When given the option between eating local chicken and hybrid chicken, many will opt for the former because of the texture of the meat.
One of the reasons why local chicken have tougher fl esh is because of the way they live, feed and grow. The egg is also rated better than the hybrid because it has a natural yellow york.
With a secured chicken house, feeding the chicken takes centre stage. Like the hybrid, the essential ingredients for feeding local chicken include water, carbohydrates, fats and oils, proteins, vitamins and minerals.
Water helps to clean and cool the body as well as transport food. Unfortunately, while most farmers have water readily available for the hybrids, it is never the case for the local chicken.
Each local chicken must drink about 80-200ml of water per day, irrespective of whether it is free range or enclosed. It means even if it is free range, there should be water-drinking spots around the area. The chicken may get the other requirements as they scavenge for food, especially during the wet season when the grasses are blossoming.
Note that during the dry season, free ranging chicken face the same food scarcity as humans and other animals.
One is, therefore, advised to station feeders around strategic spots of the free-ranging area.
Feeders can be placed near the entrance to the chicken house, so that they feed before they move out and then feed again as they return to the house.
Hens start laying eggs at seven to eight months. Therefore, cocks should be available to fertilise them. When hens start laying eggs, they naturally look for soft and dark spots around the chicken house.
Laying boxes or nests should be scattered around the chicken house. Each hen can lay at least 15-20 eggs.
However, it is advised to give it not more than 12 when it starts incubating. Give preference to the latest laid eggs because they stand higher chances of hatching.
The hen will sit on the eggs for 21 days before hatching them.
You also need to look out for common chicken diseases, for instance Newcastle, fowl pox, infectious coryza, salmonellosis, coccidiosis and colibacillosis. Vaccination and maintaining utmost sanitation will keep most of them at bay.
Tip provided by National Agricultural Research Organisation