During winter various problems like reduction in egg production, reduction in water intake, reduction in fertility and hatchability etc occurs. Therefore, the management of poultry during winter is an important concern for poultry farmers.
The following points should be considered to get better production from poultry during winter season:
2. Litter management
3. Feed management
4. Water management
During winter season it is necessary to keep the hose draft free but with plenty of ventilation. Birds release a lot of moisture in their breath and droppings which adversely affects their health, if there is restricted ventilation it causes ammonia build up in the air which causes respiratory problems. So, they need plenty of fresh air. Air needs to move over the birds and not directly on them. Open curtains from top to bottom and asses wind direction.
Prior to chick being placed in house, the surface of floor should be covered with wood shavings. It gives comfort to the birds. A good quality litter serves as an insulator in maintaining uniform temperature, also absorbs moisture and promotes drying. It dilutes faecal material thus reducing contact between birds and manure. It also insulates the chicks from the cooling effects of the ground and provides protection cushion between bird and floor. The litter gives warmth to the birds during winter. If litter management is proper, it will be felt quite warm when taken in hand.
· Poultry uses food for two main purposes i.e., as an energy source to maintain body temperature and to carry on normal physiological activities and as building material for development of bones, flesh, feather, egg etc.
· The variation in feed consumption is smaller for each degree change in temperature when the weather is cold than when it is hot. Low temperature causes more feed intake and higher oxygen demand. Therefore, when the weather gets colder, it is essential to give the chicken plenty of food as they require extra energy for maintaining body heat
· Feed should be available to the bird 24/7
· During winter season birds take in less water so far maintenance of water in the body, it is necessary to give continuous supply of fresh water which can be taken by the bird.
· Many of vaccines/ medicine/ antistress vitamins are given to poultry through water. As water consumption of bird is reduced during winter season. Therefore, care should be taken that drinkers are removed few hours prior to water medication and medicine/vaccine is given in less amount of water so that birds can consume total water and each bird gets the benefit of medicine/vaccine or other products.