How To Start A Free-range Chicken Farm

SITE SELECTION – Select a good site for the free-range chicken farm.
➢ Flat area or at least not so stiff /rough terrain
➢ Shaded with trees
➢ Grassy for forage purposes
➢ Easy Water & Electricity source
➢ Far from road with heavy traffic circulation
➢ Easy access for caretaker

RANGING AREA – Free-range chicken requires a ranging area.
➢ Minimum 1 square meter per bird (bigger is better)
➢ Fence with net or other fencing materials
➢ Easy Water source distribution
➢ Easy access for caretaker
➢ Not treated with chemical fertilizers or any harmful chemical agents

CHICKEN HOUSE – A chicken house is necessary for the free-range chickens.
➢ Minimum of 1 square foot per bird (bigger is better)
➢ With in-out opening for chicken access.
➢ Easy access for caretaker
➢ Preferably elevated & well ventilated

HERBAL MEDICINE GARDEN – Herbal medicines are use to prevent diseases and also serves as natural flavouring.
➢ Chilli – use as antibacterial/antiviral
➢ Oregano – use for respiratory problems
➢ Garlic – as natural antibiotic
➢ Ginger – as natural antibiotic
➢ Guava – leaves are use as antibacterial
➢ Ipil-Ipil – leaves are use as de-wormer/anti parasitic
➢ Lemon Grass – as juice for detoxification

EQUIPMENTS/MATERIALS – The required equipments for free-range chicken farming are the following:
At first 21 days of the birds’ life, they need brooding or artificial heating for the development of their body to be ready for free-ranging life. There are different types of brooding facilities that can be use to provide artificial heating for the young chicks.
1) Gas brooder = 1 for every 500 chicks; or
2) Improvised Charcoal brooder = 1 can for every 100 chicks; or
3) Incandescent bulb brooder = 1 set of 100watts for every 50 chicks

FEEDING MATERIALS – The chickens must be fed daily with a program or time schedule. Among feeding materials that necessary for free-range chicken farming are the following:
• Chick Feeder Troughs (1-meter) = 1 for every 25 chicks; or
• Chick Feeder Plate (32 cm diameter) = 1 for every 25 chicks
• Bucket Feeder (8 kg capacity) = 1 for every 20 chickens
• Plastic drum container = 50 kilos capacity for feeds storage

WATERER/DRINKING MATERIALS – Free-range chickens are also given drinking water, without water they may suffer dehydration. Among drinking materials necessary to use are the following:
• ½ Gallon container (2 liters) = 1 unit for 10 birds
• 1 Gallon container (4 liters) = 1 unit for every 10 chickens
• Basin w/ plastic guard – 1 set for every 15-20 chickens
• Water drum (200 liters capacity) or Water line for distribution

CLEANING & DISINFECTION MATERIALS – Cleaning and disinfection of every area is important to maintain the bio-security of the farm.
• Foot-bath – at least 4 inches deep to properly soak foot ware for disinfection
• Cleaning materials – Broom, Dust fan, Web broom, Pale, Brush
• Detergents & Disinfecting agents (ex. Powder soap & Chlorine)

BEDDING/LITTER – Beddings or litters are use inside the chicken house especially at brooding stage to control and balance the chicken manure formation. Be sure to have fresh and clean bedding/litter at all times. Bedding/Litter should also be disinfected prior to loading of your free-range chicken. Among litters that can be use are:
1) Rice hull (preferably carbonized)
2) Rice Straw
3) Sawdust

SUPPLIES – It is very important that we know very well our suppliers for our farm needs. The following are the supplies needed for your free-range chicken farming:
➢ DAY OLD CHICKS – Day Old Chicks (DOC) from free-range breed.
➢ FEEDS – The feed formulation for free-range chicken requires at least 70% cereals, 26% protein nutrient from plant base, and 4% vitamins and minerals. Although we can use commercial feeds, until we could mix our own feeds, be sure to buy fresh and safe feeds from your supplier. Supplement it with more grass and natural feeds from the ranging area.
➢ WATER – Clean potable water supply is very important. Be sure to have a source of water near or within your farm vicinity. Water is needed at all times.
➢ VACCINES – Vaccination is allowed and required for free-range chicken. Vaccination may vary due to weather condition, location and present disease/virus’ in your area. Seek your municipal/provincial veterinary assistance for vaccination program adaptable to your area and vaccine supplies.
➢ PREVENTIVE MEDICINES – Aside from the herbal medicine garden and depending on the stage or level of disease in your flock, a preventive medication can be use respectively to the free-range chicken. A veterinary assistance is necessary for this matter. Don’t just buy medicines and use in your flock without consulting your veterinarian. Preventive is always better than cure.
➢ MANPOWER – The most important key factor for free-range chicken farming is your manpower or your poultry caretaker. A caretaker should at least attend a seminar to learn and know the basic principles of free-range chicken farming. Every livestock farming’s success depends on the caretaker too. He/she should be dedicated and interested in what they do, if not, they will never learn.

Source: Palawan Livestock Mendoza Farm

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