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Fiji Learns That There's More to Poultry Farming

by 5m Editor
8 September 2011, at 9:35am

FIJI - Rooster Poultry's general manager Dallas Foon said when he first entered the poultry business, all he knew about chickens was their number and their prices.

However, the businessman quickly learnt that there was definitely much more to chicken rearing and processing than meets the eye.

During a tour of their farms, Mr Foon broke down their operations, beginning with the importation of one-day old parent birds from New Zealand to their Rearing Farm.

"We import Cobb breed chicks which are nurtured and cared for in a controlled environment for the first 18 weeks of their lives. Their growth rate is carefully coordinated for optimum development," said Roosters breeding operations manager, Deo Raj Lal.

He said after their 18 weeks, they are transferred to the Breeding Farm. The males are transferred three days before the females to acclimatise them to the new environment and claim their territory.

The females follow after for breeding. Females start laying eggs at 23 weeks of age until 60 weeks old when they are culled and the flock replaced.

Each hen is expected to lay 130 eggs, according to The Fiji Times Online.

Eggs are collected four times daily, to ensure cleanliness. They are graded and inspected before they are stored at around 18 degrees. Then the eggs are transferred to their Hatchery with cotton wool care and upon arrival are transferred to a cooler.

"Upon the day of setting, the eggs are candled, graded and settled before they are put into a computer controlled incubator. The chicks hatch after 21 days," said the company's livestock manager, Dr Robin Rahul Achari.

Dr Achari said the chicks were then transferred to broiler farms.

"An abundance of feed, water and warmth is provided for the chicks with a four to six inch deep litter system of good quality wood shavings. The chicks are grown to meat birds in a controlled environment free from stress," he said.

It takes 36 days for the birds to attain market weights.

But the tale does not end there as the exciting part starts in the Processing Room.

"Hygiene is our top priority. The entire plant and its equipments are washed and sanitised every night to ensure that high standards of hygiene are maintained," said Mr Foon.

The processing is largely mechanised and birds are transferred from one area to the next on a series of conveyor shackles. At the end of processing, the birds are packed or cut up and put into a blast freezer for at least 12 hours until rock hard.

"Products are then transferred to a storage freezer to await delivery by a fleet of sales truck to the supermarket refrigerators where they eventually would end up on everyones dinner table," said Mr Foon.