cockerels crowing:

1 If you are not going to breed from your birds you do not need to keep a cockerel.

2 During the breeding season the number of cockerels can get out of hand. Be realistic and only keep the cockerels you require as replacement stock.

3 Think carefully about the positioning of the poultry houses. Do not place them near to neighbours if at all possible.

4 Provide the birds with a house where the light entering it has been eliminated as far as possible. Always remember that the birds will require ventilation in their housing.

5 Lock your birds up at night and let them out after 8.00am in the morning, if possible, to reduce the risk of noise from cockerels crowing early in the morning.

6 If possible try to explain your hobby to your neighbours and invite them round to see the birds. A gift of a dozen eggs always goes down well!

7 If a complaint is made try to co-operate with the Environmental Health Officer, show him/her what measures you are taking to reduce the noise from the cockerels.

8 Invite your District Councillor to visit your poultry unit, explain what you do and ask them to press your case with the District Council.

9 Lastly, keep your cool, listen to what is being said and try to co-operate with the District Council officials.

8. Dispatching and disposal

Culling is never easy: it doesn't necessarily mean killing a bird, but removing it from the breeding pen so that whatever fault it has is not perpetrated. Improvement in the standard of your stock is the goal and this includes not only superficial points but utility aspects as well.

There will, however, be the inevitable cockerels that you do not want to keep and only a very, very few will be able to be sold for breeding, so before breeding any birds, this surplus needs to be considered. Should you wish to eat them yourself, that is fine, at least you know how they have lived and what they have been fed on.

On a small scale, the humane way to kill a chicken is by dislocating the neck. There are two sets of blood vessels in the neck and only by dislocating it can you disrupt blood and nerve supply to the brain immediately and therefore first render the bird unconscious and then shortly afterwards, dead. Neck dislocation should only be carried out if immediate unconsciousness is induced without causing pain or suffering. Either get an experienced poultry breeder to show you how to kill a bird humanely, or practise neck dislocation on a dead bird first.

Small numbers of birds on home premises can be killed by neck dislocation without prior stunning which may take two people with a large goose or turkey. (Stunning is usually done in slaughterhouses with one electrode on the overhead line where the birds are hung and the other in a tank of water where the birds' heads are dunked, thereby rendering them unconscious before they are bled.)It is the responsibility of the keeper to ensure that poultry are killed humanely.Dispose of carcases legally, check latest regulations on DEFRA website.

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