May 24, 2010
Raising Free Range Chickens - Watch That Water!!!
People ask me what is the most important thing that they have to watch out for in successful free-range poultry raising in Malaysia and I always answer : water!
Watch out for water in the litter
Water in the reban
Water under the reban
Water in the padang
Watch out for leaking pipes, even in the fields as the birds will drink from the leaked water which will become contaminated from the dung.
Watch out for the temperature of the water - it must always be colder than the surrounding air.
Above all the farm must be dry. With our humidity, a wet farm will raise humidity to 70% plus. That will bring with it many diseases.
We shape the land by creating swales, retention ponds and contours to move rain water to areas away from the fields and coops.
But sometimes the volume is just too great and we have no choice but to cut the earth and make drains. This is what happened to us over the weekend. There was a sudden huge downpour and the chicken fields were flooded. One particular field with marketable size chickens was flooded 3 feet and 407 chickens drowned. That's a revenue loss of about RM8000.
Mud everywhere blocking off culverts and drains.
A drain buried in mud.
A field covered with mud.
We had no alternative but to dig a huge earth drain to handle similar volume in future.
The weather at the farm have changed in the past few years and coupled with land clearing nearby, the farm has become a focal point of run-offs from these cleared areas.
Though the work was tiring, the workers were cheerful. they had fun catching the many wild eels in the farm for their lunch and dinner.