Catfish production is a very broad farming activity. It entails production of fingerling/juvenile from a well managed broodstock, production of table size fish and other ancillary services that help in production processes. Broodstock production is an aspect of catfish farming that is not well pronounced. Production of good catfish seeds will not be possible without proper management of brood stock. Those that know much about broodstock management will attest to the fact that it is more profitable than table size catfish production.
However, before one can be established as catfish broodstock farmer, one must have been stable in the business for years. Also, a broodstock catfish farmer must be a breeder with pedigree as well as someone that is well-known in catfish farming community. This is so because a broodstock farmer must earn the trust of other farmers, who are already getting their seed from other breeders, to be successful. If you have a future plan of breeding your own seed or a catfish business plan that involve broodstock production, you can start by running grow out and broodstock production side by side. Start your broodstock selection from your good production and raise them in a good pond for future usage.
Principles that Guide Selection of Catfish Brood Stock
A broodstock farmer is guided majorly by traits he is looking for at the end of production. He might select to achieve hardiness, improve growth, voraciousness, particular color or skin pigment, maturity time, etc. Generally, the following factors should guide broodstock farmers in their selection processes;
- Genetic traits of catfish available for selection: Every farmer wants a breed that grows fast, convert feed better, mature early and probably can still perform without the use of animal protein. Farmer should look out for some of these desirable traits in their stock.
- Breed type: There is always an acceptable breed in every farming locality, a broodstock farmer should not bother to introduce a new breed except he is sure it will be acceptable in such community. Consumer needs must be put into consideration at selection stage. In some market, pure Clarias are the only acceptable breed whereas hybrid is preferred in other market.
- Sex of the breed: A mature male catfish can serve as many as four female catfish. It will not make business sense to select without proper consideration for sex of catfish available for selection.
- Breed Age: Age of the broodstock play an important role in catfish breeding. Most often, ages of the selected fishes have a lot to do with their readiness for use. A broodstock farmer must know and keep the ages of his different stocks in record.
- Breed Source: Breeders know that male and female catfish from the same source should not be used for breeding in order to avoid inbreeding. Male and female broodstocks from same source should be kept apart.
Management of Brood Stock
The management of broodstock is slightly different from normal grow-out catfish. The following are the brief hints that could help you manage your brood stock well;
- Stock limited number of fishes per square meter of water. Do not stock more than 200 fishes in a pond that can ordinarily sustain 1000 grow-out fishes.
- Ensure your selected broodstocks are fed with diet rich in protein and not excess fat. This will enhance production of quality eggs and spermatozoa. If you are not sure of your knowledge in feed formulations, readymade catfish broodstock feed should be purchased from reputable companies around you.
- Do not feed your broodstock more than 4 times in 7 days i.e. minimum of three days and maximum of four days per week.
- It is better to stock male and female stock separately. Please ensure you take note of sources of your stocks and asses their performance regularly.
How to get Market for your Brood Stock
Unlike grow-out production that can be sold in tons, broodstocks are sold in bits. Usually, breeders are the major buyer of broodstock. To gain ground in brood stock production and marketing, you must be reputed for quality catfish seed production with good testimony from your customers. As soon as your broodstocks approach maturity, catfish breeders around you should be informed and you will be surprised at the rate of turn out. You can also advertise through appropriate platforms.
How Profitable is Catfish Brood Stock Production?
Broodstock is much more profitable than grow-out production. A kilogram of a brood stock costs as much as three times the value of the same size of grow-out. Apart from offering your broodstock for sales, quality broodstock can be used for your personal production of fingerling/juvenile. Don’t forget that quality fingerling/juvenile remain a hot cake in the market.