In every business, minimising losses and keeping down operational costs are paramount. With the rising cost of electricity, there are cheaper alternatives for poultry farmers to warm their chicken brooders. One such option is the clay pot.
Catherine Musoke, a poultry farmer in Kireka, Wakiso district has for a long time been using the clay pot technology to warm her chicks.
“It is essential to keep chicks warm especially when they are still very young and the weather is cold,” says Musoke. In the course of drinking water, chicks may fall in water containers and it is vital that a safe source of warmth is within reach for them to huddle around.
Musoke says the clay pots are cheaper and safer than the metallic charcoal stoves. They are also more efficient.
“Unlike the metallic charcoal stove, the clay pot remains warm for long even after all the charcoal has burnt out,” Musoke says.
This saves on charcoal and retains the heat longer. The clay pots are sold at sh2,000-5,000, depending on size. The choice of size will depend on the number of birds or size of the brooder. For instance, a small clay pot, the size of a tea kettle, can serve between 100-200 birds.
The clay pot should be suspended or put on a raised stand. The stands could be made of stones or bricks. Make sure that it does not tip or fall off as it might burn the brooder.
The clay pot should preferably be perforated to allow air circulation. Most poultry farmers in urban areas use high wattage bulbs to light the brooder house as well as keep the chicks warm. With electricity charges at sh386 per kilowatt hour, warming the birds will turn out to be very expensive.
The use of clay pot enables the farmer to use energy-saving bulbs to light the brooder, which drastically reduces the cost of power. A bag of charcoal goes for sh30,000 in Kampala and between sh6,000-15,000 upcountry.
A measure of charcoal (dishful) can last a night. Chicks do not need anymore serious heating after two weeks.