Rosehill Poultry | Services | Disease Surveillance
  • 5.9.2023
  • Education

The Principles of Performance Series

Some things we are told in our professions struggle to stand up to the unflinching litmus test of reality, and, occasionally, we are given a piece of knowledge that is repeatedly validated the longer you spend studying a subject. Over the next series of short articles, I will share the greatest keys to peak laying output and profitability from your laying flock we’ve found. 

David Hodson Snr. explained to me when I entered the poultry industry, that a laying flock that is vaccinated, with the right vaccines, at the right point in time and administered successfully, was worth an extra £1 a bird in the laying house. This was from the 80’s and 90’s market. From my work carrying out vaccination training across the country, we have seen an increase of 5 eggs per bird over the course of a laying flock, in the free range market from simply getting on top of administering Infectious Bronchitis vaccines (the most delicate live vaccine), which, when considering that IB is the Avian Coronavirus, makes perfect sense. 

The vaccines, however, make up one part of the of the support structure for an optimal flock, the key to hitting the highest levels of performance in any realm comes down to one overriding principle – That of Finite Energy. Any life form, be it an Olympic sprinter or a laying hen, has a limited supply of useable energy throughout the lifespan. The expression of genetic potential is only possible by the systematic removal of stress, be it disease, parasitic burdens, animal management, water quality or nutrition. Our sole endeavour is to allow the hen to be in peak health, at which point it is will be able to hit the high levels of performance that the modern market demands for a successful business.

There are many lessons that can be brought across from other experiences in life, Rosehill has been at forefront of controlling disease in poultry since the 70’s but experiences in life add to this common principle I’ve outlined above. I was very fortunate to be coached in a strength sport by a gentleman who had been Geoff Capes main student, and he made me realise just how extreme the level of focus is to achieve the greatest levels of proficiency. This gentleman would move his bed downstairs when preparing for a competition so as to minimise energy wastage, eat the exact same food, in the same quantities for months at a time and spend hours of his day mentally rehearsing every part of his sporting performance.

 If we took Usain Bolt, and gave him a bad case of worms, food poisoning from E. coli, a severe case of Coronavirus, then filled his room with a biting parasite such as 10,000 mosquitos, and compared his performance on the track to when he is peak health, we know what would happen. Freedom of disease, a fixed routine, optimal nutrition, high quality water and freedom from parasites are how we succeed. Attention to detail, applied sound scientific principles and peak execution of every area underpins great performance, in the chicken shed or in a sphere. 

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