Here are some guides for people interested in free-range chicken farm. The information below came from Pamora Farm.
Site Selection. Select a good site for the free-range chicken farm. It must be flat area or at least not so steep or rough terrain and must be shaded with trees. It should be grassy for forage purposes and has easy access for water and electricity. The free range chicken farm should also be farm from road with heavy traffic circulation.
Range Area. The range area for free range chicken requires at least a minimum of 1 square meter per chicken. It must have a fence with net or other fencing materials. The area should have a water source for distribution and the range area should not be treated with any chemical fertilizer.
Chicken House. The requirement is at least a minimum of 1 square foot per chicken with in-out opening for chicken access. The house should preferably elevated and well-ventilated.
Herbal Medicine Garden. Herbal medicines are used to prevent diseases and serves as natural flavoring.
- Chilli or pepper – use as antibacterial/antiviral
- Oregano – Use for respiratory problems
- Garlic – as natural antibiotic
- Ginger – as natural antibiotic
- Guava leaves – use as antibacterial
- Ipil-ipil – used as de-wormer/anti-parasitic
- Lemon grass – as juice for detoxification
Equipment and Materials. The following are the required equipment for free-range chicken farming:
- Brooding Facility. During the 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 used to provide
artificial heating for the young chicks.
- Gas brooder – 1 for every 500 chicks
- Improvised charcoal brooder – 1 can for every 100 chicks;
- Incandescent bulb brooder – 1 set of 100 watts for every 50 chicks
- Feeding materials. The chicken must be fed daily
with a program or time schedule. The feeding materials needed for
free-range chicken are the following:
- For day old to 21 day old (brooding stage) – Chicken feed troughs (1 meter) – 1 for every 25 chicks
- Chick feeder plate (32 cm diameter) – 1 for every 25 chicks
- Free ranging stage to harvest (22 days onward)
- Bucket feeder (8kg capacity) – 1 for every 20 chickens
- Plastic drum container – 50 kilos capacity for feeds storage
- Water/Drinking Materials. To prevent dehydration, water should be accessible to free-range chicken. These are the materials needed:
- For day old to 21 days old (brooding stage): ½ gallon container (2 liters) – 1 unit for 10 birds)
- For ranging stage to harvest (22 days onwards): 1 gallon container (4 liters) – 1 unit for every 10 chickens)
- Basin with 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 protect the chicken’s health.
- Foot bath. At least 2 inches deep to properly soak footwear for disinfection
- Cleaning materials – broom, dust pan, web broom, pale and brush
- Detergent and disinfecting agents (powder soap and chlorine)
- Bedding/litter. Bedding or litters are used 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. You can use the following
- Rice hull (preferably carbonized)
- Rice straw
- Supplies. It is very important that we know very
well our suppliers for our farm needs. The following are supplies needed
for your free-range chicken farming:
- 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 seeds from your supplier. Supplement it with more grass and natural feeds from the ranging area.
- Clean potable water supply is very important. Be sure to have a source of water or within your farm vicinity. Water is needed at all times.
- 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 medicine. Aside from the herbal medicine garden and depending on the stage or level of disease in your flock, a preventive medication can be used. Assistance from a veterinary is necessary for this matter. Don’t just buy medicine and use in your flock without consulting your veterinarian. Prevention is better than cure.
- The most important key factor for free-range chicken 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. The success of the livestock farming depends on the caretaker too. The caretaker should be dedicated and interested in what they do.