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Poultry farmers incurring losses due to poor handling

Milliam Murigi @millymur1

Large-scale chicken farmers are losing slightly over Sh153,000  per brood due to poor animal welfare practices on the farm and during transportation. This reduces their potential earnings by almost 20 per cent.

A report launched recently by World Animal Protection indicates that six per cent of the birds die due to being kept in poorly ventilated poultry houses with inadequate and often wet litter compounded with poor hygiene. The report estimates that for an average farmer, having a flock of 22,000 birds. This loss is equivalent to Sh24,002 per brood.

Dr Victor Yamo, the Animals in Farming Campaign Manager, World Animal Protectio notes that “Such poultry houses predisposes the birds to respiratory diseases, bruises and injury of the breast and thigh muscles, while brooding in such poorly ventilated houses using charcoal burners leads to further losses from water belly disease.”

The study further revealed that poor handling when loading birds for transport leads to bruises on the breasts, thighs and wings of the birds. In some instances, the birds even end up with broken legs and wings.

The bruising and fractures can also occur during transportation if the road is uneven and the drivers don’t drive carefully. Birds with bruises and broken limbs are downgraded  that is; they don’t earn the premium price from the processors. The study estimates that averagely 0.77 per cent of the farmers production in each crop was downgraded causing the farmer a loss of Sh48,415.

Dr Yamo further observes that “When birds are cramped together in a poorly ventilated vehicle they  not only end up with bruises and fractures but in some instances several birds suffocate to death.”

The report estimates that approximately 1.18 per cent of birds arrive at the processing plant when already dead due to suffocation. Such birds are outrightly rejected by the processing plant leading to the farmer losing a further Sh80,934 per brood.

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