Cockerel Farming

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Cockerel Farming

An adult male chicken is called a “cockerel” or “rooster” and an adult female is called a “hen.” Roosters are larger, usually more brightly coloured, and have larger combs on top of their heads compared to hens. Chickens can fly but because they are heavy, they can only go about 60 meters (200 ft). They have bad senses of smell and taste, but good hearing. They scratch and claw at the ground, looking for food. Baby chicks can eat and walk without help soon after hatching but they still need help keeping warm. Hens lay up to 240 eggs in a year. Roosters have been on farms, crowing loudly, for about 5000 years!


Benefit of Cockerel production or farming

The meat is tasty and well-accepted

There is no taboo against eating of the meat

It can be raised on small and large-scale.

Cockerel is hardy and less susceptible to disease compared to other poultry

It can be raised under intensive and semi-intensive system of production.

The meat is low in fat and cholesterol compared to broiler’s meat

It is commonly raised by local people

It is a good source of animal protein and it is of high biological value.

It is a good source of income for farmers

The business can be combined with other farm businesses

The day-old cockerel could be easily sourced.

Cockerel marketing is all year round and not seasonal.

At maturity, it can reach a market weight of 3-4kg.



There are different types of cockerel breeds in the world. The breeds could be classified as; (i) Local cockerel (ii) Exotic cockerel.


Types of Exotic Breeds of Cockerel Chicken


A)     Australorp

Origin                    –              Australia

Classification      –              Heavy breed

Weight                 –              3.20 – 3.60kg

Colours available-            Black

B)      Gold Laced Wvandottes

Origin                    –              North America

Classification      –              Heavy breed

Egg colour           –              Tinted

Weights               –              3.20 – 3.80


C)      Rhode Island Reds

Origin                    –              North America

Classification      –              Heavy Breed, Soft Feather

Egg colour           –              Tinted to brown

Weights               –              3.00 – 3.60kg

Colours available-            Red


D)     Plymouth Rocks

Origin                    –              North America

Classification      –              Heavy Breed, Soft Feather

Weights               –              3.6 – 4.30kg


E)      Silkies

Origin                    –              Asia

Classification      –              Light Breed, Soft feather

Weights               –              1.20 – 1.50kg

Colours available-            White, Black, Lavender, Blue, Partridge.


F)      Light Sussex

Origin                    –              Britain

Classification      –              Heavy Breed, Soft feather

Weight                 –              3.20 – 3.60kg

Colour available-              Light


G)     Rhode Island Whites

Origin                    –              North America

Classification      –              Heavy Breed, Soft feather

Egg colour           –              Tinted to brown

Weights               –              3.40 – 3.90kg

Colours available-          White


H)     Speckled Sussex

Origin                    –              Britain

Classification      –              Heavy Breed, Soft feather

Egg colour           –              Tinted

Weights               –              3.60 – 4.10kg

Colours available-            Speckled.


Local Cockerel


It is of small stature. The colour varies from one region to the others. It is hardy and reared mainly under an extensive system of production where they roam about and fend for themselves. The mature size could reach up to 2.5kg


Classification of Cockerel

Name                    –              Cockerel

Kingdom              –              Animalia

Order                    –              Galliformes

Family                   –              Phasianidae

Genus                   –              Gallus

Specie                   –              gallus or domesticus

Zoological Name               –              Gallus gallus or Gallus domesticus






1. HIGH-DENSITY FEED Quantity/ton
0 – 25 DAYS 26 – 42 DAYS
MAIZE Kgs 585 608
SOYA Kgs 300 270
DCP Kgs 12 9
SALT Kgs 3 3
CALCITE Kgs 10 10
TOTAL 1000 1000
LYSINE Kg 1.5 1
CC 60% Kg 1 1
COCCISTAC Kg 0.5 0.5
LIVER TONIC Kg 0.5 0.5


0 – 20 DAYS 21 – 40 DAYS 40DAYS +
MAIZE 591 574 568
SOYA 300 254 220
MEAT & BONE MEAL 30 30 30
DCP 12 9 9
CALCITE 10 10 10
SALT 3 3 3
TOTAL 1000 1000 1000
AB2D3K (GMS) 200 200 150
B COMPLEX+E(GMS) 300 200 200
TRACE MINERAL(GMS) 1000 800 800
LYSINE(GMS) 1000 500 0
DL METHONINE(GMS) 2000 1500 1000
CC 50%(GMS) 1000 1000 1000
COCCISTAC(GMS 500 500 500
LIVER TONIC(GMS) 500 500 500
ANTITOXIN (GMS) 1000 1000 1000
PHYTASE 5000IU (GMS) 0 100 100
Note: Maize can be used totally if the price permits.
Sunflower/rape seeds reduce the feed cost
Vitamin premix used in layer feed can replace both ab2d3k and B-complex.
Replacing 8% Soya with good fish gives better results.





Age-Weeks 0-6wks 7-15wks 16wks – 5%
Protein% 19 18 17.00
M.E- K. Cal 2750-2850 2700-2800 2650-2750
Fat% Min 4.00 3.50 3.50
Fiber % 4.00 5.00 4.00
Linoleic Acid % 1 1 1
AMINO ACIDS ( % of Ration)
Arginine % 1.1 0.95 0.95
Isoleucine % 0.75 0.65 0.65
Leucine 1.4 1.2 1.25
Lysine % 1 0.85 0.75
Methionine % 0.45 0.4 0.38
Methionine+Cystine % 0.75 0.7 0.6
Phenylalanine % 0.7 0.55 0.65
Phenylalanine+Tyrosine % 1.3 1.1 1
Threonine % 0.7 0.6 0.55
Tryptophan % 0.2 0.15 0.17
Valine % 0.9 0.75 0.7
MINERALS ( % of Ration)
Calcium 0.9-1.0 0.9-1.0 0.9-1.0
Phosphorus Total% 0.7 0.7 0.7
Phosphorus – Available % 0.45 0.4 0.4
Sodium % 0.2 0.2 0.2
Chloride % 0.15 0.15 0.15
Potassium % 0.4 0.4 0.4
Magnesium % 0.05 0.05 0.05
TRACE MINERALS (Minimum Supplemental Levels)
Manganese,Gms/Ton 80 80 80
Zinc,Gms/Ton 80 80 80
Iron,Gms/Ton 40 40 40
Copper,Gms/Ton 5 5 5
Iodine,Gms/Ton 0.4 0.4 0.4
Selenium,Gms/Ton 0.1 0.1 0.1
VITAMINS (Minimum Supplemental Levels)
Vitamin A, IU/Ton 16,000,000 16,000,000 16,000,000
Vitamin D3,IU/Ton 3,000 3,000 3,000
Vitamin E,IU/Ton 60,000 60,000 60,000
Vitamin k3,Gms/Ton 4 4 4
Thiamine, (B1),Gms/Ton 4.5 4.5 4.5
Riboflavin,(B2),Gms/Ton 20 15 12
d-Pantothenic Acid, Gms/Ton 15 15 15
Niacin  Gms/Ton 35 35 35
Pyridoxine, (B6), Gms/Ton 6 6 6
Biotin , Gms/Ton 0.2 0.2 0.2
Folic Acid, Gms/Ton 0.5 0.5 0.5
Vitamin B12, Gms/Ton 0.015 0.015 0.015
Choline, Gms/Ton 500 500 500
Ethoxyquin, Gms/Ton 100 100 100




Many factors influence the type and choice of housing to protect poultry from the effects of weather and predators. These include the local climate, the available space, the size of the flock and the management system. In extensive systems, birds must be protected from disease and predators but also be able to forage. Traditional large animal fencing using live plants is not enough protection against predators such as snakes, kites, rats and other vermin.

A simple and effective system to deter predator birds is to tie parallel lines of string across the main scavenging area, the intervals between which measure less than the predator’s wingspan; or, alternatively, a fishing net supported on poles can be spread across the side of the run where predator birds could swoop on the scavenging chicks.

Leg traps can be set for large predators. It is not necessary to set traps around all the pens, as predators tend to attack the same pen on the second night. Steel traps can be boiled in walnut hulls or cocoa pods, both to camouflage them and to prevent rust. The traps will be more effective if not touched with bare hands, as most predators have a keen sense of smell. Instead, they should be handled with a stick, rubber gloves or tongs.

Rats, mongooses and snakes are only a problem when the birds are small. Rats often come up through the earth floors, and the first signs of a rat attack may be unusually quiet chicks huddled under the brooder heater or in a corner, or dead chicks with small bloody neck scratches. Snakes will kill chicks if they can get into the brooder house. A treble fishhook in a dead bird can be left as bait: the snake will swallow the hooks as it gulps down the bird and eventually die. Holes around doors and windows through which rats and snakes may enter should be plugged.

Coops or baskets may be used to house mother hens and chicks in order to reduce chick mortality due to predators, thieves and rain. They also allow for separate feed and water supplementation, although the inadequate feed usually provided in coops means that some scavenging remains necessary.


Table 4.2 Predator attack modes and control methods

Predator Attack mode Control method
Hawk Picks up stray birds and weaklings. Attacks birds so that head and toe marks are visible on back. Often plucks birds. Hunt the hawk and keep chicks away from clear swoop areas.
Rat, mongoose Usually take more than they eat, and stuff chicks in holes for later consumption. If allowed, use rat poison.
Snake Will swallow eggs and chicks Use fishhooks.
Dog, cat General destruction Try to catch them. Cats can control rats but wild cats and dogs are a problem.
Fox, jackal Will bite off the feathers over the back and between wings, eat the entrails and breast, and carry bird to den. Roam in the early morning; kill for their young. Trapping is the best control.
Raccoon Pulls off head and eats crop. Will carry birds off. May be protected in some countries. A permit to destroy may be required.



Housing in Free-Range Systems

Overnight shelter which is roomy, clean and airy should be provided under free-range systems. Houses may be either fixed or mobile. If space permits, a mobile chicken house may be appropriate, and to increase egg production, mobile folds or field units for laying birds can be provided. These mobile units can be rotated on the range. Although housing is cheaper and there is less need for balanced rations, the birds are exposed to the sun and prone to parasite infestation.

The stocking density on pasture should be calculated according to the soil type and pasture management system. A night shelter for up to 20 free-range chickens can be attached to any existing structure, such as the farmer’s outhouse, kitchen or dwelling. In a deep litter system, there should be a density of at most three to four birds per square metre. In regions where it rains heavily, the floor should be raised with a generous roof overhang, particularly over the entrance. The raised floor can be a solid platform of earth or a raised bamboo platform. The raised bamboo platform has the advantage of providing ventilation under the poultry, which helps cool them in hot weather and keeps them out of flood water in the monsoons.

The walls of the building can be made of mud or bamboo, and the windows and door of bamboo slats. The house can also be free-standing, and may also be suitable for semi-intensive or intensive production systems.


Housing in Semi-Intensive and Intensive Systems


Complete confinement is only advisable where:

there is good management;

reproduction is spread equally over the year;

land is scarce or inaccessible all year round;

balanced rations are available;

a supply of hybrid day-old chicks is available;

labour is expensive;

parasite and disease control are readily available; and

the objective is commercial production.

The reasons for confinement are, in order of priority, to:

reduce mortality due to predation in chicks under two months of age;

achieve higher daily gain and better feed conversion in growers; and

allow better supervision of production in laying hens.

In all confined systems, the location and building design must be carefully considered. The area surrounding the house should be mown or grazed. A good location should meet the following criteria:

It should be easily accessible.

There should be a reliable water supply.

The ground should be well drained.

It should be at a sufficient distance from residential areas (far enough to protect human health and close enough to provide security for the birds).

It should be well away from woodland.

Converting existing facilities can provide housing, although planning permission may have to be obtained. An unused outhouse kitchen, for example, can be converted into a poultry house. In all conversions, maximum use should be made of the space available through careful planning:

A plan of the building should be drawn to scale.

Use should be made of existing floors and walls, if suitable.

Space requirements of the birds and manure disposal should be taken into consideration.

A feasibility study should be carried out, taking into consideration future plans and requirements as well as the economics of converting the building.



The floor is extremely important. An ideal floor for a deep litter house is well drained and made of concrete, with a layer of heavy gravel or wire mesh embedded in it to keep out rats. This type of floor is usually costly. Wood, bamboo, bricks or large flat stones (according to what is locally available) can be used, but are harder to clean. Clay floors are cheaper, but require the application of a fresh layer of clay either between flock batches or at least annually. In areas where construction materials are cheaper than deep litter, and particularly in humid regions where litter material is not available, raised floors are sometimes used. These are made of wire mesh, expanded metal, wooden slats or split bamboo, to allow the droppings to collect under the house, and should be about one metre above the ground to allow for cleaning and ventilation. Higher floors may result in an unstable building. They are supported by pillars, which are either rot-resistant or have stone or concrete footings, and which are made of such materials as wood, bamboo, oil drums and concrete blocks. Houses with raised floors on posts can be protected against rats with baffles. The baffles can be made of a metal collar, a tin can turn upside-down or a metal band wound around the post, but must fit tightly to deter even the smallest rodent.


The roof and walls of the house can be made of any inexpensive local material, including bamboo slats, sorghum stalks, mud, wooden slats and palm fronds, as long as the structure is made relatively rat-proof. In colder regions, the walls should be thicker or insulated, but in warmer climates thatch can be used, although it should be replaced frequently to minimize parasite and disease problems. The inside of the walls should be as smooth as possible, to prevent tick and mite infestation and to make cleaning easier. Interior length-ways building partitions are not advisable, as they reduce cross-flow ventilation.


The roof should be watertight, and should overhang the walls by one metre if the windows have no shutters. The roof can be made of thatch, sheet metal or tiles. Thatch is usually the cheapest option and provides good insulation. It will probably have to be replaced every three years, or immediately if ticks get into it. It should be interlaced with bamboo or wooden slats to keep predators out. Sheet metal is usually too expensive, and in hot climates must be painted with white or aluminium to reflect the sun’s heat. However, it is easily cleaned which is an important advantage where ticks are a problem. A layer of plastic sheeting sandwiched between bamboo slats is a good seal against rain and vermin. Flattened oil drums can be used at a lower cost. Although usually more expensive than thatch, sun- or oven-baked tiles will last much longer. Because of their weight, the frame for a tiled roof must be stronger than for other materials.


Window design depends on the local climate. Chickens need more ventilation than humans, but should be sheltered from wind, dust and rain. During storms, wood or bamboo hinged shutters or curtains made from feed sacks can cover window openings on the windward side of the house. In humid climates, window design should take as much advantage of the wind direction as possible to reduce the amount of moisture in the house. Window areas are best covered by wire mesh or expanded metal. Wooden slats or bamboo can be used, depending on available funds and materials. However, the thicker the material, the more ventilation will be reduced. Doors should be made of metal, wood or bamboo. The top half of the door could be wire mesh. Doors should be sufficiently strong to withstand being opened and closed many times a year.


Gabled roofs reduce solar heat loading when compared with flat or lean-to roofs. The pitch or “angle of rise” on a gabled roof is important for many reasons. Traditional village thatched gabled roofs are usually constructed using bush timber, and at a steeply pitched angle (greater than 42° from the horizontal), which helps the roof to withstand stormy winds. Shallower pitched roofs are more susceptible to being blown off in strong winds, particularly when the pitch angle is 15° to 20°. Shallower pitched roofs have less roof surface area, which reduces the cost of surfacing material, but because they are more affected by stormy winds, they need stronger support frames, which results in a much higher overall roof cost. A 42° pitch is the optimum compromise between roof surfacing costs and roof support costs.


The maximum width for an open-sided poultry building, under conditions of a slight breeze, which allows air movement across the shed at the height of the bird, is 8 m (26 ft). To maximise the volume and velocity of airflow across the shed width, the end walls of the shed should be closed. This forces the air to flow across the shed width, especially if the wind is not already coming from that side. Centre ridge ventilation is not recommended, as it discourages airflow across the full shed width. Air enters at the prevailing wind side and is drawn up at the centre to exit at the ridge, excluding the other half of the building.




Mortality causes a great loss to rearers whenever diseases occur. This period is more foot by rearers of 4/6 weeks’ cockerel most especially those who rear 5-20 cockerels. There are various types of poultry diseases. Hence, the common ones are mentioned below and their causes.

Fowl typhoid
Causes – Dry spell followed by rainfall.
Symptoms – Characterises by pale comb enteritis, swollen joint, droopy of feathers, dullness.

Causes – Unvaccinated poultry against gumboro and too much of heat and stress.
Symptoms – Droopy feathers, whitish diarrhoea and characteristic posture of touching the ground with beak.

Chronic respiratory disease(CRD)
Causes – it is caused by chilly environment, cold and overcrowding.
Symptoms – characterised by sneezing and strange crow in form of unclear crowing if a rooster.

Heavy worm infestation
Causes – Contaminated feeds and feeds mixed with edible groundnut cake.
Symptoms – folding of the feather and skinny dried body.

Fowl pox
Causes – Through air and also lice bite.
Symptoms – Characterised by swollen head and eyes in form of bump.

Lice infestation
Causes – caused by dirty environment and mixing with local fowls.
Symptoms – it sucks the blood of the infected bird, and it is characterised by scratching the part with the beak and depreciating in nature.

Fowl cholera
Causes- chilly environment and overcrowding also darkroom.
Symptoms- characterised by twisting of neck and star grazing.
If any symptom is noticed, consult your veterinarian immediately. Good luck.




Routine Vaccination












Routine Medication


Anti-coccidiosis. Whenever you noticed chocolate brown faeces, confirm from your veterinarian and treat for coccidiosis. Prevention includes removal of wet litters.

Deworm with Piperazine or Ivermectine frequently if birds are on free range or floor. At least every 12 weeks.

Treat with antibiotic only with the advice of a veterinarian to minimize abuse which could lead to intoxication, resistance or liver failure.


Handling cocks

Cocks have powerful beaks and could peck or even scratch. To avoid injury, wear hand gloves when attempting to handle them.





On feeds: Kukuchic

On nutrition: Kukuchic


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