The aquaculture section of the Agri-cultural Research Council- (ARC-)Animal Production Institute (API) has undertaken a pilot study on creating an integrated poultry-aquaculture system at the request of the Gauteng Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Environment.
The project, under the leadership of ARC-Institute for Agricultural Engineering (IAE) project manager James Mabadi, is a system of poultry farming on top of a fish pond, which forms a subsystem. The subsystem may consist of livestock, chickens or pigs, and is linked in such a way that the by-products from one subsystem on top of the water become valuable nutritional inputs to the other below. “This results in the total use of land and water resources of a farm, with reduced financial and labour costs,” Mabadi says.
He adds that the research required a large amount of technical expertise before the project could be implemented, owing to the farmed species’ habitats that needed to be accurately constructed to provide comfort for the animals. Owing to the high standards that needed to be met, the ARC-API requested that the ARC-IAE provide project technical input and support.
The ARC-IAE undertook the design and construction of the layer house steel structure for chickens, which was placed on top of a pond. The whole construction phase of this project took place at the ARC’s facilities, in Irene, and was divided into concrete works and steelworks.