Record- Keeping and Performance Evaluation

Beside other uses, one of the purposes for keeping records on the farm is the information it provides on the health and health history of the flock. 
Veterinarians are often invited whenever there is a disease problem on the farm and they are expected to find the causes and correct them. To do this successfully, background information or the history of the flock is necessary. Certainly, it is difficult to provide such information 
correctly without records. There are different types of records, depending on the type of poultry enterprise. Irrespective of the type of production, farm records should provide information on medications, types of vaccines and how administered, feed consumption, mortality and cause. 
Records are essential as profit and loss indicators. They also help to identify disease problems at the very early stage when they can be more readily controlled. 

Types of records in a poultry farm

There are three records that must be kept by all poultry farmers. 

1. Inventory

A list of all equipment, drugs feeds and other items in use on the farm; date of purchase, cost and quantity of items should be appropriately kept. 

2. Production Records

Should show date, status of birds; numbers, mortality, feed consumption, culls and in the case of layers egg production. It is usual to maintain a record sheet for each house of flock for daily recording. Weekly and monthly summaries should be made and used as a basis for evolving the appropriate operational management decisions. 

3. Sales Records

Show total product sales (chicks, broilers, culls and eggs) and revenue collected. It is absolutely essential to use different people for maintaining the production and sales records. 
It is the responsibility of management to ensure that all eggs collected or birds produced are properly accounted for from day to day. The theft of birds, eggs, and other farm supplies by farm workers are commonplace so it is extremely important to have proper accountability. 
Sample record forms may be used but it is best to evolve one based on field experience and the needs of the particular farm. Records should be few but comprehensive enough to supply needed information. 

Performance Evaluation 

Poultry keeping like any other business demands that the producer must be able to assess from time to time whether he is gaining or losing money in the enterprise. It is therefore important that the poultry keeper should periodically go through his records and compare with established 
performance standards in order to determine how well the birds are growing or laying eggs. The major parameters used in measuring productivity from chickens are: weight gain, mortality, hen-day and hen housed egg production rates, and efficiency of feed utilisation. 
1. Mortality: Keeping the mortality rate as low as possible in any flock should be the ambition of every poultry keeper. It is usually expressed in percentages: 

Mortality: number of death/Initial Number of birds X  100

For broilers a mortality rate of less than four per cent is considered normal rates. For pullets from day one to point of lay 
(about 20 weeks) is five – six per cent. For laying birds the mortality rate should not be more than 10 per cent throughout the 
laying period. An unusual increase in mortality is often the symptom of a major disease outbreak and should be promptly and thoroughly investigated by a veterinarian. 

Weight Gain: In broiler production, the rate of live weight gain is a very important parameter. It is good practice to weigh a 
sample of the broiler flock at two–week intervals. These weights should be compared with established standards in order to determine whether the birds are growing well; if the birds are not growing well, the quality of the feed is often a major contributing factors. Disease conditions, poor quality birds and bad 
management are other possible factors. 
2. Live weight: In pullet production, weight gain is not an important parameter but the weights need to be checked periodically (four week – intervals) in order to make sure that the pullets are developing properly. 
In commercial production it is standard practice to control the growth rate of pullets in order to produce pullets of uniform size at point of lay as well as delay sexual maturity. 
3. Hen-day and hen – housed egg production: The rate of egg production in a flock is often expressed in terms of the percentage of birds laying eggs relative to the total number of the birds in the flock at any given time
The difference between hen-day and housed egg production lies in the fact that while hen-day is concerned only with the production from the birds that are alive, hen-housed production of the cost of production of poultry meat and eggs, it is important to use good quality feed. The 
better the quality of the feed, the better its rate of conversion into meat and eggs. Feed efficiency is a measure of how efficiently a given feed is being converted into products
In commercial production feed conversion is commonly used but the term feed efficiency is a more common terminology in scientific literature. 
A desirable goal for commercial broiler production is a feed conversion of 2.0 at market weight.
In egg production, feed efficiency may be expressed in terms of feed/dozen eggs or feed per kg of eggs. 

Feed/dozen eggs = Feed consumed / No of eggs production in dozens 
Efficiency of feed = Feed consumed kg / Kg of eggs produced 

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