LIVESTOCK NATURAL FARMING METHODS
The aim of modern poultries is to attain efficiency and productivity that will turn out the highest profit. However, this comes with a total disregard for the chickens’ quality of life. They are raised in narrow cages under artificial lighting and heating, not to mention fed with chemicals and medicines. They are seen as mere tools of production and profit, not as living things to respect.
While Natural Farming might also aim for efficiency, productivity and profit, it returns to chickens their right to a better life and provides them the opportunity to develop their natural potentials. In Natural Farming, chickens are raised with all their needs in mind. They are provided houses with space and natural heating, fresh water, and natural feeds. In addition, the housing design dispenses with cleaning and wastewater, no chemicals are used and little labour is required. This is the Natural Farming approach to poultry management.
The NF chicken housing is designed in such a way that there is no bad smell, no emission, no cleaning needed, and no disease. The houses are constructed to suit the habits, instincts, and behaviors of the residents (chickens). Illustrations for constructing the various housing parts are shown in the picture.
Made of galvanized zinc sheets.
Made of steel wire mesh
The flooring of the poultry shed must be soil-based
It is vital to maintain a host of microorganisms on the floor in order to break down chicken feces. This contributes to the absence of smell in the chicken house. The feces do not need to be removed unless needed for compost. The chickens feed on the fermented products of their feces, so taking out all the feces may affect the chickens negatively. The floor serves as feed producer, fertilizer factory, and waste treatment plant all in one.
Made of PVC drilled with holes.
Artificial heating is not provided in Natural Farming even if temperatures drop below zero. Chicks develop short, dense hair and resistance when exposed more often to cold. Under artificial heating, they will grow long hair and weak resistance. When exposed to cold, these weaker chicks will gather in a corner, increasing chances of getting crushed to death. In colder regions, heat from fermenting compost can be used. The compost is situated below the brooding box.
NF emphasizes the use of homemade chicken feed. More importantly however, the nutrient content of the feed given is carefully balanced. Feed is given normally once a day, 2 hours before sunset.
In Natural Farming, newly hatched chicks are fed whole brown rice grains in unlimited quantity instead of enriched commercial feed. After three days for layers and one day for broilers, bamboo leaves are added. On Day 50, rice husk is added. Gradually, the proportion of rice husk is increased until it consists 20-25% of the total feed at 6 months, when the egg laying rate is 60%.
This kind of feed toughens the intestines and makes the chicken healthy. Conventional farming believes that soft powder should be given to chicks, which have fragile stomachs. However, giving soft and over-nutritious feed will prevent chicks from developing strong digestive organs. This leads to the excretion of undigested nutrition, which causes smell and disease.
Any material except mineral matter can be given as feed. Fresh green grass is good and it makes up for 1/3 of the total feed for adult chickens. Feed can be found on the housing floors, too. Along with soil rich in microorganisms, the fermented products of chicken feces can make up for 7-10% of the total feed.
To hold down the laying rate, rice husks can be used at 15-20% of feed from late February to mid-May. To maintain the laying rate at 65-70% for three years, rice husks can make up as much as 25% of the total feed.